Friday, July 22, 2016
Ghost Watch: Ghostbusters (1984)
I wasn't feeling well on Wednesday night. Allergies, I think.
Anyway, by the time Jamie turned around to see what I was watching, I was 15 minutes into Ghostbusters (1984), which I'd been curious to re-watch since catching the 2016 remake.
There's not much to say other than that I was paying a lot of attention to Harold Ramis in particular this go-round, partially because of how different his take on the mad scientist character was than Kate McKinnon's Holtzmann.
It's interesting to consider that Ramis is credited as a co-writer, and that he also has a writer credit on Animal House, Meatballs, Caddyshack and Stripes, all of which feature a sort of devil-may-care, wise-cracking protagonist(s) always played by other people, such as Bill Murray or Chevy Chase. When he did appear, Ramis himself took a back seat as the quiet, brainier/ more sensitive guy with a lower-key sense of interaction, clearly aware of where his sweet spot really was as a performer. Fans of the movie aren't surprised to hear Egon Spengler's side remarks, or his "Your mother!" as one of the laugh out loud moments of the movie, but, man, Egon is a really, really funny character.
It was funny, I was watching that scene after the Ghostbusters catch Slimer where Bill Murray seems to be pulling the prices out of thin air, and I had the thought "where did they come up with those prices?" when Jamie said "hold it". So I paused the DVR and backed it up, and though I have seen Ghostbusters no fewer than 25 times, I had never noticed - when Murray is rattling off the prices for proton pack charging, etc... Spengler is actually indicating the prices to him with his fingers. It's fully in shot, but I'd never seen it before. You probably have, but I had not.
It's not like people don't appreciate Ramis as performer, writer and director, but it may be that a lot of what I've attributed to Bill Murray in some of those earlier pictures was a collaborative effort in a way maybe I didn't give enough credit where it was due. We all know the early drafts of the Ghostbusters scripts were envisioned very differently as Dan Aykroyd/ John Belushi weirdo movies, and it may be that Ramis' touch for the absurd in the mundane mixed with Aykroyd's wild ideas and with all the performances put together is where we wound up with the Ghostbusters we think of when we're not thinking of Kristen Wiig and friends.
Here's to Ramis. That guy was all right.