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The ending of GHOST WORLD
#1
So does that shot of her getting on the bus and driving away mean she comitted suicide? I mean the old man waiting for the bus to take him out of town could have easily been a metaphor for dying. Maybe this was made clearer in the original comic which I haven't read. It'd be sad if she died, though. She had spectacular knockers.
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#2
The movie ending is fuzzy in my memory, but I'm pretty sure there was no implication of suicide.
The comic was essentially the same ending. She left town after her friendship dissolves. Perhaps to start living or perhaps to puncuate the point that, without a friend, she had become a ghost in that town.
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#3
I've always taken it to mean that after a long few months of trying to avoid responsibility and adulthood she was ready to move forward with her life.
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#4
The ending allways seemed rather ambiguous to me (and it's not any clearer in the comic). My take: teenagers are allways talking about (or thinking about) how they'd like to just "disapear" (in fact, I think Enid actually says this at least once in the film), and Enid boarding the bus is a visualisation of that fantasy. Whether it happened in physical life or in her mind is unclear.
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#5
Thanks for the replies!

What is making her boarding the bus so interesting is that it is stated several times that there are no longer any buses driving on that line. So it simply has to be metaphorical in one way or the other. What lead me to think it'd be about her suicide is that old man who must've been waiting for that imaginary bus for his whole life. When he finally gets on the bus, I imediately thought he must've died and that the bus is taking him to the afterlife. After all, for a man that old, "moving on" must mean death, right. That was my interpretation of it. Of course it could mean different things for Enid. It most definitely is ambiguous.
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#6
I'm with you Wetbones. They clearly make a point of saying that the bus line has been out of service for several years. There is no way that bus was actually there. I'm not sure if Enid committed suicide, but its definitely a metaphor for her moving on -- whether in life or death.
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#7
Ghost World's bleak ending makes it an even stronger movie in my opinion. I don't believe the bus was a metaphor for death because the movie isn't heavy enough for that, but it is used as a vessel for Enid running away from herself and the problems she faced in adulthood. You know, I've seen this movie three or four times and on each viewing it becomes a more substantial picture; it still has my vote as Best of 2001.

The bus is also a reference to the Sex Pistols I read. Jonathan Rosenbaum actually brought that up I think.
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#8
Quote:

Originally Posted by Cruikshank

I've always taken it to mean that after a long few months of trying to avoid responsibility and adulthood she was ready to move forward with her life.

This is what I viewed it as. Enid finally gets on with her life by 'leaving' her small world behind. Besides, I can't stand the idea of no longer having a hotty like Rebecca as a friend, so I would think there might be some reconciliation between the two.
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#9
Quote:

Originally Posted by Lady Snowblood

The bus is also a reference to the Sex Pistols I read. Jonathan Rosenbaum actually brought that up I think.

Care to elaborate on that?
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#10
Quote:

Originally Posted by Z-Man

Care to elaborate on that?

Jonathan Rosenbaum three years ago when Ghostworld was released surmised that the bus at the end was a direct reference to the Sex Pistols and he specifically noted Filth & The Fury. I can't fully remember his reasoning behind it, but it brought a small, additional layer to the film for him. If you've seen Sid & Nancy the tour bus they have does in fact bear a striking resemblence to the one in this film. The man can pick up references and homages better than anyone I've read. If you're a paying member at http://chireader.com you should be able to access it.
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#11
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wetbones

What is making her boarding the bus so interesting is that it is stated several times that there are no longer any buses driving on that line. So it simply has to be metaphorical in one way or the other.

yes but the movie is not only about change but about enid realizing she doesn't know everything-- that her cynical snarky view on the world is a shallow substitute for real experience. so did the old man getting on the bus mean he died? or did it mean enid didn't know what the hell she was talking about when she tried to advise the old man not to wait there. I think it's the latter... and therefore I think enid getting on the bus represents her accepting a change in her life, and entering into a world she actually doesn't know very well at all. the final scene could imply death in the sense that as we change we leave a part of ourselves behind, and/or that death is just another change. whatever the case the point isn't enid dying or even changing as much as it's about her realizing she needs to change.
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#12
According to IMDb, Zwigoff had wanted the man in the "Satanist couple" in the diner to be played by none other than Satanic Bible author and Church of Satan founder Anton LeVey. Unfortunetly for Zwigoff, LeVay had passed on in '97.
That's just crazy.
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#13
Now that you mention the Sex Pistols referrrence the ending does in many ways remind me of the final Taxi cab scene in Sid and Nancy. My God, maybe she did die.
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#14
I tend to think in terms of the book, which focuses on a different aspect of the story and the Buscemi character is different/nonexistent:

In it, Becky and Enid note the man at the bus stop, don't talk to him, and a few pages later, are asleep on the bench when they wake up, see the bus, and Enid says, "Look! They reactivated this bus stop."

In the movie, the actor's delivery of the phrase "You don't know what you're talking about" is particularly wonderful.

Here the bus is not any more metaphorical than anything else. Enid and Becky know their friendship will end when Enid goes to college. They are the only person that either understands, and all their erotic/romantic imaginings are tied up in Josh, who is much less minor than in the movie. They self-destruct their relationship, primarily through Josh, and although Enid isn't going to college, she leaves.

Another wonderful thing is how Enid walks by Angel's, where Josh and Becky are drinking sodas, at the end. I don't remember if it is in the movie. Becky is wearing glasses and looks like she's squinting. Ridiculously, wonderfully, vengefully, and triumphiantly, Enid says, "You've grown into a very beautiful young woman" to no one in particular and is next seen getting on the bus, leaving the town and world she's known up to this point behind, with an open future ahead of her.

Zweigoff is good, but Daniel Clowes should be allowed to have control over a movie.
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#15
Quote:

Originally Posted by Felt Pelt

Zweigoff is good, but Daniel Clowes should be allowed to have control over a movie.

Did they collaborate on the screenplay or did Zwigoff just rewrite Clowes' first draft? I mean if it was a collaborative effort one should think he approved of the changes made. But if Zwigoff changed things without his consent that'd be an entirely different matter.
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#16
They collaborated, but Zwigoff (thank you for being gentle about spelling) seemed to have final say. Or at least, get his way. I remember reading interviews at the time where Clowes would be really excited about the movie, but he would also say things that to me seemed a little like rationalization, i.e., "I have so much to learn about screenwriting."

The character of Buscemi is based on Zwigoff, who gave them pictures of his room and record collection to recreate.

A brief oral history of Ghost World script writing, as edited by me:

Zwigoff:

I was trying to create material I’d be passionate about directing. So I had to take this very personal comic strip Dan had done and made it personal to me. Creating Buscemi’s character helped. Dan tells me I worked like a documentary filmmaker on Ghost World. I’d find things I felt very strongly about and then struggle to fit them into the film. Like the scene where Seymour (Buscemi) goes into the video store asking for 8 ½ they give him 9 ½ Weeks. Or one time some kids cutting me off and took my parking space, and I thought they were funny. It didn’t have anything to do with Ghost World, because Seymour didn’t drive, but I wanted to work it into the film, so I had him drive to the blues club so kids could cut him off.. I’d continually stumble across things I liked and then try like crazy to find ways to work them in.

Clowes:

We took a look at the story and after a few vain attempts to translate that story directly into film, we realized that that story was really a comic story and that we needed to kind of turn it into a movie somehow. We needed to make it bigger and make the humor more clear. Terry had these ideas for these characters, the record collectors. He thought, "What if we somehow got one of these record collector characters into the movie?" And at first I thought, well, that's never going go work. The more we started to develop that Seymour character (played by Steve Buscemi), the more it just seemed like it fit so perfectly in the world of those two girls. So, once we got that going we just got really excited that this was a whole new story using these same characters. It's really great for me because I got to do a whole new thing with those two girls. It's like an alternative version of the comic story in a way.

[...]

He wrote a lot of the stuff with Seymour and I tried to take that and reconfigure it. And he'd look at my stuff and change it. It got so we were rewriting each other's lines. It was a weird mixture of sensibilities. Then we just rewrote the thing 500 times just to hone it until it was right.

from http://www.wga.org/pr/awards/2002/clowes-zwigoff.html
and http://www.filmthreat.com/Interviews...O...amp;Id=187

To me, the spirit of Ghost World (misanthropy) is more embodied by Bad Santa than Ghost World, the movie, although I like the movie as well, and especially Buscemi, and Blueshammer. I just would like to let Clowes free to let his mind roam on film.
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#17
Clowes would have to create something completely different for film. His comics are too intimate for the celluoid medium. They demand more self projection form the reader than a film does from a viewer.

I also love that closing line in the comic. It wasn't until that last page that the entire story came together and made perfect sense to me. Don't quite know if that was deliberate or I'm just stupid.
At any rate, I recall the comic ending feeling much more bittersweet than the vaguely uplifting movie ending.
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#18

I feel compelled to agree that Enid killed herself.


The bus had no destination marked on it and no passengers other than Enid. We are told in the film that the bus was discontinued and reminded of this by the sign on the bench. Had the service been reinstated, the bus would have had a destination sign and it is unlikely that both buses of Norman and Enid, would have been empty.
In addition, Norman said that he was moving away. The fact that he had endured the hopeless waiting for a bus that would never come, day after day, would suggest he had no better alternative. Thus when the bus inexplicably turned up, I think it can only symbolize his passage on/death.
When one feels so mutant in relation to the rest of the world, suicide often presents itself as the only alternative which is dreadfully sad. I wish there were islands where all the square pegs could congregate and feel less alone. Feeling isolated is dreadful and I confess that were it not for the purity and honesty of plants and animals, life would have been far worse for me.
I dream that one day, those who do not "fit in" may find a way to connect with others facing the same challenge for suicide is not a solution.

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#19

She commits suicide in the end.



The old guy who had been waiting for the bus forever would not be waiting for the bus to take him to a new city. Obviously, he was waiting for his death to come to him.


Hence, the bus was not a city bus but a bus to the heaven which the girl finally took after losing all hopes.

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#20

Early in the film she clearly states that she will kill herself if her Father starts going out with the Terry Garr character. I love this strange movie.

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#21
ADo you think if this film had been released in the last few years it would've hit critical mass, culminating with an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay, like it did back then?

I don't think it would. It'd be relegated to a niche gem. It's weird, the Oscars were way braver in their choices back then (this film, Mulholland Dr. getting a Best Director nod, nominating scripts like this along with The Barbarian Invasions and American Splendor on a semi-regular basis). The only thing that comes close recently was the overwhelming support for Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild four years ago.
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#22
AIt is not wrong to think Enid killed herself, the film makes the old man our only point of reference regarding the bus: anything we can know about the mysterious bus can only be from him. Enid's story can only affirm what we think the bus (with the old man) is about since she's good to take the bus as well after.
Therefore those that think suicide (death), cannot be wrong. Perhaps it can also be a metaphorical death, though I have a problem with that because of what poster #18 (jackiejr) above me so eloquently and appropriately explained. Adding to what he/she says, Enid at the very end quits her (future stepmother's) computer job, which was her last chance at a job, and her last chance at saving her relationship with becky). One thing the ending made clear is Enid wasn't about to or could not give herself into the life becky wanted, or even what she thought she wanted with seymor. She even lost her chance at a scholarship.
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#23
Quote:

Originally Posted by andrevellozo View Post

Do you think if this film had been released in the last few years it would've hit critical mass, culminating with an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay, like it did back then?

I don't think it would. It'd be relegated to a niche gem. It's weird, the Oscars were way braver in their choices back then (this film, Mulholland Dr. getting a Best Director nod, nominating scripts like this along with The Barbarian Invasions and American Splendor on a semi-regular basis). The only thing that comes close recently was the overwhelming support for Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild four years ago.


You really could say that about a number of different films, up to and including JUNO. Some movies happen to hit at exactly the right time and Ghost World was one of them.

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#24
Aw
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#25
Aw
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#26
AYou all have some good comments about Ghost World. I watched it due to scarlet Johanssen being a teenager and then found it fascinating. But I did not understand the end too well until you all put your input into it. Thanks to you all. Bailey I liked your critique .
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#27
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bailey View Post
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wetbones

What is making her boarding the bus so interesting is that it is stated several times that there are no longer any buses driving on that line. So it simply has to be metaphorical in one way or the other.
yes but the movie is not only about change but about enid realizing she doesn't know everything-- that her cynical snarky view on the world is a shallow substitute for real experience. so did the old man getting on the bus mean he died? or did it mean enid didn't know what the hell she was talking about when she tried to advise the old man not to wait there. I think it's the latter... and therefore I think enid getting on the bus represents her accepting a change in her life, and entering into a world she actually doesn't know very well at all. the final scene could imply death in the sense that as we change we leave a part of ourselves behind, and/or that death is just another change. whatever the case the point isn't enid dying or even changing as much as it's about her realizing she needs to change.

I saw this for the first time just last week on HBO Now, and really loved it. The possible spambot above is right, Bailey: you did a great job of explaining the ending.



This is coming out on Criterion in May, and I think I'm going to pick it up. Thora Birch is perfect in this movie, and the Blueshammer song about picking cotton made me spit out my drink.

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#28

I was confused by the ending.  The old guy waiting the bus and then Enid getting on the same bus.  The comments here lead me to believe, she decided to move on with her life.  Most of do, we make new friends and lose contact wit the old ones as we go our separate ways.  Two things still confuse me a bit, when Enid got on the bus and it pulled away, there was a light in an upper window of the building behind the bus that was continually flickering on and off.  What could this mean, if anything.  And Seymour and his therapist.  What was that all about.  She rather disgusted with him or  his mother.  That appeared to be the main problem with him and his relationships with women.  He was still tied to his mother's apron strings or so it seemed.  So Enid cut the cord and Seymour didn't?

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