Last month, we mined upcoming releases for inspiration in choosing our Movie of the Month. We decided to do the same in April.
Greg is especially handy in this regard. He manages a movie theater for a living and can probably rattle off release dates without using Google to cheat. He had three movies coming out in April that forced us to consider our selection this month. The obvious one is The Avengers: Endgame but we used a Marvel Cinematic Universe film for ideas last month. Pet Sematary is also coming out, but Aaron thinks it looks awful and Karen doesn’t run to see horror films. It appears that only 2 out of 3 Nerds will be seeing this one!
Ultimately, the release we chose will have opened by the time you read this, but we were inspired all the same.
A live-action remake of Walt Disney’s 1941 classic has come to theaters! And it’s directed by Tim Burton.
For April, Greg and Aaron are going to take some time to talk about their favorite films in the Tim Burton filmography. And to start things off, we picked as our Movie of the Month a movie somewhat regarded as one of his best.
Three Nerds’ selection, April 2019: Edward Scissorhands
Who Directed It: Tim Burton
Who Wrote It: Caroline Thompson
Who’s In It: Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest, Anthony Michael Hall, and Vincent Price
What does everyone else say about it: Rotten Tomatoes score: 90% (critics), 91% (audience), IMDB user rating: 7.9 (out of 10)
Where you can see it: DVD/Blu-Ray and numerous streaming services (Fandango Now, Redbox, Google Play, Vudu, Amazon Prime). This one is actually part of the collection on Hulu!
The Nerds Weigh In
Aaron: I’ll just throw it out there in the beginning– I am unapologetically a huge fan of Tim Burton. I have a soft spot for his creative vision and can find something to like about even the movies that are considered “not-so-good”. With that said, my first viewing of Edward Scissorhands was back when the movie first came out. I was in high school. And I was left a little cold by it. I think my adoration for Tim Burton set the bar a tad too high, and I left this film fairly disappointed. However, in college, I frequented a movie club that used to spend entire weekends showing the collected library of well-known directors. The administrators of this particular club were pretty excited about the recent Oscar wins for Ed Wood. To celebrate, they showed, back-to-back, all four feature films that Burton had so-far directed as well as a handful of his better-known short films. It was here that I saw Edward Scissorhands for the second time. With an audience reacting to the movie’s considerable whimsy, I saw the movie in a whole new light. I also discovered that I could relate to the main character’s feelings of isolation. Subsequent viewings have turned a movie that I was so-so about into one of my favorite Tim Burton films. I generally watch this movie once or twice a year. (P.S. I am about to lose my mind over a Burton-directed remake of Dumbo.)
Greg: Saw this one at the drive-in, of the Harvest Moon variety. I was old enough to understand and chuckle at the oddity of it, but too young to appreciate the importance of it. Years later, after repeat viewings, the idea of Edward being a freak was slowly replaced, in my mind, with the notion that Edward was simply Edward. He was made that way. And because Edward was Edward, Edward was special. And, after more viewings, the movie helped me realize that we all are special in our own ways. Whether others see us as such or not. And then, even after more viewings than that, after years of watching once or twice a year, as Aaron does, a new revelation occurred to me. A new dream, actually. A dream consisting of a group of people in a basement bar, not unlike the one in which Alan Arkin introduces Edward Scissorhands to whiskey. Each person in the bar is undeniably distinguishable from the next, but all are accepting of the peccadillos of the others, not judging those next to them. Instead of pointing to me (I mean Edward) and saying, “that dude is all kinds of goofy,” they say, “That’s Edward, and that’s who he is.” And everyone in that shag carpeted basement raises a glass before moving the conversation along to something else.
Lil Bit O Trivia – Edward Scissorhands
1. Can you imagine anyone else playing Edward Scissorhands? Neither can we. But it turns out that both Jim Carrey and Robert Downey, Jr. were in the running to play the role. Tom Hanks apparently came pretty close as well. Gary Oldman was offered the part, but eventually turned it down. As was Tom Cruise, who turned it down because he thought the ending was too dark and bad for his image at the time. John Cusack expressed interest. William Hurt. In addition to those big names . . . and this is a rumor that we have found on multiple internet sites, but are unable to confirm . . . pop singer Michael Jackson was apparently interested in the role. It is rumored that he pestered Tim Burton with repeated phone calls that were never returned.
2. As big a fan of horror films and gothic entertainment that Tim Burton seems to be, it comes as no surprise that he is a fan of iconic horror-film actor Vincent Price. In fact, Vincent Price’s role in this film was tailor-made and written specifically for him. Unfortunately, Vincent Price was very ill during filming and his performance had to be cut considerably to accommodate his struggles with emphysema and Parkinson’s disease. Mr. Price passed away three years after the release of this film. Edward Scissorhands was his final screen performance.
3. This role was not an easy one for Johnny Depp. All accounts of the process of filming this movie claim that Depp went above and beyond the call of duty to perfect it. It is reported that he lost 25 pounds to prepare, but probably lost more than that throughout the process. The movie was filmed in Florida. It was hot. But Depp refused cooling agents in the skin-tight leather outfit. This caused him to pass out occasionally. Once, he threw up. Actually, he threw up twice while filming: Depp actually consumed all of the different foods and appetizers that the neighbors shove in his mouth during the barbeque sequence. His make-up for the role took almost two hours daily to apply. Why did Depp put in this much work to the detriment of his own health? Because producers were concerned that Depp’s pretty-boy 21 Jump Street image would hurt the film’s believability.
4. The wondrous menagerie of bushes that Edward Scissorhand’s masterfully creates while trimming the shrubbery in the film were actually meticulously-built wire frames. The frames were covered with real and artificial plants and flowers intricately woven around the sculptures. If you really like those sculptures, you can visit them. Some of them are on permanent display at Tavern on the Green, an upscale restaurant in New York City.
5. This image is a rendering of the actual fossil of an extinct primitive arthropod discovered in 2013 by paleontologist David Legg in Kootenay National Park in Canada. In Legg’s own words: “When I first saw the pair of isolated claws in the fossil records of this species I could not help but think of Edward Scissorhands.” The fossil was named kootenichela deppi in an obvious reference to the actor. Again, quoting Legg: ” . . . I am also a bit of a Depp fan and so what better way to honour the man than to immortalise him as an ancient creature that once roamed the sea?”
Well, that’s probably enough for this month, friends. Be sure to check back in throughout the month for more discussion about the filmography of Tim Burton. Aaron will start us off next week with the defense of a film in the library that is not one of Burton’s most popular. Can you guess which one it is?