Monday, November 26, 2007


EDtv; Comedy, USA, 1999; D: Ron Howard, S: Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Jenna Elfman, Sally Kirkland, Martin Landau, Ellen DeGeneres, Rob Reiner, Dennis Hopper, Elizabeth Hurley

When Cynthia Topping, the editor of a TV network, gets a revolutionary idea about a TV show that will film the everyday life of an ordinary guy day and night, she finds her "actor" in the sloppy Ed who works in a video store. "Ed tv" starts to air, but it seems Ed's life doesn't exactly have interesting events behind every corner, so producers decide to introduce some intrigues in order to produce high ratings. They send Ed his real father, which causes a feud between his mother and stepfather, arrange him a date with a woman who was chosen by the audience and prolong his contract indefinitely. When Ed's father dies, his girlfriend Shari gets annoyed and the TV crew gets the intention to film his whole family, he decides to end the show by threatening to tell a dirty secret of one of the producers on the air.

"This film starts there where "The Truman Show" ended", states one of the slogans of Ron Howard's "EDtv" which, although it doesn't rely too much on the above mentioned film, still has one connection with it: the actor Dennis Hopper, who in Weir's film was originally cast as Christof but was then replaced, and who here plays Ed's father. Both films were meant as a satiric jab at TV megalomania and the extreme concept of lifecasting, but in a bizarre twist that actually became a normal thing a few years later with a whole sea of ephemera reality soap operas like "Survivor", "Dismissed", "Big Brother" and other garbage. Although "EDtv" has the advantage of a better tangle of conflicts and drama, "The Truman Show" remains the better contribution - while Ed is a sloppy cynic, Truman has the soul of an angel; Truman's life is known to the viewers since his childhood and a whole new world was created for him, while Ed is on the air only a few months and thus doesn't have such intimacy and magic, and the direction of the story is too mainstream for bigger artistic attempts. Still, the fact that he is aware that he is filmed and thus even addresses the producers and viewers at times, is something that would have been a welcomed idea in Truman's world, and despite the fact that Matthew McConaughy is slightly miscast in the main role, Jenna Elfman and Woody Harrelson are excellent in their supporting roles. It's an interesting attempt and a correct fun.


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