Re-Watch Weekend #1 - Ed Wood (1994) & Benny And Joon (1993)

“Blah-de blah blah”

Manic Pixie Dream Boy

My wife and I have a list of movies broken down into three categories – 1) Movies I’ve seen that she hasn’t,  2) Movies she’s seen but I haven’t, and 3) Movies we both haven’t seen.  We decided this weekend to pick a few movies from our respective lists and let the other choose.  She chose Ed Wood out of my list.  I chose Benny and Joon out of hers.  It sort of became a Johnny Depp weekend at our house.

These movies are one year apart, and sort of right when Depp was becoming famous.  Ed Wood was the second of 200,000 collaborations Depp did with Tim Burton, and truth be told, I don’t know which one I like better out of those early team-ups, Edward Scissorhands or Ed Wood.  Together, they’re sort of my favorite of both Depp and Burton.  Before they got older and sort of ‘stale’ in their collaborations.  You can tell Burton really cares about 50’s sci-fi, B-Movies and classic horror in most of his work, but this movie was sort of his love letter to all of it.  Martin Landau as Bela Legosi is one of the greatest character performances I’ve ever witnessed.  The entire cast was spot on.  Now if I can only get my wife to watch Plan 9 From Outer Space…

Benny and Joon, I’ll admit, I’ve seen before.  But it was right after dental surgery and I was hopped up on pain meds.  So rewatching this today sort of brought it back through the vicodin-induced fog I was in when I watched it the first time.  It’s a cute love story between movie savant Sam and overprotected, mentally ill Joon.  And Joon’s brother, Benny – pretty much a character that does everything for the right reasons but comes off as a control freak and jerk who smothers his sister.  Johnny Depp’s Buster Keaton-esque looks and especially the performance he put on in the park are the type of quirky, charming antics that made his character sort of the male version of the “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” before that even was a thing.  It’s a pretty good film that, to me, tries to separate past vs. present in the sense that – Benny tried to keep Joon in the past, in her childhood, because he’s scared for her wellbeing.  Sam showed her a different side of life that allowed her to ‘bloom’ as it were.  I’m actually glad that they never explained where her trauma came from.  It made the message a lot clearer – the past doesn’t matter as much as how you handle things in the moment.  I’d like to think that with Sam, Benny, Ruthie, and her doctor all in her court, that Joon was able to come out of her shell fully and learn to deal with her problems in constructive ways. 

Now, to start planning for next weekend’s installment….


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