Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ghost World

I was pretty impressed with the film Ghost World yesterday. I didn't anticipate that it would be as good as it really was. The film is an adaptation of a comic book series based in the 1990s on two teenage girls who have just finished high school, Enid and Rebecca.

It must be fairly difficult to adapt a comic book series into a movie, as there are many copies and various plot lines that exist. How would you even select which to persue? The writer of the series, Daniel Clowes, did adapt the comic book into the screenplay which adds to the authenticity of the piece.

I enjoyed the commentary on so many aspects of our American culture:

Teenagers' non-direction after high school
Teenagers' criticism of basically anything (even themselves)
Geekdom--Embracing the inner nerd
American towns and how transparent they are
Superficial friendships
Phony teachers who flaunt their teacher's pets
The education system in general
The strive for teenagers to be unique and different
Teenagers don't want to work--just hang out
Relationships between people of different ages (say teenager and older adult) and how taboo they can be
Plutonic male and female relationships
What is art?
Single-parent families
Focusing on other people's lives to take the focus off your own
Music, what makes good music?
Teenagers' need for attention

I really enjoyed how those elements were portrayed. I also think that Thora Birch did a fantastic job as her role of Enid. She was convincing to be a major dork even though we all know that she is much prettier. Even Scarlett Johansenn did a great job--she doesn't normally play a role like that and and she was so overtly sarcastic.

My favorite character portrayal, though, must have been Steve Buscemi. He is always in movies that don't get much recognized attention but are incredible. I respect his work as an actor. He really sold me on being a total loser-geek, but you still grow to love him anyway. He really is a talented actor.

Interesting fact: Christina Ricci was going to be casted as Enid, but she waited too long to sign on. By the time she would have done the film, she already was too old. And also she gained too much public recognition as an actress which turned off the filmmakers. Interesting...

The end (don't read now if you want to watch it) was pretty surprising. I was wondering where he was going to take it from there, but I like how it didn't have that super-cheesy classic ending where everyone gets what they want and end up happy. The romance didn't work out (typical with teenagers). Friends don't stay together (typical as well). Enid doesn't get the once-in-a-lifetime scholarship to pursue her dream. Enid actually follows her daydream, to just get on a bus one day and disappear. Now THAT is a cool message. I like that it's not so cookie cutter. It's actual life. It's reality.

Anyway, it's an interesting film to watch if you enjoy analyzing teenagers and their behavior, the 1990s, or our American culture. There are a lot of characters in the movie to dissect and see what the writer is trying to comment on about American culture. Look into it.

So what did you think of Ghost World?

No comments: