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Ghost World

Ghost World on DVD

One of the movies that was heralded by critics last year is finally on DVD. And, as you'd expect, it's not really all it's cracked up to be.

Ghost World is about two young women, Enid (Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson), and their various misadventures.

Enid and Rebecca are fresh out of high school, and rather than seeing it as an opportunity to do something with their lives, they - like so many of us - see it as an opportunity to do absolutely nothing with their lives.

It doesn't help that they are the kind of people we all hated in high school: the people who thought they were the coolest thing around, and that everyone else was just weird or annoying. So naturally, they only have each other.

When they decide to play a cruel joke on a lonely loser (Steve Buscemi), they begin to drift apart, as Enid starts to like the guy and spends all her time with him.

It's hard to explain the plot or story of the movie, since it's either extremely complex or amazingly simple. I'm not sure which. The acting is all very good, with Birch and Johansson leading the way playing the nasty little witches with pinpoint accuracy. But Buscemi steals the show, as he has so many times, and even though you may think the character is a bit crazy, you can't help but want him to get his way.

Ghost World has a few very funny bits, and a few bits of exceptional drama. It's definitely a well-made movie, I just didn't find it overly entertaining. At nearly two hours, it seems to drag on.

But I'd recommend it to anyone who agrees with the critics (critics other than us!) more often than not.

Perhaps because it was an indie film, MGM didn't give the DVD the special edition treatment. The picture is pretty good, but the sound is merely average, and there isn't much in the way of extras.

Unlike the MGM special editions, which usually give you a choice of widescreen or full screen presentations, Ghost World is only shown in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen (not that it bothers me any). It isn't up to the quality of many other discs, but for the type of small film this is, the less-than-perfect picture actually works quite well.

The sound is presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital, and, like I said, is just average. It's probably due to the fact that there isn't much in the way of sound effects and such, but the track seems to use up the stereo speakers and not much else. Still they say it's in 5.1.

Extras include a few deleted/alternate scenes, which are pretty pointless (watch them and you'll see what I mean), an 11-minute making-of featurette (the typical PR stuff), a Gumnaam music video, and the trailer.

For an indie film, this isn't a bad disc.

Ghost World, from MGM Home Entertainment
111 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) 16 X 9 enhanced, 5.1 Dolby Digital
Starring Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson, Brad Renfro and Steve Buscemi
Produced by Lianne Halfon, John Malkovich, Russell Smith
Written by Daniel Cloves & Terry Zwigoff
Directed by Terry Zwigoff


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Updated May 13, 2006