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September 2001

Download the word version, perfect for printing and handing out on street corners!
In this issue:    Thora Birchophilia!     Fun on a Budget!     Ricky Martin: Fact or Fiction?     PLUS: God Hates PULP! , Batturtle Reviews movies that don't exist! and The Attack of Coffin Joe!.
NEW IN THEATRES: Ghost World *****

Ah, teenage angst and disillusionment. The stuff of bad poetry, Richard Linklater movies, and 7-11 parking lots the world over. And, thankfully for those of us oh so desperate for another insightful look into the world of bad music, teenspeak, and a gay art designer's interpretation of slacker fashion, movies like Ghost World. Oh, and by the way, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking I saw this movie in a confused, sleepless, way-too-many-Farscape-episodes-in-one-day state, perhaps mistaking it for John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars, but I assure you I had a much more distressing reason to see it, namely my crush on American Beauty's Thora Birch. This may not seem all that unpleasant to begin with, but keep in mind that my interest in Thora stems from the fact that she reminds me of a young, Wednesday Addams-aged Christina Ricci, who, at the ripe old age of 20, is beginning to lose that charming jail-bait baby fat. Ghost World is based on a comic book, but unfortunately contains no costumed super-heroes, precious few global menaces, and only one hideously deformed super-villain, Steve Buscemi. The film focuses on Birch's quest for identity and direction in a desolate, suburban landscape of strip malls and convenience stores, which is even more thrilling than it sounds, but fortunately the film is spiced up by the presence of Buscemi, whose rat-like visage and perpetually threatening demeanor always make for an interesting performance. The movie starts out a bit slow, with Birch's acting style seeming a little flat, although thankfully she is not, which compenstates long enough for the story to pick up a bit. Dialogue, however, continues to be a problem, as it always is when you have middle-aged ad-executives trying to approximate teenage slang and speech patterns. Teens tend to talk like morons to begin with, but at least it's a naturally idiocy, as opposed to the forced verbal retardation of most faux-teenage dialogue. But, at least in the case of Ghost World, while the preponderance of "like"s and "totally"s seems a little numbing to begin with, once your IQ drops down into the double digits it gets bearable. The film walks a fine line between a ghostly, faintly ethereal mood and an attempt to firmly ground the film in reality by making it really boring, but ultimately succeeds in creating a balance between the two, kind of like a really slow dream about Scrabble or something. Birch plays Enid, a young, pleasantly plump high school graduate who has no idea what to do with her life. Like pretty much everybody I went to high school with, all she can do is draw and complain, giving her exactly one more talent than I have, which is why I found the character so endearing. Also because she wears a Catwoman mask. Mainly because she wears a Catwoman mask. Alright fine, entirely because she wears a Catwoman mask. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go watch Addams Family Values.

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