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You probably loved this as a kid. It’s time to watch it again. The very first film featuring a fully-render CGI character in the lead, Casper is based on the popular cartoon and comic book ghost of the same name. The story follows an afterlife therapist Dr. James Harvey (Bill Pullman) and his daughter Kat (Christina Ricci) who are hired by a rich woman whose house she just inherited (that has a secret map to a treasure) seems to be haunted. Giving Casper a backstory (and a dark one at that), the film is still fun and inventive with lots of great effects and adventure that is both a ghost story and teen romance. Plus there’s that one scene where Casper is really psyched a pretty girl is in his bed. Even pumps his fist in excitement. Totally went over our heads the first time.
A child is born at the same time a bus accident kills four people and so naturally, they become the baby’s guardians angels. When the ghosts, whom only the child can see, causes the boy to be ridiculed and left behind because he claims they are real, they decide become invisible until nearly thirty years later when they are ready to ascend to the next level but need the now grown Thomas (Robert Downey Jr.) to help them resolve the problems they left behind so many years ago. That’s so ghostly of them. Fun to see a pre-Iron Man Downey Jr. in a lightweight comedy, this ghost story earned mixed reviews but holds up well as a relic of the times. Also, you haven’t truly been to the movies until you see notorious film ‘tough guy’ Tom Sizemore sing and dance to Walk Like a Man. It’ll change your life.
Disillusioned dentist Bertram Pincus (Ricky Gervais) has a near-death experience while under general anesthetic during minor surgery. Not long after, he finds he can see and communicate with ghosts, much to their delight. It seems they all have unfinished business (*sigh*) as mortals and want Pincus to help them clear up their pasts to they can move on. Wouldn’t be so bad, but dozens upon dozens show up and start be annoying. One ghost, businessman Frank Herlihy (Greg Kinnear), promises to keep the others at bay if Pincus will prevent his widowed wife from getting involved with a dishonest man, even though he himself had a mistress. Now it’s up top Pincus to woo the lovely Gwen (Téa Leoni), who already doesn’t like him from a previous encounter. Frankly, we’d watch Téa Leoni read the side of a cereal box for two hours and be happy. This is funny stuff.
Eleven-year-old Norman Babcock (Kodi Smit-McPhee) can speak with the dead. Of course, nobody believes him, leading him to have a rather isolated and ridiculed childhood. Only his best friend Neil (Tucker Albrizzi), himself bullied for his weight, believes him. He’s told of a coming curse and soon enough, he is forced to protect the town from a villainous witch who raises the dead. Zombies! A great-looking stop-motion animated feature, this is a surprisingly touching little story with lots of great effects, music, and voice work with a broader message that isn’t heavy-handed. Missed by many on release, this isn’t a “Disney” animated movie by any stretch, but that should be reason enough to check it out. ParaNorman. Ha. Great title.
Before director Peter Jackson would tackle Middle Earth, he set about having some fun with the after life. Starring Michael J. Fox as Frank Bannister, the film follows a man who gains the ability to see ghosts after his wife dies in a car accident. He then hires a few to haunt houses so he can ‘exercise’ them and take people’s money. Most consider him a con man but it’s harmless until things take a new turn when a ghostly figure appearing as the Grim Reaper arrives and marks people for death, eventually killing them. With Frank able to know who is going to die before they do, he becomes the prime suspect in their murder investigations. With some help, he uses near-death experiences to become a ghost himself and from there, learns who the Reaper really is. Meanwhile, he has a chance for a new love. Sadly, he doesn’t need a DeLorean to jump from the ghost world to the real world.
What are some of your favorite ghost comedies?