By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –
Johnny Depp is well-known for playing a variety of different characters throughout his career. His roles have included Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, the titular and maniacal Sweeney Todd (2007), and the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland (2010). He also occasionally stars in biopics like Finding Neverland (2004). Unfortunately, it appears as if Depp’s performance as Ed Wood has somehow faded into obscurity, especially since Depp played that type of role very early on in his career.
One of the best features of this film is the performances. Martin Landau won his only Academy Award in his supporting role as Bela Lugosi because Landau honors that famous actor while also owning that same role. Ed Wood himself might have been an eccentric filmmaker, but Johnny Depp portrays him with authenticity and sincerity within this biopic. After all, it can be challenging to bring an (in)famous figure to life on-screen, but Johnny Depp does excellent acting in this film even though modern audiences remember Depp for his other roles, such as the eponymous Edward Scissorhands (1990).
Even though this is an Oscar-winning film, it could be incredibly creepy and disturbing for some audiences. Shooting this film in black-and-white is also a unique style choice that could be both good and bad because doing that makes audiences feel as if they were witnessing the notorious historical significance of such a terrible filmmaker in the same way that the real Ed Wood made box-office flops in real life. The black-and-white aspect of this film makes it almost as if audiences were watching a horror film because watching this film feels similar to watching Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960), and the latter film was shot in black-and-white intentionally. That makes both of the films two of the creepiest (but also noteworthy) films of all time.
Ed Wood might not be as famous as some of the other films that star Johnny Depp, but it is still a cult classic that reveals the fundamental themes and experiences related to being an outsider. Playing social outcasts is actually a trademark of Johnny Depp, which is why Edward Scissorhands (1990) is also a cult classic. Johnny Depp might be experiencing a career slump (as of 2019), but Johnny Depp is still vividly remembered for playing some of the most iconic (but also infamous) roles in contemporary cinema.
Ed Wood (1994) Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time the film features a horrendous film that Ed Wood personally made
Drink a Shot: every time *spoiler* there is a reference to “dressing in women’s clothes”
And Cheers: to Martin Landau for winning an Oscar by playing Bela Lugosi!