In this episode of the Fictionphile Podcast, the crew analyzes why Ghostbusters is a work of art. Topics include the amazing chemistry of the cast, gho-jobs, and the lightning in a bottle that’s yet to be recaptured. The crew also discuss the film’s weak romantic subplot and make a pitch for Lin Manuel Miranda to take on a remake.
For those experiencing hearing loss, and simply for your reference regardless, see the transcription below.
Ghostbusters: Who You Gonna Call? #Hamilton
Jason Boyd 0:21
Hello, everybody, welcome to the Fictionphile podcast where we explore the wide world of narrative entertainment, from movies to literature and everything in between. My name is Jason Boyd. I’m the editor of Fictionphile and I’m joined remotely today by managing editor Corrine Asbell. Hey, Corrine.
Corrine Asbell 0:38
Jason Boyd 0:39
Also somewhere in an undisclosed location in cyberspace. We have associate editor Dalton McCay, how are you sir?
Dalton McCay 0:50
I’m doing good. Doing great.
Jason Boyd 0:57
Yeah, stay low, stay frosty.
Dalton McCay 1:00
I’m in my bunker.
Jason Boyd 1:04
Very good. That’s that’s where you belong, especially now.
Dalton McCay 1:10
Jason Boyd 1:13
Today we’ll be… send Charmin… So today we’ll be poring over a single work of fiction. After we introduce this work of art, we’ll discuss what makes it enjoyable. What makes it a work of art in the first place? What makes it universally relatable? And finally, we’ll talk about what it could have done better. So, now that we have our format, what piece of narrative entertainment are we talking about today, Corinne?
Introducing the Work of Fiction
Corrine Asbell 1:42
So we’ve got Ghostbusters on the agenda today. The original one that was released June 8, 1984, and was produced and directed by Ivan Reitman, and released by Columbia Pictures. It’s written by stars Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, who along with Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson played the titular Ghostbusters.
Dalton McCay 2:05
After the members of a team of scientists lose their cushy positions at a University in New York City, they decide to become Ghostbusters to wage a high tech battle with the supernatural for money. They stumble upon a gateway to another dimension, a doorway that will release evil upon the city. The Ghostbusters must now save New York from complete destruction.
Jason Boyd 2:29
Excellent. And thank you for saying titular Corinne. It gave me a little giggle. And so critical opinion summary. Let’s just go kind of like over what the critics thought of this real quick so we have some perspective. IMDB… And of course these scores may change when you check it now but IMDb has 7.8 out of 10. Metacritic is 71 out of 100. And Rotten Tomatoes… interesting here. Critics have it at 97% audience has it at 88%. So audience not as big of fans. Interesting, but let’s… let’s kind of move on to our first topic here. Yeah, I’m kind of the opposite on it, honestly. But um, let’s, let’s move on to our topics here and start with Corinne. If you do like it, depending on how if you’re in that 12% that don’t like Ghostbusters, what makes Ghostbusters enjoyable, Corrine?
What Makes Ghostbusters Enjoyable?
Corrine Asbell 3:49
Well, for me, it’s got to be the script. The movie is infinitely quotable. All right, obviously not counting the theme song because you know, that wasn’t written by them, but to be fair when I say we’re gonna call, you know, y’all just said Ghostbusters. But now Bill Murray plays Dr. Peter Venkman with a sort of cool detachment and irreverent, irreverent attitude, while delivering some of the best quips. It’s peak Bill Murray and considering his SNL history with Dan Aykroyd, it’s as if the role was written for him. I think it was, but I’m not 100% sure on that fact. And then you take that with a script and you couple that with the fact that despite its paranormal otherworldliness. Ghostbusters is a very simple story at its core. Three pair of psychologists–say that five times fast–get laid off and become entrepreneurs to make money and save the world in the process. I mean, that’s the simplest thing ever.
Dalton McCay 4:44
Yeah, super simple story structure. Say that five times fast.
Jason Boyd 4:54
What do you think makes Ghostbusters enjoyable?
Dalton McCay 4:57
For me, it’s the humor. My favorite kind of humor, it’s very dry and sarcastic. And it’s part of the reason why I think it’s… it’s vastly superior to the 2016 film, which is again part of that sort of Funko Pop plastic, meta, and low bar and it’s far too lowbrow to be funny this… This really set the bar for comedy in general. Not just for Ghostbusters films.
Jason Boyd 5:36
Yeah, I mean, that’s pretty much my take. And by the way, I like how we’re having a very sober, subdued conversation about the first comedy that we’ve covered. The first out and out comedy that we’re, we’re just… very well, yes, I found it humorous… Although that is kind
Dalton McCay 5:58
You know, even should we…
Corrine Asbell 6:01
We finally do like you want us to and you’re getting… you’re calling us out on it.
Jason Boyd 6:05
Straighten up, us. But yeah, no, no, no, no. But all jokes aside what what I think makes Ghostbusters enjoyable is, I mean, it’s kind of… I mean, it’s the dumbest concept in the world. I mean, it’s, it’s…
Dalton McCay 6:20
Jason Boyd 6:23
I mean, first you have the whole like… Ghostbusters. I mean, let’s get the joke itself. It already like starts at… the pun, you know, or a joke in itself. And… and then you have just like the fact that they’re wearing these overalls and everything like that. It’s just… it’s so… it’s so dumb, but yet we still find ourselves wanting to root for these folks, like they’re just relatable. You know, a lot of that has to do with just honestly the acting, the writing, and the directing. I mean, it just comes down to like the synthesis of those three things. They really create this sense of relatability almost, which we’ll get to later. But that’s one of the things that makes it most enjoyable to me is that you feel like even though these people are supposed to be like, some of them are, you know… college professors. They seem like regular Joe’s, who are just like trying to, like make a living.
Dalton McCay 7:22
Jason Boyd 7:23
So… So there’s something endearing about that. So it’s like, you have this dumb concept, but yet you like the people involved. So you’re like… Alright, you know, I’ll go along for the ride. It’s character focused. And a lot of comedies get lost in the high concept. They get lost in, you know, just making jokes or wacky or outrageous scenes. But they forget about, you know, just characters that you actually want to root for. Yeah, that’s…
Dalton McCay 7:55
The humor… The humor is very subtle, like one of… one of the best… one of the best sight gags in the entire movie is it’s… it’s very subtle. They’re… they’re in an elevator and they haven’t… Like Egon says, you know, you’re wearing a tiny fusion reactor on your back. I regret that I haven’t tested it yet. And then there’s like, you know, a couple minutes and then he just sort of turns it on. And then he just… he sort of inches away from it as if it’s going to help like, into the… into the corner like almost pushing Bill Murray over who’s looking quite annoyed.
Jason Boyd 8:37
Yeah, yeah, it’s a… in a lot of the… I’ll kind of touch on this later, but a lot of the comedy has… It comes from the characters themselves, being kind of funny people. Yeah. Like they’re making jokes in world, which is again something that a lot of comedies today could learn from is that like, it’s okay for the characters to be charismatic and funny themselves. And, you know, it’s not just about a joke for the audience. It’s a joke for the world as well. But I think we both covered… I think we’ve all agreed… and come to the critical consensus that Ghostbusters is indeed a successful comedy.
Dalton McCay 9:19
Corrine Asbell 9:21
Dalton McCay 9:23
Safe. Now, moving on…
What Makes Ghostbusters a Work of Art?
Jason Boyd 9:24
To the more important question, I guess is what makes Ghostbusters a work of art. So I’ll kick it off… it’s basically… I… to me, you know, I think it is just, for one thing… it’s a time capsule, and it encapsulates the 80s aesthetic. You know, it’s post modernism at its finest, really, and it’s absurd self mocking, it’s irreverent. It uses genre as a pastiche. Does all of that. Yet it captures this kind of like undeniable sense of authenticity, of earnestness, which is postmodern… and post modernism is… is not known for its earnestness. But um, it’s postmodern without being jaded, I would say. It’s because it has that relatability that comes from the acting of the directing of the writing. But yet the setup and the approach is very self mocking… self removed. You’re kind of, you know, the characters are not always as afraid as they should be, perhaps, you know, things like that. So there’s a… there’s a sense of post modernism, even with that, but you feel you just have this intangible feeling, which I think is partly what has made some remakes. unsuccessful is that there’s just something about, like lightning in a bottle with that cast, and that director… Ivan Reitman, legend, and the writing, just all working seamlessly together, and it’s… Like you can tell they’re just… they’re just made for this kind of a movie. Oh, yeah. And it’s so authentic. It’s like it’s perfectly tailored. It’s like a tailored suit. But yeah, Corrine? What do you think makes Ghostbusters a work of art?
Corrine Asbell 11:16
I just got to touch on that last part, as far as the cast, the way they were all able to come together.
Jason Boyd 11:21
Corrine Asbell 11:22
And it’s just Ghostbusters was just one of the greatest ensemble casts. I don’t want to say like, of all time, but like top five like one of the greatest ensembles. I mean, you know, going into it with Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd, it’s gonna be funny as hell. But the way the entire cast just seems to connect. It just brings that movie together and really makes the movie enjoyable and great. You got the comedic timing of Murray and Aykroyd and Harold Ramis with Ernie Hudson, as the straight man, it’s gold. And then you know usually when you’ve got two heavyweights there’s usually one that stands… especially with comedic heavyweights, usually one stands out more than the other like, this is the comedy star. Right? No one’s stealing the limelight. It’s… it’s a shared thing. They’re all like playing off of each other. And the way they’re just… they share the spotlight. And then I think it helps that the movie is just kind of timeless. I mean, obviously, there’s some dated aspects, you know. The 80s aesthetic, the… the wardrobe, the hair, the lack of regard for secondhand smoke, but the comedy is pretty timeless as well. I mean, it’s not reliant on time sensitive gags, or a lot of pop culture references like that, that would make it dated. And I think that just really helps keep it… Yeah, timeless and great.
Jason Boyd 12:43
That’s for… very good, very true. It’s very timeless even though it is such a time capsule at the same time. And a lot of that’s because it’s… it’s speaking to things that, you know, are kind of always going to be true, just like you know… urban life, living in a city, you know… just the wackiness of the alive and dead characters in that city you know and just the kind of class poverty type mindset of a lot of the characters that are in the movie you know… even today we can relate to that.
Dalton McCay 13:18
Yeah, I was gonna say it really does speak to the movie’s relatability that you could watch a time and it would still apply to our climate and whatnot.
Jason Boyd 13:35
Yeah, so Dalton, what do you… what would you say is what makes it a work of art?
Dalton McCay 13:40
Well, I just love the way that this movie twists a capitalist’s wet dream into something so fun and ridiculous. It’s honestly impressive. I mean, at its core Ghostbusters is about like these three… these four guys attempting a get rich quick scheme. And it ends up actually paying off. And then the end they get to be heroes. It’s… it’s like truly the American dream at its finest. I would say it’s actually, in that regard. It’s like… It’s like a modern fairy tale hidden within an 80s urban nightmare. It’s like you got all these supernatural things flying around… you’ve got… you’ve got these every men looking out for each other, the unwitting heroes lose their jobs and take a chance on a long shot against dark forces in order to get their lives back together. That’s a fairy tale plot. You know, so it’s a… it’s… it’s weird how they managed to make an urban fairy tale.
Jason Boyd 14:48
Right? Yeah, very well put. Yeah. It’s… Uh, yeah, it’s got all those classic elements. And I mean, it is. It’s funny that you mentioned fairytale. Cuz it’s kind of… it’s a sci fi movie, so to speak, because they have inventions. But… and you know, it’s arguable whether fantasy is a sub genre science fiction or whether it’s its own genre with its own sub genres. But regardless, it’s partly fantasy because of the supernatural element. So it lends itself well to that kind of a feeling to… like… that helps. Right? Because they feel… they feel like they’re Crusaders almost, you know. They’re Don Quioxote.
Dalton McCay 15:45
Exactly. They all… they all win. In the end, they’re the underdogs and they win in the end. And that’s a classic classic trope of those kind of, like, Hero driven tales and… And I will say that my favorite science fiction is the science fiction that is almost fantasy. And I will say that I do enjoy fantasy that almost is… has… is almost a work of science fiction. Yeah, I mean, like my favorite magic systems are the ones that are rooted in reality rooted in science, the magic system in my… my novel’s world is a good example of that. And, and like, like Star Wars that we’ve talked about at length, that is that is science fiction that is rooted in fantasy. So you know, it’s two of my favorite things.
Jason Boyd 16:52
Right? Yeah, absolutely. It’s a… they both have something to learn from the other one. Yeah, well I… Dalton, why don’t you keep it on this one. But let’s… let’s talk about what makes Ghostbusters universally relatable.
What Makes Ghostbusters Universally Relatable?
Dalton McCay 17:09
Well, I’m continuing on with our three heroes. I mean, this is a movie about being in over your head like way over your head. Physically, emotionally, spiritually. These characters are these average schlubby guys at the end of their ropes, I mean, and they go out on a limb for a crazy idea and it ends up becoming far more than they realized. The movie is a series of steps almost like I don’t know if you guys are familiar with like anime tropes but it’s… it’s almost like a shounen anime and shounen basically like it, it can go on forever because there’s always someone stronger and once you defeat the bad guy, there’s another bad guy that’s stronger than the last bad guy. And it just keeps going ad nauseum. And the hero always becomes more powerful to meet the new challenge and it goes on and on and on. That’s how that’s how bleach has, like, I don’t know, 15 seasons. That’s how Dragon Ball is still going. That’s how you know it’s but like, it has that feel to it. You start with like, a spooky in invisible force in a library at the beginning, and then like we eventually see that force. And by the time we’re at the end of the movie, it’s a dark God descending from another dimension. It’s it’s the reality of things going out of control that makes it so relatable. Yeah.
Jason Boyd 18:51
Yeah. No, absolutely. And it’s a… I love the dark God… it’s kind of like they start out just thinking, Hey, you know, we’ll just kept some ghosts we’ll make a buck you know, it’ll be fine. And hey, well, you know, we’ll also prove some of our theories here. Yeah, they start then…
Dalton McCay 19:11
They start out almost as like bug exterminator. So like, oh, you know, these these ghosts they bump in the night. You know, it’s, they’re… they’re they’re basically cockroaches and…
Jason Boyd 19:22
Right. You know, you hit that? Yes, absolutely. And that’s something that we haven’t mentioned is that that is most definitely the analog of what goes to I mean, that had to be an inspirational piece is just, it’s basically bug exterminators but for ghosts, yeah. I mean, even even their name Ghostbusters is like, you know, ant busters or whatever, you know, it’s… it would still apply? Yeah, yeah. Depends that feel…
And the ad they run. You know, do this. It’s just used car salesman. It’s a… it’s an infomercial you’d see on like late night TV, right?
Yeah, it’s great. So what I think makes it universally relatable is you know, first of all, I think its… its whole appeal is its relatability. They’re working class guys. Ernie Hudson himself, you know, is… just needs a job. The other three, which I think is just… it’s so funny… but also like, so like, yeah, no, I get it. You know, sometimes you just need a frickin job. You just need to pick up some cash. And the other guys are like scientists and PhDs, but yet, I never feel like they’re aristocratic or elitist. I think part of that is kind of because it’s so rooted in New York. And these three white characters come from SNL. Or at least the you know, even the… you know, the one that wasn’t on SNL… might not…
Corrine Asbell 21:12
Jason Boyd 21:13
So. Right. I was gonna say Ramis, but Harold Ramis, uh, he has that same mistique of being with Bill Murray in you know, Stripes and things like that. So he’s in that world, but they kind of have an authentic New York feel. So it’s like it’s based in New York. And you’re like, these guys are New Yorkers, or at this point they are because they’ve been on SNL, and they’re in that world of New York. They are representative of New York. And again, that’s part of the lightning in the bottle aspect of it is that like, you have a blend of the real world and the fantasy world of the movie can have relatability. With the actors, and they have a persona off screen that you can hook into in the movie. And it’s, you know, you just don’t get that with everyone. And it’s something that they seem to not necessarily try very hard to hide. Exactly. Well, I was gonna say in a remakes to recreate… Oh, yeah, I mean, yeah, they do use some SNL people, you know, but um…
Dalton McCay 22:31
So like, is SNL a different beast today? Right.
Jason Boyd 22:39
You should use the cast of Hamilton for Ghostbusters. Honestly.
Corrine Asbell 22:43
Watch the hell out of that.
Jason Boyd 22:45
Right? That’s kinda… I would say, Sure. If…
Corrine Asbell 22:48
Someone like start tweet campaign, Lin Manuel Miranda…
Jason Boyd 22:52
Right, I would. Oh my god, I would watch Lin Manuel Miranda be a Ghostbuster all day long.
Corrine Asbell 23:00
Lin Manuel Miranda do anything. He’s brilliant.
Jason Boyd 23:03
All right, guys. I’m gonna I’m gonna hashtag this. All right, go for it. When you say… Oh, it’s Hamilton Ghostbuster or something like that… Well, we’ll work on it. We’ll tweak it. Well, we’ll workshop this look in the show notes. Yeah, maybe it’ll even it might even be the title of the podcast. I’m just gonna throw that out there. But at some point, look for the details. See that hashtag, use that hashtag and get Lin Manuel’s reaction. I want to see what he thinks. But let’s… let’s move on to Corinne. In addition to creating this hashtag and getting Lin Manuel Miranda to be a Ghostbuster, what makes Ghostbusters universally relatable?
Corrine Asbell 23:56
Well, I’m gonna kind of steal your point a little bit. I think the most relatable part of Ghostbusters is Ernie Hudson’s character. Winston. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, he’s your every man, average Joe character, and helps just ground the team. He shows that you don’t have to be something special to fight against evil. Like you said, he’s not a scientist. He’s just a guy wants to… he needs a job. So he’s just a guy with the right tools in the right place. Well, maybe the wrong time, but the right place for the New York City. And he’s like he says in the movie, after they took care of Bowser. He’s like, well, we have the tools and we had the talent. And that’s what it boils down to for Winston, the tools and the talent of the entire team together. I mean, originally, the role was written for Eddie Murphy. Back when Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis were writing it and I’m not sure if he didn’t want to do it or wasn’t available. Just yet something else going on. So they scaled it back for Hudson. I mean, you know not a comedian. So I think that really made pretty much made the decision to make this character, the straight guy to the others. And as much as I love Eddie Murphy, I think Ernie Hudson’s Winston was the best call to go with. I mean, with all the comedians on there and like, not just you know, other three Ghostbusters you have Rick Moranis and you had some other good comedic roles in there and some comedic actors.
Jason Boyd 25:32
Yeah, you know, so…
Corrine Asbell 25:37
I think I’ve heard some people say that he was just supposed to be the blank slate. You know, an audience fill in kind of character like… you’re… This is the one like we’re supposed to feel like we’re a part of this team. But I just I don’t agree with that. I think he just had his own specific role and that was just grounding the team.
Jason Boyd 25:54
You… Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, he has character to him. I mean, he is kind of the only person who seems to not be a shyster or a kook. I mean that… that itself, I mean, I think… I think the straight man as they call it in comedy often, or, you know, I’ve heard it called the white face because you have the white face and the red nose. You have that… that straight man character is so underappreciated and seen as an audience, blank slate fill in kind of character. But really, it’s to heighten the absurdity of these zany characters. Yeah, I mean, you have a baseline.
Corrine Asbell 26:43
Yeah, exactly. if everybody’s crazy and funny and stuff like that, then nobody’s crazy and funny. You gotta have someone. Yeah, it’s like if everyone was rich, nobody’s rich.
Dalton McCay 26:54
Jason Boyd 26:54
Begin to… you begin to think that this is a world where everyone’s just nuts. That’s how it works. Yeah.
Corrine Asbell 27:02
Okay. Who’s got a witty one liners on the tip of your tongue.
Jason Boyd 27:05
Right? Yeah. But like… Okay, this is they are… okay. Yeah, yeah. So it’s a normal world. You know, that’s what Ernie Hudson character does. But also, I mean, he’s just… he’s a good actor. He does a good job. And it’s, it’s a warm, respectable character. I think Eddie Murphy honestly, would have been a similar thing. Even though Murphy… we think of being as loud and nutty professor and all that kind of stuff. You know, think of him in Beverly Hills Cop. He is a very, even though he’s cracking jokes a lot… He is a relatable down to earth kind of like guy. Same thing with Trading Places. So he’s played that kind of role he could have taken on a similar role. That would have been interesting, but I think it’s great. Yeah.
Corrine Asbell 27:51
It was different.
Jason Boyd 27:54
Oh, it had to be. Yeah. Because I mean, why won’t you take advantage of…
Corrine Asbell 27:58
I think if Eddie Murphy was in a room… like with the script that as it is was written, yeah, it would be brilliant and he would be just as good of an actor in it. But I think the last thing the movie needed was more funny.
Jason Boyd 28:11
Corrine Asbell 28:13
On how it was actually written.
Jason Boyd 28:15
Yeah, it’s too many chefs in the kitchen kind of problem. You know, it’s just it… It didn’t need more crazy people. But I love Eddie Murphy. I betcha Eddie Murphy didn’t want to do it because Eddie Murphy seems like the kind of guy who would prefer to be the main star in the movie and have a few steps below him. On the second one. You know, so like an ensemble cast. He doesn’t seem to love an ensemble cast, which makes sense from a brand… personal branding standpoint. Yeah, well…
Corrine Asbell 28:52
I just, I just looked this up just so we know here. Eddie Murphy turned down Ghostbusters because he was filming Beverly Hills Cop.
Jason Boyd 29:03
Well, I mean, but then I will say I mean that also contributes to my argument though that like he was like, you know… actually I have this other movie where I’ll be the lead. I’d rather do that than do this thing where I’m gonna be just one of four guys.
Dalton McCay 29:18
Well, I’m also… I’m sure also he probably looked at that… that premise and went, are you… are you crazy? I’m not… I’m not doing a movie… I’m not doing a movie about guys catching ghosts, stupid. I’m gonna go go like, play a… play a wise… wisecracking cop like that. Yeah, well…
Corrine Asbell 29:41
When it was introduced to him, or he was approached about it, you know… Dan Aykroyd started out writing the script by himself. And I think it was Columbia was like, hey, um… why don’t you talk to Harold Ramis over here, kind of tone it down a little bit because they were worried about the budget. I think it was… But originally the movie was written for Ackroyd, John Belushi, and Eddie Murphy. So it was an entirely different monster at that point.
Jason Boyd 30:09
Well and Dan Ackroyd… I… everyone’s got their own opinions but to me Dan Aykroyd goes on that spectrum of crazy but also a genius but also crazy, but also a genius but crazy…
Dalton McCay 30:25
Yeah, we’re gonna… we’re gonna put a pin in the crazy, man. It’s like…
Jason Boyd 30:32
Well, cuz like he, he does actually believe in a lot of the stuff that’s in Ghostbusters. Like the stuff that his characters like… he thinks… like, he has a lot of opinions about certain things that would be considered conspiratorial, or you know… fringe.
Dalton McCay 30:58
Yeah, we’ll go with fringe.
Jason Boyd 31:00
I could say I would say that yes, of him writing it on his own… Whoo. That would have not been as relatable. Yeah, I think to bring on Harold Ramis… So, Corrine what… let’s… let’s move on to our final topic or penultimate topic. I know this is… this might be a tough one as it usually is with these because we are really focusing on you know, the good works of art, so we have plenty to talk about. What could Ghostbusters have done better, Corinne?
What Could Ghostbusters Have Done Better?
Corrine Asbell 31:34
Well, like you said it was a little bit tough to think about it because this movie is, you know, such a large part of our upbringing. I mean, think about it. You know, when… when I was a kid, there were Ghostbusters everywhere. Lunchboxes, merchandise, movies, cartoons. I mean, you couldn’t like…
Jason Boyd 31:51
Corrine Asbell 31:52
… turn around without seeing Slimer somewhere for a good decade. Yeah, I mean… I mean it’s a merchandise dream, but… I mean… Yeah, yeah, definitely definitely getting a nostalgia trip here just talking about it, you know. Brings back seeing it like for the first time, but honestly, I think, weirdly enough what Ghostbusters could have done better was… I think it could have used more ghosts. Or… you don’t even think about it. It’s a film about busting ghosts. And there really isn’t a whole lot of ghosts, right? And think about before they open their practice like they lost a job. They’ve come across like one ghost what the one in the library. But there’s not like a whole lot of ghosts like for them to go on this logical leap to… Oh, we need to start an experiment to practice a crackpot theory. Yeah.
Then all of a sudden they go to exterminators. They’ve got their ads out there, they’ve got their business. They got their leaf blowers on their back, ready to suck up some ghosts. And suddenly New York City is just like crawling with ghosts. Like, it’s a little too serendipitous. I mean, usually, before you start a business, there should be some sort of consumer need. And, you know, it’s awesome. They start the business and boom, there’s a market. I mean, there might have been consumer need that we just didn’t see, because it’s not shown in the movie. And I think that’s what we need to see. Like, what made them go… specifically think this is a viable way to make a living? Yeah. And that’s…
Jason Boyd 33:30
I mean, that you’re right, because it does… It’s one of those double edged sword things where it cuts into the believability of it, which cuts into the relatability and the grounding of a comedy, which is important, but then at the same time, like it is a funny concept that they’re so stupid to think this will work. It’s so… it’s kind of a double edged sword. Yeah, but you’re right. They could have, they could have at least shown what they could have done is they could have done something where… It’s not even with any characters that are later in the film, but just instances of ghosts that we see lurking in the shadows and being there waiting to be exposed or something like that. Yeah, no, it definitely…
Corrine Asbell 34:14
it could have been like… to keep the need for the practical effects down because I, if I remember correctly, they use mostly practical effects for these ghosts. Obviously, not all of them, but it could have been a need to keep the budget down, which is why they went with the less ghosts but I mean, can we just get like a scene where someone’s like buying coffee and you see a ghost poke up through, you know, the pastries?
Dalton McCay 34:41
I think the less ghostliness the better. Because I mean, have you have you seen the the new one the 2016?
Corrine Asbell 34:53
Jason Boyd 34:55
Which one are we talking about the one with the all female…
Dalton McCay 35:00
Tina Fey and everything.
Jason Boyd 35:00
Yes, I have.
Dalton McCay 35:02
Okay, so they go the opposite way. They show ghosts and ghosts and ghosts and ghosts and they’re they’re everywhere and the… the, the special effects budget is so ballooned and like honestly it loses its effect. But I can honestly say that I’ve never thought about what you brought up just now. Like, like the the thought of is there an actual need for this business has never crossed my mind until until you said something. And now I’m thinking about it. I’m like…
Corrine Asbell 35:37
Dude, really hard to think I didn’t want to keep being a cop out. I know, our last two episodes I like couldn’t come up with a point. So I just like had to really think hard about it. But on the note, there’s got to be like a happy medium, no pun intended there. But um, many ghosts and not enough so I haven’t seen that. The reboot the 2016 remake, because everyone said it was garbage. And so I don’t want to watch movies that people think are garbage, you know, and on a streaming service where it’s free.
Jason Boyd 36:14
It’s got problems. And I’ll just, I’ll just give my short opinion. I don’t want to let this devolve into a critique of another movie. But…
Corrine Asbell 36:24
Yeah, we never…
Jason Boyd 36:26
Right. But I will say, Dalton touched on something about having too many ghosts. To me. My problem with it is that in any comedy, you have to have a runway and you need to pick up speed and then take off because the secret sauce to comedy is escalation.
Dalton McCay 36:50
Jason Boyd 36:51
So you have something and then it escalates and it gets bigger and bigger and bigger and it’s out of hand now and now it’s like all the plates are spinning and it’s kooky. But if it starts that way, and… and that’s kind of part of the problem to me is that it starts that… that Ghostbusters, in terms of… in terms of the ghost sure, but then also just the zaniness, the jokes a mile a minute, just the like… we don’t… We basically are just constantly thrown into things to grab our attention. And so there’s no ramping up in the movie. Yeah, it starts at 100.
Dalton McCay 37:29
It’s like, hey, remember Slimer? You remember? Slimer, don’t you? Well, here’s a whole house full of it. Have you remembered that you remember ectoplasm?
Jason Boyd 37:47
Okay, yeah, it’s just, it’s like, I mean, I understand. It’s sort of like a sequel. So maybe you can get away with that. But it’s really a reboot like it was… it’s a reboot and they tried, they tried to decide… They tried to kind of toe the line between what it was, but it’s definitely they… I think they they missed out on what made Ghostbusters so good. And part of it was its groundedness and its relatability and I think you lose some of that when you start with the, you know, going a mile a minute.
Dalton McCay 38:23
Yeah, it’s… it’s also hard to be a reboot when… when they put the original characters in the movie. Especially when one of them shows up as like an actual, like related to one of the main character
Jason Boyd 38:51
Dalton McCay 38:52
Yeah. When Ernie shows up and… or I don’t even remember if he does show up like actually shows up… But he was mentioned as like her uncle who the car or whatever, and I’m just like… Huh… but it’s like yeah, it’s too close. It’s too close… and then they’ve got a… they’ve got like a bust of Egon in the background and that’s like his cameo and I’m just like, really? You… we didn’t need it and when he… when you put things that close together like when one universe supposed to be apart from another, but then you… you interject the same characters… it… it blurs the line, and I didn’t… I didn’t like it.
Jason Boyd 39:39
Yeah, well, so we all agree that one’s not good. So yeah, I say don’t watch this one for the first time or rewatch it. But you know, let’s go ahead and dissect this a little more… Dalton what what do you think this Ghostbusters… the original… could have done better?
Dalton McCay 39:57
Okay for me, the weakest part of the film aside from the gho-job scene, you guys know what I’m talking about. I refer to it as the gho-job scene.
Corrine Asbell 40:13
Oh, god, I’m sorry.
Dalton McCay 40:15
Yeah. Because like, yeah, it’s so place. It’s Yeah. The… like… there’s… I’m not even going to gonna go into it like that alone. I was sitting there thinking like when you were talking about Dan Aykroyd writing the script, I was like, that’s definitely something that he put in there that made it a final cut because I could just see him going, Oh, my God, this is something I’ve always wanted and then just… But anyway, for me, the… the, the weakest part of this was the setup and payoff of what I like to refer to as the BM trademark… the boss ending mechanic. As you know, I’m like, I’m a game designer. So like I’m always I’m always looking for systems and mechanics and the way things work and and patterns and whatnot. But, so this is the boss ending mechanic. It’s the thing that the characters use, finally, that they didn’t have before to defeat the final boss. In some fantasy this could be like a mythical weapon, or like a… an item that needs to be destroyed in order to weaken the boss. You know, the big bad evil guy. Or it could it could be like, the power of love. You know, sometimes… sometimes I mean, that’s, that’s overdone, but you see what I’m saying? It’s the thing that eventually ends up leading to the main villain’s demise. And I was so used to Egon and the others coming up with something off the wall that when they… when he suggested crossing the streams, which is in defiance of a single throwaway line near the middle of the film, as a way to defeat the evil overlord, it almost felt like a cop out. I really wanted them to find something new… brainier, uh, you know. I mean, that’s it. That’s all I got. I just I wanted them… I wanted them to find another way. The rest of the movie was so cleverly written that to me, it was like, okay, well let’s… let’s do that thing that it was it was funny in the middle of the movie. So let’s do that thing you set out to do and then that’ll… that’ll be the end.
Corrine Asbell 43:25
I think that’s a really great point. I mean, it is a weak ending if you think about it, especially like the… the boss ending mechanic. You see that so much in lots of different media, whether it’s video games, you know, books, things like that, where it’s just something like this big bad boss, but oh, they have a weak point. Or they have this one specific thing that’s just going to take them out. So I really think that’s a great point you brought up
Dalton McCay 43:53
Jason Boyd 43:53
Yeah, I mean… I… my… my problem is that I do just really like that ending I do like the do re mi, I like all that like… I like them doing it. I feel like it’s a way for them to defeat the boss together. I feel like it’s actually… it makes the comedy the thing that wins in the end. I like a lot of the aspects of it, but I do… I do understand how it’s it’s kind of is definitely a cop out. I mean, it’s not something where it’s like, oh yeah, this is just clever. And I wouldn’t have thought of that. And you know how in the moment, so yeah, you got a point. But for me what Ghostbusters could have done better? I don’t really think it could have done much. Because honestly, this is near a perfect movie.
Dalton McCay 44:47
It’s true. I had… I had to stretch.
Jason Boyd 44:53
The only thing I could really think of is I wasn’t exactly enthralled by the romance subplot. Um, you know, between Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver.
Dalton McCay 45:03
That was, that was like my number two. Yeah, if you hadn’t taken that one, I was gonna go with that one.
Jason Boyd 45:11
Right. And I mean, I think it was cute. But you know, I did it. And they had some great chemistry. But I didn’t have a burning need to see them together. Like, I didn’t feel like they completed one another, you know, I didn’t feel which… you know, I didn’t need per se… which again, it’s to be… it didn’t ruin the movie or hurt it really at all… But it’s something where it’s like, well, if you’re gonna try to improve the score, if you had to have the impossible task of punching up the script, what would you work on? I would probably work on the romance just because it’s like, well, you know, I can just build in something where it’s like, the audience really wants to see these two together.
Dalton McCay 45:56
Yeah. And I’m working off the… if they had done just just a little bit more building of the relationship and maybe a little less, to me it was almost creepy a little bit. Um, but just… just some of the some of the dialogue and some of the… these suggestions. He’s such…
Jason Boyd 46:21
He comes across as such a womanizer. Yeah, that you’re just like, I don’t really take him as you know, authentically wanting something. Yeah.
Dalton McCay 46:31
If… Yeah, right. If they played that up just a little bit more, not the sleazy part, but the romance like and his reaction to like his… his love interest being turned into a hideous demon creature like that, that would also have played into the… the fairy tale role. Because, you know, true love’s kiss or something like that. Like, would that have been funny now that I’m thinking about that like, it’s just like a… Why, why does she not turn back to normal? And then Egan’s? Like I don’t know. And then Eddie’s like, well, I don’t know. Maybe you got to kiss her. He’s like why not, and they’re all like what… is like, I don’t know like, you know like frog prince and all that… and maybe I don’t know…
Jason Boyd 47:25
There we go. But yeah we’re…
Corrine Asbell 47:30
Doing another Ghostbusters, so hey… I don’t remember who’s doing it but let’s tweet that to them.
Jason Boyd 47:36
Yeah, we got time to work that and Lin Manuel can… can kiss whoever he deems worthy of kissing. Hamilton may kiss who he pleases, but…
Corrine Asbell 47:49
He’ll be happy to have your permission.
Jason Boyd 47:51
Right. Man. Woman.
Corrine Asbell 47:55
Final Thoughts About Ghostbusters?
Jason Boyd 47:58
But yes, let’s go… let’s wrap up the thoughts that we have… with our final thoughts about Ghostbusters. So, I’ll go ahead and just start… I just want to say it’s one of my favorite comedies of all time. Most of its humor comes from the people in it being funny. Even delivering unfunny lines. And by that I don’t mean bad jokes. I mean, just lines that are just normal lines. They can make you laugh. I mean, they just make you smile. And that’s really the actors even the characters are. They’re funny in world, which I love. Yeah, it’s okay for the other people… Other people laugh at their jokes. And you’re like, oh, he made a joke. Not he is a joke. Or he’s saying something and I’m laughing but no one else is taking them seriously. Other people take the joke. It’s a joke. Yeah, it makes them relatable to me for for one thing. But, um, I feel like today jokes are meant for the audience and almost a dramatic irony sense.
Dalton McCay 49:08
Jason Boyd 49:10
Right. It’s like, you know, the audience will understand that this is a joke, but you know, the characters on screen will be stuck in their narrative, you know? Yeah.
Dalton McCay 49:21
Yeah. It’s that… it’s that meta humor… that I just I hate it. It’s… It’s so pervasive now that I almost can’t stand to watch like Marvel movies because of it. Sometimes.
Jason Boyd 49:34
Yeah, there’s a touch of that at some of the Marvel stuff. Really, it’s just a… I feel like it’s one of also, I mean… it’s an 80s movie, but it comes out of the 70s… cuz that 70s style of comedy that the stars of Ghostbusters so embody is really about just not pretending, you know? It’s really about like, just hey, yeah, a lot of it’s like kind of a… almost a quasi hippie aesthetic where it’s like, hey, don’t be a square man. You know, like, just what do you do? Like why are you acting like the man… like why are you just… just act normal dude? Uh, so it’s just a special movie to me… a little near and dear one to me. Corinne, what final thoughts do you have about Ghostbusters?
Corrine Asbell 50:32
Well, as of the time of this recording, Ghostbusters is 36 years old. It’s still a great movie. Like I said earlier, it has that almost timeless feel to it and obviously not the very 80s look of it or the feel or that hair. But the scripted dialogue itself and it’s still a great watch. And it’s personally not on my oh my god, I watched this so much list. Not Star Wars. I will stop and watch it when it’s on TV. Now, when it celebrated the 30th anniversary, six years ago… appeared in select cinemas on the big screen. I definitely grab tickets and went with my friends. And we had a good time because that was first time I ever saw that on the big screen because I was one when it came out between the cast and the script, and that has just has endless rewatch ability, and it’s just a really great movie. It’s one of those ones that you’re going to sit down, you’re going to watch it, you’re going to quote it or you’re not going to quote it because you haven’t watched it that much. But you’re just going to enjoy it. And I think that’s what makes it great.
Dalton McCay 51:42
Oh, yeah. Yeah, it’s a… it’s a definite popcorn movie. And there’s a distinct lack of those nowadays. movies where you just you go to watch the movie… you don’t… you don’t go because it’s hot, highfalutin or like, a spectacular?
Jason Boyd 52:05
Yeah, you don’t go to talk about it afterwards.
Dalton McCay 52:08
Jason Boyd 52:09
Yeah. So the whole idea is just to go and watch it and then you’ll, you’ll talk about it because you’ll be hyped. But like, it’s not like, what did you think of that scene?
Dalton McCay 52:19
Jason Boyd 52:21
But Dalton… what… what are your final thoughts about Ghostbusters? Wrap us up.
Dalton McCay 52:25
Well, I think overall that the 80s was a special time for movies and movie goers. I dare say it was probably the true golden era of cultural cinema. I mean, we had Empire Strikes Back. Gremlins. Ghostbusters. The Lost Boys. Nightmare on Elm Street. Friday the 13th. The Terminator. Diehard. Top Gun. Breakfast Club. Back to the Future. When Harry Met Sally. It… The list goes on every one of those films has become a cultural landmark, like part of our cultural identity. And Ghostbusters is part of that pantheon of film gods. And to this day is not been matched in terms of novelty and pure chemistry, I would say.
Jason Boyd 53:19
Excellent, yeah, well put and that’s a good summation to it in general, so let’s leave it there. All right, let’s… let’s see guys though… Well, alright, well. Bye guys. But no, let’s let’s talk about where we can find you guys. Because you know, after listening to this, you might want to find these folks on social media and such. Corrine, why don’t you let everybody know where they can follow you at?
Corrine Asbell 53:48
Okay, if you want to stalk me on social media, my Facebook and my Instagram are both nonlinear girl and my Twitter is n0nlinear girl with a zero instead of an O.
Jason Boyd 54:01
Okay, very good. Dalton, where can people follow you?
Dalton McCay 54:05
You can find me on Instagram on sword_ gaijin. And on Facebook at The Sword Gaijin Cosplay.
Jason Boyd 54:16
Excellent. And for me, you know, I’m going to be mainly haunting the Fictionphile Facebook. So if you guys want to drop by there, I’ll be there. And you can always find me on Twitter at TheFictionphile. There’s also FictionphileMag, which is the Fictionphile personal… or publication Twitter rather, I should say. TheFictionphile is just my personal Twitter if you want to follow me. But, yeah. All right, everybody. Well, thank you so much for another great podcast. I really do appreciate all the insightful comments. Corinne, if I want to watch Ghostbusters for the 200th time, where can I find it streaming?
Where Can I Find Ghostbusters Streaming?
Corrine Asbell 55:02
Well Ghostbusters is unfortunately not included as part of a subscription service. But you can rent or buy it from your favorite digital store like YouTube, Google Play, iTunes. Or you can head on over to fictionphile.com and click on the Amazon banner banner on top of our page, and you can buy it on blu ray or DVD. It won’t cost you any extra. It just gives us a little referral, which helps us continue to bring you the content you’ve grown to love. And as a side note, in October, you can generally almost always find Ghostbusters on free form.
Jason Boyd 55:38
There you go. Awesome. Not sure what free form is, but I’m sure you guys can Google it.
Corrine Asbell 55:46
They’re the ones with the rights to TV rights.
Jason Boyd 55:51
Very good. Very good. Well, all right, everybody. Thanks, Corinne. Thanks, Dalton. That’s it for this installment of the Fictionphile podcast. I want to thank you, the listener at home and I want to invite you to visit fictionphile.com for more scintillating analysis like you heard today. And don’t forget to rate us if you like today’s episode, and subscribe to make sure you don’t miss the next episode. Until then, I want to thank you for spending a little story time with us today. And for Dalton McCay and Corrine Asbell, this is Jason Boyd and the Fictionphile family wishing you a happily ever after.