Feb 15 2012

3 Great Things About Ghostbusters That Have Nothing to Do with Bill Murray

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There’s been a lot of talk about the upcoming/rumored/probably-never-going-to-happen Ghostbusters 3. The most recent word is that Dan Aykroyd is so serious about getting the thing made, he’s willing to recast Bill Murray. Of course, that’s a terrible idea, and if Aykroyd actually said that, I doubt he was serious. Even if he was, they got Murray for the damned Ghostbusters video game, so I have trouble believing that he won’t cave and at least film a cameo if this sequel ever actually gets made.

"Just kiddin' folks! Zip ziparooooo!"

But whether it’s true or not, it’s got everybody in an uproar, with some bloggers and commenters going so far as to say that Bill Murray was the only good thing about the film. Now I love(d) Bill Murray. He is a fantastically talented dude who gave us some of the funniest performances in film history. Hasn’t done much for me lately, but whatever. He’s brilliant, and he’s definitely a huge asset to Ghostbusters. But, c’mon people, turn away from your Wes Anderson love shrine for a second. Time for a reality check. Let me remind you of 3 Great Things About Ghostbusters That Have Nothing to Do with Bill Murray:

#3. It’s Got a Damn Good Script
Yes, Bill Murray absolutely improvised extra lines during filming, and the ones that made the final cut are hysterical. But over the years, it’s become popular to believe that Murray just strolled onto the set and said whatever dialog came into his head. Heck, he probably wrote most of the other characters’ lines too, right before inventing modern comedy, then ascending to the heavens on a rocket-cloud made of laughter.

"Guys, in this scene I'm thinkin' we bust ghosts. Cuz it makes me feel good."

Actually, 90% of what you see onscreen can be found right here. That’s the shooting script, and it took several revisions by Aykroyd and Harold Ramis to turn a really basic idea into the tight, funny movie we know and love. And it’s not only funny. Ghostbusters is tense, full of action, and–at times–scary as shit. It’s just a great movie, plain and simple. Bill Murray made it measurably better, but it would have been great even without him.

#2. It’s Fun to Watch
I don’t just mean the effects are good, though they are. I mean it’s well-paced and visually interesting. Take out the funny dialog and you’d still have a decent action/adventure flick with some excellent set pieces.

Our heroes use neat weapons, trash every room they enter, get covered in slime, and drive a pimped out hearse. All while the coolest theme song in movie history plays in the background. Ghostbusters has some truly imaginative action scenes. The thing ends with a battle for all of New York City against a demon and a giant monster from hell (the latter conjured from the mind of one of our heroes) and they end up beating it at the last second with experimental science. Then one of them kisses a girl and they ride into the sunset as the entire city cheers. And those are just the parts of the movie that people DON’T EVEN TALK ABOUT because they’re too busy buying t-shirts that say “Back off man, I’m a scientist”, which, incidentally, is a line that was in the script.

#1 It’s Got a Great Cast That Isn’t Bill Murray
Again, Bill Murray is great. But so is literally everyone else in this movie and they don’t get half the credit he does. You’ve got Aykroyd rattling off paragraphs of rapid-fire psuedo-science with the enthusiasm of a five-year-old, Ramis doing some of the most underrated deadpan comedy in cinema, and of course Rick Moranis who is…just…

…perfect.

So, one last time: Bill Murray is great. I’m talking really really super extra great times infinity levels of greatness. But Ghostbusters is an awesome movie in its own right. He’s the icing, not the cake. Let’s all stop playing into this idea that the man is a hipster god who can do no wrong, and give some credit where credit’s due.


Aug 9 2009

Critical End! (The Podcast) #20: It’s actually 23 flavors

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It’s our 20th episode and we mostly talk about soda. REVIEWED: Year One. PLUS: Our early years as IMDb contributors revealed.

Download it.

 

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Mar 30 2009

“Ghostbusters 3″ Really Trying to Suck

Between films, Ramis loves to dress up as "that dude from Cast Away"

Between films Ramis loves to dress up as "that dude from Cast Away"

The ink hasn’t even dried on the first draft of Ghostbusters 3 yet and it’s already sucking.  Granted, it’s hard to judge a movie that at this point isn’t even fully on paper, but from what HAS been confirmed, this is most likely going to suck.  I can think of three reasons right now:

1. According to an interview that Harold Ramis gave MTV, “there will be young ghostbusters.” I hate the whole sequel where the awesome people from the first films now play old fat people who sit in a room and give advice until the third act when they finally put the uniform back on thing.  I mean, why even bother?  In my own happy little world (Loganland, if you will) the original Ghostbusters are ageless and Bill Murray never became a hipster icon (more on that in a sec).

2. Judd Apatow is producing.  I think this one explains itself.  I’m kind of surprised that he isn’t producing Crank 2 as well.  I’m sure he’s working on it.

3. You knew it was coming…ahem…a few words on Bill Murray:  I’m not quite sure when (I’m thinking after he didn’t get an Oscar nom for Rushmore), but at some point Hollywood and the movie going public finally begin to realize that Bill Murray is, quite frankly, a complete asshole.  On top of that, his entire “I only do films where I get to look at the camera and be depressed” schtick got old about fourteen films ago.  The only people I know who still like the man all wear skinny jeans and love to use the word “indie” to describe every DVD and CD in their collection.  Oddly enough, these same people have never seen or heard of Caddyshack.

My favorite scene in "Broken Flowers"

My favorite scene in "Broken Flowers"

Even Ramis himself is getting in on some of the Murray bashing.  In the same MTV interview, Ramis joked that “Bill Murray is just waiting for the truckload of money to arrive to get him out of his office.”  He went on to say that while he has talked exclusively to Aykroyd about the film, he has yet to speak to Murray.  He must be too busy working on Wes Anderson’s newest film Depressed Brothers With Daddy Issues.

What was I talking about again?  Oh yeah, Ghostbusters 3.  I can’t wait.