The Sons of Katie Elder

The Sons of Katie Elder
"First, we reunite, then find Ma and Pa's killer...then read some reviews."

Thursday, September 4, 2014


Wanna feel old? Just look back at movies that were released the year you were born. Last week I went and saw Guardians of the Galaxy only to find a poster advertising the coming 30th anniversary of 1984's Ghostbusters hitting theaters. My first thought was something along the lines of "Haha what an old movie. That's crazy." Well....I'm 29 so that makes me....oh, God, I'm gonna be 30 next summer!!! Okay, calm down, calm down. Yeah, anyways, Ghostbusters is really good. Definitely couldn't pass up that re-release in theaters.

When their grant with Columbia University runs out, doctors/screwballs/misfits/friends Pete Veckman (Bill Murray), Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) and Egon Spangler (Harold Ramis) find themselves in quite the sticky situation. Experts of sorts in paranormal activity, the trio decide to go into business for themselves, dubbing the little group 'Ghostbusters.' Their start-up business struggles at first but quickly hits a groove to the point they become celebrities, popping up in newspapers, magazines and TV news all over the country. Their reputation spreads and they keep on scooping up and observing all sorts of paranormal activity across New York City. Then, they take a job that may be too big even for them. A woman, Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver), claims some inexplicable things have been happening in her apartment. What's going on exactly? The Ghostbusters are on the case.

How crazy is it that Ghostbusters is 30 years old? Seriously. It's 30 years old. Let that sink in for a little bit. Process it. I hadn't watched this sci-fi, horror comedy in years (like....lots of years) but the girlfriend is a big fan so it was hard to pass up the opportunity to see it remastered on a big screen. It's easy to forget the impact the film has had in those 30 years, spawning a sequel (and possibly a third upcoming one), two cartoon series -- I loved The Real Ghostbusters growing up -- and too many iconic things to mention. Okay, let's try. There's the instantly recognizable theme from Ray Parker Jr. (listen HERE), the great throwback beige jumpsuits, the Ghostbusters warehouse, and of course, the NYC firehouse turned Ghostbusters office. Oh, and Slimer too. You can't forget Slimer.

As far as comedy writers go, there's a certain mad genius quality to Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. Together or working separately, they've helped write The Blues Brothers, Coneheads, Dragnet, Spies Like Us, Caddyshack, Meatballs, Stripes and Animal House. Oh, and this one, Ghostbusters. You combine those two mad geniuses and let them do their thing. The script is a gem, funny without ever trying too hard. It lays things out, assembles a ton of talent and gives each of them a chance to shine. Murray gets the most laughs, but it is a smart-ass, underplayed, dripping with sarcasm part as he unleashes one memorable one-liner after another. Aykroyd is just manic energy, Ramis is the straight man who's always ready with a scientific response, and joining the crew late is Ernie Hudson as Winston Zeddmore because a job is a job.

What a cast though. It's 107 minutes and the cast and story never feels rushed. Murray, Ramis and Aykroyd are pretty perfect together, giving the impression of three friends just hanging out and shooting the breeze. Throw in the very sexy Sigourney Weaver who gets to deal with her nerdy neighbor played to perfection by Rick Moranis, and you've got quite the group of talented actors assembled here. Also look for Annie Potts as the Ghostbusters' secretary, Janine, and familiar 1980s snooty bad guy William Atherton as an EPA agent more than a little interested in what the Ghostbusters are actually doing.

No point in any overanalysis here. Director Ivan Reitman has a gem here, one I very much enjoyed catching up with how many years later. The entire movie is strong, but it is at its best in the final act as the Ghostbusters must tangle with an ancient spirit and demigod, Zuul, and a Sumerian shape-shifting god of destruction, Gozer. It produces probably the movie's most memorable scene, a gigantic 100-feet tall Stay Puft Marshmallow Man terrorizing New York City. Hard not to like this one. Well worth revisiting....even if it does mean I'm almost 30 years old.

Ghostbusters (1984): ***/****


  1. it doesn't seem old at all. it still holds up, and is just wonderful and classic, still. murray's humor never ages.

  2. That low-key, smartass humor will always work.