Ghost World

( 18 )

Overview

Filmmaker Terry Zwigoff, who enjoyed breakthrough success with his 1994 documentary Crumb, shifts gears as he examines the lives of two young women on the verge of leaving their adolescence behind in his first dramatic feature. Enid Thora Birch and Rebecca Scarlett Johansson are two close friends who've just graduated from high school, and are trying to decide what to do with their lives. Enid is a dark-haired arch cynic who is tired of living at home with her ineffectual dad Bob Balaban and his annoyingly perky ...
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Overview

Filmmaker Terry Zwigoff, who enjoyed breakthrough success with his 1994 documentary Crumb, shifts gears as he examines the lives of two young women on the verge of leaving their adolescence behind in his first dramatic feature. Enid Thora Birch and Rebecca Scarlett Johansson are two close friends who've just graduated from high school, and are trying to decide what to do with their lives. Enid is a dark-haired arch cynic who is tired of living at home with her ineffectual dad Bob Balaban and his annoyingly perky girlfriend Maxine Teri Garr, while Rebecca is prettier and a bit cheerier, but no more certain about her future. While the two girls have vague plans of getting an apartment together, they seem content to while away their summer hanging out and indulging in their shared infatuation with Josh Brad Renfro, a friend from school who works at a convenience store and doesn't seem to be especially attracted to either of them. Enid discovers that in order to get her diploma, she'll have to take an additional class over the summer, where she winds up studying art with Roberta Illeana Douglas, who is determined to encourage Enid's creative impulses, whether Enid likes it or not. More significantly, Enid meets Seymour Steve Buscemi, a geeky record collector more than twice her age, and while they would seem to have little in common and Rebecca thinks he's a creep, Enid discovers a kindred spirit in fellow misfit Seymour, who shares her disgust with the world around them, and a relationship begins to develop between the two. Ghost World is based on the award-winning graphic novel by comic artist Daniel Clowes, who also wrote the film's screenplay.
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Eddy Crouse
Director Terry Zwigoff’s bitingly humorous Ghost World successfully nails several brands of droll despair with its lustrous lull and gloom. Written by Zwigoff and Daniel Clowes, author of the same-named comic-book serial, Ghost World is a loving look at the growing pains of two eccentric young women, told in an almost bluesy tempo. The movie starts with the bonding of best friends Enid Thora Birch and Rebecca Scarlett Johansson; flipping the bird at their high school on graduation day, they've also decided not to attend college, keeping with Enid's goal of defying "definition." Before the workaday grind begins to close in on them, the girls are a deadpan Laurel and Hardy, getting involved in a series of incidents that express their bleak, defensive humor: tailing suspected Satanists; prank-calling personal-ad writers; needling customers at a '50s-retro diner called Wowsville; and taunting an inert store clerk Brad Renfro whom they both secretly fancy. Rebecca's decision to look for an apartment in a "totally normal" neighborhood begins a separation process, as Enid responds by dyeing her hair green and dressing punk for a day. Enid's emotional currents shift as often as her spectacles, which she changes from scene to scene -- cat eyes, wire rims, and squarish black frames. Her room, a colorful enclave with goldenrod shelves packed with vintage pop ephemera, becomes her retreat. Ghost World evolves into a funny, un-romance between Enid and bug-eyed, stooping record collector Seymour Steve Buscemi, but it resists the impulse to resolve Enid's issues in a tidy Hollywood fashion. The first fiction effort by Zwigoff -- whose celebrated Crumb also savored eccentricity, specifically that of comic-book legend R. Crumb and his kin -- fires potent salvos against strip-mall America while serving as an apt measuring of teen ennui. Although cast in a color palette and more cinematically structured than Clowes's comics, the film preserves the characters' funk, regarding this rich gallery of creeps, weirdos, and loners with essential sympathy. The DVD edition sports the infectious, dizzying shimmyfest "Jaan Pehechaan Ho," from the Bollywood film Gumnaam 1965, a frenzied dance number that -- even as a clip -- is an incredible movie.
All Movie Guide - Jason Clark
Coming at a time riddled with soulless retreads of tired material, Ghost World is a true original, a film blissfully unafraid to make even the most mundane events of life seem dazzling and revitalizing. Terry Zwigoff's masterful, note-perfect adaptation of the popular graphic novel by Daniel Clowes is such an unmitigated success because it understands the difficult tone of post-adolescence and throws all of its uncertainty, eerieness, and beauty together in one glorious package. In a model example of how to do everything right with offbeat source material, Zwigoff employs the deeper understanding of human beings he displayed in his remarkable 1995 documentary Crumb, perhaps to an even more blazingly original extent. The film is stocked with scenes that never overstep their boundaries or give false impressions. Part of the credit goes to the film's unforgettable performances: Thora Birch makes the post-high school travails of her character truly indelible, presenting one of the most rewarding personifications of teenage life seen at the movies in a long time. As the unlikely object of her misplaced affections, Steve Buscemi is equally terrific, giving us a character rarely seen in movies anymore but immediately identifiable in real life: the past-his-prime, self-proclaimed "nerd" unable to relate to his surroundings. Rather than employing the glib, phony veneer of most recent films about teenagers, Ghost World allows its characters to act like real people, refusing to buckle them down into a safe, conventional scenario. The result is nearly breathtaking in its authenticity -- Ghost World could not have arrived at a better time.
Village Voice - J. Hoberman
Keep your Lara Croft and your Shrek.For me, the summer's reigning icons are Enid, Thora Birch's geek goddess in Ghost World, and her action-movie analogue.
New York Times - A.O. Scott
It's surely the best depiction of teenage eccentricity since Rushmore, and its incisive satire of the boredom and conformity that rule our thrill-seeking, individualistic land, and also its question-mark ending, reminded me of The Graduate.
Chicago Sun-Times - Roger Ebert
I wanted to hug this movie. It takes such a risky journey and never steps wrong. It creates specific, original, believable, lovable characters, and meanders with them through their inconsolable days, never losing its sense of humor.
Chicago Reader - Jonathan Rosenbaum
If, like me, you've been wondering how Terry Zwigoff, the brilliant documentary filmmaker who made Crumb, would negotiate his shift to fiction filmmaking, here's your answer: brilliantly.

Keep your Lara Croft and your Shrek.For me, the summer's reigning icons are Enid, Thora Birch's geek goddess in Ghost World, and her action-movie analogue.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/6/2002
  • UPC: 027616867636
  • Original Release: 2001
  • Rating:

  • Source: Mgm (Video & Dvd)
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Thora Birch Enid
Steve Buscemi Seymour
Scarlett Johansson Becky
Brad Renfro Josh
Illeana Douglas Roberta
Bob Balaban Enid's Dad
Teri Garr Maxine
Stacey Travis Dana
Rini Bell Graduation Speaker
Tom McGowan Joe
Ashley Peldon Margaret
David Cross Pushy Guy
Charles Schneider Joey McCobb
Pat Healy John Ellis
Martin Grey-Gottlieb
Technical Credits
Terry Zwigoff Director, Screenwriter
Affonso Beato Cinematographer
William Paul Clark Asst. Director
Daniel Clowes Screenwriter
Pippa Cross Executive Producer
Janette Day Executive Producer
Lisa Fischer Set Decoration/Design
Lianne Halfon Producer
David Kitay Score Composer
Carole Kravetz Editor
Cassandra Kulukundis Casting
Michael Levine Camera Operator
John Malkovich Producer
Edward Mcavoy Production Designer
Alan Muraoka Art Director
Russ Smith Producer
Mark Weingarten Sound/Sound Designer
Mary Zophres Costumes/Costume Designer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 18 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(10)

4 Star

(6)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Not a typical movie

    I can't name how many 'paint-by numbers' movies I've seen but this definitely isn't one of them. It was interesting from beginning to end and I never knew what was going to happen next. I also enjoyed the pessimism and sarcastic humor that seemed more genuine than some other movies who have tried to do that. Definitely something worth seeing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    the most subtley daring film every made

    if you have never seen this movie you do not know what you are missing...from norman to the pants to coon chicken...nothing could be better than ghost world

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    My NEW fave movie!

    After not being able to locate my now old favorite movie at my local video shack, I took a gander and rented this wonderful flick. I was skeptical at first, like most people are with a new movie, partly because we all have that fear that the $1.09 we spend to rent the film will be a waste. Anyhow, this movie incorporates lots of symbolism, sarcasm, and drama to convey a message about this quirky girl's life after she graduates from high school. I love this move, particularly because the ending is so eerie and blunt. You must buy this film. It is essential!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    absolutely the best!

    I had never even heard of Ghost World until I saw it on the new-release shelf at the video store. It looked like a good flick, but I was wrong. Ghost World was a look at real life without any drug scenes! I was amazed at the storyline between Enid and Seymour...I could see myself wanting to follow him around as Enid did, but the friendship between a curious young adult and an equally eccentric middle-aged man was laugh-out-loud as well as touching. The way Ghost World used symbolism was blatant yet haunting, particularly with Norman waiting for the bus and ''the pants.'' I didn't really care for the last scene, but the climax of the movie with Seymour in the hospital absolutely made my eyes overflow. I rented that movie for 6 weeks straight before I had the money to buy it. Each time is better than the last. I highly recommend this.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Mesmerizing

    The movie (Ghost World) grabbed me from the moment I heard the music video Jaan Pechechaan Ho. I knew this film was something specal.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Ghost World = excellent

    I saw this movie for the first time during the summer and I loved it. As cheesy and cliche as it sounds, I saw a lot of my best friend and myself in Enid and Rebecca. But no, the reason I liked it wasn't because it was ''touching'' and ''close to home''. It was just a purely GOOD movie. Enjoy!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A+ all the way

    Great script - laugh out loud funny in parts - great casting - Terri Garr as Enid's soon to be stepmother is just plain scary - Thora Birch has never been better - wonderful acting - it didn't seem like acting which is the best compliment I can pay - Steve Buscemi should have won an oscar.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    one star?

    Who ever gave this movie one star is probably used to having entertainment spoon fed to them. Go watch friends or something mr. one star. This movie is brilliant. If you need a laugh track to find something funny, you won't like it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    What was that?

    There are some movies that, unless you have some interest in the original, just never should have been made. This is one of those. What looked good on the movie cover and in reviews did not show up as anything more than boring nonsense that put a dozen people to sleep.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Possible future cult film??

    I've now seen this movie three times. It is spectacular. It seems to sum up the experience of many teenagers and their observations of the absurdities of the scene around them. All the chararcters had real ''bite.'' There weren't any chararcters that I couldn't relate to. I loved it so much I actually bought the DVD. For those who know me that is something of a minor miracle.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Acid and intelligent comedy

    The most outstanding feature in the film, IMHO, are the characters in themselves, the way they feel and their approach to world outside them and life in general. All of the main ones, specially Enid, seem to be misfits, but really it is the world we have which doesn´t fits to them. I think Enid and Seymour are the same character with several years of difference. It´s neither bad nor uncommon to feel or be like that with Enid´s age, but with Seymour´s, perhaps you should consider a bang in the head.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Brilliant

    This movie was one of the most provacative and inspiring movies that has come out in a long time. The young leading female role was representative of Daria and portrayed a parallel example of a cartoon image into a real life person. I would recommend this movie to those who have an open mind to a pessimistic gurl in a pessimistic world of love, hope and retro styles.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Awesome!

    Great movie to watch alone or with other college people who hate people in general

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews