The Venn diagram between would-be academics and blue-collar workers is a near perfect circle in Ghostbusters, a near fairy tale of trade jobs thwarting the paranormal. Only in New York would something like this fly. I mean, what other city would find citizens barely raising an eyebrow at the sight of Sumerian demon dogs possessing its fellow dwellers?
Here's the thing, Ghostbusters is a charming piece of (creaky) special effects with a riffing Bill Murray as its center. Everything revolves around Murray’s winking and rapid-fire snark, including an unfortunately sidelined Ernie Hudson and a part for Sigourney Weaver that breaks down to “the sexy brain.” It’s this casual misogyny, endemic to films of the 80s, that prevents from enjoying Ghostbusters more than I do. Did we really need to see Dan Aykroyd get head from a sexy ghost woman as a punchline?
Where Ghostbusters really shines is in its careful deployment of set pieces and specific personalities rubbing against each other in conflict and humor. It’s just as much in Annie Potts’ deadpan receptionist as it is in transformation of a ghost into vengeful harpy. You remember the smart-ass comments and the ridiculous punchlines just as much as the money shots, and how these two things frequently feed into each other. C’mon, the reveal of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is equally hilarious for something so soft becoming a kaiju as the setup involving Murray’s anxious ramblings about trying to keep his mind clear and failing to think of anything but this gooey mascot.
Remember how fun this one without the baggage of the limp sequel, unjustifiably reviled distaff remake (messy but fun), and the never-ending threat of a third proper entry? I know it’s hard, but really try to remember the vibrantly colored spiritual realms, cartoon-ish ghosts, and creepy but silly opening segment. Ghostbusters may be stiff in its joints, but there’s still charm aplenty to be found here.