Tuesday, August 16, 2011

#67 – Ed Wood

(1994) Rated R for excessive Dracula swearing

Genre: Optimistic biography of a quirky writer/producer/director/actor

Trend: Gradually dropped, but then sharply rose upon re-watch

The plot:
Vampires, wrestlers, chiropractors,
To enlightened minds, are actors
Living diff’rent, brave lifestyles,
Persecuted and reviled
So he wears angora sweaters;
Does that quirk make him less better
Than those cutthroat film producers?
Transvestite, sure, but no loser
His “B” movies are reminders
To love life and leave off blinders

So why is it on my list?

It celebrates the life of someone considered a joke when he was alive.  Ed Wood was a movie maker who was voted “the worst director of all time.”  Nowadays, his movies are realized to contain a special charm in spite of their horrible quality.  In other words, so bad, they’re good.  It’s great to see someone so beat up by the world finally get some positive attention in society’s collective memory.

It’s an interesting movie about a man who made movies about what he found interesting.  Why make a movie about the world’s worst director?  Because he was an utterly fascinating man, that’s why!  Ed would cast his buddies in his films, which were always about some hare-brained idea that he thought was pure genius.  And, as a broke crossdresser, Ed freely admits that he’s nice to everyone because he can’t afford to lose friends.

It has Dracula, octopi, and aliens, oh my!  Nothing beats good, old-fashioned sci-fi, amiright?

In conclusion: Between Tim Burton’s direction and Johnny Depp’s performance, even those who have never heard of Ed Wood will likely find at least some cinematic charisma in this film.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

#68 – The Truman Show

(1998) Rated PG

Genre: Paranoia-inducing reality TV: the movie

Trend: Steadily dropping, but holding fast to its current position

The plot:
Inspire men by living life!
One catch: relinquish all your dreams.
Don’t look at her – we’ve picked your wife,
And ratings keep you center screen.
The world’s a stage, and you’re the lead;
Reality through cardboard sets.
Is love an act concealing greed?
Is freedom fenced inside regret?
It’s all for you; we do insist.
How dare you spit in your god’s eye?
Well, if you really must resist…
A special show: tonight, one dies!

So why is it on my list?

It was my favorite movie when I was younger. This was probably the first movie I could ever call my “favorite” at one time.  It’s clearly fallen a lot since number one, but I still enjoy watching it from time to time.

It’s a clever critique. Is watching other people live their (fake) lives really so rewarding?  Does not your own life dissipate in direct correlation to the amount of time you spend in front of the TV?

It changed my life. Not for the better or worse, but for the paranoid.  Seriously, it took years before I stopped being (playfully) suspicious of my friend’s and family’s motives.  Maybe I never went to the Grand Canyon; it was just staged in front of some billboard!

In conclusion: The Truman Show is funny, sweet, and, most importantly, creative for its time.  Jim Carrey does get a little over the top at parts, but what did you expect?  He’s much tamer here than in many of his other films, anyways.  Just be prepared to start looking for hidden cameras in necklaces of strangers…