Saturday, October 16, 2010

Exotic To Foreigners

Ghost World was one of my favorite films of 2001. (I also liked the Daniel Clowes comic it was based on.) At first I feared it would just be two teenager girls making fun of everything around them, but it soon becomes apparent they're doing it to cover up their basic uncertainty.

I recently watched it with a friend who grew up in Europe. I think I related to it much more than she did, even though the lead character is not my sex and not from my generation. It made me realize how American this film is. Watching two cynical girls, recent high school graduates, meeting new people, finding work, and growing apart seemed quintessentially American. It reminded me a lot of being in high school, and college, discovering all sorts of new things while trying to find who you are, often while putting up a front.

I don't know, maybe growing up in Europe is similar. Maybe it's universal. But I'd think all the pop culture detritus (good and bad) that populates the film, and the urban sprawl, must evoke different feelings in Americans, who know such stuff intimately.

PS The Radio Shack Enid walks by near the end of the film is a couple blocks from where I live. Since director Terry Zwigoff didn't exactly pick the location for its beauty, I'm not sure how to feel about this.

PPS Still don't like the ending.


Blogger Matthew Coniam said...

My favourite film of the last thirty-five years. We have different pop cult detritus in Europe, but the effect is unimpaired.
I enjoyed Clowes's book too, but it fatally lacks Seymour (and the sound of Skip James and Lionel Belasco).
I love the ending.

5:05 AM, November 28, 2010  
Blogger LAGuy said...

I just now found your comment. I wonder if you'll ever see my response.

Anyway, I know how tough you can be on movies of the past few decades, so it's pretty impressive you go for this.

I can see how someone from England would get the movie, but my friend with whom I watched the movie was from Eastern Europe, which definitely had a different vibe.

Maybe some day you can explain the ending, since I'm still not entirely sure what happened. (And I read the published screenplay and that didn't clear it up.)

1:26 AM, June 06, 2011  
Blogger Matthew Coniam said...

I've seen it!
I quite like the idea of leaving comments every few months.
What don't you get about the ending? Let me know around October or so, and I'll get back to you in the New Year.

10:27 PM, August 17, 2011  
Blogger LAGuy said...

I'm a little faster on the uptake this time. I'm responding only two days after your comment.

Unfortunately, this blog doesn't have a mechanism to inform me of new comments, so once posts are off the weekly scroll, I only see them when I randomly check old stuff.

You should feel free to comment on current posts. I'm certain to see those.

As to the ending of Ghost World, there's an old man who sits on a bench (fictionally placed two blocks from where I live) waiting for a bus that never arrives. Then, at the end, the bus comes to pick him up. A nice touch, but I find it hard to accept the bus as real. He couldn't have missed it for weeks and weeks, could he? Not long after, Enid takes the bus. Is she leaving town? For good? Can she do that? If the bus is symbolic, does this mean she's committed suicide?

On to other matters. Film fans around the world are waiting for a new post from The Marx Brothers Council Of Britain. I realize no one is paying you, and you have other blogs, but it's been half a year. Is the idea of a deep reading of A Day At The Races so daunting that you keep putting it off? Well, you know as well as I that it's all downhill from here on in. (As a warm-up you could update your Night At The Opera post with some of the ideas I suggested in the comments.)

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