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Ghostbusters (1984)

February 3, 2011

VERDICT:
10/10 Flowers Still Standing

Really, folks. What’s not to love?

Ghostbusters is about a group of unemployed paranormal psychologists who decide to start up their own paranormal extermination business after realizing that there’s a need for their services in NYC that isn’t being met and is only getting worse with each new sliming that goes unpunished. Before you know it, the spooks are showing up freakin’ everywhere, people have completely stopped giving a shit about cockroaches and rats, so they all start callin’ up the ‘Busters and our guys turn into overnight celebrities as a result. But then some asshole from the EPA decides to put a lid on their operation, a supernatural orgy of troublemakin’ ghouls is unleashed across the city, and the GBs have to take out keymasters, gatekeepers, an otherworldly backup dancer for Kajagoogoo and a big-ass marshmallow man before The Big Apple goes to the ghosts.

A pretty original premise if there ever was one, but by the same token, this could have been pretty stupid, this could have been Howard the Duck stupid. SNL alums fighting ghosts in Manhattan? Rick Moranis turning into a demon dog? Did I mention the big-ass marshmallow man? Not exactly a movie that’d just been waiting to get made, nor is it a movie that I think would be all that easy to plug either. But the fact that this didn’t crash and burn on the cutting room floor and instead ended up being the outrageously iconic and endlessly entertaining blockbuster that it is just makes the whole thing that much better.

Can’t quite recall the first time I saw this, but I do remember renting it on a Saturday in middle school and watching it three times back-to-back-to-back when I should have been helping mom yank out weeds in the yard. Yeah, that was a pretty lame move on my part (or an awesome one!), but come on, it was Ghostbusters, that’s the only time I’ve ever done that with a movie and one time just wasn’t enough. Hell of a way to spend six hours and I’d do it again if people wouldn’t mind me reviewing Ghostbusters for three days straight.

That’s ’cause the whole damn thing is just freakin’ hilarious and just freakin’ new. The one-liners, the scenarios and the bad guys that Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd whipped up in this script of theirs are unforgettable, they’re immortal and they remain that way over 25 years later. Ramis is awesome as Egon, Aykroyd is awesome as Ray, Ernie Hudson is awesome as Winston…and then of course there’s Bill Murray as Venkman.

To say that I would shit my pants on the spot if I saw Bill Murray in person let alone have him randomly crash my karaoke party doesn’t quite do the excitement justice. Pretty sure it would lead to spontaneous combustion at some point, but I digress. Stealing the spotlight has always been an m.o. of Murray’s, but if there were ever an instance where he just ran away with it like no other, Peter Venkman is it. So sarcastic, so unqualified and unprofessional, such a bullshit artist, he’s the perfect contrast to his three colleagues and he’s got all the best lines and all the best scenes:

1. Pulling out the table cloth in the ballroom.
2. Strumming the piano keys in Sigourney Weaver’s apartment because “They hate this. I like to torture ‘em.”
3. “Whoa, whoa, whoa! Nice shootin’, Tex!”
4. “Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!”
5. “Yes, it’s true…this man has no dick.”

And the list goes on. He’s had a lot of winners over the years, but this is absolutely one of Murray’s best roles and a huge reason why he’s the comedic god that would leave me starstruck in a coma. Nothing against the other ‘Busters, because Ray’s got “Aim for the flattop!”, Egon’s got the Twinkie speech and Winston’s got “When someone asks if you’re a god, you say ‘YES!’” but let’s not kid ourselves, if you and your buds dressed up as these four for Halloween, you bet your ass you’d be fighting to play Venkman. Not too shabby for a role that was originally written for John Belushi.

Surprisingly tough costume to put together, too. Those jumpsuits are damn expensive and good luck finding one of those old school proton packs on the cheap.

But Sigourney Weaver’s also awesome as the object of Venkman’s affection, Dana Barrett; Rick Moranis is classic as Barrett’s next-door neighbor, Louis; and William Atherton does a bang-up job as EPA cronie Walter Peck and continues to cement his reputation as the biggest douchebag character actor of the ’80s. Truly dickless.

I don’t know about you guys, but Ghostbusters may very well be one of the funniest movies ever made. That’s right, I went there. Doesn’t matter if you’re a boy or a girl, an old fart who’s got it memorized front to back or a kid being introduced to it for the first time, this is one of those rare comedies that’s accessible to everyone and still manages to be a total rip even if you know all the punchlines by heart. Only scene that I don’t get is when the boys are about to enter Gozer’s building when an earthquake suddently hits, ends thirty seconds later, and then they pick themselves up walk in through the front door unscathed. No idea what the point of that was, but other than that, wouldn’t change a thing.

Wish I had some brighter things to say about this movie, but the simple truth is that it’s pure fun straight on through, so darn quotable and it doesn’t get much better than Ivan Reitman in his golden years. Man, do I miss those years.

And how about that theme song? Just doesn’t get any better.

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. February 3, 2011 12:13 am

    I don’t get this one. Bits are funny, but I just fail to see how this is any different from the deluge of uninspired, goofy 80s comedies. Sure, the premise is unique, but it just ends up making the film corny instead of funny for me. And I love Murray, love him, I just didn’t find this film as funny as most people do.

    • February 3, 2011 1:32 pm

      Aw, man. Sorry to hear this one fell flat for ya’. That’s okay though, different strokes for different folks. Just glad we can agree on our love for Murray, that’s what truly matters.

  2. February 3, 2011 7:44 am

    What’s not to love – indeed. Great film, one of the best of the 1980s comedies. I think what sets it apart is the cast and that great chemistry. They’re all so wonderfully perfect for those roles. And some of it is quite tense so it gets that horror-comedy mix going which was a new thing back in the 80s. I remember as a kid been freaked out by that opening sequence with the ghost in the library and those bits of paper flying around behind the little old lady librarian.

    • February 3, 2011 1:46 pm

      Yeah, they really did have great chemistry. Good point. And my fiancee is totally freaked out by that ghost in the library, although she does look pretty gnarly when she yells at them.

      Also loved those special effects like the eggs boiling on the counter and the index cards flying around. Cool stuff.

  3. February 3, 2011 9:51 am

    “Dogs and Cats living together” always make me laugh :)

    Nice post! :)

    • February 3, 2011 9:47 pm

      haha. thanks. one of my favorites, too!

      and thank for visiting!

  4. February 3, 2011 10:24 pm

    I guess Ivan Reitman should stick to this kind of comedy instead rom-com, judging from No Strings Attached :)

  5. HermioneO permalink
    February 7, 2011 3:21 pm

    Ray sliding down the firepole and saying when can we move in? while the other two are trying to bargain. Classic. Oh, and Venkman scamming that coed into thinking she’s psychic and totally dissing that kid.

    I love this film.

    • February 7, 2011 3:23 pm

      Hahaha. Love that scene with Venkman, great intro. Glad you’re on the bandwagon, it’s the only way to be.

  6. February 13, 2011 2:04 am

    Noooo… The theme song is stuck in my head now!

    Anyway, I saw it for the first time in college (gasp!) when I was in UCI. I couldn’t believe one of the scenes was shot there. No wonder it looked eerily familiar.

    I love the giant marshmallow. I just wanna eat it up.

    • February 17, 2011 2:54 pm

      Hahaha. Sorry about the song, blame Ray Parker, Jr. Can’t believe it took you ’til college to see this, but better late than never. What scene was filmed at UCI?

      And eating the Stay Puft marshmallow man would be most awesome.

      • February 18, 2011 12:59 am

        I just looked it up… but the scene I remembered was “Poltergeist”! Face palm! lol

      • February 18, 2011 3:35 pm

        Hahaha. Still awesome. What scene from Poltergeist?

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