Wednesday, March 30, 2011


This isn't so much a "review" as it is me just rambling about how great terry zwigoff's 'ghost world' is. For those of you who kept up with my myspace page, you should remember that i always spoke highly of 'Seymour', played by Steve Buschemi, but i never really got in to HOW great the whole movie is. There are so many little details in this movie, that i wonder if Terry Zwigoff, a director i consider to be part of the unofficial school of; 'Todd Solondz', was totally conscious of how genius his directing in this movie was. Coming from only 2 documentaries ('louie bluie' and 'crumb') to working with actors for the first time (one of those actors being the great Steve Buschemi) must have been a challenge. As a matter of fact, rumor has it that Zwigoff approached some acting coach before starting work on 'Ghost World' and flat out asked her: "how do i direct actors?" (or something like that). The way he captures hilarious details and funny real life situations always seem to blow me away every time i watch this movie. Seriously, when you get past the main plot of the movie, which is also great, you can clearly tell that Zwigoff's agenda was to just poke fun at middle america/"anywhere usa".

The video store scene:
Masterpiece Video Clerk: Hello, welcome to Masterpiece Video. How may I help you this afternoon, sir?
Masterpiece Video Customer: I'm looking for a copy of 8 1/2.
Masterpiece Video Clerk: Is that a new release, sir?
Masterpiece Video Customer: No, it's the classic Italian film.
Masterpiece Video Clerk: Yes, sir. I'll just check that on the computer for you, sir...Yes, here it is. 9 1/2 Weeks with Mickey Rourke. That would be in the Erotic Drama section.
Masterpiece Video Customer: No, not 9 1/2, 8 1/2. The Fellini film?

During the heyday of Blockbuster & Hollywood Video, i know a lot of you have had a similar conversation with a clueless video store employee. And please note, I'm sure you've had issues with movies that aren't even as "obscure" as a Fellini movie. In fact, in college i almost caused an entire Blockbuster to shut down, just for asking if they had a copy of 'Raging Bull' ("HUH?! WHATS THAT?!). Thank god 'Tommy K's' video had an employee like myself (along with my other awesome co-workers) who actually knew a thing or two about movies. LOL, and lets not forget the guy (or girl) in that same scene just standing around in the store watching the movie on the TV. This is funny on 2 levels. One; as a former video store employee, i can tell you its a fact that people really do just come in to the store with a soda, and make themselves right at home and watch a good portion of a movie that's currently playing on the TV and then just leave. Two: that guy/girl kinda represents that middle america/anywhere usa that Terry Zwigoff is clearly poking fun at (fat, sporting a mullet and drinking a big gulp soda)

Those funny little details that i spoke about earlier:

Am i the only one who finds it absolutely hilarious that the dude in the first picture (taken from the scene when Enid gets a job at the movie theater) has a fucking rat tail style ponytail? Only 9 year old bad kids named: "Dillon" have rat tail haircuts. This guy is a fucking adult. Sorry, but Terry Zwigoff clearly put that in there for a reason, yet i rarely hear anyone mention how funny it is. Also not to mention the fact that he asked for a medium drink. That speech that Enid gives him about medium beverages is pretty true. Who orders a medium drink? Lets be real. And take the guy in the 2nd picture. Why would you go out in public looking like Roy Orbison? Whats funny is, this guy is only on screen for seconds, but long enough for you to notice how much of an ass he looks like. And finally the art teacher (third picture). This makes me laugh personally, because it reminds me of my hometown of Amherst Massachusetts. For those of you unfamiliar with this awesome town that birthed Dinosaur Jr, Amherst is a very liberal/P.C. place. Don't get wrong, i love Amherst to death, but growing up there, you're almost bound to find someone wearing sandals, "earthy" looking jewelery made outta granola bits and Brazilian/African clothes that usually look awkward on the people who wear them. You know how there are sayings like; "Only in New York" or "That's So L.A."? Well, the art teacher in 'Ghost World' is "So Amherst". I crack up a little bit on the inside every time i see her. And lets not forget the wheelchair guy, who gets the trivia question right in the coffee shop. Not only is he such a random person, but the trivia question that he gets right in order to win the free coffee is a little odd too: "where on the human body is the douglas pouch located?"

The Blues Hammer Scene:
As far as Terry Zwigoff's fiction films go, this is probably the best scene he has ever directed. For those of you not familiar with Zwigoff's background, he comes a folk/blues background. In fact, he was once in a band with his friend; Robert Crumb. A lot of the musicians that he grew up listening to and looking up to where old black blues musicians who never really got the recognition they deserved. The scene when Enid and Seymour go see the old blues musician open up for "Blues Hammer" is just as funny as it is sad. I mean, the editing is just brilliant. Zwigoff cuts in and out of this obscure old musician (who seymour clearly idolizes) with scenes of douche bags and other scummy people watching a sports game, being loud and just not paying any attention to him play. Then after he finishes his set, even though no one in the bar besides Seymour could care of his existence, he still takes a bow and humbly walks off stage. That part is fucking heartbreaking. The heartache of that scene soon comes to an end, when "Blues Hammer", a group of frat boy-looking white guys take the stage, and start singing an old blues song about "picking cotton all night long". And as they sing, everyone in the bar starts to dance and have a great time.

Comic Book Store Nerds and "Pathetic Collector Losers":
Another great thing about 'Ghost World' is that Terry Zwigoff is not only above making fun of himself, but pretty much the entire "scene" that he comes from: Record collecting, out of style clothes wearing, comic book readers in their 40's (or older). Or as Seymour puts it; "Pathetic Collector Losers". Because Zwigoff comes from this world, he paints a perfect picture of what these people look like, the conversations they have and all the other little details. The scene when Enid and Rebbecca go to Seymour's "House Party" pretty much highlights this. A bunch of lonely, sad men talking about records. Yet its still OK to laugh at them. Or Take the scene when Enid and Rebbecca go in to the comic store. What the fuck kind of conversation are those two guys having at the beginning of the scene lol?

Zine-O-Phobia Creep: Whoever told you that bullshit about boiling is out of his mind. Carpet beetles are the only way to get flesh off a corpse.
Zine-O-Phobia Creep: I'm just telling you what he said.
Enid: Don't you creeps ever talk about anything nice? Don't you ever talk about fluffy kittens or the Easter Bunny?
Zine-O-Phobia Creep: Look who's talking, Little Miss Badass.
Zine-O-Phobia Creep: Yeah! Nice outfit. Who are you supposed to be, Cyndi Lauper?
Enid: Blow me, doofus.

LOL, seriously who the fuck has that kind of a conversation? Getting flesh off of a corpse? Little awkward moments and random conversations like that make me love 'Ghost World' so much. And speaking of awkward and random, how great is the graduation scene? Its so random that a bootleg, local, all girl pop group would perform at a high school graduation. Did the person who booked them think that a bunch of high school seniors would take them seriously?

Seriously tho, if you haven't seen 'Ghost World', you should make it a priority. Its easily in my top 25 films of the last decade (and Thora Birch looks damn cute in this movie too).


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