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Watch: What Makes GHOSTBUSTERS a Classic? A Video Essay

Watch: What Makes GHOSTBUSTERS a Classic? A Video Essay

One thing that became resoundingly clear after the death of Harold Ramis was that the films he was involved in–‘Ghostbusters,’ ‘Animal House,’ ‘Groundhog Day’–had an undeniable solidity to them, regardless of what you might say about their degree of refinement. This video essay by Bob Chipman, who also calls himself MovieBob, digs into the particular solidity of ‘Ghostbusters,’ a film which would appear on the surface to be light entertainment, but which reveals itself, under the eye of this sharp, dense, and fast-moving analysis, to be a complexly conceived and brilliantly executed project, on several levels. One important and interesting point the piece makes is that the film’s three central characters don’t undergo tremendous changes during the film–there’s no apparent character arc. The movie resists, as well, tried-and-true developments such as a switch from disbelief in ghosts to belief in ghosts. Additionally, Chipman discusses the fact, all too true, that the film grew out of–and commented on–a ghost craze that swept American film during the late 1970s and early 1980s, notable examples of this trend being ‘Poltergeist’ and ‘The Exorcist.’ And capping off this elaborate examination is a serious look, without too much fannishness, at the extent to which the movie looks at questions of mortality and faith through the lens of Sumerian mythology. Chipman assigns Ghostbusters a fair amount of profundity, signing off with a rousing coda and ending with “Ghostbusters is really. That. Good.” This is the first in a series, in which Chipman will delve into classics and determine why they endure.

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