Ahh, reality television. With it being so big nowadays, it is only right that a film about reality television would be made, looking into how fame affects regular people, how seeing regular people as if they are celebrity affects the world, how important private life is. And we have EdTV, starring Oscar award winning actor Matthew McConaughey, made in ... 1999? Are you kidding me? How did I not know that thing I already knew for the purposes of this opening statement?!
In all seriousness, it is so odd to me that a film like this was made SOOO long ago, and we have just continued to see it come "true." Not in a sense of being prophetic, but seeing how little bits and pieces of it are true today. The themes within this film actually make this movie way better than when it came out, I believe. There are so many little wonderful moments that in a normal film we would "awww" and coo over ... but then our characters notice the cameras, and we have this bittersweet hatred for whats been done. I love seeing all the little things in this film, all the little influences of both Ed on the viewing audience and the show on Ed's life.
McConaughey is great. Jenna Elfman is pretty good, Woody Harrelson is great. Ellen Degeneres has a great character arc in there, and Martin Landau is just wonderful, as is Dennis Hopper. Ron Howard does an excellent job directing this flick. But somehow this flick just bombed in theatres. Like I said above, I really think that 15 years of reality television, of seeing the rise of the Kardasians and the Honey-Boo-Boos and Jersey Shore folks, of all that has really helped this film. EdTV is not the Truman Show, which is a solid flick as well dealing with similar setup but very different themes ultimately. But the shadow of the Truman Show, made the year before, really cast doubt on this down to earth show about a down to earth guy, and how all this reality stuff affects ... really everyone.
This film could have been very mean-spirited. And it is a little naive about how many views the show gets. They say at one point more viewers than the Superbowl ... uh-huh, sure. Superbowl 2012 had 111.3 MILLION viewers. Duck Dynasty's premiere last year had 11.8 million viewers. There's some perspective, since we all know how pervasive Duck Dynasty has become.
Duck Dynasty is coming to MY town! Run!