Are These Popular ’80s Films Actually Awful?
We’ve previously confessed a great love of Ghostbusters, but Man Cave is an ocean with many tides, and not all of them concur. For a bit of devil’s advocacy–or rather, prosecution–here’s the rebuttal from one of our writers. by Joe Dixon
Can we be candid for a moment? Can we just for one minute be honest and say how much the ’80s sucked? It sucked in the form of fashion choices like big hair and suspenders. It sucked in sex symbols like the beyond bland Kim Basinger and it sucked in a lot of the music the radio played, unless, of course, you think this is music…
Do you think that’s music? Do you? You ought to be ashamed of yourself if you do.
There have been various attempts over the years to bring back aspects of that godawful decade like, for example, a new Rubik’s Cube or, worse, the return of Michael J. Fox to series television but nothing could be more offensive than the continuing rumors of a Ghostbusters remake and possible TV series revival for Beverly Hills Cop. Both Ghostbusters and Beverly Hills Cop are hands down two of the most unfunny successful comedies ever made in the history of cinema.
Yes, yes they are. They are not funny. They weren’t funny in 1984 when they both came out, the sequels weren’t funny and looking back on them from 2013 has not made them funny. Write all the hate mail you want, both these films were awful and here are my reasons for thinking so. We’ll start with Ghostbusters.
Here is the basic plot of this movie, a group of guys in New York City act as roach exterminators only instead of roaches it’s ghosts. The film stars Bill Murray as Deadpan, Harold Ramis as Boring, Dan Aykroyd as Even More Boring and Ernie Hudson as Character There To Be The Black Guy. They are a huge success ridding NYC of its ghost infestation because most of the ghosts have the unfortunate problem of looking like blobs of green crap rather than transparent images of people’s dead relatives, friends or lovers. So nobody cares if you rid the world of them. Those who do look human apparently don’t have anyone in all of NYC who might actually want to keep them around, like people do with zombies at the end of Shaun of The Dead.
In fact, with ghosts being an established fact for most people in this movie it’s not clear why no one advocates for suicide since death means you get awesome powers like walking through walls and flying.
Anyway, one of the worst things about the film has got to be Bill Murray. Sure he’s the funniest thing in the movie. He’s the only funny thing in the movie and he’s not that funny. In fact, his deadpan routine gets tired pretty fast. Not that he should knock himself out–it’s not like anyone should take the picture seriously- but the character never moves above the level of “Hey, it’s me, Bill Murray. I’m in a movie. Isn’t that cool?” And being in a movie is totally cool. Great for you, Bill, but I don’t go to the movies to watch life’s winners show off how much they’ve won. Bill Murray’s performance in this movie is the living embodiment of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous (another ’80s abomination). It’s too self-satisfied, too unruffled, too in love with its own sense of how funny it is. In a word, it sucks.
Then there is the whole scene with that 100-foot marshmallow sailor walking up Central Park West like Godzilla. Supposedly this scene is a parody of early Japanese monster movies, but it’s not. It’s just a really expensive rip-off of those films. Look at those pictures from the ’60s of Godzilla or Gamera or whathaveyou. Those are funny. Guys wearing monster suits and stepping on miniature sets look hilarious. Ghostbusters doesn’t have that level of absurdity. In Ghostbusters you’re seeing high-priced, top of the line (for 1984) special effects. Where’s the fun? Where is the humor in that? And there was no need for it. Ghostbusters would have made just as much money if not more if you had a guy in a Stay Puft Man outfit squishing an obviously fake Manhattan neighborhood than the far more realistic and a thousand times less funny thing that director Ivan Reitman filmed.
See the rest of the list at Mancave.CBSlocal.com.