Ghost (1990) (part 5 of 8)
Cut to Whoopi’s apartment, where her assistants tend to her. She mutters in shock that she has “the gift”. It seems her mother and grandmother had it, but she thought it had passed her by. Would that be the “funny” gene?
Patrick paces around her apartment, telling his story. He’s not so much begging as he is insisting that she help. After watching her hold a one-sided conversation, her assistants Sassylifea and Clichéaronda decide to phone a doctor.
Patrick wants her to relay a message to Demi: The guy who killed him broke into their apartment, and he’s coming back. He says Whoopi only has to make a simple phone call.
Whoopi places a call to Demi, who answers the phone while cooking dinner. Whoopi starts to relay the message, but when she gets to the part about how the message is from Patrick, Demi abruptly hangs up. And a cutaway to Demi shows her… well, looking slightly peeved, is all. More like a telemarketer called her during a particularly diverting episode of Desperate Housewives, rather than someone struggling to bat down waves of aching grief.
Patrick says Whoopi has to go down there, but she tells him to stuff it. Cut to that night in Whoopi’s bedroom. He’s singing “I’m Henry the Eighth, I Am” at the top his lungs, while Whoopi tosses in bed in a distressing pair of long johns. He continues for another round, and she finally snaps. She says she’ll help him if he just stops singing. Come on, Patrick, all you had to do was threaten to screen Made In America or Eddie, and she probably would have helped you right off the bat.
Next, Patrick and Whoopi walk to his apartment, with Whoopi grousing that she can’t believe she got corralled into this. She tries the intercom, but Demi refuses to buzz her in. Cut to Demi pacing around inside the loft. Suddenly, down on the street, Whoopi begins screaming out personal information that Patrick is feeding her. She rouses a downstairs neighbor, who sticks his head out his window and yells at her to shut up. She sassily snaps back that he can “kiss [her] butt!” That’s comedy gold, I tell ya! Gold!
The details that Whoopi yells out get more personal, passing “sweater four sizes too big” and going all the way to “green underwear you wrote your name in”. Dude, I know you want her to believe Whoopi’s legit, but you could be a little more discreet. Whoopi is just about ready to walk away in defeat, when suddenly Demi appears on the sidewalk (in the sweater four sizes too big, naturally) and eyes her suspiciously.
Cut to our trio at a local diner. I wonder what Patrick ordered. (I hear he’s something of a light tipper.)
Whoopi explains who she is and how she’s been in contact with GhostPatrick. She also complains about how Patrick kept her up all night singing “I’m Henry the Eighth, I Am”. And I kid you not, Demi actually smiles and says, “That’s how he got me to go out with him!” What?? He sat in Demi’s bedroom all night singing Herman’s Hermits to get her to go out with him? Look, if he’s already in her bedroom in the middle of the night, wouldn’t a date be sort of a foregone conclusion? And are there really women out there who would date a guy just because he sings an annoying song over and over?
Demi asks where Patrick is, and learns he’s sitting right beside her, holding her hand. And if the two actors were capable of more, this could be a heartbreaking moment, this idea of being unable to reach the person you love most in the world, even though they’re only inches away. Instead, it comes off as merely cornball. But I can’t slag off on Demi in this recap as much as I’d like, since her character is basically contrivance wrapped up in a pretty pair of dangly earrings.
She says this is all too much to take. She gets up to leave, and Patrick tells Whoopi to say he loves her. Whoopi does, and Demi snaps that he would never say that. “Tell her ‘ditto’!” is Patrick’s next suggestion. At Whoopi’s bemused repetition of said word, Demi turns around teary-eyed, and just like that, the Belief Switch has been flipped on. The soundtrack even throws in those familiar bars of “The Love Theme From Ghost” at no extra charge. Slightly dazed, Demi walks back toward the table.
Next, the trio is at the loft. Patrick is pacing and reciting all the details of his story, while Whoopi is seated in an easy chair trying to sort it all out. She repeats bits of the story to Demi: Willie Lopez, he was in the apartment, go to the police, blah blah blah.
But Patrick grows irritated at the way Whoopi is paraphrasing him, and he snaps at her to tell it like he says it. He says to tell Demi she’s in terrible danger. Whoopi snaps back that you can’t just blurt out something like that. She then fixes Demi with a patented “honey child, please” look and finally says, “[Demi]… you in danger, girl.” You totally earned that Oscar, girlfriend.
Anyway, Whoopi quickly passes along all the details about Willie Lopez and where he lives. She suddenly gets nervous about being involved in this whole cold blooded murder thing, so she beats a hasty retreat.
Later that evening, Carl comes over. He’s listening to Demi and disbelieving her story, all the while sweating enough to fill Lake Michigan. He tells Demi—not unreasonably—that Whoopi could be using her to set someone else up. She replies—also not unreasonably—that the woman knew some pretty damn personal things and gave her a name, address, and an apartment number, to boot. She asks what the harm is in checking this out. Although, I have to wonder why Demi didn’t do this herself the moment she got the information.
Nearly soaked through, Carl forces a smile and says if it’ll make her feel better, he’ll check it out. The Belief Switch, I believe, has been put on dimmer. Patrick watches this exchange and is pleased, primarily because he hasn’t yet guessed the big Carl Twist that was first telegraphed in the opening ten minutes of the movie.
Carl rushes over to Willie’s place, and the whole time Patrick follows him and pointlessly gives him warnings to be careful. Oh, Patrick. If only you knew. Willie answers the door and an enraged Carl asks how Demi knows about him, and how Whoopi found out about him. Patrick turns on the surprised face. Then comes the angry face, as Carl tears into Willie.
Carl yells that Willie was only supposed to steal Patrick’s wallet, not kill him. He then whines that if he can’t get those pass codes (still located in the Little Black Plot Point), he can’t launder money for his drug dealing clients. And if he can’t do that, he’s dead. He storms out, leaving Willie with marching orders to find Whoopi and take care of her. An enraged Patrick follows Carl, shouting empty curses and throwing even emptier punches.
The next day, Demi has taken the initiative to go down to the police station and explain the situation to a detective, played by Damn Fine Character Actor #2, Stephen Root. Root went on to be a regular on NewsRadio, but you probably know him best from Office Space.
Now this may shock you, but apparently a character in this movie has decided to do the dumbest thing possible, given his or her current situation: Instead of simply telling the police that someone contacted her anonymously and tipped her off that Willie Lopez is the murderer, Demi has instead gone ahead and told them everything. All about Whoopi, and how she’s in contact with GhostPatrick, and how his spirit is constantly watching over her.
Stephen Root actually listens sympathetically, but after the filmmakers realize they’re breaking a cliché by having him be kind and considerate, they shoehorn in Officer Beeyotch at the next desk. She snarks that with all those invisible ghosts floating around, she’ll never get undressed again. Root tells Demi to wait a moment, while he looks for a file on Willie Lopez.
Meanwhile, using the keys boosted from the mugging, Carl breaks into the loft. He eventually locates the Shoebox of Sentimentality, and rips out a page from the Little Black Plot Point. I can’t help but notice that Patrick is conspicuously absent from both the loft and the police station. So where is he right now, exactly? Hanging with Cobain and Hendrix?