recent years, a strange, bullying mentality seems to have taken over
Hollywood comedy. Any time they make a film about characters who are
eccentric, or different, or "losers," the characters are mocked
unmercifully. You can see this trend in such unfunny films as Joe
Dirt, Dumb and Dumber, Deuce Bigalow Male Gigolo, The
Waterboy and many more. In fact, Adam Sandler and Rob Schneider
wouldnt have a career if not for this trend.
That is why its such a
wonderful, refreshing change that a movie like Ghost World would
come out. All of the characters in the film could reasonably be called
"nerds," but instead of teasing them, this film allows us to visit their
world and really come to understand what drives these conflicted,
lonely, but generally good people.
is still much funnier than any of those movies mentioned earlier.
Thora Birch (American Beauty) plays Enid, a terribly jaded teen
who is just graduating high school and has no idea what she wants from
her life. She doesnt want to work, she doesnt want to go to school,
she doesnt want to live with her timid father (Bob Balaban) and her
hated stepmother (Teri Garr), and yet she is afraid to move out with her
best friend (Scarlett Johanssen). She enjoys drawing but is not
interested in trying to share her art with other people. Essentially,
she just wants to continue living as if nothing has happened in her
life, sit around and chat with her girlfriend and watch people.
Not strictly a comedy,
plays a cruel anonymous gag on a man who placed a personal ad, she
becomes fascinated by the older guy and begins an uncomfortable but
touching friendship with him. Steve Buscemi gives an Academy
Award-caliber performance (although you can usually say that about him
when hes not slumming in action films) as the lonely fortyish record
collector who has been disappointed by life so often that he no longer
expects that he might not be frustrated.
They each recognize a kindred spirit, and they get closer to each other, though both of their lives are
negatively impacted by the friendship
he loses his job, a future
girlfriend and his freedom, she alienates her friends and family.
Ghost World is one of the most thoughtful and intelligent looks at
the friendship of two social outcasts since Midnight Cowboy.