Hit Me with Your Best Shot: Ghostbusters

ghostbusters-bedI am very excited to inform you guys the Hit Me with Your Best Shot series over at The Film Experience is back up and running with a new season.  This is a super fun blogging series that Nathaniel sets up where he picks a film and then we select a screenshot from the movie that we feel captures it best.

To learn more check out the website http://thefilmexperience.net/blog/tag/hit-me-with-your-best-shot

Here’s the rules

How to play
1. Watch the movie
2. Pick its best shot
3. Post it somewhere online with why you chose it on March 8th
4. Let us know you did so and we link up that Tuesday night!

It’s really fun to see the different choices all the participants come up with.  You can see some of my picks from last year hereghostbusters 1984


This week Nathaniel has chosen the 1984 classic Ghostbusters (he does a good job mixing box office favorites with artistic films).

The last time I saw the film it was in the theaters in 2014 for the 30th anniversary.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself then and had the same experience this weekend.  It’s not a movie I’m overly sentimental about or have a lot of nostalgia for but I think for popcorn movies it is very entertaining.

What makes Ghostbusters work is similar to what makes a lot of blockbusters work- a charismatic cast and a witty script.  It’s pretty much what has made all the Marvel films successful. It’s not like there are great special effects or a complex plot like Inception or something like that to draw people in.  This is personalities and clever writing.

Ghostbusters is a simple story about 4 paranormal activity investigators (Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis,  Ernie Hudson) who hunt down and capture ghosts in New York City.   It is directed by Ivan Reitman and the script is written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis.

The script is very dry and sarcastic with a lot of opportunities for the comics to feed off of each other.  They are also assisted by Sigourney Weaver as a woman who seeks their help and Rick Moranis as her nerdy neighbor.  Everyone involved is likable and funny and makes up for a frankly silly story with special effects that have not aged well.

My favorite character in the film is Peter Venkman played by Bill Murray.  He is very sarcastic and overly-confident but there is something that is likable about him.  Maybe it is his smile or his chemistry with the other actors?  I’m not sure, but I always laugh whenever he is on screen.

This is where I get to my shot.  He has just visited Dana for the first time alone and kind of believes her but is skeptical at the same time.  Either way he wants a date with her:

And then you’ll say, “Pete Venkman’s a guy who can get things done!”
“I wonder what makes him tick!”
I wonder!
“I wonder if he’d be interested in knowing what makes me tick?”
I bet you’re going to be thinking about me after I’m gone.
I bet I am!
Pushes him out the door. He sticks his face back in.
No kiss?

That’s when we get this shot of him peering around the door and we all wonder along with Dana ‘I wonder what does make him tick?’

ghostbusters best shotOverall Grade for Ghostbusters B+

Scrooge 16: Scrooged

Scrooged_film_posterI always say with comedies you either think something is funny and laugh or you don’t.  Comedy is so subjective and I’ve had too many experiences to count where I thought something was hilarious and shown it to a friend and get only an awkward courtesy laugh from them in response. You’d think what is humorous would be more universal but I have found that to be almost never the case.

So here we have the most comedic take on Christmas Carol, the anti-Carol, you might say- 1988’s Scrooged staring Bill Murray.   I think it is a very funny movie.  It lags in a few spots but it keeps me laughing consistently for a hearty recommendation. If you don’t find it funny there isn’t much else to recommend about the film.



This movie has some of the most hilarious cameos of any movie I’ve seen.  Some of the best laughs are people not on the official cast list.

Bill Murray as Francis Xavier “Frank” Cross
Karen Allen as Claire Phillips
John Forsythe as Lew Hayward
John Glover as Brice Cummings
Bobcat Goldthwait as Eliot Loudermilk
David Johansen as the Ghost of Christmas Past
Carol Kane as the Ghost of Christmas Present
Robert Mitchum as Preston Rhinelander
Nicholas Phillips as Calvin Cooley
Michael J. Pollard as Herman
Alfre Woodard as Grace Cooley
Mabel King as Gramma
John Murray as James Cross
Wendie Malick as Wendie Cross
Brian Doyle-Murray as Mr. Cross, Frank and James’s father
Joel Murray as Guest

Scrooge:  Bill Murray plays Scrooge who goes by the name of Frank Cross in this and he is great as always.  He pulls off the grumpy corporate executive probably better than the more tender scenes but his deadpan delivery is very funny.

Differences- This is definitely a lose adaptation designed to get laughs but there is 3 spirits, a Marley figure, a grumpy Scrooge character and a beleaguered assistant, so some elements remain in the story.


John Forsythe is actually pretty creepy as Lew Hayward with some decent special effects.  They use the elevator very cleverly in the movie and Murray is filming a telecast of Christmas Carol while his own version is occurring, which brought some good laughs.  My personal favorite scene is when the censor objects to a wardrobe in the telecast. Then there is a running gag where she gets hit in the head by various items and as someone who finds Hollywood’s attempt to censor itself with the MPAA to be a total joke I found it very funny.

Scrooged-censorChristmas Past is a cab driver played by David Johansen and he is nuts but in a humorous way.

scrooged pastChristmas Present is my favorite played by Carol Kane and she finds ways of injuring Scrooge both on purpose and by accident.  Haven’t we all wanted to slap Scrooge in the face in one version or another? And it’s always funny when someone who sounds sweet and looks cute actually has a temper.  She talks all sweet and then slaps him as hard as she can and that’s just funny.

carol kane scroogedKaren Allen from Raiders of the Lost Arc plays the Belle character who wants to serve others while Frank only thinks of himself.  They had good chemistry together and I bought them as a couple.

karen allen scroogedChristmas Future isn’t an actor but a prop from the production going on that ends up in the elevator.  He has Ignorance and Want inside his belly in a creative way.

scrooged futureIn this version Fred is actually Frank’s Brother John and Alfre Woodard (who I always like) is the Cratchit character named Grace Cooley.  She has a son who is a mute and refuses to talk to anyone.

But my favorite performance is Bobcat Goldthwait as Eliot Loudermilk.  He is fired by Frank after offering some timid criticism of his rather grisly Scrooge promo.  He comes back to get vengeance on Frank and it is hilarious. It feels like a rif on Die Hard but that came out the same year so I guess it is just making fun of all the over-the-top action movies of the 80s.


Strengths- As I said the interweaving stories of the production and Frank’s visitations are very clever. Most of the gags made me laugh so I guess that means it’s a successful comedy!

Eliot Loudermilk, Carol Kane, Alfre Woodard, David Johansen and John Forsythe are all great fun.


Murray is a funny as always and it’s all directed competently by Richard Donner of Superman fame.

Weakness- I guess a weakness is it doesn’t really give much to enjoy if you don’t find it funny but not all movies can be everything.  It’s definitely non-traditional and a few of the jokes are more designed for an 80s audience and are perhaps a bit dated.

Other than that I really enjoyed it.  So bah humbug and have some good laughs!