There’s so much to talk about when it comes to today’s great thing that I’d like to present the topic in the style of ‘top ten list’–(my favorite format!). Yeah, normally I’d try to pare it down to one particular aspect and just obsess on that for a bit but I just can’t contain myself. I want to do it all at once.
45. Ghostbusters —a great movie and ten things that are great about it:
10. Annie Potts as Janine Melnitz. Her turn as the heavily accented secretary of Ghostbusters’ HQ is a prime of example of how to make a little part go a long way. My friend quoted her ‘We got one!’ bit of dialogue just the other day. The fact that I could place where that sheik-y snippet was from, shows just how memorable she was. In fact, when consultants came aboard the already succesful Saturday morning cartoon, The Real Ghostbusters, to suggest that they change the character of Janine Melnitz to a less threatening and more ‘motherly’ type, super-hero comic book and T.V. scribe, J.M. Straczynski left the gig. Good man. Anyway, check her out in this original trailer:
9. The authentic New York feel. The picture really takes advantage of its location, with so many iconic locations used and a real sense of New York character throughout the film. Recognize all these?
These three landmarks plus Columbia University, hot dog stands, Slimer driving a taxi, those accents, that sarcasm…all of it is pure NYC.
8. “There is no Dana. Only Zuul.” That bit of dialogue, when quoted at a precise moment in time, is a real attention getter. I gave myself many hoarse throats practicing it.
7. The other Terror-Dog…Vinz Clortho. Whattaname. And to possess Rick Moranis? Fantastic. Who could tell the difference?
6. The final casting. Ghostbusters went through several mutations, both script and cast-wise before they reached the final product. Dan Akyroyd’s script, at first, called for the film to be set in the future. There was also lots of costly dimension hopping effects needed. Upon re-writing it with Harold Ramis, they were able to ground the story in the world of the mid-1980’s and cut some of the cost. Casting wasn’t straight-forward either. Here are some of the roles and the people they almost went to:
Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis)–This one went through so many mutations. Egon was almost played by ALL of the following–Christopher Lloyd, Chevy Chase, Michael Keaton, Christopher Walken, John Lithgow, and Jeff Goldblum. Harold Ramis, after spending so much time writing the character, finally manned up and just took the role himself. Yay!
Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson)–Eddie Murphy was who they had in mind, but he was shooting Beverly Hills Cop. When he declined, they re-wrote it for Ernie.
Louis Tully (Rick Moranis)–John Candy
Peter Venkman (Bill Murray)–John Belushi (died before filming began), they also considered Chevy Chase and Michael Keaton who both turned it down.
Janine Melnitz (Annie Potts)–Sandra Bernhard
5. Gozer Here’s another role that was going to go in a completely different direction. Originally, they wanted Gozer to appear at the end as a well-dressed but unassuming man (I suppose sorta like the architect in The Matrix). As much as I like Paul Reubens–who they were considering–I’m glad they went with the terrific idea of a spandex-clad Yugoslavian model. Slavitza Jovan gave the role a visual kick. Not since Ursa in Superman II had there been such a fierce femme fatale. Check her out…
Would you like to know more? Here’s an interview with her from a great Ghostbusters fan site. Interview
4. The catchy theme tune. Sure Ray Parker Jr.’s Ghostbusters Theme Song sounded a bit like Huey Lewis’ “I Want a New Drug”, but so what? Lewis had turned down the offer of jingle-writing for the film. So that’s what he gets, I guess. Anyway, it’s still good if a bit derivative. Every time I heard Ghostbuster’s Theme, it made me remember my favorite parts of the movie. That was back when you could see videos on Mtv too! So, when they’d play that video, I’d get to see funny clips. Good times!
3. The car. The Ectomobile is a super tricked out hearse. Imagine, going to fight the spirits of the dead in a hearse! Ray Stanz may have paid too much for it at the time, but I think it has good ironic value–which of course, will affect its blue book value in the long run.
2. Marketing and merchandising. Ghostbusters tops Cloverfield in creative and viral marketing, if you ask me. The first movie posters contained no text or blurbs.. just that iconic symbol of the slashed out ghost–a terrific way to get people curious. They also drove the Ecto-1 around NYC in days leading up to the premiere, creating even more buzz. When the movie succeeded at the box office, they rolled out television commercials that were essentially, ads for the ghostbusting service with a real working phone number that you could call to report ghosts…it was just a recording saying that they couldn’t get to the phone right now because they were out busting ghosts, but I called it…It kept the buzz going several weeks in.
Then you have all the fantastic toys and foodstuffs that came with it. I drank Hi-C’s Ecto-cooler for about two years straight. My urine has only just returned to a more natural looking color.
There were also action figures, a replica Ectomobile, breakfast cereals, two different cartoon series, comic books and Halloween costumes. I’m actually considering getting one of those this year. It’s about time I wore an outfit for Halloween that didn’t require me to suck in my gut all evening. Baggy work-suits are the right idea if you plan on gorging on candy and alcohol.
The merchandising hasn’t stopped. Ghostbusters is a property that people are still interested in. Check out the trailer for the new video game. I believe it’s due in early 2009…
Marvel at its Marshmallow Man:
1. Rumors of a third film. Yes, another reason why Ghostbusters as a property is heating up again is that there might (don’t want to jinx it) be a third movie in the works. Guys from Curb Your Enthusiasm and the American version of The Office are working on it. Please, oh, please….There’s no way it could disappoint after we all sat through Indy 4 ! Am I right? I’d just be happy to see this logo plastered all over New York City again…