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#55 - Ghostbusters
Ivan Reitman, 1984

A trio of disgraced professors who specialise in studying paranormal activity decide to use their expertise to open up their own ghost-catching service.

With the recent news of there being a Ghostbusters reboot, I figured it was good a time as any to revisit the original films. I used to like them, but even back in the day I didn't think they were that great and repeated viewings have not been kind to them. I know that Ghostbusters is a surprisingly sacred cow when it comes to movies and, if I'm going to actually go against the grain and say I don't actually like it, then I'd better be prepared to offer some very, very good reasons.

First, the concessions. The premise is great and has excellent potential both in terms of comedy and soft sci-fi but for the most part the actual film never really reaches that potential. The special effects are still solid thirty years onwards - the film's infamous climax is certainly a testament to that. Hell, there's even at least one or two decent songs on the soundtrack that haven't been played to death like the theme song has been.

Unfortunately, I just struggle to find it funny. A lot of the comedic draw for this film supposedly comes from Bill Murray as the incredibly sarcastic Venkman, who serves as a more relatable foil to the comically serious Spengler (Harold Ramis) or the intelligent yet bumbling Stantz (Dan Aykroyd). Despite this being constantly celebrated as one of his best roles, this is probably the most irritating character I've ever seen him play (and I've seen Garfield). He's supposed to be charming and cocky, but more often than not he just comes across as an obnoxious creeper, especially with his persistent lecherous advances towards prospective client Dana (Sigourney Weaver). The other characters aren't much better - Ramis and Aykroyd seem to exist mainly as po-faced exposition machines for Murray to react against, Weaver is a beleagured victim who ends up being possessed, Rick Moranis serves as an awkward and talkative loser who drags down an already flatlining film and the addition of Ernie Hudson as Winston, the fourth and most down-to-earth Ghostbuster, doesn't pay off as much as it should.

The jokes don't do anything for me either. Whether it's the goonish physical comedy involving the team's encounters with ghosts or the rapid-fire verbal wordplay, nothing about this film even makes me chuckle anymore. Not even the very well-timed crack Murray makes at an obstructive bureaucrat works (and, if you haven't already started writing me a message telling me why I'm wrong about everything, then you can probably tell which one I mean). At the very least, the story had some potential but the execution just leaves me cold. A lot of people are acting like the Ghostbusters reboot will ruin the franchise, but I don't think it can get much worse than this.