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Movie Reviews

Ghost World  

Just when you think that they can't do much with the disenchanted underachiever female teenager film genre, director Terry Zwigoff comes along and gives us Ghost World. The film looks at Enid and Rebecca, two friends who are uncertain about the future as they graduate from High School. The girls are planning to get jobs and move in together. While the girls search for work, they keep themselves occupied by making fun of the freaks and losers that inhabit their lives. One day they pull a prank on a local loser Seymour. They answer his personal ad and arrange a meeting. He thinks that he has been stood up so he leaves. The girls are intrigued by him and decide to follow him around. Eventually Enid works up the courage to talk to him and unintentionally develops a friendship with him. Enid decides to help Seymour find a woman.

Based on a comic book by the same name, Ghost World is a unique film that is at times dark, at times romantic, and always very funny. Thora Birch is a perfect Enid. She balances her callus, vulnerable, romantic and sarcastic sides in such a way that gives her a real personality. Independent favorite Steve Buscemi matches her performance as a lonely introvert who prefers older music and retro styles as opposed to today's culture. As Seymour he gives in a touching humor filled performance. This was one of the first movies I have seen in a long time where I really cared about the characters and that is largely due to the performances and the chemistry of these two. The rest of the cast all contributes to make up the bizarre little slice of middle town America that they inhabit. Illeana Douglas is funny as a wacky performance artist that is teaching Enid's summer school art class. Bob Balaban is great as Enid's caring yet dorky father. Some of the best performances, however, come from the two dozen odd quirky characters that meander in and out of Enid and Rebecca's lives. From over achieving art students to nun-chuck wielding convenience store customers, the film is packed with one-scene wonders. Even the names they are given in the credits are funny. Weird Al, Fussy Guy, Pushy Guy, Mr. Satanist, Porno Customer, Rude Coffee Customer, Alien Autopsy Guy, Drunk Customer and the Angry Garage Sale Woman are all there to provide Enid and Rebecca ammunition to spew their mostly negative and hilarious observations about.

Ghost World is a small character driven story that focuses on the life of a teenage girl. Thankfully manages to do so with out the latest pop music, Freddie Prinze Jr. or the stupidity that usually accompanies a Hollywood scripts. The acting is first rate and the story is well written. The direction is well paced and the quirky universe that has been created is one well worth getting lost in. This film is the perfect cure for those of you who are sick of the big budget summer films. On a scale of one to ten, I will give Ghost World an eight.

Paul Ferris

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