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*** Official "GHOST WORLD" Review Thread (1 Viewer)


Jun 13, 1999
Has anyone else seen this charming little film? I'm surprised I haven't seen a thread here. It finally opened up at my local arthouse theatre and we saw it Friday night.
Great film starring Thora Birch, Illeana Douglas, and Steve Buscemi. Buscemi shines as an unlikely romantic lead! Thora Birch (American Beauty) perfectly captures Enid, a misfit who has just graduated high school and spends her summer somewhat adrift, except for making up an art class in summer school. The always-terrific Illeana Douglas is the kooky art teacher.
Anybody who is a big music fan/record collector needs to see this film, as it hits home in several different ways, much like "High Fidelity" did. Steve Buscemi's character is so real, I have known many people like him: the reclusive, older record geek who seldom dates. (In fact, I joked to my husband that he'd be like Buscemi's character in 10 years if we hadn't have married!)
The only weak note I thought was the actress who played Thora Birch's best friend. She seemed a little stiff and too "generic" to be friends with the weirdly different Enid.

Jason Seaver

Senior HTF Member
Jun 30, 1997
Saw it Saturday, and was quite impressed. I'd heard folks at the comic shop talking about it, in a sort of inside-baseball way ("Thora Birch looks exactly like Enid... A couple characters from 'Eightball' show up... Zwigoff snuck some Crumb things in..."), but it proved very accessible. It's a great little film that I imagine totally captures the "okay... now what?" feel that comes after high school if you're not going to college.
My only complaint was some of the side characters, who had a real "well, I was in the comic" feel to them. Fantastic work from Birch and Buscemi, though.

Michael Reuben

Senior HTF Member
Feb 12, 1998
Real Name
Michael Reuben
I think the only comments on Ghost World before this thread were posted to Edwin's 2001 Alternative, Art, Foreign and Independent Films . Here's what I said there on 8/3 (I'm quoting it in full in order to remain within the guidelines should this thread be designated the "official review" thread):
I managed to catch Ghost World. It's not quite like anything I've seen before. It reminded me of Todd Solondz's films in its determination to people its universe with eccentrics right out of Diane Arbus (when Steve Buscemi plays one of the most normal-looking characters, you know you're in an alternate reality). But Ghost World doesn't haven't the nasty streak that runs through Solondz's work. There's a sad, almost wistful tone throughout.
I'm not sure what to make of the story; the plot tends to wander, and the ending is deliberately ambiguous. But I found myself constantly intrigued and often surprised. Except for Moulin Rouge, I can't say the same about any of the studio productions this summer.

Mark Pfeiffer

Jun 27, 1999
Caught in Philly and then saw it again during the critics' screening this morning. I like it quite a bit, although it is missing an elusive "something" to put it over the top completely. (I'd grade it an A-.)
The plot does seem to lack some momentum, but there's so much going on that it doesn't bother me as much as it might in another instance. Certainly it's a much truer "teen" movie than anything in recent memory. I also liked how Zwigoff shows how difficult it is for someone to keep the same kind of ideas and personality that one might have during Enid's years. I also appreciated how she isn't always right, despite what she might think. It's a very perceptive film about being disenfranchised or simply dissatisfied with consumerism and the same old thing over and over.
There likely haven't been many comments about it because the distribution pattern has been as slow as a snail.
Read my reviews at www.dvdmon.com
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Robert Crawford

Dec 9, 1998
Real Name
This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Ghost World". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread. Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning! If you need to discuss those type of issues, I have designated an Official Discussion Thread which can be found at this link .
Again, without warning, I will delete all posts that are not a HTF member review!
Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

[Edited last by Robert Crawford on August 29, 2001 at 02:46 AM]

Patrick Sun

Senior HTF Member
Jun 30, 1999
I finally got off my butt, drove into town to see "Ghost World". After seeing plenty of mediocre films for the past few months, I thought I'd take a chance on an indie flick since I had heard good word of mouth. I'm glad I did.
What makes this film work is the character development between Enid (Thora Birch) and Seymour (Steve Buscemi). While the "plot" stumbles 2/3 into the film, these characters are people you start to empathize and root for. When that happens, I know I'm enjoying the characters, warts and all.
It's one of the more honest teen/young adult films in recent memory. The two main girls (Thora and Scarlett Johanssen) relate like harmless/cynical youths on the cusp of adulthood, just getting out of high school, but not quite sure of what the rest of their lives holds in store for them. The script gives them credit for having a brain, and is a nice refreshing change from teen-driven comedies/dramas with teens that act truly stupid because the movie can't sustain smart teens for the film to work.
There are quite a few chuckles and laughs from the supporting cast and vignettes/scenes, and the deadpan delivery of Enid adds to the comic effect, but make no mistake about it, these characters could exist in the real world, the script and performances are that natural.
Steve Buscemi's performance is spot on, and is both nuanced and poignant. I think he nails the part pitch perfect.
Even Illeana Douglas does a good job as the art teacher, and there's some pretty funny art tidbits (the interpretation of art, and how art gets to that next level of "meaning").
What's the film about, ultimately? I think it's about finding your way in this world, you just have to prepared to make the journey.
Oh yeah, give Scarlett Johanssen a couple more years, she's going to be a heartbreaker.

If you're lucky to have this film playing in a theater near you, make the trip to go see it, I don't think you'll be disappointed.
I give Ghost World a rating of 3.5 stars, or a grade of A-.

Ted Lee

Senior HTF Member
May 8, 2001
i thought this movie was great. there were so many funny moments in them that i just loved:

  1. when the guy at the video store was asking for 8 1/2 weeks and the employee had no clue
  2. when they were having the party at seymor's house and the two were arguing about analog vs digital
  3. when the girls are having lunch and enid says something about "average joes" (i'm paraphrasing) then the guy walks by and asks about seeing a reggae band
  4. when enid is working at the movie theater and harassing all the customers[/list=a]

    it just goes on and on. i think what makes this movie special is that you can truly believe there are people like this in the world. i knew a girl who wasn't too far from enid - maybe not so monotone, but definitely with the same level of sarcasm. seymor is such "the lonely guy" - you can't help but feel for him. he even knows it - he mentions that at least a couple of times in the movie.

    it's also about finding yourself (or trying to). enid is definitely at a cross-road and it seems that she's still trying to find her way.

    finally, what made this movie so refreshing to me is that there wasn't a single effects shot (that i'm aware of). it's so nice to finally catch a movie that has a good acting, a great story and a very "real" feel about it.

    i give it a 4.5 out of 5.

    You step in the stream,
    But the water has moved on.
    This page is not here.


Senior HTF Member
Jan 17, 2001
Las Vegas
Real Name
John Steffens
This is definetly one of the top ten movies on my list.
Great story and very funny and charming.
Kudos to Andy Farra for suggesting this movie during the L.A. Meet
Even tho the story may leave some people with an empty feeling near the end. I still felt VERY satisifed!
[Edited last by JohnS on October 05, 2001 at 02:29 AM]

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