Ghostbusters (1984)
February 23, 2022 5:06 PM - Subscribe

After losing their academic posts at a prestigious university, a team of parapsychologists goes into business as proton-pack-toting "ghostbusters" who exterminate ghouls, hobgoblins and supernatural pests of all stripes. An ad campaign pays off when a knockout cellist hires the squad to purge her swanky digs of demons that appear to be living in her refrigerator.

Currently available for digital rental on Apple TV and Amazon Prime.
posted by DirtyOldTown (26 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Somehow, almost impossibly, we have never posted this movie here.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:20 PM on February 23, 2022 [3 favorites]

I watched this last month! I had forgotten how funny it is.
posted by bq at 5:59 PM on February 23, 2022

It's such a good movie. It's one of the great examples of 80's comedy film - fairly tightly written, and well done.

It's also one of those films that makes me realize JUST HOW MUCH everyone smoked in 80's movies.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:15 AM on February 24, 2022 [2 favorites]

The part where Stantz gets a blowjob from an invisible ghost is truly a weird relic that would not have made it into the final cut in 2021.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:43 AM on February 24, 2022 [7 favorites]

I loved this movie as a kid. It's the first film I remember seeing on a big screen (at the drive-in in a double-feature with The Great Mouse Detective, I think) and I was entranced. (And terrified of the library ghost, which it turns out was actually toned down from the original design, which would later be finished and used in Fright Night!)

When I was I think 19 or 20, I got a DVD player because they'd just come down to affordability, and I got Ghostbusters, and I thought of it as a kids' movie- because after all, hadn't I watched it dozens of times as a child? I was mortified at how adult the film actually is in places, but realized I had no idea because the adult stuff just flies over kids' heads. I was also pleased that, much like Clue, a movie I'd liked a lot as a child turned out to be actually great as an adult; there's so much there and the cast are just firing on all cylinders. (Much like Clue, come to think of it!) There's bits that aged incredibly poorly, including basically anything where Bill Murray and a woman are in the same scene, but on the whole it's still a great, funny film with lovely effects.

My biggest complaint is simply the sidelining of Winston- he's very much a guy who doesn't really have much of a purpose in the plot, and he really could've either had a bigger role as part of the scientific clique or as somebody who brings something else to the table- I liked Leslie Jones in the 2016 reboot being a local history expert whose expertise moves the plot forward. I did a bit of work toward a PbtA Ghostbusters RPG awhile back on the idea that the main Heart/Mouth/Brain structure of Stanz, Venkman, and Spengler could be the basis for playbooks, but got stuck on what to do for Winston and realized that beyond being a working-class guy desperate for work, he doesn't really have a character. That's a real flaw in a movie that would've really benefited from fixing.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:54 AM on February 24, 2022 [12 favorites]

The GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE does fix things for Winston a tiny bit - the "post-Ghostbusters" paths they map out for each states that Egon doubled down on trying to stop Zuul in Oklahoma and was a recluse, Venkman got some nameless sciencey job, and Stanz was running this struggling occult bookshop - but Winston opened an equity firm and became a millionaire, and used the money to secretly pay the rent on Stanz' bookstore and buy back the old firestation so he could keep an eye on the ghost traps and make sure they were still okay. He's very much presented as one of the guys who knew how to keep things going and understood they needed to.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:00 AM on February 24, 2022 [9 favorites]

Winston was originally written as a major character introduced early. The role was intended for Eddie Murphy. When Murphy wasn't available, Ernie Hudson was glad to jump in... only to find that a new rewrite introduced him later, made him more incidental to the plot, and divided his best jokes up and gave them to the other stars.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:25 AM on February 24, 2022 [10 favorites]

The part where Stantz gets a blowjob from an invisible ghost is truly a weird relic that would not have made it into the final cut in 2021.

My favorite part of Ex Machina is when Oscar Issac, drunk, offers this one sentence summary of Ghostbusters: "Dan Akroyd gets oral sex from a ghost"
posted by Ragged Richard at 7:53 AM on February 24, 2022 [2 favorites]

One of the great things about this movie is the seamless way it transitions from comedy to horror and back again, often in rapid succession, without losing the viewer's attention. One minute they're doing Twinkie-based modeling, the next minute ghosts and demons are running rampant, set to that creepy song "Magic". (Speaking of which, you must read Abraham Riesman's fascinating piece about the history of that song and its composer.)
posted by Cash4Lead at 9:25 AM on February 24, 2022 [4 favorites]

Everything I've ever read about the making of the movie makes it clear that it coming to screen as "tightly written" was a freaking miracle. From all the extra Dan Akyrodian stuff that they cut or morphed. (some of which was fundamentally eek or. wild)

Also, my favorite lines are the deadpan ones:
"Where do these stairs go?"
"They go up."
posted by drewbage1847 at 9:42 AM on February 24, 2022 [6 favorites]

My mom's favorite line was always, "Boy, the superintendent's gonna be pissed."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:21 AM on February 24, 2022 [4 favorites]

I watched this relatively recently, along with Stripes (another Ivan Reitman film with Murray and Ramis), and it has aged better than Stripes, although the bit with Venkman and the woman at the beginning comes off as pretty skeevy (it gets called out with a post-credits scene in Ghostbusters: Afterlife with Murray and Weaver), and I still wonder, as someone else points out, what Venkman was doing walking around with a full syringe of Thorazine when Dana Zuuls out.

But, otherwise, it's pretty incredible, with Aykroyd's concept of mystical monsters being fought with super-science pretty close to MeFi's Own cstross' Laundry Files books. Speaking of Aykroyd, I guess that the ecto-BJ scene is a remnant from the original script in which they traveled time and space, and what I wouldn't give to take a look at that script, ditto for the original one for The Blues Brothers, which was supposedly similarly phone-book length and generally unfilmable. It would be especially interesting to see how Venkman is written, since originally Aykroyd wrote the part for John Belushi before he died. (Of course, we know that a lot of the dialogue was improvised. My favorite bit was when Stanz notes that the takeout Chinese food they're eating is from the last of their petty cash, and Venkman replies, "Chew slowly.") And, of course, the end, when they know that they're way out of their league, but soldier on nonetheless.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:53 AM on February 24, 2022 [8 favorites]

it has aged better than Stripes

Lighten up, Francis!!!
posted by praemunire at 12:40 PM on February 24, 2022 [5 favorites]

Saw this in the theater with my parents when I was 12 or 13. Watching my straight-laced dad bust out laughing at parts of this film was the first time I saw him as an everyday human being, not as just my "Dad." It seriously has a special place in my heart and it marks an important moment in my development as a person.
posted by SoberHighland at 1:29 PM on February 24, 2022 [9 favorites]

It seriously has a special place in my heart and it marks an important moment in my development as a person.

I saw it as a teenager with a schoolmate. As i was walking home from the late show, through my pleasant neighbourhood, a police car whooped its siren and the cops got out to detain and question me as to what I was doing walking along the street at eleven PM. I was seventeen, white, empty-handed, and had the right accent so after five minutes of questioning I was sent in my way. I can imagine if any of these toggles were flipped, it might have been a very different evening for me.

Also an important moment in my development.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:12 PM on February 24, 2022 [3 favorites]

I saw this while on vacation with my family at age 10. It was my birthday and I was told I could pick any movie currently playing and we would all go see that. I chose Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo and my dad immediately rescinded the offer to let me pick and announced we would see Ghostbusters instead.

(Taps chest, blows two kisses skyward) Thanks, Dad!
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:22 PM on February 25, 2022 [7 favorites]

Ever since seeing this movie when it was released, my brother has consistently used the phrase ‘are you the keymaster?’ instead of asking who has a key, or really when anything to do with keys or keyrings is mentioned. It’s a thoroughly embedded family phrase at this point.

It’s just a fantastic film.
posted by ElasticParrot at 5:29 AM on February 28, 2022 [3 favorites]

Love this movie. While my favorite line is still "You're right. No human being would stack books like this," to this day if someone says "there's no _____" (fill in the blank), I can't stop myself from responding, "only Zuul."
posted by Mchelly at 12:07 PM on February 28, 2022 [3 favorites]

Ghostbusters is right up there next to Back to the Future as one of the defining movies of the 80s. It's a touchstone. It's a good movie. It is a great movie! I consider Peter Venkman to be Bill Murray's most well-rounded character. Peter Venkman was a transition between Bill's early slob-phase and his later jerk-phase. Which means he actually comes off as somewhat normal, which is a nice change of pace. I could go on about Dan, Harold, Annie, Ernie, etc...
posted by Stuka at 4:56 PM on March 2, 2022

I will still almost unhesitatingly say, when asked what my favorite movie is, "Ghostbusters." There are many things I would change about it if I could, but it is still an amazing nugget of a film. And nearly every line is golden. (c.f. how many *different* lines have been cited as favorites so far.)

"Ray, when someone asks you if you're a god..."
posted by Scattercat at 2:40 AM on March 5, 2022 [1 favorite]

Too much to say, here, but I should probably start with "Teenage Me should not have taken Venkman as role-model." (Later-teenage me should not have taken Moonlighting's David Addison as a role-model.)

I also want to note the alternate lines for the TV edit, which caught me by surprise in the late 80's, and which still give me additional joy whenever I think about them :
"Everything was fine until Wally Wick here turned off the containment grid."
"Is this true?"
"Yes, your honor. This man is some kind rodent - we don't know which."
"What a knockabout of pure fun THAT was!" (Subbed for "We came; we saw....")

Man, I hope someone re-publishes the West End Games RPG materials...
posted by Mutant Lobsters from Riverhead at 2:13 PM on March 18, 2022 [1 favorite]

I also want to note the alternate lines for the TV edit, which caught me by surprise in the late 80's, and which still give me additional joy whenever I think about them....

Heh; ironically, Ghostbusters is the source of one of my go-to "curses for general audiences". "Mother Pus-Bucket" is technically not offensive, but feels as satisfying as a cuss word.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:16 AM on March 19, 2022 [2 favorites]

I’m on watch #37, at a minimum, and just caught for the first time when they’re in the stacks:

“Listen! Do you smell something?”
posted by thecaddy at 4:52 PM on October 9, 2023 [2 favorites]

(Also, since no one else mentioned it here yet, my favorite deadpan joke in the whole film—and possibly all of Eighties cinema—is that Louis Tully, the keymaster himself, keeps locking himself out of his apartment.)
posted by thecaddy at 8:17 PM on October 9, 2023 [2 favorites]

We're watching through the series of Ghostbusters movies because the new trailer for frozen empire looked good.

The first Ghostbusters: still great! Except, damn, venkman's sleaziness really didn't age well.

We just watched Ghostbusters 2, which, it turns out, is a truly, truly god awful movie. It's like they screwed up all the good parts of the first movie, and quadrupled down on all the bad parts. Now there's like three people skeezing on Sigourney Weaver! So so terrible.

We are looking forward to Ghostbusters 2016... Kate McKinnon is possibly the best Ghostbuster of them all.
posted by kaibutsu at 9:33 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]

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