REVIEW: ED WOOD

40.1CAST

Johnny Depp (Into The Woods)
Martin Landau (North By Northwest)
Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex and The City)
Patricia Arquette (Stigmata)
Jeffrey Jones (Howard The Duck)
Vincent D’Onofrio (Daredevil)
Bill Murray (Ghostbusters)
Lisa Marie (Sleepy Hollow)
Juliet Landau (Buffy)
Maurice LaMarche (Futurama)
Ned Bellamy (Twilight)
Rance Howard (Universal Soldier)

In 1952, Ed Wood (Johnny Depp) is struggling to join the film industry. Upon hearing of an announcement in Variety magazine that producer George Weiss (Mike Starr) is trying to purchase Christine Jorgensen’s life story, Ed is inspired to meet Weiss in person. Weiss explains that Variety‍ ’s announcement was a news leak, and it is impossible to purchase Jorgensen’s rights. The producer decides to “fictionalize” the film, titled I Changed My Sex!. Ed tries to convince Weiss that he is perfect to direct I Changed My Sex! because he is a transvestite, but is unsuccessful since Weiss wants a director with experience. One day, Ed meets his longtime idol Bela Lugosi (Martin Landau), after spotting him trying out a casket. Ed drives Bela home and the two become friends. Later, Wood persuades Weiss to let him direct I Changed My Sex! by convincing him that having a star in the film would sell tickets, and they could sign Bela for a low price.

Ed and Weiss argue over the film’s title and subject matter: Weiss has already had the poster printed, which Ed changes to Glen or Glenda and writes the film about a transvestite rather than a sex change. In the end, Weiss allows Ed to shoot whatever he wants as long as the film meets the required length. Ed takes to film production with an unusual approach; usually shooting only one take per scene, giving actors very little direction, and using stock footage to fill in gaps. After filming, the movie is released to critical and commercial failure. Because of this, Ed is unsuccessful in getting a job at Screen Classics, but Ed’s girlfriend, Dolores Fuller (Sarah Jessica Parker), tells him that he should try financing his next film independently. Ed is unsuccessful in finding money for Bride of the Atom, but is introduced to the psychic The Amazing Criswell (Jeffrey Jones) who gives him advice on how to sell himself better.MV5BMTgwMjAxMDc2NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDgyMTcyMTI@._V1_At a bar, Ed meets Loretta King (Juliet Landau), who he thinks has enough money to fund Bride of the Atom and ends up casting her as the lead instead of Dolores as originally planned. Dolores was extremely angry about it. Filming begins, but is halted when it is revealed that Loretta is actually poor, and therefore Ed has no money to continue production. Ed convinces meat packing industry tycoon Don McCoy (Rance Howard) to take over funding the film, who agrees as long as the film stars his son Tony as the leading man and the film ends with an explosion. The filming of Bride of the Atom finishes, with the title being changed to Bride of the Monster, but Dolores breaks up with Ed after the wrap party because of his circle of friends, his work, and transvestism. Also, Bela, who is revealed to be highly depressed and a morphine addict, attempts to conduct a double suicide with Ed after the government cuts off his unemployment, but is talked out of it. Bela checks himself into rehab, and Ed meets Kathy O’Hara (Patricia Arquette), who is visiting her father at the same hospital. Ed takes her on a date and reveals to her his transvestism, which she accepts.

Ed begins to shoot a film with Bela outside his home. When Ed and company attend the premiere for Bride of the Monster, an angry mob chases them out of the theater. Sometime later, Bela passes away, leaving Ed without a star. Ed convinces a church leader named Reynolds that funding Ed’s script for Grave Robbers from Outer Space would result in a box office success, and generate enough money for Reynolds’ dream project (the Twelve Apostles films). Dr. Tom Mason (Ned Bellamy), Kathy’s chiropractor, is chosen to be Bela’s stand-in for resembling Lugosi (with half his face covered). However, Ed and the Baptists begin having conflicts over the title and content of the script which they want to have changed to Plan 9 from Outer Space along with Ed’s B movie directing style, his casting decisions and his transvestism. This causes a distressed Ed to leave the set and immediately take a taxi to the nearest bar, where he encounters his idol Orson Welles (Vincent D’Onofrio). Welles tells Ed that “visions are worth fighting for”, and filming for Plan 9 finishes with Ed taking action against his producers. The film ends with the premiere of Plan 9 with Ed believing it will be the film he “will be remembered for”, and Ed and Kathy taking off to Las Vegas to get married.

This is an immensely entertaining film, both comic and endearing. It masterfully portrays Wood in a humorous light, while not being demeaning or insulting. The strong acting, writing, and directing make this unique movie a film worth seeing