Discuss all things Ghostbusters here, unless they would be better suited in one of the few forums below.
By RichardLess
#4897890
Check out this video https://youtu.be/7OB3279Vt8Y

It asks a great question I've often thought about: what is the theme of Ghostbusters? Does it even have one?

Personally, I think Ghostbusters is a lot like Seinfeld. It's about nothing. Sure it has plot, but the main characters don't have any arc. Ray, Egon, Venkman & Winston are all the same people at the end of the movie. Usually this is seen as a weakness for a movie, at least with critics. Ghostbusters seems to be about the only movie that succeeds despite having no theme or arc or subtext.


If a mod is reading this, could you embed the video please? I can't seem to get it to work(apologies).
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By Doctor Venkman
#4897892
I really can't stand these types of things that try to seem smarter than they are.

What is the movie about? How is this even a question? It's about a group of scientists that develop new technology to deal with a previously undealt with problem... exterminating ghosts.

I don't agree with the Seinfeld comparison at all, nor with the "no arc for any of the characters." Venkman is clearly more of a con-man than a full-on believer at the beginning of the movie and by the end he is willing to sacrifice his life to save New York. The same can be said for Winston. He joins the group simply to "get a paycheck" and by the end, he's a believer.

Again, these types of things are just asinine. Not every movie has to have some underlying hidden tone or theme. Somewhere along the line everyone decided that movies have to be deeper or have some profound message or idea behind them. It's frankly ridiculous. Movies can simply have their simple plot, comedy, drama, etc. and still be excellent films.

This video isn't some deep, thought-provoking, profound thing. It's asinine, in my personal opinion. (In no way attacking the OP for posting it, just sharing my opinion)
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By JurorNo.2
#4897893
Let me save this guy some time: Ghostbusters doesn't adhere to the usual writing crutches and cliches. End of story.

And personally I say GB2 is a great companion movie. We've set up the world in the first movie, now we have to take a stand on what we're about (i.e. positivity).

And I wish this guy had done a bit of research as to WHY it might have been written that way, instead of just smugly pointing it out on YouTube. And also as to WHY we all still enjoy it. Like that blog I mentioned awhile back that cited Aykroyd's background in improv as influencing Blues Brothers.

Doctor Venkman wrote:Somewhere along the line everyone decided that movies have to be deeper or have some profound message or idea behind them.


I blame Nolan. ;)

Well, actually I more blame fanboys/girls who are insecure about loving comic books and comedies and feel they have to invent pretentious meaning just to justify themselves.
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By Doctor Venkman
#4897894
JurorNo.2 wrote:
Doctor Venkman wrote:Somewhere along the line everyone decided that movies have to be deeper or have some profound message or idea behind them.


I blame Nolan. ;)

Well, actually I more blame fanboys/girls who are insecure about loving comic books and comedies and feel they have to invent pretentious meaning just to justify themselves.


Funny enough... my post originally said "I think around the time of The Dark Knight" lol
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By RichardLess
#4897910
Doctor Venkman wrote:I really can't stand these types of things that try to seem smarter than they are.

What is the movie about? How is this even a question? It's about a group of scientists that develop new technology to deal with a previously undealt with problem... exterminating ghosts.

I don't agree with the Seinfeld comparison at all, nor with the "no arc for any of the characters." Venkman is clearly more of a con-man than a full-on believer at the beginning of the movie and by the end he is willing to sacrifice his life to save New York. The same can be said for Winston. He joins the group simply to "get a paycheck" and by the end, he's a believer.

Again, these types of things are just asinine. Not every movie has to have some underlying hidden tone or theme. Somewhere along the line everyone decided that movies have to be deeper or have some profound message or idea behind them. It's frankly ridiculous. Movies can simply have their simple plot, comedy, drama, etc. and still be excellent films.

This video isn't some deep, thought-provoking, profound thing. It's asinine, in my personal opinion. (In no way attacking the OP for posting it, just sharing my opinion)


Somewhere along the line? You mean since the begining of *film*. This isn't a new concept.

Fair enough. You don't find it interesting. I find it interesting on a cinematic level.

By the way, most movies, 99.9% of them(the good ones) have theme and subtext. Ghostbusters 2 does. If that isn't up your alley, cool. But that's why Ghostbusters is unique. It circumvents the regular movie "rules". Most time, critics notice these sorts of things. Ghostbusters was successful with both critics and audiences despite having no theme or subtext or character arc.

I disagree also re: arc, Venkman has zero arc. He's the same man at the end. He's the same man at the begining of GB2 that he is on GB1. Plot is not an arc. Things happening to a character is not an arc.

Anyways. Agree or disagree. I think it's an interesting, thought provoking discussion(or had the potential to be)

Here's what I meant by the Seinfeld comparison. Seinfeld had a rule that each episode had to follow: No Learning, No Hugging, No Message. I.e characters don't come to some vast understanding of the world and remain unchanged by episode end.
By RichardLess
#4897911
JurorNo.2 wrote:Let me save this guy some time: Ghostbusters doesn't adhere to the usual writing crutches and cliches. End of story.

And personally I say GB2 is a great companion movie. We've set up the world in the first movie, now we have to take a stand on what we're about (i.e. positivity).

And I wish this guy had done a bit of research as to WHY it might have been written that way, instead of just smugly pointing it out on YouTube. And also as to WHY we all still enjoy it. Like that blog I mentioned awhile back that cited Aykroyd's background in improv as influencing Blues Brothers.

Doctor Venkman wrote:Somewhere along the line everyone decided that movies have to be deeper or have some profound message or idea behind them.


I blame Nolan. ;)

Well, actually I more blame fanboys/girls who are insecure about loving comic books and comedies and feel they have to invent pretentious meaning just to justify themselves.


Lol.

wait. Asking a question on YouTube is considered "smug"? I must have missed that memo.
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By JurorNo.2
#4897941
RichardLess wrote:
wait. Asking a question on YouTube is considered "smug"? I must have missed that memo.


I think you misread. I said I was wishing he had asked more questions.

RichardLess wrote:
Here's what I meant by the Seinfeld comparison. Seinfeld had a rule that each episode had to follow: No Learning, No Hugging, No Message. I.e characters don't come to some vast understanding of the world and remain unchanged by episode end.


Yeah, I can see that. I mean really, once characters come to these big revelations, that usually means the end of the story. That's why sequels can end up being so awkward, because there is no more story to tell. Whereas if the character defaults back to his or her standard personality, there's more potential for new adventures, such as Ghostbusters 2.
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By Sav C
#4897946
Concerning Venkman's character arc... In the very first scene Venkman appears in, he is hitting on a coed. He's not interested in a serious relationship, that's for sure. When he meets Dana, it's the same thing. He's not interested in having a serious relationship. I have a feeling I don't have to elaborate on this, as I think that it is understood, but if not let me know and I'll provide more detailed points.

Anyway, he sets out its no intention of having a serious relationship with Dana, but ends up really liking her. By the end they really do care about each other.

The question is whether this is an arc or not. Is Venkman growing as a character, or was he always open to a serious relationship forming? By the end he obviously appreciates it, whether he was looking for it or not. In the end is he a different person than when the movie started? We don't know what his thoughts on having a serious relationship were before meeting Dana. If he was opposed to the idea, than yes it is an arc.

What we do know is that in the jail cell he tries to convince himself that the relationship as a meaningless fling, but that isn't true. Maybe I'm wrong, but what that says to me is that every moment up until that point he was in denial that Dana really meant anything to him, but in the end he comes to accept that she really does mean something to him. I'd call that growth if he starts how not being able to accept being in a serious relationship but in the end he can accept it. In Ghostbusters II his personality may not be resetting, as my interpretation above doesn't mean that he can't go back to his old ways pursuing meaningless flings, it just means that he can accept it when something more comes long.

...And seen. I might post my thoughts on the theme later.
By BatDan
#4897971
Gb84 at it's core is an "underdog story", so no it's not about "nothing".

The GBs are underdogs, down on their luck, schlubby eccentrics who are forced to have to set a goal for themselves.

It carries themes of non-conformity and anti establishment. The GBS go through events that deal with them sticking to their own terms, wether it be how they deal with the government, the mayor or their ex-employers. A subtle visual niche is the unique uniforms and ambulance, establishes them as "their own thing" and "being yourself".

Venkman, indeed has an arc, it's alluded to in the "Danas apartment" scene, he for shadows/states himself practically. Dana calls him a "Gameshow host" basically stating where he is as a character in this part of the film, then Pete retorts "I'll solve you're little problem and then you'll say Pete venkman a guy who can get things done." Fast forward to the end of the film, Peter overcomes the obstacle. Making the transition from con artist to hero.

The "plot" is essentially the joke of the film itself; " loveable losers succeed in the end", becoming "zeros to heroes". The fact no one else can deal with the problem but themselves.

Just because a film/book or song is subtle in it's themes and storytelling doesn't mean it doesn't have any substance, it's there, it's just not obnoxiously obvious.
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By Sav C
#4897981
I think you just nailed it, BatDan! That's similar to what I was going to try and say, but I wasn't sure how to articulate my thoughts.

Even though it is a better suited term for movies such as Meatballs and Caddyshack, Ghostbusters is kind of a "slobs vs snobs" comedy. The Ghostbusters aren't slobs, but they do clash with snobs such as Walter Peck and Dean Yeager.
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By JurorNo.2
#4898021
Sav C wrote:The Ghostbusters aren't slobs


I think that's why people have trouble recognizing this theme. The gang in Animal House are very obviously slobs. But you don't expect PhDs to be the underdogs.

That is, unless you watch a lot of crypto documentaries. ;) A lot of university scientists do take ghosts, UFOs, lake monsters, etc. very seriously, and see it as a movement against establishment science.
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By Sav C
#4898029
JurorNo.2 wrote:
Sav C wrote:The Ghostbusters aren't slobs


I think that's why people have trouble recognizing this theme. The gang in Animal House are very obviously slobs. But you don't expect PhDs to be the underdogs.

That is, unless you watch a lot of crypto documentaries. ;) A lot of university scientists do take ghosts, UFOs, lake monsters, etc. very seriously, and see it as a movement against establishment science.

I think that may be why the movie can be rewatched time and time again, as the theme and character arcs aren't on the nose in the slightest. There are a lot of factors of course that determine a good movie, but I think that when that kind of stuff is obvious it runs the risk of feeling like the movie was written using a formula.
By BatDan
#4898089
Devil, agreed.

The guy who made this is an absolute pretentious doofus who has no clue how to analyse film but thinks he's being clever.

What next? Godfather and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest are about nothing too? Because they don't spell out their thematics?
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By Sav C
#4898132
Forgive me for this question as I am not a catholic, but why exactly did "god" cause the flood that required Noah to build the arc? Was it to deal with overpopulation? I'm of Roman Catholic descent so I should probably know this, but I don't.
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By Doctor Venkman
#4898140
RichardLess wrote:Somewhere along the line? You mean since the begining of *film*. This isn't a new concept.

Fair enough. You don't find it interesting. I find it interesting on a cinematic level.

By the way, most movies, 99.9% of them(the good ones) have theme and subtext. Ghostbusters 2 does. If that isn't up your alley, cool. But that's why Ghostbusters is unique. It circumvents the regular movie "rules". Most time, critics notice these sorts of things. Ghostbusters was successful with both critics and audiences despite having no theme or subtext or character arc.

I disagree also re: arc, Venkman has zero arc. He's the same man at the end. He's the same man at the begining of GB2 that he is on GB1. Plot is not an arc. Things happening to a character is not an arc.

Anyways. Agree or disagree. I think it's an interesting, thought provoking discussion(or had the potential to be)

Here's what I meant by the Seinfeld comparison. Seinfeld had a rule that each episode had to follow: No Learning, No Hugging, No Message. I.e characters don't come to some vast understanding of the world and remain unchanged by episode end.


You seem to have misunderstood myself, and others, perhaps due to your interest in this possible debate.

I'm not saying that it's a new concept that films have a deeper meaning. It IS, however, a new concept that people expect EVERY film to have a deeper meaning. Again, not every film has that. Sometimes the simple plot of a film is all there is, no hidden meaning.

Sav C and BatDan already stated the counterpoint on Venkman, which elaborated on what I was saying. He clearly has an arc and is a different person by the end of the film. The fact that he is the same again at the start of GB2 (which I don't even agree with) could even be chalked up to the rehash of much for that film.

I'm all for thought provoking discussion. I just don't think it is thought provoking if you have to basically ignore the entire plot and developments within the film in order to have said discussion, which is what you have to do, in my opinion, for this film.
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By Doctor Venkman
#4898141
BatDan wrote:Devil, agreed.

The guy who made this is an absolute pretentious doofus who has no clue how to analyse film but thinks he's being clever.

What next? Godfather and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest are about nothing too? Because they don't spell out their thematics?


I wish I could give this more than one like. LOL. Well said.
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By JurorNo.2
#4898145
Sav C wrote:Forgive me for this question as I am not a catholic, but why exactly did "god" cause the flood that required Noah to build the arc? Was it to deal with overpopulation? I'm of Roman Catholic descent so I should probably know this, but I don't.


God was basically doing a do over on the world because people had just become too sinful.
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By Sav C
#4898147
JurorNo.2 wrote:
Sav C wrote:Forgive me for this question as I am not a catholic, but why exactly did "god" cause the flood that required Noah to build the arc? Was it to deal with overpopulation? I'm of Roman Catholic descent so I should probably know this, but I don't.


God was basically doing a do over on the world because people had just become too sinful.

Was this flood worldwide? Why did the animals also have to perish, couldn't god just have wiped out the humans? How do we know it wasn't just a storm like Harvey or Irma?

Sorry for all the questions, I respect anyone who can find faith in religion, however (and perhaps unfortunately) I'm not one of them.
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By JurorNo.2
#4898156
Sav C wrote:
JurorNo.2 wrote:
God was basically doing a do over on the world because people had just become too sinful.

Was this flood worldwide? Why did the animals also have to perish, couldn't god just have wiped out the humans? How do we know it wasn't just a storm like Harvey or Irma?

Sorry for all the questions, I respect anyone who can find faith in religion, however (and perhaps unfortunately) I'm not one of them.


I personally don't think all of the Bible is meant to be literal, some of it is symbolic. I can imagine the story was written by someone who was simply disgusted with the world he saw around him. I can relate, heh.
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By Sav C
#4898158
OK, I can get that. I have in fact noticed some parallels between my own morality and religion, so if the bible is figurative I suppose it is a means of expressing what is wrong and what is right. Around Valentine's Day I saw a news piece on the WSJ that said the original version of Adam and Eve had both Adam and Eve created from one genderless being, instead of having Eve being created from Adam. Basically it was symbolizing that both genders were created as equals, and if that is the meaning a person takes away from it instead of interpreting it as a literal account of how human life was created, I can definitely respect that.
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By RichardLess
#4898171
Doctor Venkman wrote:
RichardLess wrote:Somewhere along the line? You mean since the begining of *film*. This isn't a new concept.

Fair enough. You don't find it interesting. I find it interesting on a cinematic level.

By the way, most movies, 99.9% of them(the good ones) have theme and subtext. Ghostbusters 2 does. If that isn't up your alley, cool. But that's why Ghostbusters is unique. It circumvents the regular movie "rules". Most time, critics notice these sorts of things. Ghostbusters was successful with both critics and audiences despite having no theme or subtext or character arc.

I disagree also re: arc, Venkman has zero arc. He's the same man at the end. He's the same man at the begining of GB2 that he is on GB1. Plot is not an arc. Things happening to a character is not an arc.

Anyways. Agree or disagree. I think it's an interesting, thought provoking discussion(or had the potential to be)

Here's what I meant by the Seinfeld comparison. Seinfeld had a rule that each episode had to follow: No Learning, No Hugging, No Message. I.e characters don't come to some vast understanding of the world and remain unchanged by episode end.


You seem to have misunderstood myself, and others, perhaps due to your interest in this possible debate.

I'm not saying that it's a new concept that films have a deeper meaning. It IS, however, a new concept that people expect EVERY film to have a deeper meaning. Again, not every film has that. Sometimes the simple plot of a film is all there is, no hidden meaning.

Sav C and BatDan already stated the counterpoint on Venkman, which elaborated on what I was saying. He clearly has an arc and is a different person by the end of the film. The fact that he is the same again at the start of GB2 (which I don't even agree with) could even be chalked up to the rehash of much for that film.

I'm all for thought provoking discussion. I just don't think it is thought provoking if you have to basically ignore the entire plot and developments within the film in order to have said discussion, which is what you have to do, in my opinion, for this film.


I guess you can look at it this way, some people look at the Godfather as a simple mob story. Other' see is for a subtext on the American Experiment. Neither is wrong.

If anyone can look at Ghostbusters and say Venkman is a changed man at the end, well, I guess we are looking at things differently. If it were Venkman coming up with the crossing the streams idea at the end, you'd have a point. But I think he, Ray and Egon are the same. He starts the film using his position in academia to get a girl, he finishes using his new business doing the exact same thing. it's not as if he is a non believer in Ghosts either, the first 10 minutes shows him encountering a ghost. He's a womanizing fame whore. In GB2 look at his life, he's lost Dana and he has a TV show he doesn't even care about just so he can be on TV.

But again, I guess we just see things differently. Nothing wrong with that.
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By BatDan
#4898179
Not necessarily, Venkman led the gang and persuaded the mayor to give them the job to deal with the demons in the high rise.

Similar to his character John Winger in Stripes. Only this time he didn't have to retread to a big speech to show his growth, it was just through the actions of the leadership. It's subtle, but it's there.

As for GB2, same deal, similar arc, only this time he's proving himself to Dana as a responsible father figure to Oscar. Theres a line that suggests this; "interesting role model for you isn't he, Oscar?"

Both movies are campy fun about guys hunting ghosts so it's easy to enjoy it on that level, but there's still substance underneath the silliness.

A common formula used in alot of comedies, is having the main character over come obstacles rather than deep dramatic moments, it is a comedy after all, so heavy subject matter would make the tone a little dreary. Take Back to the Future for instance, you can say Marty is still the same character at the end of either films, but those movies aren't really about "nothing" , they still have a subtext to the way he observes his adventures and history.
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By Doctor Venkman
#4898266
RichardLess wrote:If anyone can look at Ghostbusters and say Venkman is a changed man at the end, well, I guess we are looking at things differently. If it were Venkman coming up with the crossing the streams idea at the end, you'd have a point. But I think he, Ray and Egon are the same. He starts the film using his position in academia to get a girl, he finishes using his new business doing the exact same thing. it's not as if he is a non believer in Ghosts either, the first 10 minutes shows him encountering a ghost. He's a womanizing fame whore. In GB2 look at his life, he's lost Dana and he has a TV show he doesn't even care about just so he can be on TV.

But again, I guess we just see things differently. Nothing wrong with that.


I appreciate that we're looking at things differently, but I guess what I find odd is that people have explained quite clearly how Venkman has changed and you seem to just be ignoring it rather than looking at it differently. There's so much evidence that Venkman is changed at the end, and definitely not using the business to "get" Dana. Even to go to the point of "he's a womanizing fame whore." He ends the movie geniunely caring about Dana, about New York, about saving the world. He's willing to sacrifice his life to save the world, and then when they come out of it ok, he's genuinely sad that Dana appears to be dead. A womanizing fame whore wouldn't have those feelings.
Last edited by Doctor Venkman on September 15th, 2017, 11:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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By JurorNo.2
#4898267
RichardLess wrote:He starts the film using his position in academia to get a girl, he finishes using his new business doing the exact same thing.


Well that is definitely true, but that college girl and Dana aren't really the same thing. And he ends up treating Dana a lot better. That's a big change.
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By necrosapien87
#4898297
IDK why people seem offended by this. The video doesn't insult the film. It just points out that the first film has no major theme, but a few small themes that can be interpreted by viewers. The 2016 is somewhat similar to the original in that idea. It isn't a bad thing. Just kind of interesting that a film with not real central theme is so enjoyable and has embedded itself in pop culture all over. I actually subscribed to the guy's youtube after seeing this video. His critique on Batman: Mask of the Phantom is pretty great too.
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By RichardLess
#4898335
Doctor Venkman wrote:
RichardLess wrote:If anyone can look at Ghostbusters and say Venkman is a changed man at the end, well, I guess we are looking at things differently. If it were Venkman coming up with the crossing the streams idea at the end, you'd have a point. But I think he, Ray and Egon are the same. He starts the film using his position in academia to get a girl, he finishes using his new business doing the exact same thing. it's not as if he is a non believer in Ghosts either, the first 10 minutes shows him encountering a ghost. He's a womanizing fame whore. In GB2 look at his life, he's lost Dana and he has a TV show he doesn't even care about just so he can be on TV.

But again, I guess we just see things differently. Nothing wrong with that.


I appreciate that we're looking at things differently, but I guess what I find odd is that people have explained quite clearly how Venkman has changed and you seem to just be ignoring it rather than looking at it differently. There's so much evidence that Venkman is changed at the end, and definitely not using the business to "get" Dana. Even to go to the point of "he's a womanizing fame whore." He ends the movie geniunely caring about Dana, about New York, about saving the world. He's willing to sacrifice his life to save the world, and then when they come out of it ok, he's genuinely sad that Dana appears to be dead. A womanizing fame whore wouldn't have those feelings.


I am not ignoring anything I am disagree with these points you and others are making. Did he start the movie disliking New York? Was he craven? No. These are not changes. Venkman is the same man! Did he save New York? Yes. Did he get the girl? Yes. But saving New York isn't a character trait, we don't know that he wouldn't have done that at minute 1. He wasn't some coward. His first meeting with Dana he literally lays it all out on the line "I am madly in love with you". That's WHO HE IS. Him falling in love with Dana is not the crux of the film. A womanizer loves women. Falling for one doesn't change that, it's a by product.
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By RichardLess
#4898336
necrosapien87 wrote:IDK why people seem offended by this. The video doesn't insult the film. It just points out that the first film has no major theme, but a few small themes that can be interpreted by viewers. The 2016 is somewhat similar to the original in that idea. It isn't a bad thing. Just kind of interesting that a film with not real central theme is so enjoyable and has embedded itself in pop culture all over. I actually subscribed to the guy's youtube after seeing this video. His critique on Batman: Mask of the Phantom is pretty great too.


That's funny I did the same.

Anyone who loves Batman Mask of the Phantasm is ok in my book.
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