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Ghost World

Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson, Steve Buscemi, Illeana Douglas, Josh Renfro, Bob Balaban ,Stacey Travis, Charles C. Stevenson Jr,Dave Sheridan and Tom McGowan

Directed by: Terry Zwigoff
Writing credits: Daniel Clowes
Rated: R


Ghost World is one of those rare films that you find yourself drawn into, but you don't know why. The cast is certainly part of the reason it's so enjoyable, as it's really a character driven piece with Steve Buscemi "The King Of Characters" at the wheel. The film is based on the underground comic book by Daniel Clowes of the same name ( I have never seen, sorry) and simply has one of those oddly elegant, simple, stories moving it along.

Ghost World's just about a young "different" girl, Enid (Thora Birch) and her prettier close friend, Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson), who have just graduated from high school and though they're not really the hippest cats in the milk crate, they'd tell you otherwise. Their friendship strains as they start to do that "G" word— grow up.

You're hooked from the first three frames.

The girls try to fill their days with a few dissipating attempts at girlish pranks. One particularity cruel prank involves responding to a sad lonely man's ad in the personals section of the LAWeekly. They call Seymour (Steve Buscemi), and fix him up with a date that is never coming. The girls, not really evil, just immature, feel bad and follow him home from his anguishing blind date that never happens...Bizarre, true, but they do it in a nice way.

Enid gets closer to the man and actually starts to befriend the "geek" learning people are not always what they appear to be on the outside. Quite frankly the man was interesting and intelligent, obviously a scripted character, not that I'm bitter...

The audience watches as Rebecca conforms to adult life, by getting an apartment, securing one of those "first" mundane jobs, and steps into the way of oncoming adulthood. Enid fights it, kicking and screaming. She chooses to ignore the paintings all over the wall and clings to the things that we all experience in those few awkward months after high school's over. Her world, however, is not so keen on her decision and is moving forward to the inevitable future with every tick of it's trendy faux fifties diner clock on the wall tock.

Poor Enid.

The greatest thing about Steve Buscemi is not the fact that he refuses to fix his barracuda
style teeth, no, it's the way he seems to choose his roles. I can honestly say, I have never been disappointed with a movie he's done. I own nearly every one, even Ed and His Dead Mother— which I find hysterical.... Oh, right, Final Fantasy doesn't count technically, that was just his voice...He probably did that for his kid or something. He's forgiven.

Thora Birch, GW's star, exploded on the scene in American Beauty, though she's been working since she was four. She's a natural actress and one I'm looking forward to seeing in the years to come. Hopefully, she'll keep throwing in these interesting pieces between the rent paying gigs. There's an award in here from someone...

Dave Sheridan who makes a couple of brief appearances as a mullet sporting redneck with that over active red, white, and blue thyroid is so funny I nearly smashed my cranium in the seat in front of me.

Illeana Douglas has a small role as one of those free spirtited art teachers everyone's met at one point. She's a brilliant actress who continually turns in strong, memorable performances. She's almost a female Buscemi, not looks wise, but in the quality of work she's produced and her ease of diversification.

Ghost World really is simple. You visit with the girls for a while and learns a little about how their lives are heading, nothing more. But it's the solid performances by Thora and Steve and the gaggle of thespians beside them that make you wish there was another couple of hours to enjoy. Odd huh? If you're a film person, not so much a blockbuster junkie, you'll enjoy this. There's not one chase scene and absolutely nothing blows up.

Official Site

Snack Recommendation: Cook's Chicken and Champagne




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