Lady Summerisle (strange_complex) wrote,
Lady Summerisle

22. Ghostbusters (1984), dir. Ivan Reitman

I saw this on Wednesday with ms_siobhan and planet_andy at the Cottage Road cinema. Like Back to the Future a couple of months ago, although it was a classic film shown at the Cottage, it wasn't strictly a Cottage Classic (that was Destry Rides Again this month), but instead part of the Leeds Back In The Day series. I don't think I've ever seen it on the big screen before, as I would only have been eight when it came out, but I had certainly done so (presumably on video) by the age of about 12, as I remember doing a parody sketch scene based on it with school friends around then as part of some kind of class performance.

I enjoyed it a lot, but wasn't perhaps quite as blown away as by Back to the Future. It relies a little bit too much on standard-issue corny lines, like the goofy character who has just been in a massive explosion and is staggering around semi-consciously going "A little help, here?" The race and gender politics are also pretty appalling. All the clever sciency guys in the Ghostbusters team are white; there is a black team member, but he's the dogsbody they hire because they have too much work on, not a brainiac or a charm-merchant like the rest; and of course the women are all there to play victims, secretaries and love-interests.

That said, it does have a lot of genuinely funny situations and dialogue as well as the standard-issue corniness - like the Sedgewick Hotel staff desperately trying to cover up the fact that there's a violent ghost-hunt going on in their ballroom to their guests, or the interactions between the Ghostbusters and their crowds of adoring fans. Plus it offers some good oblique commentary on scam business practices (essentially what the Ghostbusters are engaged in, though with the twist that their ghosts are real), blinkered bloody-minded bureaucracy (total chaos caused by a city official who insists on closing down the power supply to the ghost containment unit without understanding the consequences of his actions), mass hysteria, public spectacle, celebrity culture and consumerism.

It was also nice to recognise locations which I've been to from my trip to New York - especially the New York Public Library and its Rose Reading Room, where I sat and absorbed plays and newspaper articles about Augustus from the 1930s just this April. And I could relate to the team of academics (who go on to become the Ghostbusters) getting unceremoniously kicked out of their University at the start of the film in a way I couldn't have done when I first saw it. Plus it pulled in a good audience, with several people dressing up for the occasion (one Ghostbuster on the door and two Mr. Stay Pufts wandering about the place), which is always pleasing. I definitely have a very strong interest in the ongoing success of a cinema only ten minutes' walk from my house which regularly screens classic films like this one.

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Tags: films, films watched 2013, reviews

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