Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Ghostbusters 1984

Back in the early 1980s I had the perfect job, I worked in a record store at the mall. I watched trends happen on a daily basis. I witnessed the Michael Jackson phenomenon firsthand, Madonna, Prince, Boy George, Duran Duran, the birth of Motley Crue, and the popification of Bruce Springsteen - I saw it all, including the summer of Ghostbusters.

From out of a sea of "Lucky Star" outfits and "Thriller" jackets they appeared, the Ghostbusters t-shirts, just as the trailers began. Not just the logo, there were some that said "who you gonna call" and "I ain't afraid of no ghost" to the rarer "I've been slimed" and "back off, man, I'm a scientist." We knew this was going to be a big movie even before Ray Parker Jr. saturated Hot Hits radio with its theme song.

I remember the Friday night that the movie opened, for all the wrong reasons. I broke up with a girlfriend and asked a friend to see the flick with me instead, who became my new girlfriend. Soap opera aside, that June night launched the blockbuster horror/scifi/comedy that definitely lived up to the hype, and a summer of quoting lines and re-seeing the film began.

Toy lines, a hit animated series, and the emblem were everywhere, and the thing was - it's a great film and deserved it all, watchable even today. Like I said in my review of the new movie, it's not the 1984 Ghostbusters, but very few movies are. I wouldn't say I'm a Ghosthead, but yeah, I love this film.

Three scientists, two serious and one not so serious, enter the paranormal investigation game and discover a way to capture ghosts. They learn that the increased paranormal activity is the result of an extra-dimensional entity trying to break through, and stop it, thereby saving New York. That's about it, and that last bit is very important, as the movie is very New York, almost a love letter to the city. A line from the climactic battle, "Let's show this prehistoric bitch how we do things downtown" says it all.

Despite it being written with John Belushi in mind, I think it's Bill Murray's funniest movie. Dan Aykroyd (who co-wrote with Ivan Reitman), Sigourney Weaver, Ernie Hudson, and even Annie Potts and Rick Moranis are perfect supporting. Harold Ramis is wonderful with his deadpan dialogue and facial expressions, giving Kate McKinnon the perfect template for the new movie. Everyone is on mark and at their best.

When it comes right down to it, what can be said about the original Ghostbusters? It stands up after over three decades, it's one of the funniest films ever made and it's not even technically a comedy, and I watch it whenever I find it on television, and still laugh. And it's been on television a lot with the new version currently on DVD and Blu-Ray. This is probably one of the most iconic films of its generation, and thus the aggravation over the remake, but it stands as one of the best. If you haven't seen it, do so, and if you have, do it again.

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