What do you do when you read a list of the worst directors of all time? If you're Tim Burton, you make a movie based on the life of the guy who topped the list.
Ed Wood is a by-and-large true story about a hugely unsuccessful director. This film tells the story of failure. And yet it is not a depressing tear-jerker. Johnny Depp's portrayal of Ed Wood keeps you rooting for his next film to be a hit, even when you know that it's not going to happen. Ed Wood had self-doubts like any other guy. But above all else, Ed Wood had supreme confidence in his abilities.
Teachers, parents, friends, and motivational speakers keep underlining the importance of confidence. Be confident about your abilities, give it your best shot, and success is assured. Ed Wood is the rare film that tells you, that at times you can give it your best shot, have supreme confidence, and yet all you will be successful only at being the biggest failure ever. Sometimes, many times, you are just not good enough.
The film is shot entirely in black-and-white, giving it an authentic 50s feel. Ironically, you can see that a lot of effort has been put into making the shoddy sets look genuine. Like any movie in which he stars, Depp eclipses this one too by pulling out another persona out of his hat. Seriously, the man has a wider repertoire of mannerisms, emotions and personalities than humanly possible.
If you want to see what the word tragicomic exactly means, watch Ed Wood.