“Ghostbusters” (1984)

MOVIE REVIEW: “Ghostbusters” stars Bill Murray (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Space Jam), Dan Aykroyd (The Blues Brothers, Trading Places), Harold Ramis (As Good As It Gets, Stripes), Sigourney Weaver (A Monster Calls, The Village [2004]), Rick Moranis (Spaceballs, Honey I Shrunk the Kids), Annie Potts (Pretty in Pink, Toy Story 4), Ernie Hudson (The Crow, The Family Business [TV series]), William Atherton (Die Hard, Real Genius), and David Margulies (Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Dressed to Kill). It is directed by Ivan Reitman (Twins, Stripes), and written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis.

Three scientists turned ghost hunters in New York City face a formiddable challenge when a woman’s apartment is haunted by a demi-god.

Around Halloween, I had the burning desire to watch “Ghostbusters.” Primarily because my girlfriend had never seen it. Yep. Never. Not even a clip of it, really (she thought they sucked up ghosts with vaccuums, like Luigi). Alas, we didn’t watch it during spooky season, but we did sit down to see it nevertheless. And man, it’s a real treat to review this one.

If you haven’t seen “Ghostbusters,” I suggest you stop reading this review and watch it. Because it is pure 1980s cinema at its core. Photon packs, beige jumpsuits, a firehouse office, and a hearse-decked vehicle; it’s iconic, from its aesthetic to the hit Ray Parker Jr. single that shook the nation (I had it on my iPod nano growing up). What kid didn’t want to be a Ghostbuster around the time? They were awesome! Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis created a story that would impact the film realm and zietgeist as we know it, and for good reason.

From the opening sequence of a librarian getting haunted by a shushing spector, you are whisked away on an entertaining journey riddled with humor and slime (yep, good ole Nickelodeon-like slime). Fronting this feature are top-tier comedy legends, boasting the likes of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, and Rick Moranis, who portrays one of the greatest side characters of all time. I love the role of Louis Tully. Every time he came on screen, I would laugh. And watching this movie now in my adult years, I was tickled at his apartment party scene all the more (the workplace jokes and food bargain jargin are fantastic). Truly, there isn’t a bad casting in this. Everyone fits to type and chew up the scenery they reside in.

The story itself leans into the wit and cheese. I mean, when you deal with a couple of guys busting ghosts around New York City, you have to revel in the joke of it all. Thankfully, with Aykroyd and Ramis being masterclass comedy writers, we get just that and more. There are several iconic moments laden throughout this picture, including the encounter with Slimer, montage to Ray Parker Jr.’s song, Louis fleeing from the demond dog, and the Stay Puft Marshmellow Man that burned into audience’s retinas upon viewing. In screenwriting, one seeks to pen scenes that would hook viewers in and capture the essence of the story at hand; what we would deem, “trailer moments.” 1984’s “Ghostbusters” is chocked full of them and it never lets up. It’s a tight hour and forty-five minutes that excites, and even as an adult I enjoyed it.

When it comes to rewatching films of your childhood, it’s easy to put on rose-tinted glasses. I will admit that I am biased to this movie. It was one of my favorites growing up. In my childhood room, I have a glow-in-the-dark Stay Puft and a Louis Tully action figure (from “Ghostbusters II”). The video game that released in 2009 really hooked me in, which essentially served as a third installment of the series (and the last time Ramis portrayed Egon Spengler). However, I do have to step back and point out the flaws of this picture. Because… well… there’s quite a few (most of which were pointed out by my girlfriend, who ended up thinking it to be quite a weird film).

Though I stated that the film is tight in its runtime, it does gloss over details. I would have loved to go on more adventures with the Ghostbusters and see them develop their headquarters more, as there is a lot of time-jumping involved with this story. It makes sense, given how there is a lot of ground to cover, but it ultimately forces me to turn off my brain and simply enjoy the ride. Not like this is too bad of a thing, as the ride is indeed fun, but it is worth noting. Secondly, the relationship between one Peter Vinkman (Murray) and Dana Barrett (Weaver) is a strange one. Growing up, I loved Bill Murray (still do), and saw his on-screen relationship with Weaver to be natural and fun. However, seeing it now… it doesn’t work as much. Aykroyd and Ramis take the Hollywood approach and fast-track their romance, even though Vinkman is very much a jerk and doesn’t have many redeemable qualities (aside from saving Barrett). Murray’s charm helps things, but it is humorous how he and Weaver are kissing by the film’s end even though it wasn’t all too earned. Lastly, the sexual innuendos are… something else. The film is heavily sexualized, which lends to funny moments, but also ones that aren’t all that necessary (namely, the ghost unbuckling Aykroyd’s pants). At the very least, they are consistent.

“Ghostbusters” is an American treasaure. Regardless of the flaws I have pointed out, it stands tall amongst the sea of iconic 80s cinema, and I still enjoy it to this day. The story and style is so unique, and the performances give way to some of the most memorable scenes. If you have not seen it, I strongly recommend. FINAL SCORE: 96%= Juicy Popcorn

This movie has been inducted into The Juicy Hall of Fame.

Here is the trailer:

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