Ghostbusters (1984)



Genre: Action Comedy Sci-Fi 

Starring: Bill Murray (Broken Flowers • The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou), Dan Aykroyd (The Blues BrothersSpies Like Us)

Directed By: Ivan Reitman (Kindergarten Cop • Twins)

Overview: Three out-of-work parapsychologists start up a ghostbusting business to deal with all the new ghosts in town.

Ivan Reitman. Aside from Ghostbusters… and MAYBE Kindergarden Cop, this man's directorial career is filled with films that … suck. Evolution, Junior, My Super Ex-Girlfriend… some people aspire to greatness, and some people have shitty scripts thrust upon them. Instead of dwelling, let us instead say that Ghostbusters is Ivan Reitman's masterpiece. And many thanks to Ottawa's Mayfair theater for having couches upon which my cozy bum could watch this in all its awkwardly edited glory.

Iconic 80s cinema has few champions as proud to be yardsticks of cultural civilization as Ghostbusters. Cave dwellers and Mennonites may not know the story of three grant-less scientists who start a haunt-ridding business by capturing the undead with nuclear proton packs and ghost traps. In their travails, they learn that these happenings are all symptomatic of a greater force, the Sumerian Deity Gozer, who is preparing to take over the planet, via downtown New York. Hence, the Ghostbusters must do what they can to avoid Sigourney Weaver from humping Rick Moranis. It makes sense if you watch it. Make sure to buy your own Stay-Puft Marshmallow man!

This is the kind of movie that takes you back. Special effects that include poorly overlaid stop-motion demon dogs and awesome hotel sliming scenes that seemed forced and clichéd the second or eighth time around… You 90s TBS fans will recall this and other timeless fare like Demolition Man being played every damn weekend. But I digress.

Watching this for the first time as a critic, I found much of this movie to be quite odd in the pacing/editing department. Scenes jump quickly from event to explanation to next act without much meat to connect them. Bill Murray and Weaver's characters are pigeonholed into a love-interest plot so forced as to be laughable, but not 'funny Ha-Ha'. Half way though the film we add a fourth Ghostbuster to the mix, which is great for Euchre games and tennis dates, but Winston's character is about as developed as your 7-year old niece. When asked if he believes in ghosts in his first scene, he replies, "If there's a semi-regular paycheck in it I'll believe anything you say." I mean who needs more than that in a movie, eh? Enter 2-dimensional Random Black Man. "Saturday Night Live" said it best:

Chad: Who's your favourite ghostbuster?
Consuela: I like the black one.
Chi Chi: The black one? He didn't do nothing.
Consuela: But he was a ghostbuster. They didn't give him enough to do, but he would have been a great ghostbuster if they had given him a great ghostbuster job and said, "Go do that and be successful with it."

But still, with all the quirky awkward moments, this baby was still a huge blockbuster, what with Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis), geekiest buster of the bunch co-writing this puppy with Dan Aykroyd. What else would you expect from the talent that wrote hit screenplays like Bedazzled and Caddyshack!

And who wouldn't want this in their driveway?
And who wouldn't want this in their driveway?

Performance: 7 Cinematography: 8 Script: 7 Plot: 8 Mood: 8

Overall Rating: 76% (Don't Be 'Fraid O' No Ghosts)

Yep, ghostbusters will take you back. I even played the videogame for Sega Master System... and I remember it fondly. In fact, I'd definitely say it was better than the yawn-inducing PS3 game!

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