ByNikki Dobrin, writer at
Nikki Dobrin

It's hard to believe this indie movie gem turns 15 today. Does that make you feel old? It sure does us! Let’s take a look back at this otherworldly delight that still haunts the test of time with our nine not-so-eerie Ghost World facts.

1. Haunting Our Favorites Lists Since 2001

Although the film barely made a dent at the box office at the time of its release in 2001, today it ranks as Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, with a rating of 92 percent. The film continuously endears as one of the best comic book adaptations of all time, as well as appearing on more than 150 10 best lists.

2. Not Bad For A Newbie

Not all comic book adaptations involve superheroes and potty-mouthed, trigger-happy mercenaries. Ghost World is based on Daniel Clowes' '90s graphic novel of the same name, a segment of his anthology series Eightball. And with this bleak comedy marking Clowes' first foray into film, the script garnered him an Oscar nom.

3. You Might Call Terry Zwigoff A Spook

Hardly prolific, he's directed a total of two films since Ghost World, including Bad Santa in 2003 and 2006's Art School Confidential, which was his second collaboration with cartoonist Clowes.

4. How Else Might You Recognize The Name Daniel Clowes?

He’s perhaps best known as the guy who Shia LaBeouf was accused of ripping off with his short film Howard Apologizing for his apparent plagiarism of Clowes' work, in late 2013 LaBeouf wrote on Twitter: “In my excitement and naiveté as an amateur filmmaker, I got lost in the creative process and neglected to follow proper accreditation.”

5. Familiar Faces

Following on from her breakthrough role in American Beauty in 1999, the haunting Thora Birch received critical acclaim for her starring role as Ghost World's social misfit Enid. While she was upstaged in the earlier film by the comely Mena Suvari, in the latter role Birch stole the show from another former child star, one Scarlett Johansson. Playing Enid’s quieter sidekick Rebecca, this was ostensibly Johansson’s first adult role. Her breakout performance was to come two years later with Sofia Coppola’s Oscar-winning Lost in Translation.

6. Six Degrees Of Kevin Bacon?

Wanna play? Let’s go! Scar-Jo appeared in Ghost World, which was directed by Zwigoff, who later directed Bad Santa, which starred Billy Bob Thornton, who starred in Jayne Mansfield's Car — alongside Kevin Bacon!

7. He Could’ve Been A Contender

Brad Renfro had a supporting role in Ghost World as the girls’ teenage friend Josh. Renfro’s tragic life story is a classic case of too much too soon, having starred in a string of ‘90s and early 2000 hit movies including The Client and Sleepers before his drug overdose death in 2008 at the age of 25. Later, James Franco was to have the name “Brad” carved in his arm as a commemoration.

8. See More Love For Steve

Like director Zwigoff, the film’s lead character Seymour — played by beloved bug-eyed oddball Steve Buscemi — is an avid collector of rare records. Despite his long career and endless critical acclaim, Buscemi has never been nominated for an Oscar, although his role in Ghost World has amassed him the most recognition to date.

9. The Fowl Stench Of History

With parts of Ghost World set at Cook’s Chicken restaurant where Seymour worked as the manager, the plot centers around the fact that the eatery was once known by the racially motivated name Coon Chicken Inn. Disappointingly, this controversial chicken shack did exist in real life. It was a chain of restaurants that populated the Pacific Northwest up until the 1950s. The shame of it.

Tell us about your favorite indie movie.

[Sources: Twitter, IMDb, Huffington Post, Telegraph,]


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