In a Hail Mary move for corporate preservation, the San Francisco based Northwest Broadcasting Corporation launches True TV, a new network which will broadcast the life of an Average Joe or Jane, 24/7 live and thus unedited, the subject chosen signed initially for one month. The project is conceived and led by one of the producers, Cynthia, but her boss, NWBC president Whitaker, will take the credit if it succeeds, and let her sink as the captain of the ship if it fails. The network is rebranded EdTV when Cynthia believes she's found her subject, Ed Pekurny, a native Texas hayseed, who fits the two main criteria that she is looking for in the person: he is easy on the eyes, and he has what seems to be a potential trainwreck of a life in that he he is thirty-one years old, spends most of his time hanging out at the bar, and has no ambition beyond his longtime dead end job as a clerk in a video store. Ed did not actively campaign for the job - his blowhard of a brother Ray was the one ...Written by
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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