Sunday, September 26, 2010

What Do I Know?

If you've a) never seen a movie called "Ghost World," and you b) plan to see it and c) hate spoilers, you might as well mosey over here for something to read today.

Birch and Buscemi
OK?  Still with me?  All right. I've been hearing about "Ghost World" since it came out in 2001, and as I sit in my recliner de rehab, scanning the channel guide for anything to keep from falling into my old Young And Restless addiction, I found it on the MGM channel and DVR'ed it and watched it.

There is a famous event in our history, had to be fifteen years ago, in our old house, Peggy and my Dad and I were watching a movie called "Rambling Rose."  Laura Dern was in it.  I sat there for the entire length of the movie, and then the closing credits spun up on the screen and I found myself hollering, "What the hell HAPPENED? Nothing HAPPENED!"  

I guess something happened, all right, but Dern if I know what.  It's all cloaked in symbolism, you see.  So I watch this Ghost World, and of course I tell Peggy that Steve Buscemi was once a New York firefighter, which means that he was once a member of the best fire department in the world, before he became an actor.  And the movie was interesting, and Thora Birch, the young actress who shared top billing with Buscemi and Scarlett Johansson, was quite impressive as an alienated, confused teenager with issues to work on.  So she has to take an art class in order to be graduated from high school, and she has talent in that field, but as her final project, turns in a grotesquely offensive sign she got from an R Crumb sort of oddball she met through a nasty prank, and she gets a scholarship but loses it and flunks the course and she does the oddball but he loses his job and she gets on a bus and rides away. 

I ought to work for TV Guide, capsulizing plotlines, huh?

Thing is, I guess you were supposed to think that when she got on the bus, she was committing suicide, because an old guy used to sit at the bus stop and he got on the bus after saying he was moving away, so you have to figure she's gone now?   

I guess I'm too obtuse for symbolism.  I'm always being told that I miss things in literature because I only read the words and don't see the meanings behind them.  Same with the movies.  When my more intelligent friends and wife discuss things, I overhear nuggets such as,"When he reached for the bread knife, he was symbolically castrating himself" and, "That scene where the cousin dropped a framed photograph of his mother and the maid had to vacuum up the glass while "Eine kleine Nachtmusik" played on the old Victrola was a brilliant representation of the cousin's repressed Oedipal desires."   

And Mr Literal here just figured that the cousin wanted to get with the maid.  Please  - spell it out for me!

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