Chances are, even if you have not seen Ghost, you know a few facts of the film just by the way it is presented in pop culture. 1. Patrick Swayze dies. 2. Demi Moore cries. 3. They get frisky with the clay. Extra points if you can recognize Whoopi Goldberg’s big hair. These are the perceptions I had when I finally watched Ghost the other day. I expected a chick-flick full of shirtless Swayze and mush moments. The exciting tale of murder and money was refreshing and a relief.
You see, Sam (Swayze) is just moving into a new fancy apartment with his girlfriend, Molly (Moore). Seems like life couldn’t get any better for these two. Then Sam is killed in a mugging and he becomes a ghost. He soon finds out that his death was actually a murder tied to his work and Molly is in danger. Desperate for a way to warn Molly, he finds a psychic, Oda Mae Brown (Goldberg), who has only been faking her psychic abilities until she can hear Sam.
One thing I wasn’t expecting, was a bit of ghost training for Sam. Around the city, he runs into other ghosts, most of them, more experienced. Some, recognizing that he’s newly dead, try to help him out and explain some ghostly matters to him. Later, Sam realizes he needs some help learning how to move objects on his own. I didn’t expect there to be a fun training scene from an unlikely ally, much less did I expect to enjoy it so much.
Within minutes of Goldberg first appearing on screen, I was in complete agreement with the Academy on her Oscar win. Her portrayal of Oda Mae is hilarious, refreshing and heartfelt. The difference between her scam psychic act and when she realizes she really can hear the dead is night and day and perfectly believable. And how would we expect someone who can hear a disembodied voice to talk to him and react? Whoopi has Oda Mae running around town, looking like she’s talking to herself like a mad woman. Oda is sassy, strong, not terribly bright but she means well and it’s through her that Molly can believe in how strong Sam’s love for her is, even in the afterlife.
The scene people remember most from Ghost is the pottery wheel scene near the beginning. The ladies just trading in their teased hair for a more modern look might remember that clay scene as the ultimate 90’s aphrodisiac. Moore is all alone making pots, the record player puts on Unchained Melody and suddenly there’s shirtless Swayze with the top button of his jeans undone to help her get messy and have some clay play. It’s an unforgettable, iconic scene that, unlike many sexy scenes of the 90’s, helps aid in Molly’s belief later in the film.
Besides being a compelling narrative about the mysteries of life and death, Ghost gives guys the easiest equation on how to get laid. Simply have your chick watch Ghost and invest in a potters wheel. As long as you’re okay with her imaging you’re Patrick Swayze, the laws of film physics say she cannot resist. Put Unchained Melody on your iTunes just for the insurance.