May 3, 2020

DVD REVIEW # 52 Ghostbusters (Plus my Top Five Ivan Reitman Directed films) With Talking Flick Podcast Appearences (Ghostbusters and Zodiac)!

Ghostbusters (1984) Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Dan Ackroyd Directed by Ivan Reitman 

"We’ve been going about this all wrong. This Mr. Stay Puft’s okay! He’s a sailor, he’s in New York… if we get this guy laid, we won’t have any trouble." Bill Murray  (Peter Venkman)

Famous critic Gene Siskel once wrote “Murray blows away the film’s boring special effects with his one-liners” and though I don’t agree that 1984’s groundbreaking special effects were boring; I agree with his sentiment that they are not the driving force of the film. I’ve seen Ghostbusters a hundred times, maybe more. It is without a doubt one of my favorite comedies of all time and has flirted with my All Time Top Ten. The chemistry in casting, the value of concise comedy, and the overall fun ride makes it one of the most influential blockbusters ever made. I’ve waxed poetic about Ghostbusters so many times that it feels silly, but I’ve never reviewed it, so the podcast has finally given me an opportunity (Call it faith, Call it luck, Call it karma), so here we go. 

All time comedy Director Ivan Reitman (Dave and Stripes) helms one of the best comedies ever and changes the blockbuster game in the process. Ghostbusters (the Biggest film of 1984, beating out Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) is a clever blend of witty dialogue and fun character chemistry (think Swingers) with a super high concept special effects blockbuster. Truly the first of its kind and at a price tag of 30 million dollars in 1984, a huge gamble. Dan Ackroyd (who also plays the innocent Ghostbuster Ray Stanz) originally wrote a much stranger concept for him and SNL buddy John Belushi, but was able to scale it back with the help of Reitman and National Lampoon alum, Harold Ramis (who ended up playing Ghostbuster Egon brilliantly in the film). The end result was a wonderful mix that has been often imitated and rarely, if ever duplicated. Ghostbusters is the story of 3 recently defrocked scientists (Most notably the magnetic Bill Murray who feasts while Ackroyd and Ramis serve up softballs that Murrays’s character Peter Venkman can knock out of the park) who, with some luck, fall into a business opportunity doing what else: busting ghosts! As business booms, they recruit a fourth member Winston Zedmore (played memorably by Ernie Hudson), he serves as the kind of ordinary man POV character that grounds the film before it gets too far off the reservation. Zipping around in Ecto 1 (a remodeled hearse), equipped with nuclear accelerators strapped to their backs, the Ghostbusters are living large, that is until the EPA (Amazing William Atherton performance) and a god like demon named Zuul (Voiced by Reitman) threaten the city and Venkman’s to be girlfriend Dana Barrett (an electric Sigourney Weaver). The climax of this film is so charming (Stay Puft-its still genius), that questioning any of the science or hard edits seems futile. Ghostbusters entertains, charms, and inspires. Truly a one of kind film that has spawned over a billion dollars in off shoots (Great cartoons, solid video games, etc…). Ghostbusters  is one of, if not the best comedy of all-time film, of course you should SEE IT

Note: I very much look forward to Ivan’s son Jason’s (Up in the Air and Juno) attempt to recharge the franchise with 2021’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife. FINGERS CROSSED PLEASE BE GOOD!  

(The Shawshank Scale 1-10) A true lightening in a bottle High- Concept comedy that has stood the test of time. Ghostbusters helped shaped the blockbuster era of Hollywood and allowed comedies to have a seat at the table (even expensive ones). Incessantly rewatchable, insanely funny, and immensely quotable! Few movies this short, this simple, can be so remarkably memorable. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND Ghostbusters and give it a 9.0 on THE SHAWSHANK SCALE. (Don’t sleep on Part II, give it a chance!)

Ranking the Top Five Ivan Reitman Directed Films of All Time:

1. Ghostbusters (1984)-If you don’t smile ear to ear watching this film, you are a robot.
2. Stripes (1981)-There she was, just a walking down the street…
3. Ghostbusters II (1989)-Not as good, but expanded the world and I loved it! 
4. Kindergarten Cop (1990)-Ivan and Arnold work really well together, K-Cop is joyride.
5. Twins (1988)-Ivan loves one sentence pitch movies, this one with Arnold, super fun.

Honorable Mentions: Meatballs, Evolution, Draft Day, and No Strings Attached


As always, special thanks to Tyler and Producer Rian for allowing me a guest spot on Talking Flick to gush over one of my favorite films. We Came, We Saw, We Kicked its Ass!! 

Talking Flick on Anchor   (Ghostbusters Episode)

Talking Flick on iTunes   (Ghostbusters Episode)

Talking Flick on Anchor  (Bonus Zodiac Episode)

Talking Flick on iTunes. (Bonus Zodiac Episode)

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