Tuesday, August 28, 2007


This week’s movie:

I can’t help it - but sometimes I just think about everything that’s wrong with the world.

In an effort to keep this review to a reasonable length, I’m limit myself to one thing - ghost stories. Ghost movies are inherently funny and not at all scary like they’re suppose to be. You might not notice it unless you actually think about it. If the movie isn’t scaring the beejesus out of me, my mind starts to wander and think about - logic. I start to ask too many questions, and then the movie is doomed. Ghosts just can’t stand up to logic. Try it yourself sometime - when you’re watching a ghost movie, see if one or more of the following questions don’t come to mind.

  1. Why is this ghost back? It wants revenge. Why? It’s dead. What does it care anymore?
  2. Why is this ghost back? Maybe it doesn’t know it’s dead. If it doesn’t know it’s dead, why doesn’t invite you in, sit down to eat dinner with you, strike up a conversation, catch some TV - you know - the things it used to do when it was still alive?
  3. Why is this ghost scary? It’s a ghost, dammit! It’s a spirit with no body. It has no effect on the physical world. It can’t harm you!
  4. If it has no physical presence, how come we can see it?
  5. It appears only at certain times. What does it do in between hauntings? What does it do when you’re not home? Crossword puzzle maybe? Do ghosts get bored?
  6. If you have more than one ghost in the same house, do they scare each other? This thought actually kept me awake one night.
  7. Living people have ghost hunters and exorcists they can call to rid a house of spirits. Is there an equivalent in the ghost world? Do resident ghosts call - I don’t know - maybe a poltergeist, to rid a house of the living? They did in Beetlejuice, a nearly perfect ghost story.
  8. Why doesn’t the “They’re just as scared of you as you are of them” logic apply to ghosts? I never saw a ghost movie in which a ghost shrieked in terror and put up both hands so that its fingers make a cross, when the living walk into the room.
  9. A thought just occurred to me concerning ghost logic. Are ghosts afraid of vampires? I think someone has missed a great script opportunity for a movie in which ghosts come back to haunt the vampires that killed them. For pure realism, they can get real ghosts to play the ghosts (what else have they got to do between hauntings?). But, don’t use real vampires to play vampires (because they’ll only work at night).
  10. The greatest bit of illogic that I come across - is that ghosts always seem to be mad, or sullen - in a bad mood. They never smile, they never tell jokes - didn’t any of them have a sense of humor when they were alive? Can’t they realize that although they’ve died, they’re somehow still around? Aren’t they glad to discover that there’s an afterlife after all? Can’t they see the inherent humor in their situation? Sheeeeeeesh, lighten up why don’t you.

The biggest problem with the vast majority of ghost movies is that they take themselves way too seriously. They’re way too dramatic. They try to be scary - they’re not scary and so you start to wonder about some of the questions from above. This week’s movie, TRULY, MADLY, DEEPLY - avoids the usual pitfalls by not being a serious, or a scary, ghost movie. In fact, if not for the ghost, it wouldn’t be a ghost story at all. By being more about the relationship between a husband and wife, and less of all that mucking around rapping on walls and peeking around the corner and saying, “boo!”, you’re too busy seeing something new, so that the above questions don’t come up.

Nina and Jamie were happily married and were on their way to living happily ever after. Then Jamie dies (Oh, cut it out - I’m not giving anything away. We’ve been talking about ghosts for goodness sake!). Nina goes into deep depression. She is totally lonely and heartbroken. Just when she thinks she can’t go on - Jamie comes back. Not one of those wraith-like ghosts, but a real live (well - maybe not live) in the flesh ghost. She can touch him, embrace him, kiss him, get busy with him. He’s warm and still has a sense of humor. He knows he’s dead and he’s returned simply because she wanted him to.

Life is wonderful again.

But on Monday morning, she needs to go back to work. He’ll stay at home and “haunt or something”. When she gets home everything is OK, but during the day, he gets bored. So one day he starts inviting friends over - dead ones. Hence the improbable line, “I can’t believe I have a bunch of dead people watching videos in my living room.” There are no vampires in this movie, but otherwise, it provides answers to most of the questions from above.

The film is considered a romantic comedy - a ghost romantic comedy. I would say that it’s just about halfway between the outrageousness of Beetlejuice and the sappiness of Ghost. It’s smarter (more cerebral), is more real (as much as you can be with ghosts), and has more heart than either of those films. In the end, the conclusion is satisfying and leaves you with a warm fuzzy. The day after, you’ll be recommending this film to your friends.

SO, rent TRULY, MADLY, DEEPLY this week.


view trailer


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