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Overall Rating
4.37

Awesome63.41%
Worth A Look: 24.39%
Average: 2.44%
Pretty Bad: 4.88%
Total Crap: 4.88%

10 reviews, 104 user ratings



Ghost World
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by Greg Muskewitz

"Pulp fiction."
4 stars

Take Witherspoon’s bright blonde hair, dye it black, and drain all the motivation and drive out of her character, and somewhere along there you will find Thora Birch’s character from “Ghost World.”

“Crumb” documentor/director Terry Zwigoff helms the adaptation of the Daniel Clowes comic book, both of whom scripted this. The film is a dark and cunning one, with the expected highlights being the cynicism most of the characters spew or absorb. Enid (Birch) and Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson) are ageless best friends approaching graduation from high school. (Not surprisingly, even during their naked, most human moments, they are far more mature than the “adults” of “Legally Blonde.”) The board-of-everything-around-them-type, they play a prank on a nerdy sounding guy from the personal ads. But Enid feels guilty for her actions and ends up befriending him during a weekly garage sale, where he introduces her to some of his prized 78 records. What I would assume is an aberration from the comic, the friendship between the girls is a thinly penciled one; something hardly shown and much more taken for granted. Instead, the focus is on Enid and the adult outcast Seymour (Steve Buscemi). He introduces her into his retro-world of collectibles and style of living, and in turn she pulls him into her retro view of the world around her. “Ghost World” is a flawed film — occasionally overdosing on the backward movement of the subjects and their bydependences, the true scene-stealers — but also largely in part to the under-scripted and lackadaisically acted role of Johansson. The humor of “Ghost World” is far more personal, far more cynical, but it’s less about the jokes and more about the characters, or what you may actually find to be closer to people. There’s a certain patheticness that attaches itself to the label these characters begin with, but damn it if you don’t start to see some aspect of yourself or realize how you, too, could be viewed in such a light. It’s a cry to the outcasts, the loners, the losers — and as pointed out, even the “sickos.” But through the whole thing, you might be surprised to notice how non-judgmental certain reactions are. Or maybe you won’t be surprised. While Johansson’s character might have stretched the elastic, Birch’s Enid and Buscemi’s Seymour (“I can’t relate to 99% of humanity”) display not only a life-like rapport, but one with understandable and motivated countenance. The three leads are certainly faced with some awkwardness, some handled well, some which makes it even more awkward, but there is a heavy demand on Birch — who tends to waver back-and-forth — and whose shapeliness (or plumpiness) coupled with her cynical treatment puts her over in, as it was pointed out to me, Christina Ricci’s territory. But don’t fear, the latter is still reigning as queen. (It seems like eons ago, but as pubescents, they starred together in “Now & Then”.) The accessories of “Ghost World” are much more snug and germane, inasmuch as they fit into their surroundings rather than being created for them. Also worthy of praise and mention, though not to be confused with the accessories (they are indeed the necessities) is the handsomely dressed film, stoically and smoothly shot by Affonso Beato, with the plus of the vintage music. Special note also goes to Illeana Douglas’ hilarious minor role as a traumatized high school art teacher!

With Bob Balaban, Pat Healy, Teri Garr and an out-of-place Brad Renfro, looking as though he stumbled over from the filming of “Bully.” (And the sketches in Enid’s book are drawn by Sophie Crumb.)

Final Verdict: B+.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=5482&reviewer=172
originally posted: 08/04/01 18:01:25
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User Comments

1/20/14 Dane Youssef A really worthwhile film. It scores successfully in every aspect. It's extremely important. 5 stars
11/19/11 netra smith the movie is saying something about not giving into conformity in society 4 stars
7/04/09 hammerin hank Only an idiot would find this movie idiotic. Only a bore would find it boring. 5 stars
6/09/08 Jack Honest, real, hilarious and heartbreaking. BudLite-swilling Blueshammer fans won't get it. 5 stars
4/24/08 beau HAHA "oh my god he just ordered a giant glass of milk"...."uh thats a vanilla milkshake.." 4 stars
2/25/08 SamanthaP i thought this movie was so true to life, thora birch was great! 5 stars
2/12/08 mb Idiotic. Demeaning. Lacking in life. Left after 40 min. 1 stars
11/27/06 mili this movie amazed me, it just touched me in a certain way no movie had before. 5 stars
6/13/06 Hana all time fave, brilliant film! 5 stars
1/26/06 aimless One of the few films that gets better each time you watch it 5 stars
9/09/05 matt great film 5 stars
8/19/05 ES Wow, depressing and boring= this is the new rage hmmm 1 stars
8/05/05 Nate Frary I absolutely adore this movie. 5 stars
6/29/05 Queen Tantrum Absolutely AMAZING! 5 stars
6/10/05 Charlie Pointless, but quite entertaining! 4 stars
6/07/05 Alex St. John If you enjoy dark comedies this movie is definitely for you! 5 stars
4/01/05 failingloser i <3 it 5 stars
3/22/05 Candy I just really love this movie! Its cool and awsome! I love you steve! You have cool movies. 5 stars
9/09/04 Conor Crockford great 5 stars
7/06/04 James Kustes Watch Crumb and American Splendor as well 4 stars
6/26/04 Cynthia Hanna Impressive depiction of reality! 4 stars
5/21/04 Elena this movie is hilarious; not trying to be 'goth' or hip or clever really.it's just natural. 5 stars
4/16/04 A Reader "Jaan Pehechaan Ho" is reason enough to see it. Birch, Johansson, and Buscemi all shine. 5 stars
4/13/04 Jack Sommersby Not half as clever or hip as it purports to be. 2 stars
3/15/04 ToMaSsS! it was alrite 3 stars
2/29/04 jimmy two times great film 5 stars
1/24/04 Eraserhead I personally think this film sucks 1 stars
1/04/04 Ashley Definately my favorite movie! 5 stars
11/23/03 smartmusician Loved the movie 5 stars
9/27/03 Leah Heagy I loved it!!!!! 5 stars
5/23/03 Ryan F. These pseudo goth, antisocial "I just need to find myself" films grate my nerves big time. 2 stars
5/20/03 Britishlover I can totally connect with this film. Buscemi was excellent. 5 stars
5/16/03 Piz depressingly funny and an acting gem. Nice surprise 4 stars
4/11/03 Jack Bourbon One of the few movies I've seen to accurately portray what having friends is really like. 5 stars
4/07/03 Jack Sommersby Overpraised and underwhelming. Thin material not spruced up by attempts at eccentricity. 2 stars
4/01/03 Christopher Boatman What a teen movie should be. 5 stars
3/17/03 Jon "Thumb the Toad" lyrik Funny, dramatic, perfectly acted/casted, brilliantly scripted, my kind of movie. 5 stars
1/26/03 Lord David one of my ultra-faves - totally funny & sad 5 stars
12/22/02 Pigwidgeon Achingly true. The Birch-Buscemi duet tore my heart out and stomped that sucker dead. 5 stars
12/15/02 Kyle One of the best movies I've seen... deserved a wider release. 5 stars
11/16/02 Mike was Here Thoughtful, touching, and ultimately very very sad, despite the optimistic ending. A+ 5 stars
11/16/02 Big Ted Thora Birch shoulda been nominated for the Oscar!! 5 stars
11/15/02 JackG One of last years best movies. It's not Hollywood, so therfor it's great. 5 stars
11/06/02 JesseL Thora Birch cannot act. This movie is a dork movie for dork people. 1 stars
10/26/02 Morally Sound Interesting and rebeliously funny movie. 4 stars
8/22/02 MaIniYaK BEST MOVIE 5 stars
8/02/02 chet like all independent films, boring and interesting simultaneously 4 stars
7/31/02 oska was expecting an 'independent' american movie, instead th usual formulaic rubbish 2 stars
7/26/02 Turtle Pretty boring and rarely funny...but it has its moments. 3 stars
7/15/02 Chuck Bittersweet, touching, sad and funny. Wow, what a film! 5 stars
7/11/02 Kristen hilarious 3 stars
7/10/02 willy.gk an affectionate, haunting film. will linger in your head for days 5 stars
5/13/02 Amy Takes a shot and misses 3 stars
5/11/02 Keith good in a "getting-in-touch-with-my-inner-troubled-teen-girl" sort of way 4 stars
4/29/02 Malcolm Masiero If you think this movie sucks, then you just don't understand 5 stars
4/21/02 Akira_773 Very good, despite falling into the same trap all movies like this do 4 stars
4/18/02 Film Dude No Andrew, this IS NOT A BLACK FUCKING COMEDY. YOU'RE A FUCKING DUMBASS. GO TO HELL! 5 stars
4/04/02 lauren mccreight trys to be cynical.....comes off whinny. 2 stars
4/02/02 Monday Morning A waste of time 2 stars
3/31/02 Reini Urban Very cute 4 stars
3/21/02 Mike Perfect for post-high school teens. Thoughtful, realistic, and complicated. No easy answers 5 stars
3/02/02 Butterbean I could relate to Enid to a point. Buscemi was great. Overall, a nice "artsy" movie. 4 stars
2/18/02 Kyle Brilliant. Not at all what I expected- definitely NOT another teen movie. 5 stars
2/17/02 Andrew Carden Well-Done Black Comedy. Some Imagintive Lines and Great Performances. 5 stars
2/17/02 John Lyons What a waste of time! The whole movie was pointless. 1 stars
2/11/02 Michael Grimm slow, little character development, total letdown 2 stars
2/11/02 Spyguy2 Wow, what a gem! I went out and bought it on dvd the next day. Brilliant! 5 stars
2/11/02 Joe This movie really tried my patience. I kept waiting for something significant to happen. 1 stars
2/09/02 A.K. Funny and touching. For once, a real movie about teenagers 5 stars
2/05/02 Nonnon Fabulous. 5 stars
1/19/02 Rego Allegro Great movie - American Independant Cinema at its best and an amazing Steve Buscemi 5 stars
1/15/02 Carly There's material here to make a 5 star movie, but Enid just pissed me off so much. 1 stars
12/30/01 Nicole Enid's my hero... and Seymour's the man I long to meet... 5 stars
12/28/01 Albert Yu Looking for Alex Hirsch!!! EIMer@ Alex I am trying to track your ass down!! email me albertucsb@yahoo.com 5 stars
11/26/01 Tam Excellent characterisation & a witty script. The ending avoided cliche. 5 stars
10/22/01 puckfreak Totally overrated if that's possible...maybe because I'm not a teenage girl? 2 stars
10/11/01 masin wolliams in the last 32 years I've seen close to 100k movies, this is in my top 5. I was blown away. 5 stars
9/29/01 Ben VanDuyvendyk A better transition than could've been hoped for, great movie if you like satirical wit, 5 stars
9/27/01 amir pakdel it was amazing to me 4 stars
9/26/01 Maple Syrup It somehow uses it's sardonic wit and cynical world view to make you feel all gooey inside. 5 stars
9/18/01 Thor-Leo Not the usual Hollywood fare but not the masterpiece that some say it is 4 stars
9/16/01 Alex Hirsch SEE THIS MOVIE 5 stars
9/16/01 Jerry R. Colvin My favorite movie of 2001 5 stars
9/14/01 chloe perfection 5 stars
9/13/01 Lachlan L. A fantastically put together collection of social satire/commentary. Beautiful, sad, insane 5 stars
9/10/01 Professor Matrix I can relate. Low art and high weirdness. Instead of the bus, I hitch hiked. 5 stars
9/09/01 Wilbot Characterization very good. Birch & Buscemi excellent. Rather sad. Ridiculous ending. 4 stars
9/04/01 daniel scarlett johannson is beautiful....check out the ghost world website, it's really well done 5 stars
9/04/01 Chris Harris I think it appeals to a minority. If you happen to be in that minorty it speaks volumes. 5 stars
9/03/01 JUSTIN G T.B. IS BEAUTIFUL IN A BEAUTIFUL MOVIE!!!!!!! 5 stars
9/01/01 JB Great movie. Everthing is nice. It really flows. Buscemi! 5 stars
9/01/01 The D bittersweet 5 stars
8/31/01 Patrick David Barber heartbreakingly beautiful. see it a lot 5 stars
8/28/01 C. MOORE Mise en scene ooks like Clowes's illustrations. 5 stars
8/28/01 edmurder i was the target audience for this movie. 5 stars
8/27/01 Elizabeth super-sarcastic and funny, yet touching 5 stars
8/26/01 hankmekon brilliant insight with an overcast of alienation 5 stars
8/25/01 frank best movie of the summer 5 stars
8/21/01 B Horner A teenage film that was not made just for teenagers. Perfectly cast; go see it! 5 stars
8/14/01 Ryan Jones Bad. Just really really bad. 1 stars
8/06/01 Raiven Very funny, insightful, sexy and emotionally affecting. I totally loved it, and Thora! 5 stars
8/03/01 Kimble superkewl 5 stars
7/27/01 cody a hilarious comedy 5 stars
7/27/01 Heather An offbeat movie full of oddballs, misfits, teen angst, lack of identity etc., good acting 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  03-Aug-2001 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  27-Jun-2002




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