984 was an amazing year for TV and movies. Today I want to discuss one of the monster hits of that year.
I love this movie, it just does so much right! The characters are memorable, the actors portraying them are perfect, the comedy is funny and still makes us laugh with memorable lines that are repeated to this day (when someone asks if youâ€™re a god-you say yes!!), the story works, and just the right amount of action and special effects. This movie is a classic and with good reason. Today I want to discuss it for two reasons. This year marks the 30th anniversary (wow) and of course Harold Ramis passed away a few weeks ago.I loved him in this and I loved his other movie, Groundhog Day. That is another movie I have watched a million times.
So if this movie is so great, what could I find wrong with it? Well, most of these things are the result of being young when I saw the film. But even now they are things in the movie which either bug me or just did not work for me. As always, just my opinion. This is all meant in good fun.
#5.That stupid dream sequence
I admit, this is a personal one. Most of these are really since this movie has very few real flaws. This comes after the awesome ballroom scene (we came, we saw itâ€¦we kicked its ass!) and the even more cool montage. We see the men sleeping when suddenly we take a dive into Ray’s subconscious as he dreams of a ghost…well, you know. What was the point of that exactly? If this had been Peter at least it would have been consistent with his character.Â It’s a small scene but it never did anything for me. By the way, how weird is it that the four guys smoke constantly through the film? Ah, the 80â€™s.
Being 9 when I first saw this, there were a couple scenes which I remember scaring me pretty good. The first was the opener, in the library when suddenly the place goes nuts and scares the lady. That was of course topped by the follow up scene when the ghost scares the guys right out of the place. It was really scaryâ€¦at the time. Truth is those scenes seem kind of silly now, and not scary. In fact many of the effects in this film seem dated today. Seriously did you ever believe Gozerâ€™s demons were really there? However the real scary scene still holds up in my opinion. And that is the scene with Dana. You know which one! The scariest scene in the whole movie! Zuul!! She gets grabbed and held down while the chair is pulled (by an obvious track) into the kitchen. That scene is scary as hell!
Even a movie as tight as this has a few scenes which seem to be there for no real reason. I never got that scene where we meet Peter for the first time. He is testing two students, one guy who he is shocking and one girl who he is not, because he likes her. I get the point, but the scene is…not somuch pointless but unnecessary. Isn’t there some other way they could have done this? When we see Peter get fired we are told everything we saw in that scene,so why have it? And of course those two kids vanish never to be heard from again. Another pointless moment is when Tully gets taken over. For some reason the demon chases him out of the apartment and across the park, where he finally succumbs in front of a crowded restaurant who ignores him. Yeah it’s a cute gag but what that’s all it really is. And why did Dana get a scary scene while Tully was played for laughs? And one final pointless moment is just before the four enter the building for the climax. There is quake, the road opens up, and they fall in only to re-emerge a few seconds later….and the point was?
Ok maybe this is just me, but the whole romantic stuff fell really flat for me. The chemistry between Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver was only ok. But more than that, the movie decides he loves her way to fast. I know, he’s sort of a womanizer and I know, it’s a comedy not a romance film but how he falls for her I never got. At the end after she is taken over by Zuul,we’re supposed to feel sorry for Peter that he (or so he thinks) lost the love of his life. I never felt that, and while I am glad that they are happy in the end this was one movie romance that never did it for me. It felt very much tacked on, like they realized they needed it so stuck it in. They are broken up in the sequel so maybe it’s not just me. I also wish we had gotten to know Dana a bit better in this movie. When you think about it, what the heck do we really learn about her? Does she work? We know she has a worried mother, but thatâ€™sabout it really.
Ok, before we get into this last one I need everyone to promise to be open minded. Ok, this is just my opinion. I am not saying this ruins the movie or anything, You can feel free to disagree. So hear me out…….
#1.The Stay Puff Marshmallow Man
Now, now. Let me explain. This just didn’t work for me,though it was better than what they did in the sequel. Why didn’t it work? It was a funny as hell visual, the giant marshmallow man. And that is the problem my friends. This was the wrong place for that kind of gag. This was the climax, and up till this point they had kept the suspense going while throwing some great jokes in there. Then, we get this visual which is obviously here just to be a visual gag. And what does it amount to? NOTHING! When I first saw this the gag took me out of the movie, and that is always a bad thing for a movie to do. Up till now every ghost had been scary and menacing. Even slimer wasn’t funny, the cartoon made him a silly character not the movie. So after all that and we finally meet this nasty villain who can’t be stopped, and what do we get? A giant marshmallow man. How are we supposed to take that seriously?Â Then after he is blown up, the movie turns into the biggest pie fight ever.That’s basically what this movie ends with, a pie fight except it’s marshmallow instead of pies being thrown (that’s how Peck gets his comeuppance,took me years to notice that). For me maybe this is a case of being too young when I saw it, I just didn’t understand what the hell was going on. Maybe if I had caught the subtle references to the character in the movie, or if that story Ray tells about loving the character had been revealed earlier, or if I understood the dialogue before he appears about what it is and why itâ€™s there.I donâ€™t know, and as I got older and wiser I understood but sometimes you can’t shake your first impression. And mine was that it was just silly (though in fairness what we saw in the movie wasnâ€™t quite the original concept and maybeif they had done what they intended it would have worked a lot better) and while this movie is great it did not end on the best note for me. In fact that whole ending feels like it just stops as if the writers decided there was nothing else they could do. They barely let us know that Dana and Tully are ok. I mean, do they remember anything? Do they know what happened? What happened with the guys after? We find out in the sequel. So yeah the last ten minutes of the movie just does not work for me, but that certainly doesnâ€™t mean the movie is bad (wait, am I talking about Ghostbusters or Star Trek: Into Darkness?).
So what about Ghostbusters II? I hated it. I absolutely hated it. So much that I have no desire to see it ever again. Now I know people will say it wasn’t that bad. I hated it. What a disappointing follow up. I also saw a live show at Universal Studios which was pretty lame too. As for the cartoon series, The Real Ghostbusters, it was just awesome though I don’t think I watched it as much as I could have. Maybe something else was on at that time,I don’t remember. The cartoon rocked, and one reason was because it did what the movie couldnâ€™t. Remember that montage of the Ghostbusters saving the day? Wouldnâ€™t it have been nice to SEE the ghosts they beat and how they beat them? I mean just showing Ray holding a smoking box is kind of cheating. But thatâ€™s what movies do, and thankfully the cartoon was able to create all sorts of ghosts for our heroes to fight and it really did feel like they continued the story started in this movie. Yeah, that cartoon was awesome.
Finally, I wanted to mention the big hit song that came outof the movie. It just wouldnâ€™t be Halloween without Ray Parker Jrâ€™s â€œGhostbustersâ€!! Fantastic song which is like icing on the cake with this film.
Ghostbusters is one of those amazing films that has seriously stood the test of time and will always be around. And I consider myself lucky I got to see it when it was first released thirty years ago (good god am I old!!).