Ghost (1990) (part 7 of 8)

The next day, Whoopi and Patrick hurry towards his bank. Whoopi can barely be heard over her hot pink jacket with padded shoulders and black appliqué on the front, and her big pink hat with black and pink feathers, and a pair of earrings I just covet. (I love big gaudy earrings, and these look like they’ve been fashioned out of hand towel holders from a South Beach nightclub.)

Patrick keeps chattering instructions to her, explaining how she needs to pretend to be Rita Miller. They head inside, and Patrick directs her upstairs to the New Accounts department. A banker, only mildly perturbed by Whoopi’s constant whispering to an unseen companion, hands over a card for her to sign. Whoopi begins to sign her real name, and Patrick panics. Crumpling up the card, Whoopi hams it up and says she accidentally signed the wrong name. And again, all the banker does is raise her eyebrows and hand over another card. Wow, I simply cannot figure out how this bank got taken for millions of dollars by a money laundering scheme.

Whoopi then declares she’s headed up to the third floor to make a “transfusion”, ha ha. She again sticks a rusty fork in the audience by making a big to-do about wanting to keep the pen. And throughout all of this, the banker just keeps working her Eyebrows of Plum-Flummoxed. You will be greatly shocked to learn that the banker is played by Charlotte Zucker, the director’s mother.

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Cut to Whoopi and Patrick heading up in the elevator. He tries to get her to lose the hat, but she says if he keeps it up, he’ll be doing this on his own. At Patrick’s prompting, she approaches a security guard to say she’s here to see Lyle Ferguson. Of course, she adds a generous helping of Whoopi Sass to this request, prompting Patrick to warn her against embellishing.

Patrick explains that Lyle Ferguson is a “social moron”. And Patrick knows from morons. He says all she has to do is to pretend she was at some Christmas party last year. Apparently, Ferguson was so drunk “he could have had a conversation with Tina Turner and he wouldn’t remember.” And you know that nothing is more memorable than a conversation with my girl Tina.

Whoopi makes her way over to Ferguson’s desk. She casually drops his kids’ names, which Patrick feeds her. He looks confused at first, most likely dazed by her hot pink ensemble, but he plays along anyway.

Caption contributed by Jessica

“That’s one! One undead cracker needing my help! Ah ha ha!”

She says she’s here to close an account. He brings it up on his computer screen and his eyes widen. He tells her the account holds four million dollars. In turn, Whoopi bugs out her eyes and yells, “Four million dollars?!” You’d think it would have occurred to Patrick to tell her the amount before this, so she could maintain her cool. But as this picture continues to demonstrate, foresight isn’t his strong suit.

Ferguson asks her how she wants the money, and Whoopi seriously answers, “Tens and twenties?” Oh, for crying out loud. Did they plan any of this out ahead of time? Patrick finally connects with the audience, expressing his exasperation at her antics. He tells her to get it in a cashier’s check, and get out of here.

Ferguson says he needs to check her identification, just as a formality. And in a stroke of originality, she can’t find it. And so we reap a bushel of freshly picked hijinks as she empties out the contents of her sizable purse onto the desk. And among the contents of Whoopi’s purse are: a prescription bottle, a tape measure, a padlock, a Selectric typewriter ball, a single playing card [?] (the King of Spades, to be precise), and a screw. At long last, she finds her fake ID.

It’s now ten till 4, and up in the office, Carl is eyeing the clock, waiting for zero hour to transfer the money. Why Patrick and Whoopi couldn’t have gone in earlier, like around noon or something, to close the account, well, that’s anyone’s guess. Oh, right. It’s to generate suspense. You might want to practice that first, Movie.

Just as Whoopi receives the check, Demi exits the elevator on a gust of contrivance. Apparently, she just happens to be at the bank at the same time on some business of her own. She spots Whoopi and begins to walk towards her, but Patrick sprints forward and uses his Zen power to knock papers off a desk.

Demi stops to help pick them up. At the same time, the Whoopi Goldberg Comedy Hour is sadly coming to a close, because Patrick pulls her away from Ferguson just as she’s telling a no doubt side-splitting story about how all this money came from her “momma” investing in oil wells and “gas pumps”.

Patrick hustles Whoopi into to the elevator. In another burst of farm-fresh originality, Demi runs to the elevator, but only makes it there in time to see the doors close. And hey, they’re all the way up on the third floor, too. It’s not like she could run down three whole flights of stairs to catch up with her, or anything. Demi goes up to Lyle Ferguson and asks who that was, and he freely offers up that it was “Rita Miller”.

Back at the office, Carl attempts to kick off the money transfer. Only, it seems the money’s all gone, and Carl has paid the wages of sin. The wages of sin… for murder! (Sorry. I need some way to stay awake until the end of this recap.)

The Torrential Sweat of Unspeakable Guilt glazes him to a high sheen. He nervously asks aloud, “Is somebody playing with the computers?” Oh, yes. Office workers, after getting bored with their fifth go-round of Minesweeper, often decide the next best thing is fooling around with multimillion dollar accounts. Got me fired from my last job, actually. Why do they have to make such a big damn deal out of everything, anyway?

Oh, and Carl? Way to call attention to yourself during an attempted felony.

Caption contributed by Albert

“Dammit, Oregon Trail is hard!”

Back on the street, Whoopi is giddy, and can’t stop talking about all the things she’s going to do with the four million dollars. Conveniently enough, they pass a table where two nuns are taking donations for a homeless shelter. Patrick stops her and says she has to give the money away. She balks, and then balks even further when she sees who he wants to give the money to.

He tells her it’s blood money, and he was killed for it. He then makes the more persuasive argument that she’s not safe if she keeps it, because “they” (presumably, the unseen Italian Mob drug dealer guys) will track her down.

And so, she dutifully signs the check over to the nuns. That’s right. She just casually endorses a check for four million dollars over to some nuns on a street corner. And as if that weren’t stupid enough, there’s a moment of pure “comedic” nirvana where she refuses to let go of the check, and the nun has to wrestle it out of her hands. Oh, but the real comedic cherry on top happens when the nun reads the amount on the check and promptly faints. And you will be greatly shocked to learn that the nun is played by Sondra Rubin, the screenwriter’s mother. It seems giving birth to a Hollywood player is great work, if you can get it.

Jessica Ritchey

Born in Western North Carolina, Juniper was discovered in a filthy shack in the lovely Blue Ridge Mountains, speaking a made up language to a tattered rag doll, her only companion. Her social skills have improved little in the intervening years. She is currently making flailing efforts at being a freelance writer. One of history's supreme procrastinators she plans on writing a book about it someday.

Multi-Part Article: Ghost (1990)

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