One of the defining box-office sensations of the early nineties, Ghost is a film that can truly be described as iconic. It is also deeply silly, which is an essential part of its charm.
The movie is a well-constructed blend of comedy, action and romance that seems precision-engineered to appeal to the widest spread of an audience as possible – which presumably helped it to score almost $300 million at the US Box Office alone. But it’s the cast that really sells it.
Patrick Swayze stars as a successful New York yuppie who winds up getting murdered by a crooked colleague, only to return in supernatural form. Swayze was never what you’d call a great actor, but his blend of charisma, sincerity and beefcake good looks are the perfect fit for this brand of box office cheese.
As his girlfriend, Demi Moore is given little to do beyond crying and engaging in phallic pottery play, but she turns in a heartfelt performance in a haircut that became instantly iconic. However, the real star turn comes from Whoopi Goldberg, in one of the definitive examples of a great supporting actor completely stealing a movie – in this case riding it all the way to the Oscar podium.
As the sharp-tongued, previously phoney spiritual medium Oda May Brown, Goldberg gives a comic performance for the ages – from her legendary line readings to the impressive physical comedy she pulls off in her interplay with Swayze, who she spends most of the movie hearing but unable to see. It is quite simply a masterclass, the perfect marriage of actor and role that confirmed her position in pop culture history.
In this week’s podcast, we rave over Whoopi some more and break down why Ghost works, what the sequel might have looked like and how it holds up in 2020. We also discuss a range of topics including gratuitous ab shots, Demi Moore’s confusing career, why Whoopi’s assistants deserved their own spin-off and much more.
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Next week, we continue our Ghost season with the return of a popular guest and a hell-raising cult classic from director Peter Jackson. Until then, happy listening and remember, always take a shower after fooling around with clay. You’re just asking for a UTI, otherwise…