(Check out the list so far)
The Movie: Ghostbusters (1984)
One Sentence Plot Summary: There’s something strange going on in a lot of New York neighborboods, and there’s only one group you can call: Three comedy legends and poor Ernie Hudson.
Why It’s on the List:
This is one of those movies where I first became engrossed by the universe in an animated cartoon as opposed to the original source material. There was a Saturday morning cartoon version of Ghostbusters which most definitely has not aged well relative to what quality animation looks like these days. Even aspects of this movie haven’t aged well, especially given there’s minimal character development and Peter Venkman is a creep. However, where else can you get a giant marshmallow man, Sigourney Weaver being possessed, and Rick Moranis running away from a giant creature?
It’s a shame Eddie Murphy was busy doing Beverly Hills Cop because it feels as though Ernie Hudson gets the short end of the stick. The fact that he’s also not a scientist as compared to his white counterparts is an issue that even the reboot refused to reconcile with. What this movie does do well is be consistently funny. It’s also extremely well-paced and comes in at a perfect length of one hour and forty-five minutes.
Murray and Weaver have very good chemistry, and it would have been interesting if they had done a romantic comedy at some point. Weaver has a tough role here as she plays the outside entering into the world of ghostbusting. She also has to play possessed for a good portion of the film as well.
When it comes to comedies, it’s tough to say a lot beyond “The movie is funny.” Explaining specific jokes would be lame. This movie isn’t lame. Odds are you’ve probably seen this a million times at this point, but it’s still great and we’ll all probably collectively watch this movie a million more times.
*Venkman is a creep throughout the movie, and I know we all love Bill Murray, but there’s no way a character like this makes it to the movie these days without major changes.
MVP: Harold Ramis and Dan Akroyd are getting the award for the screenplay even though they do a very good job as performers too. They crafted a story which has to work on the sci-fi level but also serves as a great New York movie that happens to be one of the funniest movies ever made. It’s a bit weak on the character end of things, but there are so many funny lines and tremendous plotting.
Best Performance: Akroyd, Ramis, Hudson, and Weaver all do fine jobs here, but this is Bill Murray’s movie all the way from a performance standpoint regardless of my feelings on the Peter Venkman character. Murray owns this movie. He has the best lines; thus, he also has the best quotes. You get the feeling this is the movie where we transitioned from Murray being a great ensemble actor to having the potential to be a great leading man.
Best Quote: “If I’m wrong, nothing happens! We go to jail – peacefully, quietly. We’ll enjoy it! But if I’m *right*, and we *can* stop this thing… Lenny, you will have saved the lives of millions of registered voters.” – Dr. Peter Venkman (Quote feels relevant huh?)
Is there a sequel? Yes and a reboot as well.
How are they? The sequel is dreadful, and it feels like some people pretend to think it’s good, but it’s a huge miss as most comedy sequels are. The 2016 reboot is the Hilary Clinton of movies. It was treated awfully and reprehensibly by a group of assholes , but it was also painfully mediocre and desperately wanted to be something progressive but was instead stuck in a different era.
Follow Jerome on Twitter, and check out Reel Bad, The Superhero Pantheon and his new podcast Pantheon Plus.
Check out Ben & Matt’s podcast review of this film for There Will Be Movies.