johnlink ranks GHOST BUSTERS (1984)

Milestone alert! This is my 100th unique movie of the year. It is my 101st movie watched this year (saw THE WRESTLER twice), and my 99th article (did that two-in-one FRIDAY THE 13th ranking). I wanted to watch an all-time favorite to mark my 1o0th movie. Thought about PRINCESS BRIDE and SHAWSHANK and ROGER RABBIT. But, ultimately, I decided on the movie which taught me several of my first swears: GHOST BUSTERS.

I watched GHOST BUSTERS (1984) on 11.20.09. It was, approximately, my 1298th viewing of the film. Actually, in all seriousness, it it probably somewhere in the 190s or early 200s. I watched it nearly daily as a little kid. It is, however, my first viewing of the film in maybe three years.



I tried to watch with a little bit of a critical eye. Not in attempt to enjoy it less, but to try and remember what it would have been like to see this for the first time as an adult. I was impressed with several of Ivan Reitman’s shots in this film. GHOST BUSTERS is not known as a visually amazing film, but there are several cool looking establishing shots.

While some of the special effects are great (Slimer, for example), some of them are horrid (Zuul). I thought about a negative bonus point for the effects, but there are really only a couple of moments which are particularly bad. One of these is the dog-demon chasing Rick Moranis through New York.
I liked a lot of the themes. Skepticism versus belief. Science’s practical application versus personal gain. I did notice for the first time that, while he is using his experiment to get a girl, Venkman is actually doing a legitimate experiment in the opening of the film. I never caught the connection wherein he says that he is working on ‘the effects of negative reinforcement on psychic ability’ (that is a slight misquote, sorry). He actually IS doing work, he’s just using it to get a girl because he can (much like he does with Dana later).

Look, this isn’t CITIZEN KANE. But it is also not ACE VENTURA. This is a comedy which wants to be comedic first, but (like when Moranis is attacked at the restaurant) isn’t afraid to make select sociological points as well. SCORE: 6


Tried to find a reason not to give this a perfect score. I couldn’t find one. I laugh as much in anticipation of what will happen as I do at the actual event. I can’t think of many movies which I have seen so often which still make me laugh out loud.

I wonder if this movie was ever meant to be scary at all. I was so desensitized to it from repeat viewing as a kid that I can’t remember if I ever found any of the moments scary or frightening. But it is not trying to be scary, despite sometimes begin considered horror (i.e. ARMY OF DARKNESS). SCORE: 10


Wonderful performances. Bill Murray’s greatest role, and one which defines the first half of his career. He is the skeptic who goes along anyway, and would never admit that he didn’t believe before. He’s there more because his college buddy (Ackroyd) is into it, than because he wants to be doing it. I wish Harold Ramis had done more acting (though his directing and writing these days is great too. I love ANALYZE THIS). I remember this movie for Rick Moranis’ crazy nerd and for William Atherton’s douche bag (he was the quintessential 80s douche bag between this and DIE HARD). Comedy is not easy, but this cast performs it amazingly. I can’t think of one actor who doesn’t toe the line. SCORE: 8


This is a wonderfully written script. One which allows its characters to be funny, but to be true to themselves. I love the set-ups, the payoffs, the hilarity. There are myriad quotable lines which are canonical for movie lovers. I am writing this review a day after I watched the film, but after seeing GHOST BUSTERS late Thursday night (Friday morning really), I was quoting lines and inserting comments from the movie into my conversations on Friday.

My only knock on this film is time. Try and figure out the timeline for this movie. Does it happen over days? Weeks? Months? You would be tempted to say weeks, but Dana’s problem is alluded to having been less lengthy than that. This is a small point, but one which was messed up in execution. It keeps this script from a perfect score. SCORE: 9


I love the music in this film. Someone coming to it for the first time might be put off by the 80s sound, but I love it. And while the songs are so well known, the bonus really is here thanks to the instrumentals. An awesome Elmer Bernstein score. SCORE: 1



6+10+8+9+1= 34

FINAL SCORE: 8.5 (and for the record, I AM looking forward to GHOST BUSTERS 3)

~ by johnlink00 on November 21, 2009.

One Response to “johnlink ranks GHOST BUSTERS (1984)”

  1. […] GHOST BUSTERS (1984) […]

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