Saturday, September 17, 2011

Yeah, I Watched Ghost Dad Three Times. So?

When I was eight years old, I saw the Bill Cosby movie Ghost Dad in the theater. Never heard of Ghost Dad? Here, let me to explain it to you. Its title is Ghost Dad. That’s all you need to know. It plays out pretty much exactly as you’d expect a movie called Ghost Dad would.

dad is dead and his oldest daughter is weirdly thrilled about it!

However, for my screening of it back in 1990, the person running the projection booth apparently loaded the reels incorrectly or the studio screwed up or something, because while the first act unfolded in a logical manner, the most of the rest of it played out of order. (However, it did still end with the closing credits, I will point out.) Ghost Dad, with its 5 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, is probably a painful cinematic experience even when its scenes play in the proper order, but I didn’t know that then and I was too young and stupid to realize that there was anything strange about the movie’s plot. Furthermore, my mom had to point out to me after the movie that we saw the scenes out of order and I not only refused to accept this fact but also protested that the movie was, in fact, good.

A year or so later, I saw the movie in a video store and demanded that I should get the chance to re-watch it to determine whether my mom was right. She was. The movie, on VHS, made a lot more sense, and I liked it even more.

Why bring this up? I have a habit, I realize, of rallying behind certain thing that most people find disappointing — the finale of Lost, for example, or the Twin Peaks movie or certain individuals that everyone else in the world can spot as a loser from a mile away . Some strange impulse in me pushes me to advocate the hell out of these devils, and I often don’t realize the error of my ways until long after. My love for both Ghost Dad and Ghost Dad: Revised Timeline Version (Director’s Cut) would be the earliest examples of this habit of mine, this failure of good taste.

Sad little trivial epilogue: Not only was Ghost Dad directed by Sidney Poitier, it was the last film the guy ever directed.

Sad little personal epilogue: I no longer think Ghost Dad was a good movie, though I should confess that I had to see it a third time, in high school, to be sure.


  1. Didn't that movie have a scene where Bill Cosby helps his daughter out with a magic trick where he lifts a trunk that she's in, and she can see his face and upper torso in the trunk despite the fact that he's dead?

    For some reason as a kid I just took it at face value and thought it was amazing. Ah, youth.

  2. Anonymous10:50 AM

    I remember seeing the back half of Ghost Dad because we went to a double feature and we were waiting for Back to the Future 3 to start.

  3. I never saw this, but my wife did, and also had the novelization.

    Did you ever see Leonard Part VI?