Ghostbusters Is 30, and 5 Reasons It's Still the Best Movie Ever
In case you didn't think you were old, Ghostbusters is about to celebrate its 30th anniversary. Yes. 3-0. If you are like me and you saw it 30 years ago when it was first released, rather than examining how little you've accomplished in your life since then, acknowledge that even after 30 years, it is still one of the funniest movies ever made. I may be so bold and say that it is the funniest, smartest, most perfect movie ever made. There, I said it:Ghostbusters is the best movie of all time.
To celebrate the movie's special day, a new trailer has been released, and on August 29, the movie will find its way back onto the big screen. There is also a new website complete with cast photos, limited edition prints and a moving Slimer.
In the 30 years since it's been released, I think that I've seen it more than 100 times. That number is not hyperbole. Not only have I owned the movie in multiple formats (VHS taped off the TV complete with old-school commercials), but anytime I catch it on air I will stop everything I am doing and watch. Despite knowing every word, I always laugh my ass off. And on several occasions I have come across lines that I either forgot or never heard before. It is a brilliant film.
5. It Has The Greatest Ensemble Cast Of All Time There are certainly films out there with great ensembles, but no other comedy team feels as connected to each other's sense of humor as the crew of Ghostbusters. Obviously, the trio of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis is comedy gold but it's more than that. Throw in Rick Moranis as the loony health-nut neighbor turn devil dog, Ernie Hudson as the straight man, Annie Potts as the nerdy, over-worked receptionist, Sigourney Weever as Zuul, and the list just goes on and on.The ancillary actors are totally stand-out too, such as William Atherton as the "dickless" Walter Peck. Hell, even the cameos are amazing; Casey Kasem (RIP), Larry King, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and Joe Franklin show up at random.
The Ghostbusters gang was the previous generation's Rogan/Hill/Franco. These guys just look like they are having the best time of their lives; their friendship comes across on screen in a way that hadn't been seen before. That SNL camaraderie seeped its way into our culture and is now the norm.
4. It Is Wildly Quotable At least once a week I quote Ghostbusters and that quote is usually, "Print is dead." (Egon said that in 1984, people!) There are almost too many good lines in this movie, but a choice few are:
Dr. Peter Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!
Dr Ray Stantz: Symmetrical book stacking. Just like the Philadelphia mass turbulence of 1947.
Dr. Peter Venkman: You're right, no human being would stack books like this.
Louis: Gozer the Traveler. He will come in one of the pre-chosen forms. During the rectification of the Vuldrini, the traveler came as a large and moving Torg! Then, during the third reconciliation of the last of the McKetrick supplicants, they chose a new form for him: that of a giant Slor! Many Shuvs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you!
Winston Zeddemore: Tell 'em about the Twinkie.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Let's show this prehistoric bitch how we do things downtown...
Dr Ray Stantz: Gozer the Gozerian... good evening. As a duly designated representative of the City, County and State of New York, I order you to cease any and all supernatural activity and return forthwith to your place of origin or to the nearest convenient parallel dimension.
Janine Melnitz: Oh, that's very fascinating to me. I read a lot myself. Some people think I'm too intellectual but I think it's a fabulous way to spend your spare time. I also play raquetball. Do you have any hobbies?
Dr. Egon Spengler: I collect spores, molds, and fungus.
Ok... I'll stop but I will say this, just recently I was watching the movie for the millionth time and when they aim their proton sticks at Gozer as a woman, Venkman yells, "Aim for the flat-top!" (referring to Gozer's hair) and I swear I had never heard that line in my life.
3. Bill Murray
I love you
I know I just said it's a great film due its ensemble cast, but man, is Bill Murray fantastic in this movie. He's smart and sexy and every word that comes out of his mouth is perfect. He is Peter Venkman and I think this role set him up for his entire, very prolific, career.
2. Ghostbusters Is Real New York
During the film renaissance of the 1970s, many productions took place in New York and as such captured the rawness of the city. This spilled into the 1980s before Guliani came in and sucked the lifeblood out New York. Many of these films embody the grittiness of the time and place, The Godfather, Taxi Driver, The Warriors, Saturday Night Fever, The Muppets Take Manhattan , obviously anything by Woody Allen, and of course Shaft . Ghostbusters found that sweet spot between romanticizing the city and showing what a crap-hole it was. They set up shop in a broken down firehouse in Tribeca, which works perfectly against the backdrop of the glamor of Central Park West.
The 'busters roam all over the city catching spirits, which makes it a perfect travel film without coming off as showy. They hit up Columbia, the New York Public Library, Central Park, Rockefeller Center, China Town, and the Brooklyn Bridge. Louis Tully is attacked by a freak dog thing outside of Tavern on the Green, and Venkman dances around in a circle outside Lincoln Center.
There is a lovely juxtaposition between the upper (crust) of Manhattan and the lower scum where the boys are home. If I felt like getting all philosophical, I would ramble on about the hidden message as to why the specters choose the rich part of the city to take over and turn into a hell-hole. Was Ramis trying to make a point about the socioeconomic distribution of New York in the early 1980s? Probably not.
1. As Absurd As It Is, It's Totally Believable
It is very difficult to take a topic such as "ghosts take over the city and three guys figure out a way to capture them" and make it genuinely believable, but Ghostbusters does just that. There is so much reality and humanity to it.
These dudes get fired from their cushy university jobs, so what better time could there be to throw caution to the wind and blow all of your money on an experiment you've been working on to harness phantoms in a storage container? That's the American dream (in some weird version of America).
They are average Joes. Despite being versed in ancient Sumerian texts, they talk like real people. They enjoy Chinese food and Miller Lights and Twinkies, and have fantasies about ghosts giving them sexual favors, and oh yeah and they just happen to be genius scientists.
And what happens when their ghostbusting works? They do what any bros would do and revel in their success. They hit up the nightclub for some dancing after they pack up some phantoms. They make poorly acted commercials and use gimmicky sales tactics just like any small business owners. They do interview shows where they get made fun of because... they are ghostbusters, so of course there will be dead Elvis jokes.
Basically, if ghosts took over a city, it would be New York and I would totally buy that these would be the guys to save the day.
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