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May 16, 2012 6:25 PM   Subscribe

From Adam Bertocci, author of Two Gentlemen of Lebowski (previously): Overthinking Ghostbusters.
posted by Hey Dean Yeager! (56 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is epony-frickin'-awesome. So is this.
posted by IvoShandor at 6:35 PM on May 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Overthinking... wow, that's no lie.

Oh, and The Real Ghostbusters cartoon was awesome.
posted by Catblack at 6:41 PM on May 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Back around Halloween 2009, we were buying snacks for a party and picked up a bare-bones DVD of Ghostbusters for ten dollars. Over the next two or three months, we watched it at least once a week. I am really looking forward to reading this.

Also, seeing Two Gentlemen of Lebowski live was one of my favorite theatrical experiences.
posted by griphus at 6:45 PM on May 16, 2012


Shout "Who ya gonna call?" in a crowded room and everybody knows the answer.

Any character in anything ever written by Virginia Woolf.
posted by JHarris at 6:52 PM on May 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


“Septimus Smith!”
posted by scruss at 6:56 PM on May 16, 2012


"OR-LANDO!"
posted by No-sword at 7:03 PM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


A plate of beans for the guys in the jumpsuits in the corner booth please.
posted by newdaddy at 7:06 PM on May 16, 2012


The intro is incredibly long.
posted by snofoam at 7:16 PM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, and The Real Ghostbusters cartoon was awesome.

I preferred the real Ghostbusters cartoon, personally.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:18 PM on May 16, 2012


> Oh, and The Real Ghostbusters cartoon was awesome.

Funfact: The head writer for Real Ghostbusters (and Captain Power) was none other than J. Michael Straczynski, the creator of Babylon 5.

Ghostbusters was, by a long shot, my favorite movie as a kid. My favorite videotape was a copy of the movie recorded off TV, that I watched so many times I even had the commercials memorized. Watching the non-bowdlerized version later on was a bit of a shock ("It's true, Your Honor. The man is some kind of rodent, I don't know what.") Much later, as an adult, I was shocked again at the sheer quantity of humor that flew right over my younger head (see post title)...
posted by neckro23 at 7:28 PM on May 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


From the article: The question, then, becomes: what makes Ghostbusters so damned good?

Just watched Ghostbusters a few days ago with my 10 year old (seeing it for the first time) and I propose an answer in three parts:

1.) Bill Murray
2.) The Stay Puft marshmellow man
3.) Sigourney Weaver's one shoulder dress
posted by jeremias at 7:40 PM on May 16, 2012


And we could throw up our hands and simply stammer that they just don't make 'em like they used to, as if that was any sort of excuse;

Nobody EVER made them like this!
posted by ShutterBun at 7:43 PM on May 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


"What did you do, Ray?" is my go-to when something unexplained is occurring but it's apparent whatever it is is bad.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 7:50 PM on May 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


Once down the rabbit hole of this epic tome I found myself quite delighted by the thought of the Stay Puft Marshmallow man as Lovecraftian Horror revenge on simple guilty mankind.
posted by djseafood at 8:01 PM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


The film hides a joke in the wild-eyed ramblings—the irony of the title of Keymaster conferred on a guy who keeps locking himself out.
Wow. I'm kind of ashamed of how many times I have seen Ghostbusters in my life and yet this joke completely went past me until just now.
posted by ndfine at 8:05 PM on May 16, 2012 [11 favorites]


You aren't a Ghostbusters nerd until you've played the Ghostbusters RPG. And afterwards you'll never be anything else.
posted by Ritchie at 8:06 PM on May 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I guess this is as good a place as any to ask: Is Ghostbusters 2 any good?
posted by jcreigh at 8:15 PM on May 16, 2012


No. But trying to remember if there was Ghostbusters 3 led me to this interesting Wikipedia bit: In March 2010, Bill Murray appeared on Late Show with David Letterman and talked about his potential return to Ghostbusters III, stating "I'd do it only if my character was killed off in the first reel."[17]
posted by salvia at 8:24 PM on May 16, 2012


Ok you guys who wrote the blog?
posted by Flashman at 8:31 PM on May 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


So I was in San Fransisco with nothing to do but ride the tiny aftershocks of a tiny earthquake that hapened a day before and still spooked me out cause hey, east coast kid, when I noticed there was a midnight movie showing of Ghostbusters near me. Great! I loved that movie growing up! I must have seen it fifty times, although none since puberty. I got in with my cherry coke ( augmented with a flask of rum) and my popcorn and despite the presence of guys in full 'busting uniforms, I had a lingering fear it wouldn't be as good as I remembered..

I was so wrong you guys. It was better. I got all kinds of jokes and nuance that just flew over my head as a kid. I was admiring how well thought out the structure was ( Louis constantly being denied entry for one) when we got to the Walter Peck " shut it down!", a scene I remember being really thrilling as a kid cause of the spooky music and flying demonic engery and just as the force of ten thousand demons burst through the firehouse roof......we had another, not so small aftershock that lead to the entire audience having the same progression of emotions what was that Are We Okay? THAT WAS AWESOME. There was a cheer. It was one of the best times I've ever had at a movie theatre.
posted by The Whelk at 8:33 PM on May 16, 2012 [12 favorites]


I want the Ghostbusters RPG so fucking much.
posted by Saxon Kane at 8:42 PM on May 16, 2012


From the article: The question, then, becomes: what makes Ghostbusters so damned good?

You don't know what it's like out there. I've worked in the private sector and they expect results.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:56 PM on May 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


When does he actually start talking about specific things in the movie?
posted by Brocktoon at 9:07 PM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ghostbusters is one of the classic examples of mass appeal movies being better and more influential than the prestige dramas and Oscar bait. Consider--these were the five contenders for Best Picture in 1984, the year Ghostbusters was released:
  1. Amadeus
  2. The Killing Fields
  3. A Passage to India
  4. Places in the Heart
  5. A Soldier's Story
With the possible exception of Amadeus, who remembers any of these films today? Even if you do, can you really say that any of those was the best of what 1984 had to offer compared to Ghostbusters?

Conversely, mass entertainments are rarely this well-written, well-produced, and original--and successful! (Joss Whedon may have scored big with The Avengers, but only on three of those four points.) When are we going to get a tentpole movie that isn't a retread, a reboot, a sequel, or an adaptation of something already popular? I'm not holding my breath.

Since this thread is going to devolve into a quote-fest anyway, my nomination for best line in the movie:

"Tell him about the Twinkie." "What about the Twinkie?"
posted by Cash4Lead at 9:10 PM on May 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


False premise. You cannot overthink Ghostbusters.

For example, if you wanted to start a days, perhaps weeks long debate within your geek circle, drop this little bombshell:

Ghostbusters is the only successful adaptation of Lovecraft Mythos to the big screen - simply because the mythos allowed its creator, fans, the director and screenwriters to take liberties with canon that rewarded innovation and originality, by its very nature as a shared world-building exercise.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:18 PM on May 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


The Killing Fields is a very good movie, I'd suggest anyone watch it.
posted by djseafood at 9:19 PM on May 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Bill Murray is so unbelievably brilliant that it hurts me.

Bill grew up in Wilmette, IL in an Irish Catholic family. I was born and raised not more than five miles away, with a family of similar background, and Bill's sense of humor to me perfectly encapsulates everything that is great about what I've come to call the "Irish Catholic humor" of my family, which I will always associate with suburban Chicago. Everything he touches turns to gold. Even the lesser Murray films have that little sparkle of satirical wit.
posted by deathpanels at 9:19 PM on May 16, 2012


Also, adhere strictly to the "Ghostbusters Principle" when interviewing for a job:

"Ray, when someone asks if you're a god? You. Say. Yes."
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:20 PM on May 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


With the possible exception of Amadeus, who remembers any of these films today?

Um... Well, The Killing Fields is hugely important as far as historical films go, and also is hugely important if you're a Spalding Grey fan, as the filming of it forms the basis for Swimming To Cambodia. So, I'd say, a fuckton of people remember The Killing Fields for a variety of reasons.
posted by hippybear at 9:20 PM on May 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


And don't stare at me, you got the bug-eyes.
posted by Auden at 9:23 PM on May 16, 2012


Oh god, I remember when someone finally pointed out that Ghostbusters/Lovecraft connection to me and it was like, well I can't explain it well, it was like I could Suddently see color cause YES OF COURSE HOW OBVIOUS OMG.

It's interesting how much Ghostbusters' structure would be followed by movies with similar tropes and concepts..


Comparing it to the Orginal pitch, which was a futuristic world of well funded ghost police, you can start to trace out the changes for the better the limited budget and conflicts caused.
posted by The Whelk at 9:26 PM on May 16, 2012


Cause, IMHO, making them a combination of Supernatural woo, hands on techs,and firefighters was the best choice they made causeYou know who loves firemen? EVERYONE.
posted by The Whelk at 9:28 PM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Don't forget to drink some water, The Whelk.
posted by fleacircus at 9:32 PM on May 16, 2012


Yeah - the Killing Fields is one of the most memorable films I've ever seen. Certain shots still haunt me today. But it's really comparing apples to oranges to put it up against Ghostbusters. Blood oranges. Going for your throat.
posted by Sparx at 9:34 PM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


>I guess this is as good a place as any to ask: Is Ghostbusters 2 any good?

I got this everyone.

No, it isn't.

Bill Murray made it so he could get another film made, as a favor to the studio. The undeniably worst part of the movie is Peter MacNicol (who at the time the movie was released was most known to me as the gay kid from Dragonslayer.) But the rest of the plot is a re-hash of the first movie, and the jokes just aren't as funny.
posted by Catblack at 9:52 PM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sorry about the bug-eyes thing.
(I'll be in my office.)
posted by Auden at 9:58 PM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, the undeniably worst part of the movie is the whole plot with getting New Yorkers to love each other and the shitty special effects with the walking Statue Of Liberty.

There's a kernel of a great movie buried in there someplace, but so so so much of it went wrong in the process of it getting written and made that even a really talented fan edit of the movie would be left wanting for any real structure and the results would be more of a highlight reel of great ideas without any framing or resolution.
posted by hippybear at 9:58 PM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I keep having this memory of liking Ghostbusters 2 but then I watch it and go ...nooo wait I don't like this at all, th concept his pretty good but just...yeah not good.

Back on topic, the statue motif he mentions is really interesting cause yeah tharp where a lot of loving close ups on statues and the like.
posted by The Whelk at 10:03 PM on May 16, 2012


I love the effortless "deep history" in the movie. Then you realize it was only effortless because Akroyd probably believes all that stuff and has spent most of life in crazytown.
posted by Chekhovian at 10:21 PM on May 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


Both The Killing Fields and Amadeus are wonderful, wonderful films; neither is a Happy Place, but both are excellent. As is Ghostbusters. The late 70's and early 80's were the last really fabulous period for the movies, mostly because the late 60's and early 70's had high-concepted all of the fun, cheesy, over-the-top silly stuff out of the studios -- and then movies like Star Wars and Rocky and Superman proved that pure entertainment was marketable. But they were made by directors who had stories to tell and who wanted to entertain pretty directly -- they weren't overprocessed derivative crap designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator of the audience -- and they had to fight to get them made, since no-one believed they'd make any money.
posted by jrochest at 11:46 PM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


When Nigel, Stuart and I decided to go to our school's fancy dress day as The Ghostbusters, we had a week long, epic, screaming argument about who got to be Venkman which culminated in Stuart actually stamping his feet and crying. Even as 12 year olds, we knew discretion to be the better part of valour and so, unlicensed, cardboard nuclear accelerator on my back, I acquired some spectacles from another classmate and resigned myself to being Spengler.

I *killed* with the ladies with my 'spores, moulds and fungus' line though.
posted by Jofus at 2:23 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Then you realize it was only effortless because Akroyd probably believes all that stuff and has spent most of life in crazytown.

Oh, just because the guy sells vodka in bottles shaped like human skulls.
posted by JHarris at 2:29 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Darn you, JHarris, I was just about to say that I plan to read this article with a nice cold glass of Crystal Head Vodka.

But for what it's worth, Crystal Head is quite tasty. It's not worth the price point alone, but for $50 you get 750ml of very good vodka and an awesome bottle shaped like a human skull. I'd pay $20 or $30 for the bottle alone, so when you add it up it's a good value.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:56 AM on May 17, 2012


Overthinking it? I dunno, it seems a pretty good, slightly tongue-in-cheek analysis of a beloved comedy. I suppose the "overthinking it" was a pre-emptive defense against the inevitable criticism by dullards upon encountering anything lovingly crafted that is not obviously making someone money: "Looks like someone has a lot of time on his hands." Note: If you fear you may be an asshole, your chances of being one will drop 40% if you banish this phrase from your vocabulary.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:12 AM on May 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Then you realize it was only effortless because Akroyd probably believes all that stuff and has spent most of life in crazytown.

Cattle mutilations are up.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:22 AM on May 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


With the possible exception of Amadeus, who remembers any of these films today?

I remember all of them, but then I was a teenager working in a video store. A Soldier's Story is a powerful drama based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning play.

Places in the Heart was one of 1984's Farms in Trouble trifecta along with Country and The River. Sally Field won the Best Actress Oscar (her second) and started a meme by saying, "I can't deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!" in her acceptance speech.

A Passage to India was boring Oscar bait and kicked off an official series of boring Oscar bait movies based on books by E.M. Forster.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:43 AM on May 17, 2012


so, who is the guy in the lab poster with the pointy hat?
posted by jrishel at 7:11 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Guess: Nostrodamus?
posted by Trochanter at 7:46 AM on May 17, 2012


I remember all of them, but then I was a teenager working in a video store.

I remember all of them, and I was a teenager not working in a video store. Oscar nominees, for better or for worse, tend to carry some cachet and get a higher profile. For a keener glimpse into the transitory nature of film acclaim, I present to you the domestic box office for October 7-9, 1994: the much-beloved The Shawshank Redemption is at the high-water mark of its box office clout, coming in at #8. Among the films ahead of it: The Specialist, Jason's Lyric, Timecop, The River Wild and Only You. Do you know anyone who has any of these in his or her library today? Anyone who has seen them more recently than, say, an airline flight in early 1995?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:46 AM on May 17, 2012


Watching Ghostbusters right now. Funny. Weaver was beautiful.
posted by Trochanter at 7:47 AM on May 17, 2012


Trochanter, that's not the hat we normally seen Nostradamus in, but he was my first guess too.
posted by jrishel at 8:04 AM on May 17, 2012


Yeah, I did a google image search and there were no tall pointies. Vlad Tepst?
posted by Trochanter at 8:48 AM on May 17, 2012


I have to say, his section on Gender is really very insightful.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 1:17 PM on May 17, 2012


I just have to comment late that the later sections are totally worth it, particularly the editing section.
posted by Catblack at 9:00 PM on May 17, 2012


(Lol, I just jumped in and commented without seeing Kitty Stardust's comment!)
posted by Catblack at 9:01 PM on May 17, 2012


Not bad as overanalyses go, but several times during his "movies defining the zeitgeist" shtick I found myself thinking, "whaddaya mean "we", kemo sabe?"
posted by Philofacts at 3:38 AM on May 18, 2012


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