Who Ya Gonna Call?

This year marks thirty years since Ghostbusters hit the big screen.  Odds are, if you’re under 40 or so, you probably haven’t seen it on the big screen, but on a 60″ or smaller screen.  That’s a shame, ’cause this thing was big.  Not Star Wars big, but big.

I first saw this in Chattanooga, and remember thinking that it had to be one of the funniest films I’d ever seen.  I literally fell out of my movie seat cracking up at the reveal of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.

And quotable.  Man, this has gotta be one of the top five quotable films for me — Airplane, Spaceballs, and Stripes also come to mind.

Today, Darla took me to see the 30th anniversary re-release of Ghostbusters on the big screen.  I hate to say it, but it was sparsely attended.  We settled in, and waited for the magic.

And the first thing I noticed was how incredibly grainy the print was.  I hadn’t thought about how much film has changed in the last three decades.  I think almost everything nowadays is created on digital media, and film has kinda fallen off the map for most studios.  This was shot on real film, and it really looked it.

The film was still funny, although the impact of hearing and seeing it the first time is a one-time gig.  What was funny was to hear some folks in the theatre for whom this was apparently their first time seeing it.  They were definitely getting that “first time” experience!

It was odd, though, to see some of the cultural changes.  One of the moving men at the university had a cassette-based Walkman on.  There was a portable video camera used by one of the Ghostbusters, with a camera separated from a tape deck the size of a briefcase.  Sigourney Weaver’s character had a trimline phone in her apartment.  (And to further hammer home how old that reference is, my Mac has “trimline” flagged as a typo.)

So now, I wonder if this anniversary re-release is the beginning of a new trend, allowing us nostalgic geysers a chance to recapture our youth, while demonstrating just how cool this old stuff is to the young’uns out there.  We’ve got a theatre here in town that regularly holds “retro” film nights.  While this isn’t new — I saw The Graduate on an anniversary release back in the early 80s — it seems like there’s a lot more of it going on.

Maybe we’re just too busy looking backwards.  Maybe some films from my youth really have become classics.  Regardless, I really enjoyed seeing this one, and can’t wait to see the next “old geezer” flick at the nickelodeon.