“Ray, When Someone Asks If You’re a God, You Say YES.”

After the news of Harold Ramis passing earlier this week, I — like many people, I’m sure — watched Ghostbusters on Netflix.

2

I don’t have quite the same nostalgia for the film that a lot of other people do, but I still found myself enjoying the movie an awful lot.

DISCLAIMER:

There will be SPOILERS throughout this whole review because I’m lazy, and because this movie came out before I was born. Also, this is going to be a Baby Review with not a lot of detail. Cause I’ve still got shit to do, dammit.

SUMMARY:

A few parapsychologist dudes — plus this other guy — capture ghosts for a living. Oh, and then they have to save the world from the foolish mistakes of the EPA.

NOTES:

1. I probably haven’t seen Ghostbusters since I was, like, six. A few parts I remembered really well, but the rest of the movie? Pah, just gone.

So, it was fun to watch Ghostbusters again. It is, after all, is ridiculously quotable. But like I said before, I just don’t have the geek-squee-adore feelings that a lot of people have after growing up with this movie. I did like it — a few scenes made me laugh especially hard — but in no way do I think it’s a perfect film that epitomizes the best of all comedy. Which is cool if you do. I’m just letting you know right now that in today’s particularly haphazard list of notes, I am going to lob a few light criticisms its way.

2. Like Winston? He’s kind of random.

hudson

It’s interesting because Winston (Ernie Hudson) had me at his very first line: “If there’s a steady paycheck in it, I’ll believe anything you say.” I actually pointed at the screen and was all, “I like this guy.” But . . . he comes awfully late into the movie, and he appears to be some kind of Christian everyman who gets no real Ghostbusting training of any kind — like, come on guys, we need training; that is prime montage material, people — and I just . . . don’t really know why he’s there. I mean, other than being a Christian everyman, which I’m just not convinced the film needed.

3. Also, there is a montage . . . and it includes a possible dream sequence of a ghost making some serious moves on Dan Aykroyd. Did anyone else find this bit a little awkward?

4. On the plus side, I think I know who my favorite character is, and no, it’s not Venkman.

annie

I’m not sure exactly why I like Janine so much, just that I do. Maybe it’s the super dry delivery. (“Yes, of course they’re serious.”) Or maybe it’s just envy. After all, while my ultimate career goal is fully supporting myself through writing novels and short stories and screenplays and whatever the hell else I want, my second dream job is totally a receptionist gig at some kind of paranormal activity agency. I wonder if that would have good medical.

5. But speaking of Venkman — well, sort of — he’s kind of an asshole, huh?

venkman1

I got to like him, actually — I mean, he has most of the best lines in the movie — but he’s a bit more of a dick than I remembered him being, especially in the first ten minutes. I was a little bit concerned in the opening scenes of the film, with that whole experiment and sleazily hitting on the blonde. I was like, Shit, am I going to hate Bill Murray? Am I going to hate the guy that EVERYBODY loves?

Well, I didn’t. He made me laugh. An awful lot, even.

But I totally think Sigourney Weaver’s too good for him. And I kind of wish they hadn’t kissed at the end, since I never bought her wanting to date him in the first place.

Hm. I should see if there’s any Dana/Janine shippers out there.

6. I love how the evil spirit inside Sigourney Weaver makes her all hot and bothered, while the evil spirit inside Rick Moranis just makes him even weirder.

sig
moranis

Assholes. If you really wanted this movie to be funny, you would have reversed the gender roles here.

7. This is of no consequence to anyone at all, but I feel like I must point out — one of the lines that has always stuck with me (for no apparent reason) is “there is no Dana, only Zuul.” Like, I have said that — or some variant of that — WAY too many times in my life. Only in my head, it was always Zeul — cause, like, Zeus, but no ‘s’ — and it’s really hard for me to spell it the proper way. Ultimately, I decided against being a spelling rebel in this review, but it was a hard decision. I just wanted you all to appreciate that.

8. Also, I feel a little bad for 80’s Schmuck Bad Guy, William Atherton. Man. Has that dude ever played a nice guy in his entire life? Even when he’s trying to protect the environment, he’s an asshole about it.

9. If I was going to cosplay anybody, I’d probably pick Janine — although, clearly, you’d need the entire group for that, otherwise you’re just some chick with 80’s glasses. Or, if I felt a little more comfortable with my body, I might pick this lady:

evil

Yeah. That would be fun.

10. Finally, the best part of the whole movie, of course, is the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

stay puft

When I tag this review with ‘Awesome Villain Alert,’ he is totally the villain I am referring to.

This is the part I remember most from my childhood, and it still makes me giggle like a fiend. I heart you, Mr. Stay Puft. When the world ends, I truly hope you are the cause.

QUOTES:

Venkman: “Why worry? Each of us is wearing an unlicensed nuclear accelerator on his back.”

Venkman: “He slimed me.”
Ray: “That’s great! Actual physical contact!”

Louis: “You will perish in flames!”
Coachman: “What an asshole.”

Ray: “Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!”
Spengler: “Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes . . .”
Winston: “The dead rising from the grave!”
Venkman: “Human sacrifice! Dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria!”

Ray: “Personally, I liked the university. They gave us money and facilities. We didn’t have to produce anything! You’ve never been out of college! You don’t know what it’s like out there! I’ve worked in the private sector. They expect results.”

Venkman: “You’re right. No human being would stack books like this.”

Ray: “Everything was fine with our system until the power grid was shut off by dickless here.”
Peck: “They caused an explosion!”
Mayor: “Is this true?”
Venkman: “Yes, it’s true. This man has no dick.”

Venkman: “Generally, you don’t see that kind of behavior in a major appliance.”

Winston: “That’s a big Twinkie.”

Dana/Zuul: “There is no Dana, only Zuul!”
Venkman: “What a lovely singing voice you must have.”

Winston: “Hold it! Now, are we actually gonna go before a federal judge, and tell him that some moldy Babylonian god is going to drop in on Central Park West, and start tearing up the city?
Spengler: “Sumerian, not Babylonian.”
Venkman: “Yeah, big difference.”
Winston: “No offense, guys, but I’ve gotta get my own lawyer.”

Ray: “I think we should split up.”
Spengler: “Good idea.”
Venkman: “Yeah, we can do more damage that way.”

Venkman: “If I’m wrong, nothing happens! We go to jail — peacefully, quietly. We’ll enjoy it! But if I’m right, and we can stop this thing . . . Lenny, you will have saved the lives of millions of registered voters.”

Venkman: “You’re gonna endanger us, you’re gonna endanger our client — the nice lady, who paid us in advance, before she became a dog . . .”
Spengler: “Not necessarily. There’s definitely a very slim chance we’ll survive.”
Venkman: “. . . I love this plan! I’m excited to be a part of it! Let’s do it!”

Venkman: “Get her. That was your whole plan, huh? Get her. Very scientific.”

Janine: “Ghostbusters, what do you want?”

Venkman: “Well, that’s something you don’t see everyday.”

CONCLUSIONS:

Fun. Not necessarily in my Most Beloved 80’s Films of All Time pile, but definitely fun. Also, I think I need to watch Zombieland again now.

MVP:

Oh, Bill Murray.

TENTATIVE GRADE:

B+

MORAL

Always claim godhood.

Also, the EPA is totally evil. Fuck that environment. Tree huggers will destroy the world!

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8 Responses to “Ray, When Someone Asks If You’re a God, You Say YES.”

  1. fatpie42 says:

    like, Zeus, but no ‘s’

    Um, what’s that supposed to be pronounced like? Coz I’d say Zeus was pronounced like “Z-you-ss”. So you thought this demon in Ghostbusters was pronounced like Z-you’ll? Is that it?

    For me the weirdest thing about the demon name is that whenever I rewatch this movie it always makes me think of this videogame that came out (which I actually never played) called “Zool: Ninja of the Nth Dimension”

    The Stay Puft Marshmallow man has always been really confusing to me, because it’s not a known brand over here in the UK. The idea of a giant marshmallow man as a villain seemed really cool, but the whole joke that the character is some kind of symbol of sweetness and light is not going to work on me, because I ONLY know of this character from THIS movie. The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man? What, you mean the giant monster from the Ghostbusters movie?

    As for loveable cartoon characters connected with specific brands, another example of this I’ve seen elsewhere is of course the villain “The Candy Man” from classic Doctor Who, who is a blatant copy of Bertie Bassett the liquorice allsorts guy.

    And you missed the best line in the film!
    “Back off man, I’m a scientist.”

  2. Brandon says:

    Winston fell victim to edits, unfortunately. He had a lot of backstory that never made it to the screen (ex-military, which basically made him the MOST qualified to handle the kind of equipment they were using).

    Ghostbusters represents a sort of shift in the landscape of comedy, at least in terms of what we got in films. This was a movie about a group of smart guys who TALK like smart guys but are *just guys*. The humor is understated. It’s subtle. Ghostbusters does something almost no film in the era was managing to pull off: believable dialogue. The vast majority of the lines in the film (if not all of them) are things you believe a person might actually say, as opposed to the usual movie script mantra “you can WRITE these line, you just can’t SAY them”. There’s never an obvious, labored set-up-to-punchline routine that lesser comedies use with reckless abandon, which means when the jokes DO come, they are much more effective because you don’t see them telegraphed a mile away.

    There’s also no other film that has so seemlessly combined big budget effects (obviously dated now, but stay with me) with comedy.

    Ghostbusters is one of the best films of the 80s, and probably the best comedy (this can be argued). If nothing else, it paved the way for where comedy in film would move from that point forward.

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