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  • Writer's pictureThomas Duncan

Ghostbusters (1984) ft. Keith Techmeier and Adam Vanderwerff


Guests: Keith Techmeier and Adam Vanderwerff (Duncan Disability Law)


Cast:

  • Ivan Reitman, Director

  • Elmer Bernstein, Music

  • Bill Murray as Peter Venkman

  • Dan Aykroyd as Ray Stantz/Writer

  • Sigourney Weaver as Dana Barrett

  • Harold Ramis as Egon Spengler/Writer

  • Rick Moranis as Louis Tully

  • Annie Potts as Janine Melnitz

  • William Atherton as Walter Peck

  • Ernie Hudson as Winston Zeddemore


*Recognition:

  • Ghostbusters was released on June 8, 1984 to critical acclaim and became a cultural phenomenon.

  • It was praised for its blend of comedy, action, and horror, and Murray's performance was often singled out for praise.

  • It earned $282.2 million during its initial theatrical run, making it the second highest-grossing film of 1984 in the United States and Canada, and the then-highest-grossing comedy ever. It was the number-one film in theaters for seven consecutive weeks and one of only four films to gross more than $100 million that year. Further theatrical releases have increased the total gross to around $295.2 million, making it one of the most successful comedy films of the 1980s.

  • Ghostbusters remained among the top-three grossing films for sixteen straight weeks before beginning a gradual decline and falling from the top-ten by late October. It left cinemas in early January 1985, after thirty weeks.

  • Adjusted for inflation, the North American box office is equivalent to $667.9 million in 2020, making it the thirty-seventh highest-grossing film ever.

  • Its theme song, "Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker Jr., was also a number-one hit.

  • Ghostbusters was nominated for two Academy Awards in 1985: Best Original Song for "Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker Jr. (losing to Stevie Wonder's "I Just Called to Say I Love You" from The Woman in Red), and Best Visual Effects.

  • In a 1989 interview, Reitman said he was upset at the "little respect" he felt Ghostbusters received and his work was not taken seriously, believing many dismissed it as just "another action-comedy".

  • In 2001, the American Film Institute ranked Ghostbusters number 28 on its 100 Years...100 Laughs list recognizing the best comedy films.

  • In 2009, National Review ranked Ghostbusters number 10 on its list of the 25 Best Conservative Movies of the Last 25 Years, noting the "regulation-happy" Environmental Protection Agency is portrayed as the villain and it is the private sector that saves the day.

  • In November 2015, the screenplay was listed number 14 on the Writers Guild of America's 101 Funniest Screenplays.

  • In 2017, the BBC polled 253 critics (118 female, 135 male) from across 52 countries on the funniest film made. Ghostbusters came ninety-fifth.

  • Ghostbusters is considered one of the best films of the 1980s, appearing on several lists based on this metric, including: number two by Film.com, number five by Time Out, number six by ShortList, number 15 by Complex, number 31 by Empire, and it appears on Filmsite's non-ranked list. It also appeared on several media outlets' best comedy film lists—ranked number one by Entertainment Weekly, number four by IGN, number 10 by Empire, number 25 by The Daily Telegraph, and number 45 by Rotten Tomatoes, which also listed the film number 71 on its list of 200 essential movies to watch.

  • In 2015, the Library of Congress selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.

  • Ghostbusters currently has a 95% among critics on RT, a 60 score on Metacritic, and a 3.8/5 on Letterboxd.

Plot Summary: "Ghostbusters," directed by Ivan Reitman, is a spirited blend of comedy, supernatural elements, and special effects that coalesces into an exuberant cinematic experience. The film chronicles the journey of three parapsychologists—Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), and Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis)—who, after being expelled from their university, establish a ghost-catching business in New York City. Their operation, branded as "Ghostbusters," quickly gains notoriety as they confront increasingly malevolent spectral entities, culminating in a climactic battle against the ancient Sumerian deity, Gozer.


"Ghostbusters" is a testament to the power of well-crafted comedy and imaginative storytelling. It transcends its genre conventions, offering an escapist adventure that is both thrilling and delightfully absurd.


Did You Know:

  • Almost none of the scenes were filmed as scripted, most had at least one ad-lib. Most of Bill Murray's lines are ad-libs.

  • In the middle of the film's initial release, to keep interest going, Ivan Reitman ran a trailer that was basically the commercial the Ghostbusters used in the movie, but the 555 number was replaced with a 1-800 number, allowing people to actually call in. Callers got a recorded message of Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd saying something to the effect of "Hi. We're out catching ghosts right now." They got 1,000 calls per hour, 24 hours a day, for several weeks.

  • Murray left acting for four years following the release of Ghostbusters. He described the success as a phenomenon that would forever be his biggest accomplishment and, compounded by the failure of his personal project The Razor's Edge, he felt "radioactive". Murray avoided central roles in films until the 1988 Christmas comedy film Scrooged, which used the tagline that Murray was "back among the ghosts".

  • On the set, Dan Aykroyd referred to the "Slimer" ghost as the ghost of John Belushi. Slimer's gluttonous eating was based on Belushi's cafeteria scene in National Lampoon's Animal House (1978).

  • When told Ghostbusters had been selected for preservation in the National Film Registry, Ivan Reitman responded: "It's an honor to know that a movie that begins with a ghost in a library now has a spot on the shelves of the Library of Congress".

  • William Atherton said fans would call him "dickless" on the streets into the 1990s, to his ire.


Ask Dana Anything:

  • Andrew Corns (Revisionist Almanac): Are you a Twinkie man, and, if not, what's your go to Hostess snack? Also, what is your go to snack to compare supernatural activity to?

  • Kieran B (Best Picture Cast): If Dana were on the roof top for the final scene, and he was unable to properly clear his head, which final foe would come stomping around the block??


Best Performance: Bill Murray (Venkman)/Rick Moranis (Louis)/Harold Ramis (Egon)/Dan Ackroyd (Ray)

Best Secondary Performance: Rick Moranis (Louis)/Ivan Reitman (Director)/Ernie Hudson (Winston)/Bill Murray (Venkman)

Most Charismatic Award: Ghostbusters (Song by Ray Parker Jr)/Bill Murray (Venkman)/Annie Potts (Janine)

Best Scene:

  • Ghost in the Library

  • Ouster from the University

  • Third Mortgage

  • Catching Slimer

  • Gatekeeper/Keymaster

  • At the Mayor's

  • Stay Puft Marshmallow Man

  • End Credits

Favorite Scene: Catching Slimer/Gatekeeper-Keymaster/Ouster from the University

Most Indelible Moment: Stay Puft Marshmallow Man/At the Mayor's


In Memorium:


Best Lines/Funniest Lines:

Dr. Raymond Stantz: Everything was fine with our system until the power grid was shut off by dickless here.

Walter Peck: They caused an explosion!

Mayor: Is this true?

Dr. Peter Venkman: Yes it's true. [pause] This man has no dick.


Dr. Peter Venkman: Alice, I'm going to ask you a couple of standard questions, okay? Have you or any of your family been diagnosed schizophrenic? Mentally incompetent?

Librarian Alice: My uncle thought he was Saint Jerome.

Dr. Peter Venkman: I'd call that a big yes.


Dr. Raymond Stantz: Listen... you smell something?


Dr. Peter Venkman: We came, we saw, we kicked its ass!


Winston Zeddemore: Ray, when someone asks you if you're a god, you say "YES"!


Dr. Raymond Stantz: Personally, I liked the university. They gave us money and facilities, we didn't have to produce anything! You've never been out of college! You don't know what it's like out there! I've WORKED in the private sector. They expect *results*.


Winston Zeddemore: Ah, if there's a steady paycheck in it, I'll believe anything you say.


Dr. Raymond Stantz: I think we'd better split up.

Dr. Egon Spengler: Good idea.

Dr. Peter Venkman: Yeah... we can do more damage that way.


Dr. Peter Venkman: This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.

Mayor: What do you mean, "biblical"?

Dr. Raymond Stantz: What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath of God type stuff.

Dr. Peter Venkman: Exactly.

Dr. Raymond Stantz: Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!

Dr. Egon Spengler: Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes...

Winston Zeddemore: The dead rising from the grave!

Dr. Peter Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... MASS HYSTERIA!


Dr. Raymond Stantz: Well, no sense in worrying about it now.

Dr. Peter Venkman: Why worry? Each one of us is carrying an unlicensed nuclear accelerator on his back.

Dr. Raymond Stantz: Yep. Let's get ready. Switch me on!


Dr. Raymond Stantz: Spengler! I'm with Venkman! He got slimed!

Dr. Egon Spengler: That's great, Ray! Save some for me!


Dr. Peter Venkman: We've been going about this all wrong. This Mr. Stay Puft's okay! He's a sailor, he's in New York; we get this guy laid, we won't have any trouble!


[Chambermaid enters Hallway/corridor from Hotel Room]

[Ray and Egon shout and blast her cart with proton beams]

Dr. Peter Venkman: Whoa! Hold it!

Chambermaid: What the HELL are you doing?

Dr. Egon Spengler: Sorry.

Dr. Peter Venkman: Sorry.

Dr. Raymond Stantz: I'm Sorry.

Dr. Peter Venkman: We thought you were someone else.


Hotel Manager: Five thousand dollars? I had no idea it'd be so much. I won't pay it.

Dr. Peter Venkman: Well, that's all right. We can just put it right back in there. Thank you.


Dana Barrett: [as The Gatekeeper] I want you inside me.

Dr. Peter Venkman: [referring to her radical change in personality] Go ahead! No, I can't. It sounds like you've got at least two or three people in there already.


Dr. Peter Venkman: Generally, you don't see that kind of behavior in a major appliance.


Dr. Raymond Stantz: Hey, where do these stairs go?

Dr. Peter Venkman: They go up.


Winston Zeddemore: This job is definitely not worth $11,500 a year.


Dr. Peter Venkman: ...Are you, Alice, menstruating right now?

Library Administrator: What has that got to do with it?

Dr. Peter Venkman: Back off, man. I'm a scientist.


Janine Melnitz: Oh, that's very fascinating to me. I read a lot myself. Some people think I'm too intellectual but I think it's a fabulous way to spend your spare time. I also play raquetball. Do you have any hobbies?

Dr. Egon Spengler: I collect spores, molds, and fungus.


Dana Barrett: That's the bedroom, but nothing ever happened in there.

Dr. Peter Venkman: What a crime.


The Stanley Rubric:

Legacy: 8.88

Impact/Significance: 9.63

Novelty: 9.25

Classic-ness: 8.5

Rewatchability: 6.75

Audience Score: 8.7 (86% Google, 88% RT)

Total: 51.71


Remaining Questions:

  • How do the Ghostbusters survive a giant fireball on the rooftop?

  • How did the Ghostbusters not have 3rd Degree burns from the marshmallow goo?

  • Wouldn't the EPA want more information before just turning something off? And wouldn't there been a hearing to decide on whether the government had the authority to turn it off first?

  • How did Bill Murray not get marshmallowed?

  • How were the Ghostbusters liable for all the City damages?

  • Do any of you have experience with ghosts?


Listener Questions:

  • Grant Z (Best Picture Cast and Worst Picture Cast):

    • Was EPA agent Walter Peck in the right? Sure, forcing the shutdown of the Containment unit was a big mistake, but he was concerned about the impact of an unlicensed “high voltage laser containment system” in the middle of the city.

  • Kieran B (Best Picture Cast)

    • When you guys think of “New York films” what are the first few films that come to mind?

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