In Defense of Ghostbusters II: A Superb Kid’s Fantasy Film

It’s the nature of sequels to disappoint. The fact that a sequel gets made in the first place (usually) indicates something special about the original. Occasionally you get a Godfather II or Empire Strikes Back that surpasses the original, but most of the time the sequel just isn’t going to be as good as the first. That’s always been the problem for Ghostbusters II. Ghostbusters was that rare blockbuster that did something truly original. To combine big budget Lovecraftian horror and witty adult comedy was a huge gamble that paid off big time. Ghostbusters II lacks the otherworldly horror of Gozer and takes the edge off the adult humor of the original.

In spite of all this, I love Ghostbusters II and consider it a great film. It suffers when compared to the original, but judged on its own merits it’s a damn impressive kid’s fantasy film. Whatever Bill Murray’s regrets about it, he turns in one of the funnier performances of his career and has a number of memorable lines:

Valentine’s Day. Bummer.

You know, I’m a voter. Aren’t you supposed to lie to me and kiss my butt?

Boys. Boys. You’re scaring the straights, OK.

Then there’s his rant against Vigo near the end, where he chides the “bonehead” pick of choosing to return to grungy New York rather than “living the sweet life out in Southern California’s beautiful San Fernando Valley.” When I was little I could quote that rant in its entirety and remember cracking up my parents and other adults with it. Speaking of Vigo, he’s definitely no Gozer. But he’s campy fun. The scene where Vigo first appears in the painting to Janosz did used to scare the crap out of me, and I still think it has a certain eerie power. Peter MacNicol plays Janosz as a lackey with just the right amount of menace under his comic, awkward exterior. When he randomly picks a piece of lint out of Dana Barrett’s hair the effect is delightfully creepy.

Many critics dislike the slime, but I think it works well as a fantasy device and gives the film some of its funner moments, like Ray dangling over the slime as a creature’s appendage reaches for him. If anything, the characters are so enjoyable that it’s great to see them reunite and get some action and good lines. It’s certainly true that some of the broader plot mechanics of the film echo the first. The boys start out disgraced and down on their luck, then are given the opportunity to bust a ghost and prove their legitimacy, then are called upon to tackle a larger supernatural threat to the city. But the movie still manages to be inventive and visually engaging in how it builds to its Statue of Liberty climax. Perhaps they got carried away with the slime and too far away from the characters. But it still stands shoulders above most other blockbusters.


Bizarro Donald Trump Delivers 2016 Acceptance Speech

On July 21st Donald Trump took the RNC stage in Cleveland to accept the GOP nomination for President. His remarks were…bizarre to say the least.

Thank you, thank you. You know, people love me. I know that people love me. But I love you people more. I mean, I really mean that. I love you people. And I want to serve you people. Serving is the best. I mean, I want to have the best service. I will serve the best. Because you people are the best.

But I want to serve everyone. That’s right. All of my haters out there. I love you and I will serve you. You know we’ve got the illegal immigrants here. Let me tell you something about the undocumented immigrants in this country. I love them. Fabulous, fabulous people. Let me say this. I would die if I had to do the kind of work these people do outside in the fields. No, it’s true. I would not survive and neither would you. Have you ever been outside in July in a state like North Carolina? Just walking to my car I feel like I’m going to melt. And these undocumenteds, they get out in those fields and they harvest our food. For not nearly enough pay by the way. We’re going to change that when we get in by the way. We’re going to get them the pay they deserve. But, you know, they pick our food from the ground. And my God, wouldn’t we be screwed if they weren’t here to do that? Because let me tell you I can’t get out in those fields in North Carolina in July. Can you? Of course not. Beautiful people. We’re going to treat our migrant workers and pickers right when we’re in the White House.

Now I want to talk about the women. I cherish women. I really do. And we’ve got this abortion thing. What a tough thing this abortion thing is, isn’t it? Really tough. Really tough. A lot of opinions about the abortion thing going on out there. You know I cherish women to do the right thing. Let the women and the doctors make the choice. That’s what I say. Let the women and the doctors make the choice. I’m glad I don’t have to make that choice and I don’t want to. Trust the women and the doctors.

How about Muhammad Ali right? I mean, what a competitor. Gave up the best years of his career to protest Vietnam. What a great American. And he was right about that, wasn’t he? What a disaster Vietnam was. Just like Iraq. Total disaster. Our incompetent leaders sending our fabulous troops into harms way and being totally irresponsible in how they are leading our fantastic troops. Thank God for Muhammad Ali. You know, the Muslims can be really great, can’t they? The people like Muhammad Ali, they help make America great. That’s how we’ll beat ISIS. Not through a bunch of dumb wars. But through people like Muhammad Ali that know how to do the right thing. We’re going to do the right thing when we’re in the White House believe me. No more torture. We’re not gonna do like ISIS and the Nazis with the waterboarding thing. Nasty, nasty people do those sorts of things. And we’re Americans, we’re better than waterboarding. No way Jose. We’re going to do the right thing. We’re going to defend ourselves honorably and smartly. I like to do things smartly and that’s how we’re going to fight ISIS and beat them. 

How about money, right? Money is great. I love money. But let me tell you what the problem is in this country right now. Not enough people have money. And it seems like the harder people work, the less money they have. We’re going to change that. We’re going to make these billion dollar companies pay their workers the fair wages that they’ve earned. We’re going to raise the minimum wage. It’s a total disgrace that people that work hard at McDonalds are eligible for food stamps because the billionaires who run McDonalds won’t pay them a fair wage. That’s going to change. We’re going to make sure that everyone has enough money to live on. And we’re not going to cut off trading with other countries. Good grief have you seen the TVs that Japan is making now? What awesome TVs. I have five of them on my wall at home and I just turn all five on and just watch five shows at once. It’s fantastic. No, we’re not going to cut off trade. We’re going to start making great products here in America. We’re going to help develop the new companies and the new worker talent to make great things here in America that we can trade to the Japanese for more of those fantastic TVs. 

And health care. Man, the health care thing is always such a mess. But we’re going to make sure that everybody has access to health care that they can afford…

At this point Mr. Trump’s microphone was cut off and a giant net engulfed him and yanked him violently from the stage. After much chaotic deliberation among the delegates, it was decided to hold a new vote to determine the 2016 GOP nominee. The nomination was won at 4 AM on the hundredth ballot by a hologram of Ronald Reagan.