I hate to be such a grump about Ghostbusters right now when everyone is commemorating Harold Ramis’s life and work, because Harold Ramis is awesome! 80’s comedies are awesome! Those are the feels I was expecting to indulge when I sat down to watch Ghostbusters, so when it didn’t turn out that way, I was a little bit shocked, and felt the need to note it. Anyway, continue with the positive remembrances, I’m enjoying those a lot too.
Everybody thinks “The Social Network” is the best movie about forming a new startup, but they are wrong. The best movie is “Ghostbusters”.— Patrick Ewing (@hoverbird)April 6, 2011
I laughed at and retweeted this back in the day and didn’t think much more on it. But, after rewatching Ghostbusters tonight on the occasion of Harold Ramis’s death, it’s even more apt, and for all the wrong reasons. I mean, I still love me some Ghostbusters; it’s amazingly well written, often charming, and very imaginative compared to most contemporary comedies, but man, the values of this movie seriously suck.
The EPA and a university are portrayed as cartoonish villains. The city government is feckless, corrupt, and ultimately helpless. Librarians can’t deal with a simple low-grade haunting. Institutions in general are awful and obviously ripe for disruption, and what we really need is a bunch of “outsider” manchild white guys with esoteric knowledge to break the rules and save us all. In the current era of narcissistic disruptive Silicon Valley excess, this does not play particularly well.
Peter Venkman is supposed to be a charming asshole, but comes across more often as just an outright asshole, especially when he’s bullying the secretary into working more hours by telling her how replaceable her skills are. On the bright side, at least they hired a black guy without doing extensive background checks? I dunno, but it seems at times like an NFIB propaganda film.
Oh, and they have Sigourney Goddamn Weaver at their disposal, and she’s totally passive and helpless when she isn’t possessed. Couldn’t she have been like doing her own homework to try to deal with her haunting problem, and then joined up with them and kicked some ass as a Ghostbuster? I guess that’s what fanfic is for. I do know that no movie in the same era would have relegated say, Harrison Ford to such a role.
I guess it’s in many ways a product of its time. This was the height of the Reagan era, and it’s reflecting that zeitgeist. But, we’re three decades into this nonsense at this point, and we know the costs all too well. In our reality, the Ghostbusters didn’t save the city, they blew everything up and then sent us the bill.
Ghostbusters is also a product of the National Lampoon crowd, who were, quelle surprise! relatively privileged white male “misfits” who didn’t fit into the traditional WASP-led institutions that they found themselves negotiating. If 80’s SNL/Landis/Ramis comedies hate anything, it’s a stuffed shirt in a position of power. However, they age a lot better when they’re punching up at snobbish moneyed elites, like in Caddyshack or Trading Places, than when they’re punching down at public servants, the help, and women in general. Ghostbusters is still a great comedy, but I really wish they hadn’t been so lazy (or worse) with the writing in these areas.
Luke and I were looking at Hieronymus Bosch’s painting The Garden of Earthly Delights and discovered, much to our amusement, music written upon the posterior of one of the many tortured denizens of the rightmost panel of the painting which is intended to represent Hell. I decided to transcribe it into modern notation, assuming the second line of the staff is C, as is common for chants of this era.
so yes this is LITERALLY the 600-years-old butt song from hell
I hope that the morning after the Super Bowl, when we all talk about the best ads, we as list makers recognize that the most important statement of the day never made it on the air. More information on how to get involved here.
On a personal note, I’m really proud that Trailer Park (where I spend a minimum of 50 hours a week) made this.
"He does still surprise me and he makes me hungry to work with him and see what he does and comes up with. [The Master] was something that I came up with because I wanted to spend more time with him. We’d worked together a lot, five times. But it was never enough. It was a supporting part or something like that. It never felt like we’d gotten super dirty enough together."
- Paul Thomas Anderson
True for creatives on the web, and increasingly true for the whole damn economy and human potential in general.
i love carl sagan a lot while frequently hating what he represents to people
i liked Demon-Haunted World so much and part of it was that when encountered with the idea of mediums his first reaction was not “haha suckers” but to revisit his parents and think about how much he missed them. i think that speaks to a maturity and empathy that make him almost totally unique among major figures in “skepticism”, where honestly having a functioning conscience is an impediment