Ghost (Jerry Zucker, 1990)

“He’s stuck, that’s what it is. He’s in between worlds. You know it happens sometimes that the spirit gets yanked out so fast that the essence still feels it has work to do here.”

Introduction

I watched this too late. I watched it, for the first time, Christmas 2008. This is one of those ‘classic’ films – “oooh, Ghost is great, oooh, Swayze is great, ooh The Righteous Brothers” and so I thought I might as well watch it – if anything for its ridicukous Oscar nomination. For Best Picture no less. [in mock shock] “oops” I may have given my opinion too early…

Its a Load of Rubbish

Lets be honest, it really isn’t that good! The whole ‘set-up’ is a simple case of mugging-gone-wrong that ends in murder as Sam (Swayze) dies. Fact is, he knows it wasn’t a mugging at all – it was murder. Funnily enough, in this day and age, the fact that the back story is about the banking profession – and ‘discrepencies’ in the accounts that Mr Moral Sam decides to look into personally – makes an interesting
sidenote. Was this the beginning of the recession? I cannot help but feel that, obviously, at this time in history everyone was simply oblivious to the, generally, greedy nature of bankers. Sam probably pocketed some not-so-fair dosh at some point in his career.

The dramatic irony is a nice touch – as we in the audience can see him, whilst Molly (Demi Moore) and co. cannot – that is until we meet Whoopi Goldberg, a con-artist posing as a medium, who can hear him. Only this week I watched David Lean’s Blithe Spirit – a comedy-drama about a similar theme (Rex Harrison, by mistake, makes his ex-wife re-eappear – but only to him – causing havoc in his personal life – ha ha ha) and, personally, the whole film was much more even than Ghost which seems to have a hard time balancing the serious nature of death, corrupt finances, murder, mourning and – due to the ‘ghost’ nature of the plot and comedic attitude of Goldberg, it loses the balance becoming an awkward-drama.

The Clay

I know, I know – alot of people love this film and, I know of the nostalgic element it has (all three of my sisters have a special place in their heart for this) but I just got through the film and pick out the flaws. The much-parodied clay-pot sequence is simply set-up to establish the relationship between Sam and Molly – pre-death – it remains sensual and moody with a beautiful song and, though a complete waste of clay, its the strongest point in the film. It is not long before we get the mugging/murder and Swayze realising he has a ‘purpose’. Fact is, it seems that his purpose is to simply kill his attacker – and additionally the man-who-set-up-the-murder, his false friend Carl…

What the f…?

This whole resolution is ridiculous! Is that the answer to everything? Is this an argument for Capital punishment – just because he is already dead does not get him off scott-free. Willy Lopez, additionally, clearly has problems – problems he needs to resolve – but does it warrant death? Following this entire finale, Molly, for some unexplained reason, manages to see Sam (???) as he goes to heaven – so, Sam, having killed someone is lucky enough to go to heaven (God must really have changed his morals somewhere) whilst the shadows that grabbed Willy Lopez take him to hell. I think, it would be more interesting if the shadows pulled Sam to the ground leaving a little card on earth for Molly to read: “Murder is murder, whoever you are!”

I think, maybe – just maybe – this is a comedy. Don’t cry into you tissues, don’t consider the ‘moral’ of the story – just laugh at Whoopi’s jokes and laugh at Swayze. After all, Jerry Zucker directed the film, writer of Airplane! and The Nake Gun films – he even assisted in the direction of Airplane! too. Willy Lopez should laugh it off because he was unlucky – if only everyone who is murdered could come back and kill their aggressor. The Pro-Murder Movie – Ghost. Ha ha ha.
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4 comments

  1. What's interesting here that the film has received generally favorable reviews and has a rating of “81% fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes. it also nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, winning for Best Original Screenplay, as well as Best Supporting Actress for Whoopi Goldberg. What's more interesting is its Japan remake which now is in post-production.

  2. @Mike – well, at least I'm not alone!

    @Jaccstev – Japan remake. Mental. US normally remake Japan. Funny what people do for money.

    @RenRexx – “4 million dollars?” eh?

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