Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ghostbusters (Reitman. 1984)

"Who Ya Gonna Call?"

I have no idea if this is true or not, but I have a feeling that Bill Murray is a massive jerk. There is something about his style and demeanor that leads me to believe that he is a mean dude. Either way, I usually find his movies to be hilarious. Murray is probably the most remembered part of the 80s classic, Ghostbusters, but he actually played no hand in the writing of the film. This baby belongs to the brilliant comedic minds of Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Rick Moranis. These Second City alums understand how to make intelligent characters in the midst of ridiculous events.

And that is exactly what they do in Ghostbusters. Three goofball scientists are fired from their jobs at a prestigious university in New York. They decide to take up residence in an old firehouse and become paranormal exterminators called ghostbusters. As expected, business is slow at first. Eventually the beautiful Dana Barett, played by Sigourney Weaver, starts to see unexplainable things in her apartment building. Her claims are validated by her neighbor, played by Moranis, and the paranormal exterminators are officially on the case.

What makes this such an original and great film is that it is able to successfully combine big-budget special effects and subtle comedic timing. Murray, Ramis and Aykroyd never stop reminding you that they are smart characters. They are, after all, scientists with an obsession for the undead side of things. They manage to entertain and amuse the audience in perfect conformity with the somewhat dated (but 1984-revolutionary) effects.

The most memorable example of the special effects is the giant Stay Puft Marshmellow Man that terrorized the people in Manhattan. This scene is always the favorite in Ghostbusters because it is the quintessential combination of funny, smart and visually outstanding. It has been said that a comedy will lose laughs with every dollar that it spends. This may be the only immediate exception to the rule. It seems as if the actors knew that this would be an uphill task, and they have the timing, delivery and personality to pull it off.

There is nothing exceptional about Reitman's Ghostbusters, but it is a fun little movie with interesting special effects, good performances and a killer soundtrack. I am starting to think that the 80s get a bad rap for being the least entertaining decade in terms of film. It may be true that the decade lacks the inspiration of the 60s or the discombobulation of the 70s, but the 80s has a monopoly on fun comedies. This is one of the decade's most fun...

Ghostbusters: B

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