Saturday Editor’s Pick: Ghostbusters (1984)

by on March 18, 2012Posted in: Editor's Pick


Playing Fri March 23 and Sat March 24 at Midnight at IFC Center [Program & Tix]

 

Boasts IFC of their special shadowcast event, “While honoring traditions built by Rocky Horror fans across the world, the Minions of Gozer bring a twist to the art of the shadowcast, with a show chock full of all the Ghostbusters moments you’ve never actually seen but always wanted to. Like the time that Egon tried to drill a hole through his head. The undersea, unexplained mass sponge migration. And even Louis Tully’s high-speed workout. No scene is too big; no unseen scene is too big! The Minions of Gozer are ready to entertain you!”
 
You can check out the Minions of Gozer website for more info. Press kit PDF here. Bring your raincoat, they warn, ’cause you might get slimed.
 
A highlight from 2011 Comic-Con: the troupe dancing to Rihanna:

 

Andrew Pulver for The Guardian:

What’s not to like? Bill Murray at the absolute top of his game, a frenetically catchy theme tune, Dan Aykroyd still operating this side of self-parody, a time-travelling window on grubby early-80s New York that still had the look and feel of an urban war zone. The backstory behind the film is well known: Aykroyd originally wrote it for his pal John Belushi; the latter’s death in 1982 meant the role went to Murray, whose acidic improvisational genius was never displayed better. The story? Well, that’s bit of an afterthought: Aykroyd, Murray and Harold Ramis are the “parapsychologists” – along with the hapless, miscast Ernie Hudson – who set up a spook-extermination business, and find themselves fending off apocalyptic disaster threatened by an intergalactic deity who – bizarrely – looks like Sheena Easton. But really it’s the blizzard of college-humour smut purveyed by Murray – and occasional deadpan-nerd sallies from Ramis – that still make this such a treat, a quarter of a century on.

 
A Comic Con interview with the Minions:

 
Nerdist News previews the evening:

When Walter Peck orders the ecto-containment system deactivated, unleashing streams of ghosts and pinkish psychokinetic energy onto the city, you get the sense the Ghostbusters are pulling off far more feelgood busting than meets the screen. It really makes you wonder why psychokinetic substances are always pink. It also makes you wish there were a group of dedicated keymasters to unlock all the moments you don’t get to see but have always wondered about. Unlike with the dude who volunteered for Dr. Venkman’s ESP test, this is your lucky day.
 
The Minions of Gozer are making the Rocky Horror experience better by replacing the singing with prizes and flying notecards, and swapping the movie with Ghostbusters. They’ll roll the film while role playing scenes in front of the screen. You’ll finally see that mass sponge migration, Egon trying to drill a hole through his head and Louis Tully’s double-speed workout. Not to mention what fills the void in Peck’s pants. And there will be Twinkies!
 
Get your tickets early before the opportunity Gozer way. This is going to be big.

 

 

Andrew Lowry for Total Film:

Does Ghostbusters still hold up if you forget 1,000 rained-out VHS viewings, or school fancy-dress days, or that cartoon which made you think Slimer was far more prominent than he actually was? Yes – in a big way.
 
The leads’ chemistry is almost, well, spooky, Dan Aykroyd’s nerdy enthusiasm rubbing deliciously against a persona-perfecting turn from Bill Murray – and there’s even the odd surprise.
 
Watch the ’84 hit with new eyes and you’ll be surprised at how gritty Venkman et al’s New York is.

 
Tom Huddleston for Time Out (London):

A deliriously inventive, evergreen comedy. This is a near-flawless example of the ’80s genre boom in full swing, fusing state-of-the-art SFX, a loopy guys-on-a-mission plot, some awful synth ’n’ snare electro-pop and a handful of the finest one-liners ever.

 

 

Chiranjit Goswami for Not Coming to a Theater Near You:

If it requires categorization, Ghostbusters is a tremendously nerdy film. Applying such a label isn’t to say that the film primarily appeals to nerds, or that the film concentrates entirely upon nerds, but it might be difficult to completely refute such claims. Indeed, while it does provide a few legitimately creepy creatures and a handful of playful chills, Ivan Reitman’s buddy-comedy innately exudes an inordinate amount of anxiety regarding a variety of qualms and insecurities that are thought to typically hound frequently obsessive, often introverted, intellectual males.

 

Wired sculpts a timeline of the Ghostbusters III rumors. The Playlist reports on Bill Murray’s decline to participate.

 

 

Caitlin Moran announced in The Times:

For the simple truth of the matter is that Ghostbusters is the greatest film ever made -and yet, currently, the world is too scared to admit this. In 2009, if you stood up at a party and spoke factually -”Ghostbusters should still be nominated for an Oscar every year, even now -that’s how good it is” -you would probably experience great feelings of squirminess, and embarrassment.

 

“Back off man -I’m a scientist” is the one I find myself using the most often; most recently when the logic in opening a bottle of warm rosé at 3am was brought into question. “Listen -do you smell something?” is equally handy. “I think he can hear you, Ray,” can be utilised whenever you think an indiscreet conversation has been overheard; but, also, when a large animal suddenly looks up, as if it might run towards you, and attack you. Whenever you buy a takeaway, it is traditional to nix all conversation about future plans with the line: “This magnificent feast represents the last of the petty cash.” And there is no more succinct way of explaining why certain table placements would be ill-advised than “Don’t cross the streams”. There’s literally 20 more great lines, but one of them involves a piano, and another needs someone to mention sponges before you can use it.
 

Those who still deludedly think they prefer Star Wars over Ghostbusters, all I need do is ask you this: you don’t really want to be a Jedi, do you? In a greige cowl, getting off with your sister, without a single gag across three films? I think if you thought about it a little while longer, you’d realise that you’d far rather be a Ghostbuster: a nerd in New York with an unlicensed nuclear accelarator on your back, and a one in four chance of being Bill Murray. For the rest of us -the ones who have realised the Great Truth about the Greatest Movie Ever Made -the serious campaigning must start now. Let’s go show this prehistoric bitch how we do things downtown. “We should’ve got on with shooting George Lucas’s overrated space-tat out of the water.”

 

 

And WhatCulture! gives 50 reasons why.
 
Hadley Freeman, on her favorite film, also for The Guardian:

One of my favourite things about this movie is its graphic cartoonishness: the Ghostbuster uniforms, the ghostmobile (AKA Ecto-1, of course), and the Ghostbusters insignia are as recognisable today as they were almost 30 years ago. Every Halloween since, packs of increasingly aged men have gone out dressed as the Ghostbusters in New York, and every Halloween since that I have squealed with joy at the sight of them. But what I really love about it is its setting.
 
Many of the jokes in Ghostbusters stem from the idea that, ghosts aside, Manhattan itself was an out-of-control wild west place, a Gotham city where a man could collapse against the windows of the Tavern on the Green, the ritzy restaurant that used to be in Central Park, and the diners would simply ignore him. Trash is piled on the sidewalks and Checker cabs whizz round corners: this recreation of New York, 1984 – the New York of my childhood – is still how I think of the city, even though I live there now and Manhattan has, for better or worse, changed a lot since. Ghostbusters is as much a love letter to New York as anything Woody Allen ever wrote, and a much less self-conscious one at that. Even the hilarious anachronisms give me a sentimental frisson: Lewis being mocked for his love of vitamins and mineral water, Aykroyd and Murray chuffing down fags while toting nuclear reactors on their backs, the bad guy being – and this I particularly enjoy – the man from the Environmental Protection Agency. These all look particularly anachronistic in New York 2011, and I can’t help but feel the city is a little poorer for it.

 

Scouting New York revisits some of the film’s locations.
 

 
Roger Ebert for the Chicago Sun-Times:

“Ghostbusters” is a head-on collision between two comic approaches that have rarely worked together very successfully. This time, they do. It’s (1) a special-effects blockbuster, and (2) a sly dialogue movie, in which everybody talks to each other like smart graduate students who are in on the joke. In the movie’s climactic scenes, an apocalyptic psychic mindquake is rocking Manhattan, and the experts talk like Bob and Ray.

 

The movie stars Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis, three graduates of the Second City/National Lampoon/”Saturday Night Live” tradition. They’re funny, but they’re not afraid to reveal that they’re also quick-witted and intelligent; their dialogue puts nice little spins on American clichés, and it uses understatement, irony, in-jokes, vast cynicism, and cheerful goofiness. Rarely has a movie this expensive provided so many quotable lines.
 

“Ghostbusters” is one of those rare movies where the original, fragile comic vision has survived a multimillion-dollar production. It is not a complete vindication for big-budget comedies, since it’s still true, as a general rule, that the more you spend, the fewer laughs you get. But it uses its money wisely, and when that, ahem, monster marches down a Manhattan avenue and climbs the side of a skyscraper … we’re glad they spent the money for the special effects because it gets one of the biggest laughs in a long time.

 

 
Eric Henderson for Slant:

The movie’s tongue-in-cheek (and pre-subprime) satire of surging capitalist hubris is scarcely mitigated by the necessary fairy-tale ending in which their fiscal mission impossible miraculously pays off and they walk away with the city’s collective heart in their wallet. That’s because the jumpsuit-sporting, takeout-swilling, slime-dodging, big government-defying ‘busters are also triumphantly blue collar. Nearly every paranormal set piece dances around the ever widening class distinctions between the privileged few and their stalwart workforce minions. The Ghostbusters‘s first call comes from a snootacular five-star hotel whose little skeleton in the closet can no longer be contained; the relish with which Murray serves them a $5,000 bill for services rendered is only matched by the film’s obvious contempt for the upscale diners who, later in the film, disinterestedly keep poor nerdy accountant Louis (Rick Moranis) locked out of their restaurant as he is attacked by a Sumerian devil dog.
 
Still, as is probably evident when dealing with a film about uniform-wearing men chasing spooks out of the city’s moneyed locales, the satire cuts both ways. The film’s montage showcasing the Ghostbusters’s instant rise to fame is capped by a prissy Atlantic magazine cover whining, “Do ghosts have civil rights?” And, you gotta admit, Sigourney Weaver (as the thinking leg-man’s ideal woman) makes a pretty good case for the benefits of the elite class. All of which is to say that, for such an obviously calculated piece of consumer-minded cinema, Ghostbusters had its finger on the pulse of New York’s social situation every bit as much as its predecessors from an angrier time, one election cycle prior.

 

 

Cole Abaius from Film School Reects:

I love Ghostbusters. I love it. It’s a movie that rises above the normal, somehow manages to produce laughs and genuine tension, and remains one of the more original concepts to ever hit the big screen. It’s also a film that could never be made today. The reason for this is that the movie makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. But that’s one of the main reasons why the movie is so incredible. A pitch like that today would be laughed out of any studio system, and probably caught some awkward looks back in 1984, especially since the original concept was on a much larger scale – seeing the Ghostbusters traveling throughout time and space taking on bigger and badder other-worldly presences like an ethereal black ops crew. Luckily, director Ivan Reitman had the foresight to see the potential of the story and the creative insight to scale back the project.
 
Somehow, because it’s distilled into the more-common world of everyday New York, the end result is a movie that almost anybody can relate to. It’s effortless science fiction that plays most situations for laughs instead of getting bogged down in the boredom and specifics of why ghosts exists in the first place. It’s a movie that challenges the audience by saying, “Ghosts exists, and Bill Murray is going to constantly try to bone attractive women. Deal with it.” And we do. Because we’re too busy laughing.
 
Changing any one element would detract from its brilliance. Even with the deep respect I feel for Belushi, it’s nearly impossible for me to think of anyone else being Peter Venkman other than Murray. It’s a film that can be viewed equally as summer escapism, as a fantastic comedy, and as a solid entry into the science fiction universe. It’s fun but consequential, doesn’t take itself seriously but puts the main characters in real danger, and the climax involves giant gobs of marshmallow covering the streets of New York. It was made in one of the worst decades for film making, but it somehow rises above those sentiments while being firmly planted as a product of its time – thriving to this day with a popularity that has demanded a second sequel currently in development by Judd Apatow. Somehow, I have the feeling that no matter how funny the new film is, it won’t live up to the heart of a strange idea pitched by an odd comedian, believed in by a talented director, and beloved by millions upon millions of film fans.

 

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