Well folks, I’m gonna leave the stargazing awestruck wonder to my good friend Quint and Peter Blood in their coverage of EDtv... and instead I’m going to focus on the film, and my experience with it.
First off, the event was every bit as magical as I said it would be in my open letter to Ron Howard. The audience packed the Paramount, and exuded love and admiration like no tomorrow. The energy and the thunderous BOOM of applause was... well louder and more powerful than I have ever heard at the Paramount.
The entire evening I continually had people coming up to me to thank me for the event at the Paramount. I want to clarify that.
First off.... There would have been no SXSW screening of EDtv had it not been for the efforts of Matthew McConaughey, Lewis Black, Nancy Schaffer and the other SXSW people, and Rebecca Campbell from the Austin Film Society... Oh... and Richard Linklater. Then it also fell upon Ron Howard and his people at IMAGINE and UNIVERSAL. All I was in this event was a short stop that caught the bunt and threw it to First Base. I didn’t create the game, I didn’t own the field and absolutely none of the equipment was mine. I was just one of the players.
Folks... I wrote the open letter to Ron, not because I wanted ‘better equipment’ for the Paramount... I didn’t. For me, that issue has always been... well secondary. The PARAMOUNT itself was what I was speaking out for. I couldn’t stand the concept of someone snubbing and belittling that magic old dame.
I was happy to be there. From the reviews I had been getting from Screenings all over the country I had the idea that this was definately ‘an audience’ film. And by golly, it sure as hell was.
Nearly everyone in the cast was there at the screening except for Rob Reiner and Jenna Elfman, but just about everyone else was there. I wasn’t sitting anywhere near them though... I had my regular 4th row center seat. Sitting with celebs is overrated in my opinion, because you tend to watch them instead of the movie.
First off... If you LOVED “THE TRUMAN SHOW” and you feel it was slighted all the way across the board, and it was the greatest film of last year, and Ron Howard is a hack, and that this EDtv is a piece of shit ripoff.... Well, perhaps you shouldn’t go see the movie. For me, the two movies are, like SAVING PRIVATE RYAN and THE THIN RED LINE, in the same genre, but with completely different takes on the subject matter.
THE TRUMAN SHOW was a drama with comedic moments, this is a comedy with dramatic moments. THE TRUMAN SHOW was a movie about a man who’s entire life was manipulated and twisted by a director conducting an arty experiment/hit television show where the star doesn’t know he’s on television, where all his friends and family are actors and nothing save his own emotions are true. It’s a movie about paranoia and the ultimate ‘Big Brother’ nightmare.
EDtv is a very different film. It examines what it is to choose to be famous. Ed decides to give up his privacy and the privacy of his friends and family with the benefit being fame and fortune. Sure it goes wrong.... There’s always a bad side.
I’ve had the local Austin gossip columnist say a few things about me I wish he hadn’t said. Hell, TALK BACK can be a bit annoying, as well as being funny as hell. Being recognized at restaurants, movie theaters, book stores, etc... Is both a wonderful sensation and amazingly bizarre and also sometimes troublesome.
I have had a psycho con man try to, and succeed to a certain degree, con my friends and I.... BUT I survived... and I thrived. Lines were not irrevocably crossed. I don’t have people camping on my doorstep, the tabloids don’t have helicopters circling my house. My girlfriend is not tailed. And my life is private, at least as much as I keep it.
But here... In EDtv, we are watching a man give up every moment save for when he’s on the john taking a crap-a-roni. The cameras stalking his every moment. And then a thought hit me.
You know those live streaming-video cams? Well, the company that puts those out approached me about a year ago with setting my house up so that there would be a constant stream of video from my world to yours. I, at the time felt that this was the most ludricous thing I’d ever heard of.
Why on Earth would someone do that? I decided not to because... well, I didn’t want to subject the human race to the horrors of my private life. I didn’t want to be a Zoo speciman. Typing is not an exciting activity. Watching Harry watching a movie would SUCK!
I really really enjoyed EDtv, and if there is a fault with the film it is that it’s so damn entertaining that some nimrod exec is going to do this for real. Sure at the beginning they show us the beginnings of Ed’s tedious perusing of his own clothed ass, but... What about Ed putting on his shoes, Ed microwaving popcorn... Ed sick. Ed sleeping all day. Ed watching primetime or Burt Reynolds movies?
Of course this wasn’t the movie that Ron was making. Instead he was making a COMEDY. And as such, it didn’t need to strickly adhere to the world of reality.
Ok, now that I’ve said it’s so different from THE TRUMAN SHOW, how do the two compare?
Well, EDtv is far more entertaining. The acting feels natural, but then... it just feels like perfect casting all the way across the board. I loved THE TRUMAN SHOW, and Jim Carrey was fantastic... but really... you can’t compare. After EDtv, I found myself wondering how the films would be if Jim Carrey had been in EDtv, and Matthew had been in THE TRUMAN SHOW. It would be interesting... And I think both actors would have brought extra points to each others’ roles... but... Each are perfectly cast as ED and TRUMAN.
There is a part of me that feels that this may very well be Ron Howard’s best film. But to honestly say that, I’ll need to see the film at least 3 or 4 more times.
Afterwards the whole AICN crew went to a party that was... well... very fun. When I got home that night, I thought about writing everything up. Spend 250 to 750 words about how Elizabeth Hurley’s body filled and moved that pink dress of hers. But... I decided to let the intoxication (both mental and alcohol induced) wear off. I’ve been pushing the film around for the last week or so and.... ya know... No matter how I cut it, EDtv is a damn fun movie.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did....