Among its other fine qualities, Terry Zwigoff’s Ghost World has the best fart joke I’ve ever seen in a movie—an existential fart joke, a fart joke that really makes you think. It arrives as Seymour, a sad and bitter (and soulful and hilarious) middle-aged bachelor sitting at home when his roommate, drinking out of an open carton, peers through the door and lets one fly. The casual shamelessness of the fart is what makes it so funny, but it also underlines Seymour’s situation: Condemned to a life of loneliness and defeat, there’s no point in observing social niceties anymore. Based on Daniel Clowes’ graphic novel, Ghost World does find Seymour an appreciator in Enid (Thora Birch), a teenage outcast who answers his personals ad as a prank, but comes to find him a kindred spirit. Scarlett Johansson does some of her best early work as Enid’s best friend and partner-in-sarcasm Rebecca, who starts to show signs of embracing the bourgeois, conformist lifestyle they spend their days mocking. Seven years after Crumb, his brilliant documentary about underground cartoonist R. Crumb, Zwigoff’s first fiction film brought that same affinity for losers and outsiders to Clowes’ material, giving it a perfect balance of black comedy and genuine pathos. Ghost World airs Saturday at 4:10 p.m. Eastern on Starz Cinema.
March 20, 2015 Cable Pick Of The Day