Release Date: February
Run Time: approximately 111 minutes
Ten-second Rundown: Enid and Rebecca struggle to find their future after
graduating high-school, in a world neither one particularly likes.
Deleted and Alternate
Making of Ghost
Music video from
Gumnaam, "Jaan Pehechaan Ho"
Choice Scene: The
shirtless (and sunburned) Doug practicing his nunchucks in the parking
lot of the convenience store. Trust us on this one.
Tech Specs: Anamorphic
Widescreen (Aspect Ratio 1.85:1), English 5.1 Surround, English, French,
and Spanish Subtitles.
One of the best
comic book to film adaptations ever will probably sneak by most
people's perceptions as such. That's because writer/artist Daniel Clowes
doesn't use spandex-clad heroes as his characters; instead, he writes
about extraordinary ordinary people who are much like you or me. Uncomfortably
When filmmaker Terry
Zwigoff wanted to follow up his critically acclaimed documentary Crumb
with an actual feature, his wife recommended this "underground" comic
called Ghost World by Clowes. Together Clowes and Zwigoff worked
out a screenplay (nominated for an Academy Award just this morning)
that more than captured the spirit of Clowes' work; it brought it to
the movie follows Enid (Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson)
in the weeks following their high school graduation. Friends forever,
they had planned to get an apartment and start their thrilling lives
as adults. But life doesn't quite work out that way, especially when
Enid has a difficult time figuring out what adulthood is supposed to
mean. What part of childhood should she throw away?
To make matters
worse, Enid has a firm grasp on what she doesn't like (almost everything),
but cannot find anything she does like. She and Rebecca spend
a lot of time mocking the town around them, until they encounter Seymour
(Steve Buscemi), a middle-aged 78 record aficionado who still has a
difficult time fitting into society.
At first the girls
mock him from a distance, but Enid's fascination grows until they become
friends. The two bond over their refusal to fit, while Rebecca adjusts
to adulthood easily.
It's about more
than that, as the "Ghost World" of the title isn't supernatural at all,
but possibly just our fading pasts. The film is full of quirky characters
and touches that may be laughable, but are all too real and all too
For the DVD release,
Zwigoff has elected not to do the de rigeur commentary. Instead,
he limits his participation to a featurette which sheds just enough
light on the production to be interesting. All the major castmembers
participate as well, but this is one of those films that really should
speak for itself (and does).
As a result, the
extras are sparse. But what there are really add to the experience.
The film opens with a delirious snippet from a '60's Indian film (strangely
enough, a Bollywood slasher film adaptation of Agatha Christie's Ten
Little Indians -- which may not be readily apparent from the picture
at left), and so the DVD offers the entire number, "Jaan Pehechaan Ho."
I really wish I understood the lyrics, but maybe it doesn't matter. It's
just somehow cool, with domino masks appearing and disappearing at random
edits. At the end, an e-mail address for more information appears, so
if the clip tempts you into buying the whole film, be MGM's guest.
Though a couple
of deleted scenes do show up, neither feels like a loss. The real gem
is in alternate takes of "Doug," a character who probably should not
have had more screen time, but you'll wish he did. In the actual film,
he has an hilarious confrontation with a convenience store owner, and
Zwigoff includes a couple of different solutions to that stand-off.
Any one of them would have worked, though the film's take does have
the most flow.
If you want to
show up those who sneer at the term "comic book film," set them down
and make them watch this DVD. And if you haven't seen it, you need to.
The Oscar nomination is the least of what it deserves.