Archive for the ‘Ghostbusters’ Category

12 Days of Highly Tolerable Holiday Movies: Ghostbusters II

December 24, 2010

Ghostbusters II (Ivan Reitman, 1989).

The discovery of a massive river of ectoplasm and a resurgence of spectral activity allows the staff of Ghostbusters to revive the business.

(the imdb)

The sequel had the biggest three-day opening weekend gross in history —

What a record, what an achievement! Nothing can break their stride!

— a record that was broken one week later by Batman ($40,505,884).

Wikipedia is tearing my loyalties apart.

Are there actually still people who believe the world is ending in 2012? Have not all the times the world hasn’t ended convinced you yet? We all think we live in the endtimes. It’s so vain. We can’t picture the future without us. Let me give you a timeless hint about the future: there is a point where you’re not in it. I’m sorry but it is a plain fact. There are also no zombies, no vampires, and no endless life. (I’ll give you pirates: there are pirates.) It sucks, but them’s the breaks. You end and the world doesn’t. Internalize it, embrace it, and live with it. Make your time matter and stop hollering about extinct cultures whose soothsaying abilities self-evidently did not include calculation of their own demise.

Hey, it beats the ectoplasm sample from the first film. Wait, no it doesn’t, at all.

Though Wilhelm von Homburg physically played Vigo, his voice work was all dubbed by living fucking legend Max von Sydow. Sorry for the king-sized cuss but it’s in his contract that he be introduced that way.

Swedes are so super-weird. For several years in the mid-1970’s, Ingmar Bergman paid a man to act like a cat and live in his home. Very awkward when he watched you shower. Bergman, I mean. I kept expecting to accidentally break down and flash back to coldly sitting beside my father’s deathbed, thinking with quiet despair of my secret lover instead of focusing on my dad’s mortal illness. It’s like, “You are totally ruining my shower, Mr. Bergman.”

That thing about Bergman was just story-tellin’. I never met the guy. But it sounded possible, didn’t it? That’s the power of Swedish weirdness.

Look, it’s Santa outside the museum! So holiday-y! This is actually the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Customs House on Battery Park. There is no Manhattan Museum of Art. The museum at which Dana works is sort of a conflation of several actual museums in the city. The Customs House used for the exterior shots is currently home to the American Indian Museum and a United States Bankrupty Court.

They used the last name of the twin boys cast as Oscar, Deutschendorf, as the computer’s dredged-up surname of Prince Vigo. Cute. P.S.? My monitor still looks almost exactly like that. Who would like to be Santa and send me a slick flat screen?

Scotty and I used to say this to each other in lieu of “of course” as often as we could remember.

The twins who play Oscar are John Denver’s nephews. I don’t know if I could put down a blood relative of John Denver. He was just such a good person. I’d picture him in Heaven, making a sad face and shaking his head, like he’s sorry that I apparently am so mean that I just can’t be reached. I don’t want to make John Denver bummed out in Heaven. Do you?

For me, this is the cleverest line in the movie.

Annie Potts is doing just great. Not that you asked. Jerk.

No, seriously, she’s like a professor in residence at her old college and does all kinds of acting and cool stuff. She really is doing great. Pretty neato stuff.

Bill and Brian Doyle-Murray in a fun onscreen moment together. Even though they pop up in each other’s movies from time to time, they don’t often share scenes.

Funny story about how Peter MacNicol got the part of Janosz Poha: I have no idea. He’d been in Sophie’s Choice, which is the bummer movie to beat all bummer movies. You think Beaches is bad? Throw in the Holocaust. Now you’re in the big leagues, right? and that’s not even striking distance of how gigantic a bummer Sophie’s Choice is. That’s only the alley behind the theater putting on an off-Broadway production based on the Nobel Peace Prize winning book of how much a bummer that movie is. He does a super-fun job in this, though, right?

Cannibal Girls is a Canadian Comedy horror film directed by Ivan Reitman and stars Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, and Ronald Ulrich.

Thanks, wikipedia! Have you donated yet? Pony up, man, it’s changed the way we think as people. Nothing is unknowable now.

Cannibal Girls was a low-budget Canadian flick released in 1973 to not so wide fame. It actually was shown at Austin’s big-ol’-look-how-cool-we-are-and-PS-we-are-vegans South by Southwest festival this year in March. Could this spell an Ivan Reitman renaissance for the near future? Fingers crossed, loosely sketching maple leaves in the air.

My name is Bookman. I’m a library policeman.

Psst, it’s Ben Stein. Pass it on.

Cheesiest, most glorious part. Lord, how corny and marvelous.

So what is the deal, you are asking, with the new Ghostbusters movie rumors? Deal is, everyone’s up for it (why wouldn’t they be?) and the cast could include the old team’s new super-cool comedy friends like the Wilson brothers, new SNL cast members, and maybe finally some effing Steve Martin up in this piece!

(Good advice for everyone at all times. I love this line.)

The most cheering and interesting thing I’ve heard was Bill Murray talking about it while he was supposed to be promoting something else, when he suggested they get a girl Ghostbuster in it. He dropped Tina Fey as a name, but I think Poehler is better suited for the uniform. I can see Tina in a different, more straight man or even blocking antagonistic role. They need the loose madcap shenanigans of Amy Poehler to fit with the dynamic of the team itself. Am I crazy? Please don’t answer.

There will be plenty of slime. Not just plain old slime, but good slime and bad slime. Although no one will explain the distinction, it seems that the citizens of New York will be implicated. According to Mr. Reitman, ”Our theory in the film is that when people are mean and nasty, it creates a negative psychic energy.” Mr. Ramis adds, ”Slime is our metaphor for the human condition.”

(JEannie Park. “Slime? Don’t Worry! The Ghostbusters Are Back.” December 25, 1988. The New York Times.)

Oh, dude. Way deep.

Holy cannoli, like can you even handle it? The Cutest. What ever happened to Rick Moranis? Did Americans tar and feather him and run him back to Canada on a rail after Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves or what?

Yes, you can get this as a tattoo. Please do it, actually. Nickel in the mail if you do. Pictures or it didn’t happen.

Dan Aykroyd is a firm true believer in the paranormal. Harold Ramis thinks it’s highly unlikely. Ivan Reitman’s own kid is the one who, at the beginning, tells Ray and Winston at the birthday party, “My dad says you guys are full of crap.”

As for the possibility of a Ghostbusters III, Mr. Ramis says, ”I doubt it very much. It’s so hard to get everybody together. And we’re so much older. There’s a lot more hair dye being used this time. When it’s face-lift time, we’ll have to quit.”


Let’s see if time tells on that one, Doctor Spengler.

Movie Moment — 12 Days of Highly Tolerable Holiday Movies: Die Hard

December 14, 2010

Die Hard (John McTiernan, 1988.)

New York cop John McClane gives terrorists a dose of their own medicine as they hold hostages in an LA office building.

(the imdb)

This was the first action movie I ever saw. The second was Total Recall. I watched them both on VHS on the same New Years’ Eve day with my cousins. Absolutely no action film has measured up for me, since. How could it? Even though it’s made most other action movies pale in comparison, I still wouldn’t trade those four-or-so hours for the world.

The movie is based on the book Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp. Nothing Lasts Forever is a sequel to The Detective, which was made in to a film in 1968 with Frank Sinatra as Joe Leland, the McClane character’s original name. Originally, Nothing Lasts Forever was going to be adapted as a sequel to Commando (?!), but after hanging out in development hell for awhile, it was repackaged as a sequel to The Detective, and then eventually tooled as a standalone picture.

In 1975, author Roderick Thorp saw the film The Towering Inferno. After seeing the film, Thorp had a dream of seeing a man being chased through a building by men with guns. He woke up and took that idea and turned it into the The Detective sequel, Nothing Lasts Forever.

(the wiki)

Best. Absolutely best.

In the source material, it is not his wife but McClane’s daughter Steffie Generro (not Genarro) who is in the building, which is the Klaxon Oil Company national headquarters. Also, instead of posing as terrorists while really planning a good old-fashioned heist, Gruber and co. in the book really are terrorists. They are specifically members of the Rote Armee Fraktion, or Red Army Faction (sometimes called the Baader-Meinhof group), a German terrorist organization of the 1970s through 1990s.

The change from Gruber’s group being legit RAF terrorists to only using terrorism as a smokescreen for their intended purpose, director John McTiernan says, came because he wanted the film to be lighter and have “joy” rather than dark political overtones.

Taped to the fuse box is a pinup of Pamela Stein, Playboy’s Miss November 1987. The crew stuck it up there as a joke and Willis’s reaction to it is allegedly the real deal, so the choice was made to leave it in. For more on Ms. Stein, she was an entry in my NSFW November project of 2009: read all about it.

William Atherton does what he does best in this movie: play an asshole. In this case he’s reporter Richard Thornburg. The king douche from Ghostbusters lays it on thick, even going to Holly’s house and telling the McClane children that their parents are going to die. Do they have any last words they’d like to share with them? Small wonder that the first thing Holly does when she sees the aptly named Dick is punch him.

If someone told my kid I was going to die and asked her what her thoughts on that were, they’d better consider themselves lucky if, once I got out of danger, I restrained myself to just a punch in the face.

The “yippie kai yay” phrase is a reference to the theme music for Roy Rogers, who McClane tells Gruber was his preferred screen idol growing up, in the face of Gruber’s disdain for McClane’s lone wolf heroics. The line made it in to the AFI’s top 100 list, coming in at 96 on the 100 Greatest Movie Lines of all time.

The contact info for the Nakatomi building is actually the numbers (at the time) for Fox Plaza, where the film was shot. The extended cut of the film also contains a short scene which explains a plothole: the FBI tries to cut power to the building once they take over the “terrorist” negotiations. In the extended cut, McClane, hiding in the men’s bathroom, asks Al what’s going on and he explains that the FBI is in charge now and it’s part of their operating procedures.

The building’s power getting cut does not work according to Gruber’s plans. He’d hoped that the power being out would help him to crack the seventh and final lock for the safe (remember, earlier on Theo had warned Gruber that the circuit for the final lock could not be severed locally, precisely to prevent their kind of activity); deciding to go back to the drawing board, Gruber has computer whiz kid Theo connect to the emergency power supply. This is why when the power comes back on without this short backstory in the theatrical cut, the first thing we see is an FBI agent, and it’s why later the FBI takes out the power to the whole block instead of only the Nakatomi building, which does deactivate the seventh lock mechanism.

The “yippie kai yay” line isn’t the only American Film Institute keeper: Hans Gruber was listed as #46 on their 100 Years, 100 Villains list. What is it with the AFI and lists? Pretty soon it’ll be all like, “The AFI’s 10 Greatest AFI lists,” and the special will show famous actors and directors somberly describing the first time they accidentally stumbled on a televised broadcast of the 100 Best Movie Songs and couldn’t find the remote, so they watched it all.

The filmmakers introduce a gratuitous and unnecessary additional character: the deputy police chief (Paul Gleason), who doubts that the guy on the other end of the radio is really a New York cop at all.

(Roger Ebert. “Die Hard.” July 19, 1988. Chicago Sun-Times. He only gave the movie two stars.)

As nearly as I can tell, the deputy chief is in the movie for only one purpose: to be consistently wrong at every step of the way and to provide a phony counterpoint to Willis’ progress. The character is so willfully useless, so dumb, so much a product of the Idiot Plot Syndrome, that all by himself he successfully undermines the last half of the movie.


Entertainment Weekly named this the best action film of all time, showing those uptight pinky-raisers at the AFI that anyone can make an arbitrary list. What do you call my 12 Days of Highly Tolerable Holiday Movies? Completely made up is what I call it, because I’m the one who sat down and made it up.

Gruber being dropped because McClane unfastens Holly’s watch totally stuck with me for life. I’m not saying that it is singlehandedly responsible for my vertigo, but it’s on my arbitrary list of suspects (running gag alert). Some of that surprise is genuine: director McTiernan had Alan Rickman dropped a full second early in the count in order to capture an expression of truly spontaneous shock and fear. Worked.

To wind things down with the dewy promise of what’s-to-come, I’ve got super-great news for anyone who likes news that is super and great: a fifth Die Hard film is in the works, with Willis attached, and shooting is expected to begin in 2011. Personally, I liked Die Hard With A Vengeance best of the sequels, but I would not kick Live Free or Die Hard out of bed. Your thoughts?

Movie Moment: Ghostbusters (1984) – Janine Melnitz edition

November 20, 2009

I think about Ghostbusters a lot. Maybe more than anyone should. But I find it uplifting and comfortable, like slipping in to bed at the end of a long day: it’s just right. I also used to use Ghostbusters as an age gauge: since I was able to see this in theaters — albeit pretty young — then if you were not born when Ghostbusters came out, the cultural divide between us was insurmountable and it would be creepy to date you. For the record, I’ve lifted that. I’m well up to Mannequin (1987) now. Call me!

Anyway, Annie Potts portrayed Miz Janine Melnitz, the Ghostbusters’ secretary, and here is some of that.

Type something, will you? We’re paying for this stuff. And don’t stare at me, you got those bug-eyes.


Janine? Sorry about the bug-eyes thing. I’ll be in my office.

Cue Brian Setzer and the Stray Cats. I have this soundtrack on LP and I’m not ashamed.

Breaking news: Power outage predicted in Ceres

October 14, 2009

Gorgeous George just tipped me off that Movie Day may be interrupted by CID switching over to some new folkloric meter system and cutting the power to Paolo and Miss D’s house, which was our chosen viewing venue, for a to-be-determined portion of the day. Cheezits! That’s okay: we’re flexible.

Thus, once that outage happens, we will scoot from the honeymoon house-sitting and do our little bit of blending at the DMV rather than the Raley’s, since to complete my vehicle registration I need to prove to them I smogged my stupid car in accordance with their stupid laws and surrender my genuinely stupid Oregon plates. Only six characters on the plate? Puh-leeze. You guys are ridiculous. I can’t even look at you right now, Oregon. Ridiculous. Seven is the key number, man. Seven windows, seven doors, seven sevens! (Bonus prize in the mail to whoever nails that quote first. Not even kidding.)

Woohoo, back in the 209 for good (and a little evil, not gonna lie): why don’t y’all make your government bureacracy-bullshit selves useful for once, DMV, and hook me up with them there ol’ Golden Stet plets! So this is not a setback at all. Still taking the day to the moon. Ow!

Edit: The Gentleman beat everyone to the punch with a text message yesterday — “something about mary,” the man said. And he is right, sadly. Oh, I’ll send you something in the mail, all right…

Moolti-pahz and “Who you gonna call?”

October 14, 2009

Heyo! Got some dogs in the fire today. Not as many as some have, like Jonohs with just under ten thousand things to do today, or Paolo and Miss D who have to watch the weather and see if they can squeeze out of Tahoe between storms or if they will have to stay another night (oh, no, whatever will they do to pass the time), and I also am not contending with gypsy-cursed attire which has been commanded to kill me, nor am I sick like Panda Eraser and the Gentleman, but some dogs nonetheless. Boy, now that I actually tally up how full the plates of my friendohs are, I’m feeling pretty footloose and fancy-free, gotta say. Sorry, guys; what is that like.

Anyway. It is suddenly to be a movie day, and what movies! And pizza! Here is the deal. After I pick up kidlet from anarchy in the 5-k —aka kindergarten— we are going to slide on down to Ceres to visit Gorgeous George, give him and the pup-pup a little company in housesitting for Paolo and Miss D while they are on honeymoon. We are taking pizza, breadsticks, and Ghostbusters I and II with us, plus a thingy of root beer (sorry, I suck at remembering in what denomination of liters soda is sold. it’s a big one, all right?). If we need any extra supplies, I suppose we will attempt to go to Raley’s and blend. We can blend!

Also, if the rain lets up and the damn thing gets delivered, we are going to take a look at that warranty-replacement lefthanded Cambodian fan battery —aka the new pool motor— and see if we can’t get some action happening from that department. It would be a really great welcome home surprise if the stars align and we pull it off! Again, we can go procure extra supplies for that, although we had certainly a time of it even buying a wrench last time; it resulted in driving around aimlessly and having to call people to google directions to the damn Harbor Freight (cleverly concealed as an anchor of a strip mall on a busy street in a populous area, those sly dogs!). Further, this time we are both starting to get a little squeaky-strapped for the cashflow … so this will be an adventure. Do you suppose the Home Depot takes Multipass?

Wish me luck!

Don’t sweat it: Ghostbusters edition

October 12, 2009

I’m sweating stuff today. I shouldn’t. Why worry, right?

Dr Ray Stantz: You know, it just occurred to me that we really haven’t had a successful test of this equipment.
Dr. Egon Spengler: I blame myself.
Dr. Peter Venkman: So do I.
Dr Ray Stantz: Well, no sense in worrying about it now.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Why worry? Each one of us is carrying an unlicensed nuclear accelerator on his back.

As usual, Venkman knows what’s up. My favorite part of this little elevator riding scene has almost always been the “No Smoking” sign which, of all people, Ray deliberately ignores.

Poop jokes and the Parent-Teacher Club

October 5, 2009

So I’m getting out of my car to pick up kidlet from kindergarten and my phone beeps. I figured it would be a return-joke from Jonohs because I had threatened him with an invasion by Gozer if he did not remember to get himself sushi today (he told me yesterday something along the lines of that it was my responsibility to make sure he did, and I enjoy following orders) so I waited until I’d cleared the curb and was already standing around with the other parents waiting for the teacher to let our kids out before checking on it.

I flipped open my phone in this crowd of moms with bump-its in their hair and men in business polo shirts and it was a text not from Jonohs but from Special K, complaining about the odor of the orchestra room at her school, a smell with which I am sadly intimate from doing my own time in there:

So I snort and laugh, of course, and everyone turns to look curiously at me. I just smile as graciously as possible and shake my head, flipping the phone shut with a snap as if to say, Oh, that’s okay, PTA moms and dads, do not mind me over here with the dutch braids and the flannel snap shirt — I’m not laughing at you. I’m laughing at a poop joke. I am a class act. And soooo put-together that every day I wait for the call to become the new principal of that place, cause I know they are all just super-impressed and dazzled by me and my obvious organization and decorum. Awesomesauce! Dig me!

Unlikely G: Ray Stantz edition

September 17, 2009

It’s our secret but circa-80’s Dan Akroyd and I would totally bang if it wouldn’t complicate my pre-existing relationship with circa-80’s Bill Murray. Love you, buddy.

Raymond Stantz is lookin’ g as hayull and why not? Man just saved New York City from Gozer, in the guise of a marshmallow in a sailor suit.

WINSTON: Ray! When someone asks you if you are a god, you say ‘yes!’ — Ghostbusters

Asked and Answered: Janosz Poha edition

September 11, 2009

“Why I am drippings with goo?”
“You had a violent prolonged transformative psychic episode.”

Oh, if I had a nickel…

It happens: Ghostbusters edition

September 9, 2009

Dana switches on the radio and starts unpacking groceries. She sets a loaf of bread and a carton of eggs on the counter and begins putting other items away in the pantry.

The top of the carton pops open. Then, one by one, the eggs erupt and spill over onto the counter. As the liquid contents hit the counter-

top they sizzle. The eggs begin to fry on the formica surface.

She hears the sizzle, turns and sees the eggs frying. She gasps, then recovers and inspects the mess. She touches the counter gingerly, but it’s not at all hot.

full script here

As kitchen possession headaches go, food that cooks itself is less of a hassle than those chairs from Poltergeist. Try and stay upbeat, Miz Barrett. Does the counter do frittatas? Cube up some ham and take it for a spin; you don’t know ’til you try!