Ghost (1990)
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Ghost (1990)



There are some scenes in movies that become so famous that they enter the realm of our collective popular culture. These iconic scenes found in every movie genre, but the ones that are closest to our hearts are the romantic ones. They are usually so filled with passion that the heat and emotions leap off the screen. Anyone who has ever seen the beach scene in ‘From Here to Eternity’ or the airport scene in ‘Casablanca’ will never forget them. Men have known for many years that if you want to make your wife or girlfriend swoon take her to a movie with one of these scenes. Among the most famous and romantic scenes ever to be committed to film is found in the 1990 film ‘Ghost’ when Sam (Patrick Swayze) moves behind his girlfriend Molly (Demi Moore) as she sits at a potter’s wheel and he begins kissing her the ardor of the moment pushes everything else to the side. Ghost is one of those rare films that can blend different genres and make it look easy. It is a romance, a comedy and a supernatural mystery all in one. This is one of those rare movies that both genders will enjoy. There is the romance for the ladies and the adventure that men usually want to see. As the title would suggest it is set within a ghost story, but this is not the kind you used to tell around the campfire. Here the ghost is not scary; he’s the hero of the story. When it was first released a lot of critics panned the movie. The filmmakers had the last laugh when co-star Whoopi Goldberg took home an Academy Award for best-supporting actress, and it received nominations for best score, best editing and best picture and another Oscar win for the script. The film is a prime example of synergy where the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. It works because it touches the audience on an emotional level. There may be some technical flaws that may be attributed to the movie, but they pale in comparison with what made this film a fan favorite; heart. The cast and crew did not make this film for critical acclaim, they obviously were out to entertain the audience, and that is what is important. The film was released to DVD back in 2001, but that edition has been discontinued for some time now. Paramount has stepped in with a special edition DVD and a Blu-ray release to fill the void. This is one that is required for any home collection.

Bruce Joel Rubin provided the screenplay and took home the Oscar for this movie. At this time he had only two other credits to his name; one being the story for the last film to feature the late Natalie Woods, ‘Brainstorm.’ This script is just great and deserved the awards it received. At its core was an old fashion romance with a supernatural twist. Rubin was highly successful in blending elements of comedy and mystery into the plot in such a way as to always keep the audience fully engaged. The characters are nicely painted with a fine brush. This allows the actors to present people that the viewers can understand and relate to. You feel the plight of the lamentable Sam, separated by his true love by death and having to watch as she is pulled into a dangerous plot that threatens her own life,e. This is the essence of a romance film. You have to establish the bond between the lovers and then rip them apart. Of course, death is usually a pretty final way of doing this, but in this well-crafted script, it is only the beginning. This is the kind of story that stays with you long after the final credits are displayed. It touches the audience on so many levels that it quickly became an f, a favorite. Yes, it is corny, but the story is handled in such a straightforward fashion that you don’t care about that.

By the time this film was made director Jerry Zucker was already well known in his field. The trick here is he was not known for a movie like this. Previously he directed the wacky cult comedy classic ‘Airplane,’ the kidnap comedy ‘Ruthless People’ and the overly silly ‘Top Secret.’ While these are all films that will make you laugh not one of them is anything close to the emotional impact of ‘Ghost.’ Perhaps it was Zucker’s background and the amazing talents of Whoopi Goldberg that added just the right amount of comic relief to keep the film from becoming overly sappy. In any case, Zucker did a fantastic job here, and the result is fantastic. He knows how to pace a movie. There is the famous pottery scene that resulted in couples flocking to community colleges to learn the craft and put ‘Unchained Melody’ on everybody’s CD player. That grabbed the audience and made us care about this couple. Then there is the murder, and there was not a dry eye in the house. At this point, the film changes into a mystery with Sam having to track down the truth about his murder and the financial plot behind it.

While Molly and Sam were out for a night at the theater they are stopped by a hood straight from central casting; Willy Lopez (Rick Aviles). He shots Sam and runs away. Sam chases the crook but after losing him turns to see Molly holding his lifeless body. Sam has to come to grips with his new situation and eventually discovers his best friend Carl Bruner (Tony Goldwyn) was behind it. Carl was up to now good at the brokerage house they worked for and hired Willie to steal Sam’s wallet with the computer passwords in it. This is why data security in most companies tells you never write down your passwords. Carl starts getting friendly with Molly, another reason for Sam to hate him and after learning how to control material objects Sam has a showdown with the bad guy. Goldberg is nothing short of brilliant in her role here. She plays Oda Mae Brown a fake psychic who discovers that her ‘gift’ is real when Sam contacts her. Goldberg is funny with just a look or a little one-liner and all but takes over her part of the film.

This film is the type that many have repurchased with each new technology. I had it on videotape and then on DVD but not the ultimate release is out on Blu-ray. The enhanced video is incredible. It is so clear and clean that the film has never looked better. The new Dolby True HD audio demonstrates what this lossless audio is all about. Explosions are great with this format but where it shines is with a film like this. You can hear the little details of the soundtrack like footsteps, the wind blowing and fingers tapping on the table. It is so real that you are pulled into the film. Even if you have this in another format, it is time to get it again and enjoy the film all over.

Posted 12/13/08            Posted   07/25/2018

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