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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 33.12%
Average: 6.49%
Pretty Bad: 1.95%
Total Crap: 1.95%

3 reviews, 136 user ratings

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Ghostbusters (1984)
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Rob Gonsalves

"But still, go see it."
4 stars

As we approach the dawn of the 'Ghostbusters' reboot, the original film seems to have assumed the status of a sacred text, an inviolable classic, so it’s good that the thing itself is getting a brief re-release in theaters nationwide.

That way, we can be reminded that the movie is … good. Often very good. But great? There is a collaboration between Bill Murray and Harold Ramis that does achieve greatness, and that’s Groundhog Day. But Ghostbusters? It’s fine, funny, painless entertainment, and it benefits from co-writer Dan Aykroyd’s soulful sincerity on the subject of metaphysics. It’s also formulaic and made out of a bunch of older parts — which, I suppose, one could also say about Raiders of the Lost Ark, except that Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman on his best day can’t come near Steven Spielberg on his worst.

For all its wit and snark and baggy-pants-Lovecraftian mash-up, Ghostbusters is very much an ‘80s film, and not just because of the pop music on the soundtrack (even Air Supply pokes their heads in, and Reitman buries their smarm as best he can). It’s a bit thoughtless politically; it has the same slobs-against-snobs structure as earlier Ramis efforts like Animal House and Caddyshack, but here the stakes are much bigger, so the snobs are represented by the Environmental Protection Agency, as obvious a Reagan-era straw man as any (Reagan and his advisors loved the film). The Ghostbusters begin as a trio (Murray, Aykroyd and Ramis) and then bring in an African-American (Ernie Hudson) who seems a sop to tokenism even though he’s more likely meant to be a regular-guy avatar for the many non-techies in the audience. (Which means the black guy gets to have metascientific concepts whitesplained to him.) Women are receptionists or bimbos or victims of the uncanny; even Gozer, the plot’s evil entity from another dimension, is played by foxy Serbian model Slavitza Jovan (“prehistoric bitch,” “nimble minx,” etc.).

Most of this, though, is mitigated by a surfeit of personality. It’s tempting to say that Murray, Ramis and especially Aykroyd were ideally cast at that point in their careers — the more I see the film the more the enthusiastic, emotional, uncool Aykroyd shines through as the movie’s true hero by right of sheer likability. Sigourney Weaver wrote herself a second career as a screen comedian (she’d been funny onstage for years by 1984, often in plays by Christopher Durang) and also got to be empoweringly erotic in a way that trumped Leia in the previous year’s Return of the Jedi. Rick Moranis’ Louis, the single-minded accountant, is a fresh and gently satirical creation, and William Atherton contributes the first of his ‘80s triptych of assholes (continued with Real Genius and Die Hard) with that aforementioned EPA agent. Reagan-friendly as that villainous character is, he has a point, and it’s only his arrogant manner that truly marks him as deserving of ridicule and Stay-Puft glop.

The movie is ‘80s-slick, with the typical soundtrack selected to shift units — Ray Parker Jr. had his one hit with the theme song and was seldom heard from again — and a certain flashy, bluish-purple look courtesy of cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs. The lighting has that big-movie John Badham nighttime sheen to it, wedded to Elmer Bernstein’s usual semi-parodic instrumental score he specialized in for various comedies (in, again, the ‘80s) involving SNL alumni. The human beats in the story are small (the biggest arc is Bill Murray’s as he becomes less of a pig to deserve Sigourney Weaver’s hand), but the scale is vast — though not as wild as Aykroyd originally envisioned, apparently. That’s the true conflict of the movie, between shlubby humanity and filmmaking gigantism.

And yet, despite the flaws I’ve dwelled on here, I feel real affection for Ghostbusters. How could you not? It’s goofy, funny, homey — it’s genuine comfort food. It’s just that I don’t see a great difference, qualitatively or thematically, between it and Caddyshack or Stripes or Meatballs; it just has massive effects by Richard Edlund and company. It’s probably the most kid-friendly of those four Murray vehicles (if you ignore a quick PG-rated blowjob joke), and thus it has endured as a horror-comedy alongside such peers as Gremlins and Beetlejuice. (A case could be made that Ghostbusters was a Tim Burton film a year or two early.) Its jocular DNA persists in blockbusters ranging from Men in Black to Guardians of the Galaxy, and it was one of the movies “sweded” in Be Kind Rewind. And its honor is now being defended against the girl cooties of the reboot by aghast baby sexists from sea to shining sea.

The anti-establishment supernatural farce has become, finally and inevitably, establishment.

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originally posted: 06/08/16 23:59:44
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Austin Film Festival For more in the 2005 Austin Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

4/12/21 Tiffany Thunderhurst Will there be any more sequels, now that President is trying to ban ghost guns? 3 stars
10/29/20 Anne tries too hard 2 stars
4/08/20 Honor Whitelow Kick ass mivie for its era 4 stars
8/14/19 bored mom Creative, clever, funny, and beautifully filmed. It's the perfect Lovecraftian comedy LOL 5 stars
9/27/17 morris campbell OVERRATED IT SUCKS 1 stars
3/23/15 Jerry Spray This is Bill Murray and Dan Akyroyd at their best. 4 stars
2/02/13 dr.lao An enjoyable view, and a source for great quotes long afterwards 5 stars
12/11/12 Nellie One of the best movies ever. It never gets old. 5 stars
4/30/12 Jeff Wilder Earns its status as a legitimate comedy classic. 5 stars
1/28/12 Kathryn Martinez Still LOVE it! It's a classic! 5 stars
10/29/11 Nathan Forester Ghoulish fun for all 5 stars
9/28/09 good fella loved murray in stripes & especially goundhog day but this film is so not funny 2 stars
6/22/09 art OVERRATED! 1 stars
10/02/08 Shaun Wallner I really enjoyed this film. 5 stars
3/02/08 Pamela White always a classic with Murry 5 stars
4/06/07 movieman good movie 4 stars
3/21/07 man hilarious 4 stars
12/06/06 David Pollastrini not great, not terrible 3 stars
11/15/06 chris well dated now yawn 3 stars
9/15/06 Booksworm I love this movie. I loved the TV series.(Both of them.) I even loved the sequeld 5 stars
8/27/06 Mark Radburn GhostBusters is a classic, ignore the people who hate it they have no heart 5 stars
8/10/06 Dragon The Artist One of my favorite childhood cult classics!! 5 stars
7/25/06 Lilly no ghosts 2 stars
6/22/06 Arty yikes! 1 stars
5/20/06 John Aster Habig Murray is hysterical 2 bad Belushi couldn't play his part as planned but either man works 5 stars
8/26/05 ES 'Let's split up', 'Yeah, we can do more damage that way.' = one of the comedy classics 5 stars
8/18/05 tony it was yuck! but i kinda liked it! 3 stars
7/12/05 Richard Haynes A great and now legendary comedy classic. 4 stars
5/31/05 John Aster Habig very funny but why pick on the EPA 4 stars
3/25/05 indrid cold Wildly original and funny. Some of the best dialog I've every heard. 5 stars
1/10/05 keithers.. Rent it, and see how the Ghostbusters show the prehistoric bitch how they do things downtow 5 stars
1/04/05 Jacob Best. Movie.... EVER! 5 stars
11/07/04 Shams Huque Classic! 5 stars
9/04/04 T.B. The Best Comedy I ever seen! 5 stars
6/16/04 franknutz i love this movie! and the cartoon get that on dvd 5 stars
5/26/04 ray awesome! 5 stars
5/06/04 J.Peckerfoot classic stuff.rick moranis' tracksuits are funny! 5 stars
12/27/03 Dr. Egon Spengler I was in the movie. I enjoyed it heartedly. 5 stars
11/20/03 HorrorScribbler Pretty funny. Great cast. Murray at his smarmiest, Moranis at his nerdiest. 5 stars
10/27/03 Two-G - horror_blood2 (aka Double G) wow actually a good movie with bill murray! 5 stars
9/21/03 CAT BLUES i loved the movie so erie and cool dan was a little kooky but i loved it 5 stars
9/06/03 I Would It's a pity that such a good film bogs down in the last 20 minutes. 4 stars
8/31/03 Kitty Kelso slimer reminds me of my dog, when hes really there 2 remind us of john belushi. go dan!! 5 stars
8/30/03 Kitty B. dan aykroyd+bill murray r pur genious!!! 5 stars
8/26/03 Eloise you gotta love it...... 5 stars
8/19/03 Roger Thornhill Who ya gonna call? GHOSTBUSTERS! 5 stars
6/10/03 Vicious It's blody classic, with Murray and Akroyd at their best. 5 stars
4/06/03 Hobbes you smell something? 5 stars
4/01/03 Mr. Do great 5 stars
3/24/03 Jack Sommersby Very entertaining, but the laughs peter out in the second-half. 3 stars
2/19/03 Matthew Jones FUNNY! LOVED Ecto-1 (I want one of those!) 5 stars
2/13/03 Deanna That's a big twinkie 5 stars
2/07/03 Turtle Perfect in every way, shape, and form AND you've got Harold Ramis. Best movie EVER! 5 stars
12/20/02 rotten s. milk My absolute favorite 1980's movie. Who ya gonna call? 5 stars
11/01/02 Jay Who ya gonna call?!! 5 stars
10/21/02 Jay I dare anyone who doesn't like this movie to smash my penis and balls with a steel shoe!!!! 5 stars
10/10/02 Justin Who ya gonna call?! 5 stars
10/10/02 chris One of the funniest movies ever! 5 stars
8/05/02 Kyle No Andrew, THIS IS NOT OVERRATED! Fuck, you piss me off.. 5 stars
7/06/02 Lindsey This is nothing if not a good, entertaining movie, and certainly one for repeat viewings. 5 stars
7/04/02 gary vidmar Freakin' hilarious. William Atherton was his usual spectacular self as the bad-guy. 5 stars
6/19/02 Charles Tatum Funny...if you are twelve years old 3 stars
4/08/02 Justin Cool Movie. Awesome Song. 5 stars
4/03/02 Butterbean I loved it then and love it now! Sorry that I can't say the same about the sequal. 4 stars
11/29/01 The $1.98 Pyramid Fun-filled scenes with great actors. What more could you ask for? 5 stars
8/30/01 Henry Ginsberg Apart from Bill Murry it's generaly anoing. 3 stars
8/17/01 Monster W. Kung A masterpiece it's not, but funny and entertaining it still is. 4 stars
8/10/01 E-Funk The best comedy of the 80's. So many one-liners, so little running time. Awesome. 5 stars
8/10/01 Mr. Hat :) 4 stars
7/28/01 Henry Ginsberg Amusing in parts ,but generaly irritating . 3 stars
7/15/01 Peck Good movie 4 stars
7/10/01 Fish Eye Cats and dogs living together - Mass Hysteria!! 5 stars
6/28/01 R.W. Welch The best spook comedy since Abbott & Costello met Frankenstein. 5 stars
6/20/01 C This Absolutely fantastic! 5 stars
6/20/01 Jason "I'm fuzzy on the whole good/bad thing...what do you mean bad?" 5 stars
6/15/01 BrainPan tjuhsjjmh Macedonia! 5 stars
6/10/01 Po "Yes it's true. This man has no dick." 5 stars
6/09/01 Turtle THE GREATEST MOVIE OF ALL-TIME! Sorry it's all in caps. 5 stars
4/30/01 Steph Williams This is a great movie!! Its so much fun! 4 stars
4/23/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) A landmark in 80's pop culture...remember when this was the best movie EVER, bar none? 5 stars
3/03/01 Josh A fun diversion 4 stars
2/16/01 James Must see. There is a reason that GB became the highest-grossing comedy of all time! 5 stars
2/14/01 Josh Worms Sucks-All-Ass compared to Ghostbusters! 5 stars
2/14/01 big burrito This movie is SO FUCKING AWESOME!!! 5 stars
2/13/01 Scott 2 Hotty This movie beats all the deadbeats on the floor 5 stars
2/09/01 Chris Whenever I see this movie I get this hot feeling behind my skull. Won't the voices stop? 4 stars
2/09/01 Scott Sifferman This movie is #1, just like me 5 stars
2/09/01 Pete I never leave my room! I just watch this movie! 4 stars
2/09/01 Brian I think I will "get funky" to this movie...better than drunken master 5 stars
2/09/01 Travis Those guys think that the firestation sucked. They should see my room! 4 stars
2/09/01 Chris Great movie...we should make a DivX file of it :-) 5 stars
2/09/01 Brian That movie was nothing! I am a murderer! 4 stars
2/09/01 Raytard It was better than the symphony! 5 stars
2/09/01 Scott Olson This movie just never got the Dave Mattewsesque groove.... 4 stars
2/09/01 Billy Fucking Awesome 5 stars
2/09/01 Scott This movie is #2! I am #1! 4 stars
2/09/01 Bob this movie kicks ass 5 stars
2/09/01 Scott This movie is #2! I am #1! 4 stars
2/09/01 Jason The Best Movie of All Time! it's so funny! 5 stars
2/09/01 Greg I give this movie 4 head-jobs! 4 stars
2/09/01 Brigid Dirty! That Slimer was sooooo gross! 4 stars
2/09/01 Becca I was confused by the "Twinkie" comment 4 stars
2/09/01 Betty Good movie, not quite FUCKING awesome 4 stars
2/09/01 Al I was deeply offended by the 'Go to Hell Comment" 4 stars
2/09/01 Mike Radish 4 stars
2/06/01 Classicdog Oh man, Murray, Aykroyd, Ramis, and Moranis; great fuckin' film. 4 stars
12/21/00 fifu this is great movie one of my favorites 4 stars
11/15/00 The EVIL Penguin Who are you gonna call? Who do you think?! 4 stars
11/14/00 Ray The DVD won't rip right, dag nambit! 5 stars
10/29/00 Big Al funnist action movie ever 5 stars
10/13/00 Andrew M Who you gonna call...? 5 stars
10/13/00 Josh One of the top 10,000 movies of all time. 4 stars
10/13/00 Jason One of the best movies of all time!!! 5 stars
9/22/00 Turtle "Bustin' makes me feel good!" 5 stars
7/31/00 Andrew A. This movie pretty much defined my childhood. A definite must-see for any lover of comedy 5 stars
5/03/00 matt "We came, we saw, we kick it's ---" 5 stars
1/19/00 Jedi15 One of my favorite comedies! "Let's show this prehistoric bitch how we do things downtown." 5 stars
11/29/99 Crystal Fleming Very funny and good plot 5 stars
11/26/99 Matthew Bartley Classic 80's flick despite cack effects 5 stars
11/21/99 Gary Durso I want a proton pack for Christmas! 4 stars
10/11/99 Weird Andy Many laffs. Also worth checking out:"GOATbusters." 4 stars
7/09/99 Jon L Funny line after funny line 5 stars
6/23/99 Thethug266 Freaky ghosts 5 stars
5/04/99 Big Dog I am the gate keeper 5 stars
10/29/98 Silent Rob A classic. I always wonder what it would have been like with Belushi.... 4 stars
9/28/98 katherine this is a fun film. 4 stars
9/05/98 Badass Holds up well today 4 stars
8/30/98 Johny I dug it then and now 5 stars
8/24/98 The Capital City Goofball Not aging well. 3 stars
8/21/98 Mike F I haven't seen in in a while. but I liked it. 4 stars
8/21/98 The Man With The Helmet NOBODY steps on a church in MY town! 4 stars
8/18/98 zubilicious i think it is one of the best 80's flicks out there. a good movie for any age. 5 stars
8/17/98 J-Guy (The MFC) good flick. kids will like it too. 4 stars
8/16/98 {{{OZ}}} It's good, but not as good as everyone makes out. Aykroyd's finest hour 4 stars
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  08-Jun-1984 (PG)
  DVD: 02-Aug-2005

  N/A (PG)
  DVD: 29-Oct-1999

  15-Nov-1984 (PG)

Directed by
  Ivan Reitman

Written by
  Dan Aykroyd
  Harold Ramis

  Bill Murray
  Dan Aykroyd
  Sigourney Weaver
  Harold Ramis
  Rick Moranis
  Annie Potts

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