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Old 06-17-2014, 03:00 AM
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Ghost World, did you find the relationship between Enid and Seymour creepy?


I think this is one of the the few movies to depict a relationship that would probably get one member arrested and tried where it never struck me as creepy.

A high school girl and a forty something guy go into a sex shop and goof around with sex toys, but it never felt creepy.

They definitely kiss and I'm not sure whether it was implied they had sex or not, I need to watch it again.

I'm just curious since in the time the movie came out statutory rape has become an issue very sternly frowned on by society, I wonder if newer viewers find it creepy.
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Old 06-17-2014, 03:03 AM
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I don't remember people being all cool with statutory rape in 2001.
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Old 06-17-2014, 03:11 AM
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I don't remember people being all cool with statutory rape in 2001.
I honestly can't remember one mention of the age issue in GW when it was released as far as legality, if anything Seymour was seen as the victim.

I think if Ghost World were released today it would have a very different reception and reaction.
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Old 06-17-2014, 03:13 AM
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Hadn't they both finished high school (or Enid had to do the art class in order to finish)? Wouldn't that make them over the age of consent?

Personally, I never found it creepy.
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Old 06-17-2014, 03:23 AM
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Hadn't they both finished high school (or Enid had to do the art class in order to finish)? Wouldn't that make them over the age of consent?

Personally, I never found it creepy.
You're right, Enid is 18 officially. I had remembered her and the friend discussing plans after they graduated about art school and assumed they were supposed to be 16-17.

Well legality out of the way, I still wonder whether other viewers found the relationship was creepy.

Last edited by grude; 06-17-2014 at 03:24 AM.
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Old 06-17-2014, 03:30 AM
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Hadn't they both finished high school (or Enid had to do the art class in order to finish)?
Yep. Summer after high school graduation.
The relationship comes about naturally through character development. It would play fine for a current audience. Some people are triggered to go "creepy" with any significant age difference relationship. If a storyteller does the job correctly then creepy relationships come off as creepy, healthy relationships come off as healthy, complex relationships come off as complex- all depending on the characters.

Pretty Little Liars has been one of the most popular T.V. series among teens in the past few years and it features a relationship between a high school girl and her English teacher- and it's presented as one of the more healthy relationships on the show (not that that's saying much). So, yeah, an audience these days would have no more trouble with Ghost World than audiences of 13 years ago.
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Old 06-17-2014, 03:39 AM
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Pretty Little Liars has been one of the most popular T.V. series among teens in the past few years and it features a relationship between a high school girl and her English teacher- and it's presented as one of the more healthy relationships on the show (not that that's saying much). So, yeah, an audience these days would have no more trouble with Ghost World than audiences of 13 years ago.
To be entirely fair a google image search for the actor Ian Harding shows a man who would believably play a high school student, not Steve Buchemi.
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Old 06-17-2014, 03:39 AM
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According to the Wikipedia page on the graphic novel, Enid is eighteen years old. I haven't read the book, and there are probably substantial differences between it and the movie, but given that in the movie Enid has finished high school except for one class, it seems likely that she's the same age in the movie.

I didn't find the sex scene between Seymour and Enid creepy. They were something of an odd couple due to the difference in their ages, but by the time their relationship got physical they had developed real affection for each other. They had something in common: they were both alienated misfits.
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Old 06-19-2014, 09:22 PM
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I never found it creepy at all, simply because Enid was the more aggressive of the two. Seymour barely felt right being her friend, but she was a free-spirit and fascinated by him. And when they do finally have sex its kind of a spur of the moment thing that Enid regrets, while Seymour goes and dumps his new girlfriend for her!

Interestingly Thora Birch was actually underage (17) when she showed her gorgeous, ample hooters in American Beauty. They had her parents permission, though I'm not sure how that mattered legally, I think it just slipped under the radar. Birch has kind of a messed up family life, both her parents were golden-age (70s) porn stars, and her dad took an unseemly interest in the shooting of a sex scene she did for a later film. That was creepy!
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Old 06-19-2014, 09:32 PM
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18 is not the universal age in the states.
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Old 06-19-2014, 09:48 PM
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I think the relationship in the movie is supposed to be slightly offbeat and maybe a little unsettling. Certainly Seymour is never quite comfortable with their friendship until Enid initiates sex with him.

And to me it comes off as Enid either making a poor decision or using intimacy with Seymour to try to deal with some of her own emotional troubles, resulting from her post-adolescent crisis and troubling events, such as her father's reunion with Teri Garr and Scarlett Johansson's hookup with Brad Renfro, as well as other factors that are estranging Enid and Rebecca's close childhood friendship.

She really screws up Seymour's life, that's for sure, but it's hard to blame either of them very strongly. They're both screwed up and casting about for ways to fix themselves. They just don't know what to do.

Last edited by Acsenray; 06-19-2014 at 09:49 PM.
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Old 06-20-2014, 02:14 AM
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I think the relationship in the movie is supposed to be slightly offbeat and maybe a little unsettling. Certainly Seymour is never quite comfortable with their friendship until Enid initiates sex with him.

And to me it comes off as Enid either making a poor decision or using intimacy with Seymour to try to deal with some of her own emotional troubles, resulting from her post-adolescent crisis and troubling events, such as her father's reunion with Teri Garr and Scarlett Johansson's hookup with Brad Renfro, as well as other factors that are estranging Enid and Rebecca's close childhood friendship.

She really screws up Seymour's life, that's for sure, but it's hard to blame either of them very strongly. They're both screwed up and casting about for ways to fix themselves. They just don't know what to do.
I think agree with you, except that I found Enid to be an unlikable character overall who treated most (?) of the other characters with cavalier disdain. A mean young woman who seemed oblivious to anyone else's feelings. To me, Seymour was her biggest victim.
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Old 06-20-2014, 02:48 AM
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None of it struck me as particularly creepy, even though it often seemed as if the movie was aiming for something creepy, or at least uncomfortable.

Rather, it was just sad.
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Old 06-20-2014, 10:29 AM
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To me, Seymour was her biggest victim.
While watching the movie, I kept thinking Enid was setting up Seymour for humiliation. Like a Carrie treatment, so to speak. She'd get him all thinking that they ahd a real relationship, and then she'd publicly go "eww, why would YOU think a girl like ME would have you?"

The movie didn't end up going there, but I was so worried it would that I never thought about the creepiness as it was happening. After the movie ended, I think it was just a story of two sad misfits, who for a brief time had a modicum of happiness.
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Old 06-20-2014, 10:40 AM
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I think agree with you, except that I found Enid to be an unlikable character overall who treated most (?) of the other characters with cavalier disdain. A mean young woman who seemed oblivious to anyone else's feelings. To me, Seymour was her biggest victim.

I think it was a very trenchant examination if what it's like to be at a specific stage of your life.

Yes, Enid was selfish and mean and unlikable, but it was the kind of selfishness, meanness, and unlikability that just happens to most people of a certain age.

At some point you might think to yourself that all teenagers are assholes, and to a large extent it's true but it's being driven by physically changes in their bodies and brains. Their brains are actually physically fucked up.

If you're a normal healthy individual, then you grow out of that, but I have clear memories if being that age and just feeling so shorty and sad and angry and yearning ... For what? Don't know? It's like a feeling of desperation that's not clearly connected to anything.

I have never experienced clinical depression, but my guess is that it's something like that. Your body and your brain are out of control and making you crazy. But it's all just physical development and at some point it just ends.

Meanwhile, you act like an asshole towards the people who have loves you all your life—your parents, siblings, childhood friends. And you are driven to seek out these new connections and risks and just fuck with the world around you and leave everything a mess.

The portrayal really resonated with me and my wife felt the connection even more. It was really sort of brilliant.
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Old 06-20-2014, 01:02 PM
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...At some point you might think to yourself that all teenagers are assholes, and to a large extent it's true but it's being driven by physically changes in their bodies and brains. Their brains are actually physically fucked up....
Chemically, hormonally, yes. Not physically, I'd say.
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Old 06-20-2014, 01:08 PM
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I don't know about "creepy". But it sure did not seem to make any sense to me. It did not seem to have any realism to it.

Of course, I thought the entire movie was just "off kilter". I never understood why so many people seemed to like it so much.
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Old 06-20-2014, 01:09 PM
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.... To the extent that chemicals and hormones and the interactions between them and brain cells are physical ....
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Old 06-20-2014, 02:05 PM
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I didn't like the film, adored the comic. IIRC (been years since read/saw either) Seymour is a much more peripheral character in the comic.
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Old 06-20-2014, 03:28 PM
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I didn't like the film, adored the comic. IIRC (been years since read/saw either) Seymour is a much more peripheral character in the comic.

I liked the comic but it was much more disjointed and didn't have as solid a character arc as the movie.

And if I remember correctly, Seymour's story ends with the no show date at the diner.
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Old 06-20-2014, 03:58 PM
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She bumps into him at the beach later I think. I must unearth it and give it another read.
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Old 06-20-2014, 08:39 PM
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I came back to add that despite finding the lead character loathsome, I think GW is a brilliant film and have the DVD.

Jaan Pehechaan Ho !

Mild sidetrack to say that I love the Cheap Suit Serenaders in-joke.
Enid asks Seymour if the CSS record is any good, and he says "No."
The joke is:
a) Seymour is very similar in some ways to R. Crumb, who is in the CSS, and drew that album cover;
b) Director Terry Zwigoff is also a very long-term member of the group, and is depicted on the cover with his cello;
c) the album is in fact very, very good. (I have all of the CSS records.)
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Old 06-20-2014, 09:15 PM
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I came back to add that despite finding the lead character loathsome, I think GW is a brilliant film and have the DVD.

Jaan Pehechaan Ho !
You can't reference that without a link! I added one for you. You're welcome.
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Old 06-20-2014, 09:36 PM
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Seymour was essentially a self-portrait of the director, Terry Zwigoff, and Enid is the type of girl he is attracted to, if what Robert Crumb has written about Terry is true.

Crumb and Zwigoff are very similar obsessives, which may be one of the main reasons their friendship has endured. But their tastes in women are very different - Crumb famously being attracted to physically powerful women and Zwigoff's ideal being a "bad high school girl".

Last edited by gaffa; 06-20-2014 at 09:38 PM.
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Old 06-20-2014, 09:37 PM
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I think if Ghost World were released today it would have a very different reception and reaction.
I don't. 2001 wasn't that long ago.
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Old 06-20-2014, 11:19 PM
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Seymour was essentially a self-portrait of the director, Terry Zwigoff, and Enid is the type of girl he is attracted to, if what Robert Crumb has written about Terry is true.

Crumb and Zwigoff are very similar obsessives, which may be one of the main reasons their friendship has endured. But their tastes in women are very different - Crumb famously being attracted to physically powerful women and Zwigoff's ideal being a "bad high school girl".
Thank you! Very interesting, I didn't know this. Seymour's and Crumb's record geekery led me to assume there were other similarities.
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Old 06-21-2014, 01:02 AM
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Thank you! Very interesting, I didn't know this. Seymour's and Crumb's record geekery led me to assume there were other similarities.
Crumb and his wife Aline Kominsky used to publish an underground comics magazine called Weirdo, and Terry was a regular early contributor. I'm away from my collection, or I'd look up some specific cartoons that Robert drew featuring Terry.
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Old 06-21-2014, 01:30 AM
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Crumb and his wife Aline Kominsky used to publish an underground comics magazine called Weirdo, and Terry was a regular early contributor. I'm away from my collection, or I'd look up some specific cartoons that Robert drew featuring Terry.
If you find any of them, could you possibly put a couple online? On the CSS cover he has TZ looking kind of like young Albert Einstein.
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Old 06-21-2014, 01:52 AM
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If you find any of them, could you possibly put a couple online? On the CSS cover he has TZ looking kind of like young Albert Einstein.
My whole Crumb collection is back home in Chicago. I really need to bring it down here to Kansas City, where I spend most of my time these days (sadly). One of my favorite of Zwigoff's contributions to Weirdo was a several page article about collecting Valmor products.

Last edited by gaffa; 06-21-2014 at 01:55 AM.
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Old 06-21-2014, 02:34 AM
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Any relationship with Steve Buchemi is inherently creepy.
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Old 06-21-2014, 09:58 AM
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I didn't like the film, adored the comic. IIRC (been years since read/saw either) Seymour is a much more peripheral character in the comic.
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I liked the comic but it was much more disjointed and didn't have as solid a character arc as the movie.

And if I remember correctly, Seymour's story ends with the no show date at the diner.
IIRC, the Seymour character in the movie is a composite of two different minor characters in the comic, a record collector and a man who placed a "Missed Connection" ad in the paper. I think the record collector shows up more than once, but Enid does not become friends with or have sex with either of these men.
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Old 06-21-2014, 11:36 AM
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I don't. 2001 wasn't that long ago.
Buscemi is more famous. Graphic novel based movies are more popular. And people would be astonished that Scarlett Johansson plays a secondary character.

As to the OP. Enid is creepy. Seymour is creepy. Just putting them in the same room is double creepy regardless of what they are doing.
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Old 06-21-2014, 11:46 AM
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Buscemi is more famous. Graphic novel based movies are more popular. And people would be astonished that Scarlett Johansson plays a secondary character.

As to the OP. Enid is creepy. Seymour is creepy. Just putting them in the same room is double creepy regardless of what they are doing.
What, Buscemi is more famous now than he was in 2001? I don't think so. He's been a hot property ever since Fargo (1996). He was not some unknown in 2001.
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Old 06-21-2014, 12:24 PM
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He was famous but I think he was still a character actor. Boardwalk Empire has made him into a headliner.
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Old 06-21-2014, 12:31 PM
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I'm still not convinced he would be taken differently in that movie if it were made today.

Last edited by Siam Sam; 06-21-2014 at 12:31 PM.
  #36  
Old 06-21-2014, 03:54 PM
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I don't either. It's always hard to be too certain on hypothetical questions like this because every work is a product of its own environment.
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Old 11-02-2019, 10:01 PM
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Yea, it's a bit creepy


I just rewatched Ghost World and the relationship struck me as creepy, particularly, I've noticed certain nuances about Seymour that made me question his innocent nature early on. In the Birthday scene, while he has his eyes open and Enid is holding a bday cupcake, when he first opens his eyes he looks right up at her as if he had hoped she would be undressed to some capacity. Instead, disappointed, he lowers his gaze upon the cupcake she's holding. His early inquiring into whether or not she has a boyfriend and then showcasing jealousy over Enid's interaction with Josh is also troubling. He is by far a far from innocent outcast here. Not buying it anymore!
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