46. Ghostbusters

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Movie: Ghostbusters

Release Date: June 8, 1984

Director: Ivan Reitman

Starring: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, Annie Potts, Ernie Hudson.

Tag Lines: “No spook, specter, or haunt will ever be safe again.”

“They’re here to save the world.”

“Coming to save the world this summer.”

“We’re ready to believe you.”

“Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters!”

“The supernatural spectacular.”

“They ain’t afraid of no ghost.”

“The world’s most successful comedy.”

Relevance: In early June of 1984, I had just finished my seventh year of grade school at a small Catholic school in Northeastern Pennsylvania. I was newly thirteen and excited for the summer break before starting my last hurrah at that school the following Fall. One more year and I would finally be making it to high school. I was too young to work, so my summer was filled with hanging out with friends, swimming, watching a lot of MTV and going to the movies. One of those movies I went to that summer was ‘Ghostbusters.’

I know that I went to see ‘Ghostbusters’ with two of my good friends from school sometime during the first week of its release. The movie was getting a lot of good buzz and had a very successful opening weekend. Critics loved the movie and it was on course to becoming not only a summer blockbuster but the movie that everyone would be talking about. So one weekday afternoon that June, the three of us were dropped off at the cinema that was attached to a mall by one of our parents. For some reason or another, we were late to the movie but got our tickets anyway. By the time we were looking for our seats we had missed the first fifteen minutes of the film. The movie was crowded, but we found three seats together in the dark and sat down to watch the rest of the film.

Me being me, I was a little perturbed that I had missed a portion of the movie, but I quickly got over it as I sat there being entertained by Bill Murray and company. It was a lively audience and the three of us laughed right along with them at the antics happening on the screen. The story was fun and original, the special effects were amazing to see on the big screen and it was a hugely funny film. All three of us loved the movie and left the theater talking about it and quoting it with “Let’s show this prehistoric bitch how we do things down town” being the unanimous favorite.

‘Ghostbusters’ indeed went on to become a summer blockbuster becoming the second highest grossing film of 1984. It remained the number one film in America for seven consecutive weeks, eventually being knocked out of first place by ‘Purple Rain’ (see 56. Purple Rain). It was also the talk of the town thanks in huge part to the song “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr. That song was played incessantly on the radio that summer and went on to become a number one song on the United States Billboard charts in August staying there for three weeks. Being a fan of Huey Lewis’s “I Want a New Drug,” (you can google about that lawsuit), I was a huge fan of this song as well and danced and sang to it all summer long. ‘Ghostbusters,’ song and movie, was all the rage.

I believe it was somewhere in my eighth grade year of school that I saw ‘Ghostbusters’ again this time via rental. I not only needed to see the first fifteen minutes of the movie but I also wanted my family to see the movie I had loved so much. My mom was a tough sell on the film as it had “ghost” in the title, but she eventually came around and enjoyed it as much as the rest of us. What was not to love? It seemed to be even funnier the second time around and made my family laugh a lot. When it started airing on HBO, it became one of our movies “recorded on a blank VHS” so that we could watch it whenever we wanted to. And we did, or at least I did. The movie remained a constant for most of my high school years.

When the sequel ‘Ghostbusters II’ was released in theaters in 1989, I had just graduated high school and for some reason or another didn’t get a chance to see it on the big screen. Eventually I did and enjoyed it but it seemed to lose a little of the originality of the first. I had also been a fan of the animated series “The Real Ghostbusters” that aired in the late 1980’s through the early 1990’s. I even enjoyed the reboot ‘Ghostbusters: Answer the Call’ in 2016 with the all female cast that no one else seemed to like at all. For me, it all comes down to my love for the original movie. Because of ‘Ghostbusters,’ I am a huge fan of the franchise and will probably love everything associated with it. And after thirty-six years, that says a lot.

Today’s Thoughts: “We came, we saw, we kicked its ass!”

I was really excited to see ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ this summer, but damn that pesky COVID-19. I will definitely be heading to the theater next summer to see it on the big screen unless 2021 becomes 2020’s ugly twin sister. Fingers crossed it doesn’t. Regardless I was super excited to sit down today and watch the film that started it all.

‘Ghostbusters’ is a movie I have watched countless times and reference at least once a day. If there is a piano in the room, I always play the last two keys and say “They hate that.” “Mother puss bucket” is one of my go to phrases when I am trying to censor myself. Every time I see a Twinkie, I say “That’s a really big Twinkie.” I have even left notes for my son that are signed, “No Dana, only Zuul.” He never saw the movie so he has no idea what it means so I am sure he just rolls his eyes, which is why I continue to do it. You get the picture, the movie is a big influence.

Watching it today is like hanging with an old friend that always makes me laugh even though they are telling the same jokes over and over again. I just love the movie. Sure, those amazing special effects aren’t so amazing anymore, but it is still a very entertaining, very funny movie. The cast, including Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, Annie Potts and Ernie Hudson are all great and each have great moments. However Mr. Murray, in my opinion, has never been funnier. This is by far my favorite performance of his, and he has had many great ones.

‘Ghostbusters’ is a fantastic, now nostalgic, supernatural comedy that needs to be seen by everyone. I have tried countless times to get my son to watch it, but he boycotts all thing 1980’s. Fool! I shutter when I think about his generation running this world. ‘Ghostbusters’ is a classic and I am more than proud to have it in my top fifty favorite and most influential movies of all time.

“Maybe now you’ll never slime a guy with a positron collider, huh?”

Awards: Academy Award for Best Effects, Visual Effects, Richard Edlund, John Bruno, Mark Vargo, Chuck Gaspar (nomination), Academy Award for Best Music, Original Song, “Ghostbusters,” Ray Parker Jr. (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, Bill Murray (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Original Song – Motion Picture, “Ghostbusters,” Ray Parker Jr. (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Original Song, “Ghostbusters,” Ray Parker Jr. (winner), BAFTA Award for Best Special Visual Effects, Richard Edlund, John Bruno, Mark Vargo, Chuck Gaspar (nomination), National Film Registry (2015).

Ways to Watch: Vudu, Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, DVD Availability.

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