Sunday, June 8, 2014

1984 Turns 30! A Retrospective: Gremlins (Joe Dante) & Ghostbusters (Ivan Reitman)

Today marks, if Blogger is informing me correctly, my 84th post... and therefore it seems highly apt that I should be using it to say a few words about two perennial favourites from 1984 which were released in U.S. theatres a whole 30 years ago today.

I'm assuming practically everyone and their dogs and cats are well familiar with both films so I'll skip the usual plot summaries, trivia etc. as I'm sure there's very little new I can add on those fronts. Instead (and as this is very much an 11th hour post), I'll simply take this opportunity to very briefly give y'all my tuppence on the two...

I enjoy Gremlins (and practically every Joe Dante movie I've seen) quite a bit but it's never been a favourite... though if I'd first encountered it a few years earlier than I did, I imagine this may have been different. On the other hand, I frickin' love me some Ghostbusters... As I've said elsewhere (I reviewed the film a couple of years back and probably said most of what I have to say about it there), Ghostbusters is the film I've seen more than any other... and it never, ever gets old. Horror, humour, action, buddy comedy shtick, screwball comedy shenanigans, the film practically has it all... in fact so much so that one can easily understand why it was such a smash hit.

Both movies are arguably great gateway titles for introducing kids to the horror genre... scary in small parts, sure... but still generally light and action packed enough that the darker stuff doesn't seem to be much of a problem for most... even for many young kids... of course, one has to be careful though, as some can be much more sensitive than others.

Aside from having a much longer history with the film than with Gremlins, I think another reason I prefer Ghostbusters is the humour. Sure, Gremlins has its share but it's not quite as consistently funny to me over repeat viewings... plus, the whole movie has a Spielbergian borderline saccharine quality about it (which should come as no surprise I suppose) that I have to be in the right mood for, where as I can never not be in the mood for Ghostbusters... scientists have even proved it to be so!

I can't really think of anything else to add for now (though if anything does occur to me, I'll add a postscript), so I'll simply say that if you're in the mood, tonight would be an ideal time to revisit one or both of these... and if you watch Ghostbusters, do raise a belated glass in honour of the late, great Harold Ramis while you're at it... As many said when news of the man's death first came out, his contribution to and influence on the last generation of American film comedy (and the current one) can't be overstated... and needless to say, he was an integral part of the Ghostbusters, both on-screen and behind the scenes.

Finally, a random, but somewhat related sidenote... I recently noticed that the 15th anniversary DVD edition of Ghostbusters is now (and this won't surprise anyone who is even half awake) a whole 15 years old... holy shit, I can't believe some of my DVDs are teenagers, so to speak... and while we're at it, where the hell did the last ten years go?!? Damn I'm getting old!


  1. What about each film's sequel? What do you make of them?

  2. I think I actually prefer Gremlins 2 to the first film as it feels more like a live action cartoon... plus, like yourself, I'm a sucker for a movie where the people in it are stuck in a large building. Having said this though, it depends on my mood and the time of the year.

    And though it admittedly falls short of the original and has some arguably misguided things in it, I'll always love Ghostbusters 2 as much as the original... probably as it was (if memory serves) the first film I ever saw in a cinema... so of course I've very fond memories of it... but that damn Vigo... that fucker gave me nightmares for weeks, maybe even months! And I've always loved the soundtrack as it was the one of the first CDs I remember listening through... maybe the very first come to think of it!

    I'll have more to say about both of these in the none too distant I imagine... particularly Ghostbusters 2. You a fan of these two franchises at all?

  3. I love, love, love Gremlins 2. Jeffrey Canino tipped me to a rewatch of that one.

    I couldn't speak to Ghostbusters 2 as I haven't seen it in a very long time. But I will say I was not too fond of Ghostbusters (blasphemy!) the last time I saw it. The DVD I saw looked flat out terrible. Picture wise.

  4. Glad to hear I'm in good company as far as the Gremlins 2 love goes.

    Ghostbusters 2 (which was released 25 years ago yesterday as it happens) isn't great but as I said, I'll always love it for nostalgia reasons.

    If I'm not mistaken, Ghostbusters is getting a Blu-Ray re-release this year so if the price is right maybe it's a ripe time for a revisit? I have a BR from 2009ish (I think) which looks good but could probably be better.

    And again I'm very biased by nostalgia but I'd say Ghostbusters is a classic and everything a good blockbuster should be.