July 1, 1990


Who touches their face like that?
Reviewed October 29, 2015 Cable TV tries very hard to keep us watching after our chosen program is over, and they succeeded with me this weekend- I finished watching The Soup on E! and the moment Joel McHale stopped talking Ghost started up, and my wife and I ended up watching the whole thing.
Emily and I were teenagers when we saw Ghost in high school and we both fell hard for the romance, but does the movie still hold up? Yes, yes it does. The romance and drama is strong, the thrills and ghost scares work fine, the 25-year-old effects are modestly effective. I am still impressed with Patrick Swayze- he spends a lot of the movie observing, especially observing the men who conspired to betray and murder him, and his determined, glowering passion and outrage is palpable throughout the film.
Eighties Test: The costumes and music mostly pass the timelessness test. The banking software Swayze and Goldwyn use is ancient but appropriate for the era. Making a banker an amoral scumbag - Goldwyn is a banker who's helping the mob launder $4 million - makes the plot as relevant as ever. The real estate, on the other hand, is a slice of history that shall never return. Swayze and Moore rehab a loft downtown - I think it's the same apartment Josh Baskin rents in Big? There are no lofts left on Manhattan for anyone to rehab. It's possible Swayze's banker character is a millionaire, but the era of "discovering" abandoned apartments is over.
Ghost is what Hollywood types like to call a "unreproducible event", a fluke hit which made over $200,000,000 in 1990. Patrick Swayze, bizarrely miscast as an cold fish New York City stockbroker (?!) who doesn't appreciate the love for his artsy-fartsy wife (Demi Moore) until he dies. He comes back as a ghost (with help from Academy-Award winner Whoopi Goldberg), to save his wife from the murderous stockbroker who betrayed him (Tony Goldwyn).
Ghost was nominated for five Academy Awards: Film Editing, Original Score, Original Screenplay, Supporting Actress, and Best Picture. You might think making one of the biggest hits of the year, and one of the most beloved tear-jerking romances of all time would lead to superstar success and a wide array of lucrative and high-profile projects? Let's look at the cast and crew:
  • Director Jerry Zucker is better known for his Airplane! and Naked Gun movies, and has only directed two more films in the last two decades.
  • Patrick Swayze made Point Break the following year, and cross-dressed in To Wong Foo... (1995), but he had already fallen from the A-list by then.
  • Demi Moore made the most of her brief stay on the A-list: Her credits for the five years following Ghost include A Few Good Men, Indecent Proposal, Disclosure and the famous flop Striptease (1996), where Moore was paid $12,000,000 to show her surgically enhanced breasts. After Tony Scott's G.I. Jane (1997), she retreated to Idaho and has only starred in one movie since.
  • Whoopi Goldberg won the Supporting Actress Oscar, over nominees Mary McDonnell, Lorraine Bracco, Annette Bening, and Diane Ladd. As of 2006, Goldberg has yet to decline a project which is offered to her. She has fifty-six TV and movie credits over that sixteen-year span, not counting nineteen voices for animated projects, including The Lion King.
  • Bruce Joel Rubin won the Original Screenplay Oscar for Ghost, over nominees Woody Allen, Barry Levinson, Peter Weir, and Whit Stillman. Since winning the golden statuette, Rubin has five screenwriting credits, including Jacob's Ladder, Deep Impact, and Stuart Little 2.