Long before he was the presumptive GOP nominee for the presidency of the United States, Donald J. Trump spent years as a colorfully crass real estate tycoon with a penchant for shameless self-promotion. During that phase of his life, he racked up a string of cameo appearances, generally playing a fictionalized version of himself, in films and TV shows, including The Little Rascals, The Nanny, Zoolander, and Horrorween. But of all Trump’s IMDb credits, there are few as undignified as 1989’s Ghosts Can’t Do It, a supernatural sex comedy written and directed by John Derek and starring Derek’s then-wife, Bo, alongside poor Anthony Quinn and Julie Newmar. At The Daily Beast, Asawin Suebsaeng has written an amusing retrospective of this misbegotten film and of Trump’s memorably awful turn in it. Essentially, the film is about a dead guy (Quinn) who comes back as a ghost and wants to possess a young man’s body so he can keep banging his wife (Derek). Funny, right? In a subplot, the wife is also negotiating a business deal with the flirtatious Trump and receives guidance, a la Cyrano de Bergerac, from her deceased husband.
Ghosts Can’t Do It barely got a delayed theatrical run in America, but that was enough to capture the attention of the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation, which named Trump as its Worst Supporting Actor in 1991. “The most insulting Razzie is the one you get for playing yourself,” remarks John Wilson, who co-founded the awards back in 1981. Harsh reviews of Ghosts, both vintage and current, are also cited here. Movie critic Mick LaSalle compares Trump’s mannerisms in the movie to those of Benito Mussolini: “It seemed he was trying to be seductive, but instead he was repellent.” That would be an apt description of the real estate mogul’s current political campaign as well, except the “seduction” part seems to be working this time. A good chunk of Suebsaeng’s article is devoted to a particularly egregious rape joke in Ghosts, but the scene in question does not actually involve Trump. The scenes that do involve him are still plenty embarrassing, however.