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Ghostbusters (1984)



I should probably start out by saying that this movie is, and will forever be, my favorite movie of all time (along with The Rocky Horror Picture Show, for completely different reasons). Ghostbusters and I were a perfect match. I was old enough to be in the Ghostbusters craze, but not too old to enjoy the cartoon and the toys. Ghostbusters was the first VCR tape I owned, and also the first DVD I bought. I was fascinated with ghosts when I was little and out of the blue came a comedy about ghost busting. It only made sense that I’d fall head over heels for this movie. I’ve seen this movie a good million times (give or take a couple thousand viewings). It is my ultimate “comfort movie” (defined as a movie you view when you want to watch a movie, but want to be absolutely certain you won’t be disappointed). So, what makes it so good? This could take a while.

The casting couldn’t be better. Bill Murray and Dan Akroyd were at the cutting edge of their comedy game. Harold Ramis was a young comedy writer. And Ernie Hudson…well, ok, he didn’t have a hell of a lot to do in this movie. Sigourney Weaver was perfect for Dana (a young New York City musician who ends up getting possessed). The dialogue was brilliantly written because the script never ever takes itself too seriously. Even at the climax when we are battling such issues like religion and possession, here comes a giant marshmallow man to take the edge off. Originally, this film dealt with a lot of heat from the Christian sector (much like the movie Dogma did), due to its religious undertones. However, these views were expelled from society as quickly as they were made. After all, Ghostbusters make no real judgment on religion much like the Lord makes no mention of a giant Smore’s bar ingredient being a biblical sign of the Apocalypse.

Our intrepid heroes. Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Bill Murray in Ghostbusters (1984).Our intrepid heroes. Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Bill Murray in Ghostbusters (1984).

The movie still blows me away with how beautiful it was shot. Ghostbusters has a very timeless feel to it, and it is very conceivable to think that it was just filmed 6 months ago rather than almost 20 years ago. Also, the soundtrack is arguably one of the best movie soundtracks of the 80’s. The theme song could not have been written better. To this day when someone asks “Who are you going to call?”, you’d be hardpressed to find someone who can resist blurting out “Ghostbusters!”

My only legitimate gripe with the film is the very common gripe that Ernie Hudson’s character is pretty useless. However, taken into consideration that it exceeds in comedy, cinematography, literary prowess, and just about every other aspect in filmmaking, I can completely disregard this oversight. The movie will forever stand on its own as one of the best examples of celluloid comedy ever made. I am just happy to have been alive during the mayhem.

While I defend that the movie is just as fresh now as it was back then, I fear that the young ones who watch it on video or DVD will never understand exactly how special that film was to the 80’s. It was truly a comedy that could be enjoyed by everyone. Along with the 80’s fever that has been striking the country lately, there has been a rejuvenation of Ghostbusters with talk of a potential third movie, a new computer animated cartoon, and new tee shirts sporting the classic Ghostbusters logo. While I stand with many Ghostheads (that is really what Ghostbusters fans are called) in praying the third movie and the new cartoon will come to pass, I also know that the icon of Ghostbusters is strong enough to stand on its own without a rejuvenation. Parents will continuously pull the movie off the video shelves and show it to their kids, so they can be just as mesmerized as I was back in the early 80’s. Revisit the movie and indulge in one of the greatest comedies ever made. I dare ya. Get slimed.