I know I said this last week, but man, Friday couldn't come soon enough. I think I may have stretched myself a little thin this year, but at least I won't have to worry about work for the next two days and I managed to keep my last day of PTO in my back pocket despite contemplating calling off last week. Anyway, let's talk about an iconic movie that I never got around to reviewing...
I can't believe I've never reviewed this movie before. This film, like many people my age, was a huge part of my childhood. Everyone knew who the Ghostbusters were and even if they hadn't seen the movie, they all knew the correct response to, "Who ya gonna call?" was to loudly proclaim, "Ghostbusters!" The song is so iconic and wonderful that it's gotten to the point where any cover of the song rightly has people gathering up their pitchforks. It is perfect as is and should NOT be touched.
A while back, Dear, President Baby and I watched the Ghostbusters episode in "Movies That Made Us," and it's a miracle this movie even got made, but we're all better for it that it did get made. Dan Akroyd is an interesting dude. The character of Ray isn't too far off from him in real life. I don't want to say he's obsessed with the paranormal but he's spent a lot of years studying the subject. This movie was his baby and you can tell it truly was a labor of love. The biggest surprise for me was to learn that the character of Peter Venkman was written for Eddie Murphy before Bill Murray was cast. The problem was, right up to the day they were supposed to start filming, no one knew if Murray was going to show up. Thank God he did, I don't want to live in a world that doesn't have Ghostbusters in it. On the point of Murray vs. Murphy, I think Murray was the absolute right choice for the role, but I'm curious how it would have been with Eddie Murphy.
I'm not going to go over the plot because I'm assuming you know it already and the plot is right there in the title. They bust ghosts! I unabashedly love this movie. I used to say I could only think of two perfect movies; Hot Fuzz and Robin Williams' Jumanji. I added Army of Darkness to my list last year and I think they need to make room for this one. What do I mean by perfect? They are movies that I don't have a single complaint about. Ghostbusters is incredibly funny and one of the most quotable movies of all time. There's not enough time in the day for me to properly express how good it is or quote the best lines.
Do you know what makes this movie stand out from other comedies? At its core, this is a horror movie. It just happens to star several extremely funny actors who have fantastic comedic timing. I think that's the biggest factor in why it's so good; everyone has a role and they play it to perfection. Venkman is the incredibly funny and sarcastic character. Ray is the guy who is excited to be here. Egon is your science guy who struggles to pick up social cues. Winston is your everyman, the guy the audience can relate to because he's just in it for the steady paycheck. The way they bounce off each other makes an already very good movie into a great one. That was one problem with the 2016 remake, when everyone is Venkman, you lose so much of what made this movie great.
There are genuinely creepy moments too, like the ghost in the library or when Dana encounters Zuul in her fridge. Plus, that finale wouldn't be too out of place in any monster movie. Maybe make Mr. Stay Puft look a little different, but Zuul is a really good final boss. She has the voice, the power and the look to make a pretty captivating villain. And then we get to the secondary antagonist, Walter Peck. He plays the smarmy government bureaucrat so well. He's so smug and the exact opposite of the Ghostbusters that you want nothing more than for him to get clowned. I mean, he does have a point; the Ghostbusters' equipment can do a whole lot of damage and no one has any idea of the potential destruction it could cause the city. He's such a good antagonist because even though he's right, he goes about his business in the most annoying way possible that you can't help but hate him. Peck eventually gets a court order to have them shut down their containment grid, despite their warnings, and then Peck tries to blame them when the ghosts escape and mass hysteria reigns in NYC. I've seen some make the argument that this part of the movie doesn't age well in the fact that it has a secondary bad guy being a member of the EPA. That's funny for multiple reasons, but having a government bureaucrat playing a villain will NEVER go out of style.
The effects are a little dated but it adds to the charm. Slimer still looks great and that entire hotel scene is incredible. What can I say that hasn't been said 1,000 times? This movie rules. The cast is perfect, the story is great, and it never strays away from the fact that it's a horror movie no matter how funny it gets. I said it before but it bears repeating, this might be the most quotable movie of all time. You can stream this movie and just click the timecode at any random moment and you won't have to wait more than three minutes for someone to drop a great line.
It makes me sad that, despite Akroyd and Ramis' attempts, this franchise was dead for decades because Bill Murray wouldn't do a third after the sequel. As Ramis' health was failing, it was even more depressing with how bad their falling out got. I'm glad they were able to make up shortly before Ramis' death.
While the movies weren't happening, we did get the very cool Ghostbusters video game with the main cast, which, on top of the wonderful nostalgia, was a lot of fun. I'm still annoyed with younger Mr. Pat for trading that game in. Naturally, when thinking about that game, one memory always pops into my head. I bought it, and my friends and I were playing it for a bit, but we had to turn it off because we were going to see Transformers 2 at the theater. At some point during the very bad movie, THE Anderson leans over to me and says, "We could be playing Ghostbusters right now."
This movie is perfect and I will fight anyone who says otherwise.