Ghostbusters in the Theatre: A Love Letter

Before we get to Ghostbusters in the theatre, I wanted to point out that today’s “Google Doodle” (the design of how google is written on the popular search engine) is a tribute to artist Mary Blair, on the occasion of what would have been her 100th birthday! Mary Blair is one of my favorite artists of all time and is one of the sole reasons for my renewed interest in classic Disney art and animation in my adult years. Happy Birthday, Mary, your art has proved to truly be timeless and an inspiration to millions of people, whether they knew it or not. Even though you were not as appreciated during your lifetime as you should have been, I hope that things like today’s Google Doodle draw more people into your art and an appreciation of your contributions to the world of animation and pop design.

I don’t know what I had planned to post about today. I have completely forgotten. I don’t think it was another sardine taste test, but in the back of my mind I know I had something planned.

Whatever it was, it went out the window as soon as the library ghost scared poor Alice the Librarian and the song started up…

Alice Drummond

"When there's somethin' strange..."

Two words?

Now, judging from these pictures, you may think that you have found yourself right in the middle of another breakdown. But you would be wrong.

There are some movies that I take it as a given that, not only have the readers of fitfordragoncon seen them, but they are quite familiar with them… and thus they do not require any sort of breakdown because we have these movies so clearly imprinted in our brilliant minds that we don’t need someone showing us pictures of the film because we can just retrieve them from the “Ghostbusters” file in our brain whenever we need them.

I also have “Ghostbusters” on home video, of course. You might think it silly to go see a movie in the theatre when you could just pop the disc into your player and watch it at home, but it’s like my cousin said, when describing the event of Ghostbusters returning to theatres: It’s like an old friend coming to town; even though you may not feel like going to hang out with them, you feel like you should.”

I think I have mentioned this before, but when Ghostbusters came out, no one had VCRs yet, so it ran in the theatres for flippin’ forever. Then they would re-release it every now and then. Ghostbusters still holds my record for film I have seen the most times and my record for movie seen the most times in the theatre.

I mean, why would anyone watch church on tv, when they could go taste that tasty Eucharist for themselves??? It’s just not the same.

My love for Ghostbusters is boundless, honestly.

As a kid, there were about 5 movies that truly defined my kid identity:

In no order, they were:

1. Ghostbusters (duh)

2. Star Wars (this includes the whole trilogy)

3. the Goonies

4. Red Dawn

5. National Lampoon’s Vacation

Sure, there were others that moved me (“Russkies”, “Explorers”, “Over the Edge”, “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, etc.), but none really spoke to me in the same way that these did. These five movies held such sway over my kid brain, that they genuinely changed me for the rest of my life, and I give them some credit for making me who I am today, for better or for worse.

So yeah, this isn’t so much a breakdown of Ghostbusters, so much as it is a love letter of sorts, written to “Ghostbusters”. The movie. Not to the actors, or the writers, or any one thing, but to “Ghostbusters” in general, in kind of a vague “overall” way.

Going into the theatre (which itself was a hassle, since the sign on the marquee made it completely unclear what time the movie started. I was not surprised, given my luck lately. Did I tell you my XBOX quit? Well, it did. And that is bullshit. Not only because now I can’t play my vidya games, but also because Microsoft used to charge $75 for the repair, and they sent you a box and a shipping label! All you had to do was put the XBOX in the UPSBOX and put it in the mail. Nowadays, it’s $99 and you hafta pay for the shipping supplies, which are like $10. I hate you Microsoft.)

Right.

Going into the theatre, I figured there were several ways this could go:

(I don’t know what’s up with the lists today, but here’s another one….)

1. Me and the wife are the only ones in there. This is always awesome. I feel like I’m “Annie” or Michael Jackson or something. Plus, I fully intended to stand up and dance to every song if we were the only people in there. I make it a rule that I only dance twice a year: at our Halloween Party, and at Mardi Gras.

2. It was gonna be crowded with a crowd that sucks. This is nearly always the case at movie theatres. In the case of Ghostbusters, I expected a mix of regular joes like me who loved the movie as a kid and still do, hipsters who are into it because it’s such an integral fixture in 80′s culture, and kids who were brought there by parents my age.

3. There was gonna be a lot of talking back to the screen, a la Rocky Horror or something. This could have been fun, if everyone got into the spirit of it, but it’s no fun when there’s only 1 or 2 people doing it.

In the end, it was just a normal crowd. It wasn’t too crowded, but it wasn’t empty either. No one talked back at the screen (sure, there were a few times when people just couldn’t help themselves and blurted something out. I had to use every ounce of restraint in my being to keep from doing this myself. It was such a struggle that I was literally squirming in my seat). And the kids that were there were quiet, and they loved it, which made me feel good.

There were several moments in the movie where, I’ll admit, I almost got a little misty-eyed. I was honestly not prepared for how much it would hit me, seeing it up on the big screen and with the booming sound and stuff.

These are the scenes that did it for me:

(we already did the opening scene where we first hear the song)

Second, the part where Janine gets the first call. This is the “Slimer call” and is the first real job for our heroes. Just before this scene, they are eating their last bit of money in the form of chinese take out.

When this scene came up last night in the theatre, I was genuinely excited for the Ghostbusters to finally get a job. Plus, the major points in the story along the way, that you know are leading up to the final showdown with Gozer and the saving of the city, really get me going…

"Yes, of course they're serious..."

"Oh, they'll be totally discreet..."

"WE GOT OOOONE!!!!"

Of course this scene is humorous if you are familiar with the film because we already know that if the Ghostbusters are anything, it ain’t discreet.

The scene where they bust Slimer is good, and brings back a lot of fun memories, but it didn’t hit me last night in the way it should to make it into this love letter. I also love the montage where it shows the Ghostbusters being very successful and busting ghosts all over the place, but it just wasn’t enough to make it here.

I do, however, want to point out this guy, the real bad guy of the movie… Walter Peck.

"Exactly what are you a doctor of, Mr. Venkman?"

This Kenneth Branagh wanna-be is from the EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency. It’s funny to me how, since this was made in the 80′s and Conservatism and Reaganomics were running roughshod over the country, a representative from the EPA is portrayed as a total dick and definitely a major antagonist throughout the film.

Anyway, just thought I’d point that out. He gets what’s coming to him: 3 million tons of shaving cream dropped from a crane at the end of the movie.

The next scene that got me was really just a quick shot that lasts about 10 seconds in the movie…

New York

It’s a shot of ECTO-1 driving across a bridge (help me out, New York people. I know this has got to be a famous bridge. Brooklyn Bridge maybe?).

Now, I don’t get down with people still acting all crazy about 9/11. I’ll admit that it was an emotional time for everyone, myself included, and still continues to greatly influence the way we live our lives today, but what I’m talking about here is people who get all emotional when they see the Twin Towers in a movie (like in this case) or in a picture somewhere.

However, the fact that Ghostbusters is such a “New York” movie, and the fact that it’s such a huge part of my childhood, really played a part in making me feel funny during this shot. I’ve always thought it was a great shot anyway, but seeing it on the big screen, and seeing New York there in all its grandeur with the Towers in the background, really made me feel weird. Not sad or anything, just weird.

Plus, this shot comes after a very apocalyptic chat between Ray and Winston, which is part of the suspense leading up to the final showdown with the Goz.

This immediately leads into the next scene, which is the real beginning of the end… of the world and of the movie.

"This is it! This is the sign!"

Pecker blows up the Ghostbusters’ Containment Unit, releasing all the ghosts contained therein to wreak havoc on the city. Louis Tully, aka the Keymaster (because he has a penis), escapes from the Ghostbusters during the chaos to go find Dana Barrett, aka the Gatekeeper (because she has the matching piece of that puzzle). This is not good at all. In fact, keeping in mind what Ray and Winston just said, and knowing that this is leading up to an ancient god descending on our world to take it over, this is truly the beginning of how the world ends, which made me feel all nervous and anxious, even though I knew the Ghostbusters would pull it out in the end.

One point that I have made in the past, and feel free to disagree below, is that, since the explosion of the Containment Unit was the sign that the Keymaster (Vinz Clortho) and the Gatekeeper (Zuul) were looking for, the Ghostbusters are kind of responsible for Gozer coming to earth. Without the Ghostbusters, there would be no Containment unit to explode, and thus no sign to trigger the end of the world. But you can’t blame the Ghostbusters; it was just fate that created them and used them to pave the way for the end of the world… which they prevented.

Check out the Stay-Puft ad on the building on the left.

"Oh honey, it's magic..."

There is no Dana, only Zuul.

25 years later and that “Oh honey, it’s Magic” song, coupled with those spirits all flying around New York, still fills me with dread. I remember listening to the Ghostbusters soundtrack and this awesome 30 seconds of the song is just a small part of a 5 minute song that sounds like if Hall & Oates did the soundtrack for the Neverending Story (it’s not as great as that makes it sound, trust me).

It’s really the dread and the suspense that this scene made me feel, all these years later, that make it to this love letter.

These last two parts are parts where you’re supposed to swell with pride for the Ghostbusters, and it still works on me. We’ve followed these guys from being practically homeless to being celebrities, and now the whole city of New York is cheering them on and counting on them to save them from a fate worse than death.

I guess as a kid, you just felt like this was justice. That the Ghostbusters deserved the cheers and deserved to have the whole city, including the mayor, behind them. And we, the audience, are behind them too. We’re in the audience, cheering them on. I’m the loud red-headed guy in the trenchcoat, but there’s plenty to choose from: quakers, some punk rockers, nuns. You name it, they love the Ghostbusters. How could you not?

"C'mon, let's run some red lights!"

"Hello, New York!!!"

"Ghostbusters! Ghostbusters! Ghostbusters!!!"

"Dr. Ray Stantz, the heart of the Ghostbusters!!!"

Everybody be lovin on the Ghostbusters.

Even though the whole city is behind them, in the end it’s just going to be them versus Gozer. And a 100-foot marshmallow man. This is a metaphor for fitnessing. Everyone wants you to keep going and get fit, but in the end you are like the Ghostbusters: it’s just you and the alarm clock or just you and the Whirly Bird.

Do the Ghostbusters win? Of course. And the victory celebration always makes me proud to be a wanna-be Ghostbuster…

"I love this tooown!!!"

Everybody still loves dem Ghostbusters

What a good shot of these two lovebirds. Dana is all smiles. They look so young. 25 years ago… le sigh…

Sealing the deal.

Ray just chills in the back and smokes.

Janine and Egon share a celebratory embrace

For some reason, Janine was Louis Tully’s girlfriend in Ghostbusters 2, not Egon’s, which was stupid. I think they did that to go along with the Real Ghostbusters cartoon show, which was insanely popular at the time. I would feel something was amiss if I didn’t mention the Filmation Ghostbusters cartoon where the teens ride around in a jalopy with an ape. There, I mentioned it.

"Anybody wanna interview me? I'm an eyewitness!"

Louis can’t win. He gets carted off in the ambulance while the other guys get to leave in the car. Maybe that’s why Janine was his girlfriend in the sequel: because everybody felt bad for him. I still think it’s stupid.

Winston puts his gear away, getting ready to leave

A job well done, Winston puts his tools up and prepares to leave the jobsite. I really like Winston, but feel he never gets enough credit. Without a fourth stream to cross in the end, would the Ghostbusters have been able to defeat Gozer? I doubt it.

ECTO-1 rolls out, through the throngs of well-wishers

I've always loved this Bull-from-Night-Court doppelganger

The Ghostbusters drive away into the setting sun, and Slimer flies at the screen because, remember, all the ghosts that were in the Containment Unit are now out roaming free.

So those are the scenes that really got me last night and, if you loved the Ghostbusters as much as we did, they’ll get you too, especially if you go see it in your local cinema.

Unlike others, *cough* Star Wars *cough* Lucas should die a horrible death *cough*, Ghostbusters is still totally fucking awesome.

Ghostbusters, I love you.

This entry was posted in About Me, About Media, General dorky shit. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Ghostbusters in the Theatre: A Love Letter

  1. 1148BucksX2 says:

    That minute and a half or so with Winston and Ray driving through the night and chatting about “ancient myths” and ending with the wide shot of the 1984 New York skyline is probably my favorite part of the entire movie; a strangely serious moment in the middle of a brilliant comedy (although as a little guy, I didn’t understand that this movie was meant to be funny, as I took it seriously). With or without 9/11, this scene always sorta gave me chills.

    I’d never thought of how the boys in gray would’ve done against Gozer without a fourth stream. Winston just never got the credit he was due, and I wish they’d fleshed his character out the way it was intended originally. I remember reading someplace that he was written as being a former Marine warrant officer and electronic warfare specialist having a tough time adjusting to civilian life. Still, that also brings up my biggest gripe with the movie–Winston just walks in a gets hired on the spot? After *that* montage, you’d think EVERYone would want to be a ghostbuster……..

    • I have ALWAYS thought that! I guess a lot of people have, too. I can’t believe that there wasn’t 5 zillion people applying to be a Ghostbuster and be rich and/or famous.

      As a kid, I don’t think I took it too seriously, but there were definitely elements of the humor that I didn’t get, but that I think are hilarious now that I’m a grown-ass man. My favorite example of this is all the “pseudo-science” mumbo-jumbo thrown around. That stuff really cracks me up now, but as a kid I bought it all hook, line, and sinker.

  2. frankie342 says:

    the only unforgiving act that the bbfc changing its rating from a pg – 12
    but i loved seeing sigourney transformed into a ravishing beauty
    in that golden reddish dress walking eligant and writhing in such
    and seductive manor that made any guy quiver to thier knees
    but her beautiful walk that made her dress flow with eligance
    and she was stunning doing that walk into her room and climbed on her bed
    and her floating above her bed also bowled me over the rest was noveltie
    to me.

    frankie(cool rider) smales

    frankie smales tv and movie review uk

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