Edtv (1999) Poster

(1999)

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9/10
Exposes The Vulgarity Of Reality Shows,And The Public That Loves Them
gatsby224430 May 2005
I never liked reality shows,and when this movie was shown on cable I decided to watch it and found it really interesting.Matthew McConaughey plays video store clerk Ed Pekurny who lives with his parents and his big brother Ray Pekurny,played by Woody Harrelson.He is hired by a TV company that wants to do a 24-hour reality show based on his life,and Ed grabs the offer.In the beginning,the public tells Ed that his show 'stinks',but as they see him getting involved with his elder brother's girlfriend,the ratings go above the roof.What's more,when Ed makes out live with the bombshell to end all bombshells,that is Elizabeth Hurley,the interest verges on voyeurism.The icing in the cake comes when Ed's father suddenly turns up from nowhere,having abandoned him and his brother years ago.The film is a well-made documentation of the vulgarity of the public that makes up the television audience not only in America,but the whole world.Sex and scandal will always be the top-sellers,whether it is an ordinary man's tale or that of a celebrity.In fact,it is Ed's scandalous life that makes him America's Number One celebrity.McConaughey plays his role with ease,and so does Harrelson.Ellen Degeneres is good as the unscrupulous TV producer,while Elizabeth Hurley's brief appearance leaves the audience gasping for more.Quite entertaining and very candidly made.
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Nearly nothing like the Truman Show.
DustoMcNeato3 October 2001
It's a shame that due to the timing of when Edtv was released, it was automatically deemed a pitiful copy of the Truman Show, a movie that won our hearts the previous year. Now, I love the Truman Show too, very much, and I'll admit that I was was very uninterested in ever seeing a copy-cat version of it. It was until just a few weeks ago that I actually watched Edtv (even with the expectation that I would most likely not like it too much) and I must say I was pleasantly surprised!

Not only was Edtv funny and entertaining, but it was nearly nothing at all like the Truman Show. I mean, the ONLY similarity is the idea of a live TV show about an "ordinary" guy. But Truman didn't even know he was on TV. He was just living what he thought was an ordinary life. All the cameras and microphones were completely hidden and he lived in a town that was entirely fabricated from his wife and life-long best friend, to the rain and even the sun. His is a story of a man searching for an escape from his everyday life, which little by little he is realizing may not be what it seems. Ed on the other hand was a nobody who was chosen to have a camera crew actually follow him around all day while he went on about his life. His life, and in turn the show, became more about instant celebrity as viewers became enchanted in watching this loser become a mega-star over night. People flocked around him just as much to meet him as to be on TV themselves and he endured some major struggles in keeping his life and relationships normal, which was impossible with his celebrity status and on-camera life.

Both movies had a theme of America's fixation with TV, and more specifically Reality TV, but have different plots and overall themes altogether. I think Edtv was a very enjoyable movie and Mathew McConaughey and Jenna Elfman delivered fantastic performances. Not to mention the mind boggling, and I think underrated, job of editing such an enormous amount of footage. Considering that while the film cameras were rolling, the video cameras were rolling too, and just about all of the video footage you see was actually shot when you see it being shot, I think that Ron Howard did a great job of keeping track of it all and actually making it work. So when someone says, "Well, it was no Truman Show" they are absolutely right. I think it is a great movie that stands on it's own and should stand proud.
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Entertaining but not great
bob the moo27 May 2002
True TV launch their new concept – Real Life TV, where cameras will follow one person's life 24/7 and put it all unedited on TV. When Ed is dragged into his brother's audition tape he catches the eye of the studio and he becomes the lucky subject of edtv! However when he falls for Ray's girlfriend Shari things get difficult and he finds that his new found fame is not all it cracked up to be.

Stepping out of the shadow of The Truman Show came another film about reality TV and the nature of fame. However this has little to do with Truman in terms of content, instead it tries to be more of a comedy and tries to mix a little bit of social comment. The story is essentially a romance but it doesn't convince. It doesn't work simply because the whole idea of looking at fame, reality tv and studios is more interesting (even if it doesn't come off). The film promises much but doesn't fully use it's potential – the comedy is never a funny as you hope, the look at fame and TV is never as clever or as deep as you think.

It's a shame that it isn't better because the cast is good on paper. McConaughey is still a rising star (although needs a big hit soon). Harrelson is good as he usually is when in support and Elfman is pretty good as Shari. The support cast is great too – Landau is funny, DeGeneres is good, Reiner is funny and wicked while lesser roles are filled out by the likes of Hurley, Dennis Hopper, Clint Howard. Get past these and you have tonnes of little cameos from the likes of Harry Shearer, Michael Moore, Jay Leno and George Plimpton.

Overall this is enjoyable – it's just that you feel that all of it's parts have potential that are never fully realised. It's OK but you can't help feeling that it's a missed opportunity.
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Television, The Drug Of The Nation.
General Urko4 September 2002
Ed is a happy go lucky video store assistant going nowhere fast who finds himself attracted to his brothers girlfriend. So far so what? But this just happens to be occurring at the same time that his every waking minute is being broadcast live to the nation on the new reality show Edtv!

Directed by Ron Howard Edtv is a first class film inspired by the French Canadian movie 'Louis 19, Le Roi Des Ondes'. Released shortly after The Truman Show its the superior if unfairly less well received of the two Hollywood reality TV themed movies. It did come up against heavy comparisons but is quite a different & better film. Whereas Truman was totally unaware that he was in a TV show Ed activity volunteers for the job. Such is the currency of celebrity in the modern media age. Who are you if you haven't been on TV?

The world of celebrity is the one we inhabit in the early 21st century. They are used to try to convince us what to wear, what to eat, what to drink & even who to vote for! We are truly living in a celebrity culture, with shows such as Big Brother & Survivor promoting the seemingly unstoppable desire by members of the public to become famous simply for being famous! Ed, slightly reluctant at first soon becomes seduced by this idea, an idea which turns sour.

Ron Howards movie does have a lot to say about the issues of celebrity & reality TV, but at its heart is a great romantic comedy which has more of an edge to it than is expected from the one time star of Happy Days. The pairing of Matthew McConaughey & Woody Harrelson is inspired, they are great together sparking off one another. Natural comedic actors you believe they are brothers. Dennis Hopper puts in a good cameo & Jenny Elfman is totally convincing as the female romantic lead. You really care about the plight of the characters & the rest of the cast are also on top form. From Rob Reiners small role as a TV executive to the excellent Martin Landau as Eds father. He is one of the best character actors of recent years making truly varied & believable performance in films as diverse as Crimes & Misdemeanors, Ed Wood & Rounders. Add Edtv to the list - his performance is comedy gold!

The great acting would of course all be in vain if it weren't coupled with a good script. Thankfully Edtv has one. All the predictable hallmarks of a romantic comedy are here but with a sharper wit & of course the reality show structure which brings a new dimension to the genre. Add to this Howards direction using all the tricks, styles & conventions of reality TV. Sometimes you are watching the cameramens POV, sometimes Eds exploits are conveyed on a TV screen complete with advertising, at other times you are presented with multiple viewpoints of the same scene. These constant variations in style keep the film fresh & interesting & are further enhanced by the audience reactions throughout the film & the TV led critique & discussions about the merits or otherwise of the phenomenon that is Edtv. Together the acting, directing & script really convince that Edtv is viable & could exist!

Overall this is a funny, well directed romantic comedy from Ron Howard. Great performances abound from all concerned. There is a deeper level to the film which isn't hammered home or done in a heavy handed way but is there none the less among the laughs. But just how long will it be before Edtv becomes a reality?
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7/10
Feared this would be a gritty, angry Truman Show, but was pleasantly surprised.
Gene Gorman6 December 1999
Even though I like most of the players, I really wasn't expecting much from this movie. I wound up surprised by its freshness, wit and thoughtfulness. I feared a poor person's Truman Show, but this film took a lot of the same themes and spun them in different directions. The film lacked Truman's sadness and humanity but made up the difference with more concise and challenging social commentary (not to mention a better supporting cast). Issues of celebrity, entertainment, the media, the information age were all handled in interesting ways. When it needed to be abrasive and shocking, Ed TV took its shots, but it usually remained in a very comfortable and entertaining middle ground. As a viewer, I felt like someone who had spent the previous 15 minutes surfing channels before finally finding a gem worth watching.
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7/10
Good morning! You're live on EDtv!
Jessica Carvalho18 November 2005
EdTv is a comedy, but also a very serious movie: if you notice our reality in the present days, full of cameras watching us everywhere we go, and even the reality show programs, you will notice that the main thing in the movie is not only to entertain, but maybe also to alert people about the dangerous problems of all this stuff. Ed Pekurny is a regular guy who suddenly gets invited to be part of a reality show. He accepts,specially because he wants the money that the TV executives are going to pay him. Gradually, what starts being funny and even a nice way of popularity becomes a nightmare,with Ed not having any privacy at all,specially with his girlfriend Shari.

I found the end of this movie very cool. Go watch it :)
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Very entertaining, a real gem of a funny movie.
TxMike17 October 1999
I first want to say, all those comparing EDtv to "Truman" just miss the point completely. They are as different in approach and intent as are "The Rock" and "The Birdman of Alcatraz" which both happen to be set in the same prison.

"EDtv" is meant to be a comedy with a lot of subtle and not so subtle references to the intrusive nature of the media. The characters are very engaging and well-acted. I laughed all the way through this movie. That's all I think it was supposed to be.

It isn't quite as good as "As Good As It Gets" or "Analyze This", but I still give it 8 of 10!!
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Why are you all comparing??
Matrix-1421 August 1999
people who keep saying this is just like the truman show are stupid. it's completely different, and it didn't rip of anybody. both movies were probably being made at the same time. Truman Show has barely any similarities to EdTV. EDTV is a romantic comedy, light satire, and truman show is a drama. EdTV didn't get what it deserved at the box office and i respect howard whose direction is excellent, for releasing this movie when he did. Harrelson and Landau are hilarious and this is probably matthew's best performance i've seen of him. he really does a great job. jenna elfman too. Very funny, entertaining movie, and a great DVD. I laugh so hard when the camera man falls in the outtakes section of the bonus materials.
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Harrelson Rules!
Steve Baker23 May 1999
EDtv will inevitably be compared to Peter Weir's The Truman Show but really they haven't much in common. The Truman Show took itself far too seriously. EDtv is a fairly black comedy, a satire on modern TV culture.

The producers of a failing TV network decide to take a punt and try a new format - a real TV doco on an ordinary life.

They audition and choose Ed (Mathew McConaghey), a rangy, slobbish video store worker who's been once or twice bitten in love; the sort of fellow who goes out with a beer mug tied around his neck.

Ed takes on the challenge partly because he's pretty broke and partly because he's bored, urged on by his little hoper, small brained, big muscled brother Ray played by Woody Harrelson. A few days into the shoot Ray throws over his girlfriend Shari (Jenna Elfman) and Ed wins her as his new lover. Ratings soar!

The talent of the cast (not to mention it's director Ron Howard) lends a great deal of life to Edtv. It's often genuinely funny. McConaughey uses that winning smile to perfection, even as he has an early morning, half asleep fiddle with his genitals. McConaughey is a major reason why EDtv works as well as it does.

Woody Harrelson is a genuinely talented actor and can play a spoilt, selfish meat headed brother perfectly. Some of the best lines have been left to Al the boy's father played by Martin Landau as well as to Ellen DeGeneres as the show's producer.

But it's the character of Ed and his family who really set the neurones firing. Unlike many American films these heroes are ordinary middle Americans, probably about as close as a mainstream American film could get to an English, Ken Loach/Mike Leach, style of middle/working class family. There aren't any chandeliers in Edtv.

It's not often that these sorts of characters are treated warmly in these sorts of films and then we must ask how our own families would fare under this sort of warts and all scrutiny- probably about as well as Ed's.

And it's also interesting to wonder how much the average Aussie would consider EDtv to be a satire given the popularity of Rikki Lake and her ilk, not to mention the Funniest Home Video types of programs. Is real life TV (is there such a thing) already even more outrageous than EDtv? Is EDtv outrageous enough to be satire?

There are some dull minutes in EDtv (mostly to do with Elizabeth Hurley's appearance as a sex pot) but EDtv proves again that Hollywood isn't nearly as dumb as it makes out to be.
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6/10
"...and you, Ed, are no Truman Burbank!"
NJMoon28 August 1999
EDTV is more concerned with "Ed" than "TV".

In fact, throughout this dull and relentless tale of ordinary Joe Ed turned real-life 24-hour television star, Director Ron Howard consistently resists the obvious satire on the fallout of fame and focuses on the cloyingly saccharine romance that lies at EDTV's mushy core.

If you doubt this (and considering Howard's track record, you may), visit EDTV on DVD and you'll be treated to numerous deleted scenes that satirically drive home the point that fame is indeed a bitch. Unfortunately, these scenes are also some of the darkest, funniest and most telling in the script. (An entire subplot about an EdTV imitator that ends with tragedy was completely eliminated from the final cut.) Why then did they end up on the cutting room floor? Howard can't seem to get away from Mayberry sentimentality enough to make EDTV the film it needs to be by it's very nature. In fact, the stars of the film (Hurley, DeGeneres, Harrelson) could have made a more interesting documentary on the price of fame than EDTV does at it's cautious best.

All hail, however, the film's bright spot, Ellen DeGeneres. Yes, Ellen. With her balance of quirky humor and self-doubting charm, she manages to infuse the film with some sense of purpose and it is she (not wrongly cast lead Matthew McConaughey) that we care about.

See it for Ellen. Or, better yet, rent THE TRUMAN SHOW and cap it off with a re-run of TV's ELLEN. I guarantee more laughs and heaps more satire than the botched EDTV can ever provide.
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