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Episode 98 - Ghostbusters

Is Ghostbusters Canon?  

164 members have voted

  1. 1. Should Ghostbusters be in the Canon?



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Yeah y'know I love Paul but I never would have expected him to win a debate with Amy anyway.

 

I must say I missed Devin's crankiness a bit. I know he would have gone to town in a few places (assuming he was a Ghostbusters supporter).

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I grew up watching this movie, the sequel, and the cartoon. I had the action figures, the firehouse set toy, and drank more Ecto Cooler than water as a 5-year-old.

 

But that doesn't change the fact that the movie wasn't great.

 

I generally agreed with just about every criticism Amy had. Mess of a script, Winston got done dirty, non-peak Bill Murray, where to start? In a way, all those problems are related, because of the writing issues. I'm surprised no one brought up the story of Aykroyd's legendary first-draft, which was 180 pages, deemed unfilmable, and definitively not a comedy. Although it was reworked into something that made some degree of sense, you get the feeling that no one really agreed what the movie should be. Aykroyd wanted it to be a kickass, mythology-building sci-fi movie. Murray wanted it to be a comedy vehicle for him. Ernie Hudson wanted it to be a movie where he appeared in the first act. Only Harold Ramis really gives the sense that he understands what movie he's in, and I do think he's the MVP of Ghostbusters and that it's his greatest acting role/performance.

 

And of course, Bill Murray thought so little of the script that he improvised nearly every one of his lines. This might be one of the top 5 most famous Bill Murray roles, but it's certainly not one of his top 5 best. The best Bill Murray film and Bill Murray performance is Groundhog Day. Just considering comedic lead performances, I'd put his work in Stripes, Scrooged, What About Bob?, and Life Aquatic ahead of his work in Ghostbusters. Not to mention his more dramatic work in things like Lost in Translation, or his supporting work in things like Rushmore, Kingpin, or even Caddyshack (complete mess though that movie is, he cracks me up in it).

 

By the way, I'm with Amy and I actually like Ghostbusters 2 roughly as much as the original. It has the benefit of actually knowing it's a comedy, and because it doesn't have to have an origin story, there's time for a better defined villain (and henchman), and it makes the Venkman/Dana romance way less creepy and actually kind of sweet. And I will laugh my ass off every time I see the scene where Egon and Ray are showing Venkman their discovery of how emotions affect the slime, culminating in the toaster dancing to Jackie Wilson. Not everything works, and it has nothing as iconic as the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, but it's really not much, if any, worse than the original. People talk about the two movies as if they're Raiders of the Lost Ark vs Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, but in reality, it's nowhere near as stark a contrast as that.

 

So for me, it's a no. People who want to vote it in for cultural impact, I get that, but I disagree. The lasting pop culture impact is really limited to the logo and the theme song, which can be understood just as well without having to watch this movie.

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By the way, I'm with Amy and I actually like Ghostbusters 2 roughly as much as the original. It has the benefit of actually knowing it's a comedy...
I'll accept all sorts of criticisms and takes on Ghostbusters but the most inexplicable one for me is anyone who claims the original is not a comedy. You can say it doesn't make you laugh, but there's no argument that the intent of the filmmmakers is to make a funny movie.

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I'll accept all sorts of criticisms and takes on Ghostbusters but the most inexplicable one for me is anyone who claims the original is not a comedy. You can say it doesn't make you laugh, but there's no argument that the intent of the filmmmakers is to make a funny movie.

 

Again, I don't believe that was Aykroyd's original intention. He has said that his original script had a much darker tone, and it featured the team traveling through time, space, and alternate dimensions. His vision was to make a sci-fi movie first that would have moments of comedy, rather than to make a comedy with a sci-fi engine.

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And of course, Bill Murray thought so little of the script that he improvised nearly every one of his lines.

 

That doesn't mean a while lot. Bill Murray improvises constantly in every movie (except the Wes Anderson ones).

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Again, I don't believe that was Aykroyd's original intention. He has said that his original script had a much darker tone, and it featured the team traveling through time, space, and alternate dimensions. His vision was to make a sci-fi movie first that would have moments of comedy, rather than to make a comedy with a sci-fi engine.

That's true, but that was before he brought it to Reitman and Reitman brought on Ramis. We're talking about a draft that had Stay-Puft on Page 10 and took place in the future. The shooting draft was a comedy, period. The movie Reitman directed was a comedy, period.
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I'm so incredibly happy that The Canon is back! I agree with Amy that we're letting too many films that we loved in our childhood. We could take a break from considering films like Ghostbusters and some of our favorite and greatest horror movies, fun though they may be. That said, I will give a reluctant YES vote to Ghostbusters. I do think that a high concept, multi-genre comedy is an incredibly rare thing, and even more rare to see a successful one. Ghostbusters really did set the template for these kinds of films in the future, and I don't know if many or any have matched it. I do think that while this may not be my favorite Bill Murray performance, this is the character we think of when we imagine the typical Bill Murray role, at least prior to 1998. I also think that the special effects are beautiful and groundbreaking, and the very notion that someone would even bother to make such creative and inventive effects for just a comedy with a bunch of Saturday Night Live and SCTV cast members is really impressive and the kind of thing you wouldn't see today. I grew up on this movie. From ages 4 through 12, I would undoubtedly say this was my favorite movie. I must be true and let it into The Canon, even if I know I'm viewing it with some rose colored goggles.

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Trying to figure out why Venkman had tranquilizers on him for his date with Dana is the only problem I could find with this movie. So, a definite yes vote.

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I recently rewatched Ghostbusters because the reboot and while true its not as great as we may all remember its still a classic and DEFINTELY deserves to be in the CANON!!

 

Ghostbusters 2 however: complete garbage

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Personally, I think it's worth it just for the fact that the Ghostbusters movies are the only film with Murray, Ackroyd, and Ramis together, and the first one's better than the second.

 

So glad the show's back! Looking forward to getting back into talking movies with y'all here in the forum.

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I went with the softest yes. Going in I thought I'd be a soft no because I rewatched it at the start of the year after watching the new Ghostbusters at home and it wasn't nearly as good as I remembered. But Scheer convinced me and even though Amy said no she did sway me with some of the things she really likes about it.

 

Some of the jokes are definitely problematic but it is very much a product of its simpler time and I can kind of forgive it for that.

 

Ghostbusters 2 is absolute trash. I liked it when I was 10 but it held up even worse than I imagined.

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Yes.

 

Even if it didn't have enormous and long-lasting cultural impact, it's still a great comedy with great chemistry amongst its leads, and surprisingly non-dated effects. The re-writing of Hudson's character is unfortunate, though.

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I love this movie just like every other 80's kid, but in the Canon? No way.

 

It's fun junk, and I love everyone involved. But it's a mess of a film and I don't personally believe in cultural impact arguments (just my opinion). Still, I loved the episode and I'm happy the Canon is back!

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I am so pleased the Canon is back! Boy, I have missed this.

 

I think Ghostbusters is very uneven. On the good side, Sigourney Weaver is astonishingly good, giving a powerhouse performance as the only character in the movie with whom a human being could actually identify. Her and the EPA guy, of course.

 

But I cannot ignore the fact that the Ghostbusters are not a team - it's Bill Murray, two half-characters and then poor old Ernie Hudson trying to hang on to the edges of the frame by the skin of his teeth. Every character apart from Bill Murray is so thinly written, they are almost see-through. I know nothing about those three other guys.

 

Also, the film is fun, but it does not have the 'family friendliness' of something like Back to the Future. The ghostblow scene is worrying, the attack on Sigourney Weaver is downright alarming (I have seen enough hentai, etc...), and there's enough bad language there to assure I won't necessarily want to watch it with a child. Or my parents for that matter!

 

Overall, I think Ghostbusters is an imperfect, uneven film. There are some good gags, some good acting, very good pace, but it suffers from poor writing, shoddily developed characters and some rather dubious moments in a PG-rated film.

 

I think in the end this is a film whose merits depend almost exclusively on the status it has accrued over time. Beauty in the eye of the beholder and all that. But is it Canon-worthy? I voted no.

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This is a 100% yes. Is Ghostbusters perfect? No. Is it great on its own merits? Absolutely. As many have said before me, the performances and effects more than make up for any other shortcomings the script may have. But we're not debating whether or not this is the most perfect movie. We're debating whether or not it is a canonically important film, which is absolutely is.

 

Ghostbusters quickly entered the mainstream and it never left. This is a model that has been copied often, and never successfully. But movies are often compared to this. Christ, when they decided to remake it they practically broke the internet. People are Passionate (with a capital P) about Ghostbusters. Even people who haven't seen any iterations of Ghostbusters will immediately be able to picture some of the more iconic characters.

 

I love Ghostbusters. It's a fun, fun movie. I would put it in the Canon just for that. But the impact it's had on popular culture can not be ignored.

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I'm surprised to hear Amy's interpretation of the egg scene! I never assumed that it's a ghost cooking eggs on the counter. Everyone I know thinks it's a convergence of energy or "hotspot". I agree.

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It's bizarre that Amy and Paul have a discussion about meritorious films from 1984 without mentioning Beverly Hills Cop.

 

But I completely agree with Paul that Neverending Story is an absurd selection for the Canon.

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It's bizarre that Amy and Paul have a discussion about meritorious films from 1984 without mentioning Beverly Hills Cop.

 

But I completely agree with Paul that Neverending Story is an absurd selection for the Canon.

 

It is absurd! I love the Neverending Story, but its a hard NO for the Canon from me.

 

It was interesting to hear the comedy argument from Paul. When I think of 1984 comedies I think of Splash & Romancing the Stone. Now, I love these to death but I don't know if I'd nominate them for the Canon. Ghostbusters would definitely be my pick for the Canon.

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It is absurd! I love the Neverending Story, but its a hard NO for the Canon from me.

 

It was interesting to hear the comedy argument from Paul. When I think of 1984 comedies I think of Splash & Romancing the Stone. Now, I love these to death but I don't know if I'd nominate them for the Canon. Ghostbusters would definitely be my pick for the Canon.

 

I could see the argument for Neverending Story. Depending on how it was supported on the podcast, I might vote for it.

 

There's not a great argument for it over Ghostbusters, though.

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I didn't come in to vote because I don't care about this one. I understand why it means a lot to people but I didn't think it was very good when it was released. I think the set up is a lot more fun than the pay off.

 

I miss Harold Ramis. And I love Groundhog Day.

 

As for the early 1980s -- if you haven't seen Blood Simple, please do it. I am never able to talk people into it but I keep trying.

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I think the set up is a lot more fun than the pay off.

 

Perhaps, but I do love a lot of what they staged in the third act of this movie even if it could use more polish. I honestly think there's some version of this franchise that could be revived and expanded in a satisfying and successful way, but it's increasingly less likely the further away we get from the eighties, and probably much more so now that 2016 happened. Plus how much more room is there in our culture for sprawling transmedia franchises? I can live with whatever is already out there.

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