Whenever I am subjected to a motivational poster or inspirational blurb, usually coupled with a cute and/or dramatic picture, it immediately causes me to meditate on my life and how I can make it better. This is mostly because the sheer stupidity displayed causes me to lapse into a temporary coma, and so I have nothing better to do while my synapses struggle back to life. Contrary to what you or my personal physician might think, these "episodes" are not negative. In fact, they're valuable defense mechanisms. One of them certainly would have been welcome while I was watching "Ghost Town".
The turning point in this movie is when Dr. Pincus (Ricky Gervais) looks up at a motivational poster with the words "A life not lived for others is a life not worth living". Until this point, Dr. Pincus is a narcissistic asshole and every other human being (besides the hot love interest, of course) annoys him. A quick glance at this profound wisdom changes his tune and he proceeds to help all the ghosts that he has been spending the entire movie blowing off.
This is what passes in Hollywood for believable character growth. Dr. Pincus is the way he is because he just hasn't read the correct slogan yet. If this is even remotely close to reality, then much of the evil done in the world could have been prevented if some courageous soul had put the right slogan in front of the eyes of villainy. Imagine, just a few strokes of the pen, and this world today would be a much better place. If a time machine is ever invented, all we would need to do is send back a slip of paper to the right people. Here are my suggestions:
Attila the Hun - "Give Peace a Chance."
Robespierre - "The Trap You Set for Others May Become Your Own Downfall."
Lee Harvey Oswald - "It is easy to be brave from a safe distance."
Hitler - "Jesus Loves Jews too."
All the movie had to do to make Dr. Pincus's change of heart more believable was to have a unicorn trot out of Central Park and begin reciting the Sermon on the Mount.
Director and writer David Koepp must either be lazy or think his audience is stupid. Probably both. In order to disguise the laziness and instead show his hypocrisy, the movie tries to make fun of the utter banality of motivational posters at the same time its trying to "motivate" it's lead character with one. This is like condemning drug use while there are two syringes full of heroin stuck in your arms.
But this is a minor annoyance compared to the main problem I had with "Ghost Town". Most people are annoying and not worth the oxygen they use to function, and I don't appreciate attempts to gloss over this fundamental fact of life. David Koepp has now proven to be one of these annoying people.
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