Ghost Busters (1984): Breakdown by Rantbo
An Egg-head, a Buffoon, a Smart-Ass and a Man For Hire take on legions of the undead.
Now, I admit that it is most definitely a stretch including GHOST BUSTERS in our ACTION Breakdowns. The film’s plot is driven by comedic and spooky situations as opposed to action ones, but there is a certain level of adventure contained within as well, that I can’t help but exploit for the purpose of including this modern classic as part of our review collection. That said, here goes…
I was born in February of 1983. A little over one year later, GHOST BUSTERS was released in theaters. Understandably, my memory is a little bit hazy, but I relatively sure that summer, I became a first time fanatic. Before there were the Ninja Turtles, ThunderCats and The X-Men Animated Series, there was the Ghost Busters. I don’t know anyone from my generation that didn’t at one point want to be one (I still do). These guys were the coolest. I adored the movie, I collected the toys and I obsessed over the cartoon. And this before I even understood most of the dialogue jokes and adult humor that made the movie such huge success. All I new was, there are ghosts and demon dogs and a group of guys with laser guns that would show up and blast the shit out of them. It doesn’t take much more than that concept to appeal to a child of the 80s.
As I said, the story is genius in its simplicity. A trio of eccentric pseudo-scientists lose their positions at NYU and decide to go into business for themselves as paranormal investigators/exterminators. Zany situations, witty dialogue and general hilarity ensue. In my opinion, this is one of the finest movies ever made. It is clever, spooky, funny (scratch that, VERY FUNNY) and an incredibly well written action adventure. It’s the perfect all-around crowd pleaser. People who don’t enjoy GHOST BUSTERS, don’t understand the magic of cinema. If that’s not an endorsement for this movie, I don’t know what is. It’s a must-see.
As an added Action Fan bonus, two of the Ghost Buster alumni would go on to be in one of the greatest action films of all time…
In closing, it’s personal story time! Again, my memory is fuzzy, as I was under 10 years old, but I’m pretty sure it was this movie that gave me my first sexual interest in the female anatomy…
I remember thinking that those odd hands grabbing her in such a way was—odd, yet strangely satisfying. I’m sure I never worked it out why (back then), but there you go. Like I said, I’m not positive that it was this scene to give me the first of a million boners, but I’m positive that it was either Sigourney and the puppet hands of breast groping doom, or the scene in NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3 where Freddy tricks the horny kid Joey into capture by disguising himself as the hot nurse and showing him her tits. Either way, both still work like a charm, I’m proud to say.
[HOW BAD-ASS ARE THE MAIN CHARACTERS?]
Harold Ramis is Dr. Egon Spengler, Bill Murray is Dr. Peter Venkman, Ernie Hudson is Winston Zeddmore and Dan Aykroyd is Dr. Raymond Stantz.
Egon is the Brain, Ray is the Heart, Peter is the Mouth and Winston is the Backbone, and when combined they make up one of the greatest ensemble casts of all time. Who ya gonna call?
The Ghost Busters are essentially guns for hire whom are clumsy, selfish, goofballs that often behave cowardly and whose heroic deeds often occur in pure coincidence with mostly guesswork and luck. But I love them. There is logic, science, heart and caring behind their work, but it takes a backseat to fortune, fame and clearing their “good” name. Yet they get the job done and if you’re not rooting for them to succeed, I believe your soul just might have been busted. It’s not so much a matter of how badass these guys are (though they are) it’s more about how they come together as a team and save the world from destruction when no one else can that makes them such iconic heroes.
[THE BODY COUNT: ZERO]
Nobody dies, but there are quite a few dead people floating around. That has to count for something right? And don’t say Mr. Stay Puft. He was just the embodiment of the force that was sent back through the portal when the guys crossed the streams. Plus, he’s made of marshmallow. Marshmallow Men don’t count.
[MOST SATISFYING ASS-KICKING]
The Ghost Busters vs. The Sedgewick Hotel
“Let’s split up.”
“Yeah, we can do more damage that way.”
The guys’ first job turns into a symphony of destruction and chaos; through ineptitude, excitement and an apathetic approach to property destruction. It’s great. The three doctors trash an entire floor of the hotel AND a giant ballroom, all to trap a stout little booger of a ghost. Slimer.
“Ugly little spud, isn’t he?”
After trashing the ghost’s camp, and blasting everything in sight, the Ghost Busters finally bag their first phantasm. Yes, they came, they saw, they KICKED IT’S ASS!
[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]
All the guys seem to be pretty straight. Venkman is a total hounddog for gorgeous women (and subsequently dogs), Ray has dreams about fucking female spirits and as for Winston, other than Schwarzenegger, no gay would be seen in flannel smoking a stogie. And then there’s Egon.
Well, he’s not straight as he shows absolutely no interest in Jeanine (a total babe that clearly wants Spengler’s ectoplasm in and around her ecto-containment unit), but I’m not willing to say he’s gay either. I wouldn’t even call him asexual—he’s just, Egon.
[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]
Well, Venkman is about as misogynistic as you can get. At the beginning of the film he performs a shock experiment unfairly to a male student, to gain favor with a female one, whom he then tries to set up a date with. I mentioned that she’s a student right?
Later when he’s a Ghost Buster, he only takes interest in his work when it involves the opportunity to hit on women outside of his league. Though when given the opportunity to bang a possessed Sigourney Weaver, he passes in good taste. So, he’s not a total pig. Shucks.
[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]
“It’s the Stay Puft Marshmallow-Man.”
How could it not be? It’s such a wacky moment in an already weird-ass movie, but for some reason it works so effectively. When that big fluffy sailor stepped into frame, it became a defining moment in my childhood film watching life-journey. I was an instant fanatic. Puft trumps through the city with total disregard for safety to the people and cars below him, smashes a church (+100 awesome points there) and climbs a defies further logic by scaling a skyscraper with nothing but his stubby-chubby marshmallow fingers for leverage. And I seriously felt bad for him when the Busters lit his face on fire. He looked so sad. Poor guy.
There are so, so, so many great lines in the movie. The entire film is quotable, so it almost seems unfair to pick just one. But since this is for an Action Breakdown, I’ll go with the classic badass line from the team’s resident smart-ass.
Venkman: “All right, let’s show this prehistoric bitch how we do things downtown!”
Though my personal favorite bit of dialogue is the following…
Dr. Egon Spengler: “Vinz, you said before you were waiting for a sign. What sign are you waiting for?”
Louis: “Gozer the Traveler. He will come in one of the pre-chosen forms. During the rectification of the Vuldrini, the traveler came as a large and moving Torg! Then, during the third reconciliation of the last of the McKetrick supplicants, they chose a new form for him: that of a giant Slor! Many Shuvs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you!”
[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]
Bustin’ makes me feel good.
[THE CHECKLIST: 14 outta 25]
[ ] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor”
[ ] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[ ] Crotch Attack
[X] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[X] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[X] Giant Explosion(s)
[X] Heavy Artillery [Proton Packs]
[ ] Improvised Weapon(s)
[X] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation [ECTO 1]
[X] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[ ] Manly Embrace(s)
[ ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[X] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[ ] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property**
[ ] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[X] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[X] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[X] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[ ] Tis The Season
[ ] Torture Sequence(s)
[X] Unnecessary Sequel [Ghostbusters II]
[ ] Vehicle Chase(s)
[ ] Vigilante Justice
*Close, there’s a ballroom AND a fire station.
**”The flowers are STILL standing!”
“It’s Mill-A Time!”