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‘Ghost World’ At 20: The Vicarious Thrills Of Personal Ad Movies [Be Reel Podcast]

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Ghost World


Before the DM or chatroom, if you wanted to connect with a stranger pseudo-anonymously, you bought a personal ad. This week, Be Reel seeks three films with classified ads as inciting incidents: “Desperately Seeking Susan” (1985), “Single White Female” (1992) and the now 20-year-old “Ghost World” (2001). Romance, murder and vicarious living abound, plus the story of Chance and Noah once answering an ad.


This week’s category is full of one-time outsider artists—directors Susan Seidelman, Barbet Schroeder and Terry Zwigoff—brushing up against Hollywood and either staying for good or realizing their subcultural interests run deeper and stranger than the studio system appreciates. Particularly in Zwigoff’s case, “Ghost World” stands as a winning example of an accessible indie comedy in which the film’s actual themes reach for meta-conscious and subconscious modes of storytelling. That’s fitting for a genre wherein characters all seek to understand themselves by touring the obsessions, freedom and sex of the human on the other end of the personal ad. Listen below.


As always, Be Reel is part of The Playlist Podcast Network—which includes The Playlist Podcast, Deep Focus, The Fourth Wall, and more—and can be heard on iTunes, AnchorFM, Soundcloud, Stitcher, and now on Spotify. You can stream the podcast via the AnchorFM embed below or up top to listen on this page. Follow us on iTunes, and you’ll get this podcast as well as our other shows regularly. Be sure to subscribe and drop us a comment or a rating, as we appreciate it. Thank you for listening.



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