Posts Tagged Ghostbusters
If you, like me, grew up in the 80s and woke up yesterday morning to the sad news that Harold Ramis had passed away, then you probably felt like a huge chunk of your childhood just broke off and floated away.
It feels as though this has been happening quite a lot lately, seeing many legends and pop culture icons from my childhood get old and die like John Hughes, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Roger Ebert, and now Harold Ramis, the wonderfully talented writer, actor and creator of so much comedy awesomeness who passed away yesterday at the young age of 69.
His movies and the projects he was involved in, from “Groundhog Day,” “Ghostbusters,” “Animal House”, “Caddyshack”, “Stripes”, “National Lampoons Vacation” and “Meatballs” – just to name a few – are a staple of the great 80s classics and their comedic genius timeless and unprecedented.
Unlike the landscape that prevails in Hollywood today, Ramis was part of the small breed of film makers who was in it for the craft of acting and story-telling instead of for fame and wealth and shameless self-aggrandizement.
A lot of people these days just want to be “in the entertainment industry” for the easy money, the easy women, or the easy fame to the point of hiring PR firms to follow them around when they do “private stuff” so they can be “candidly” photographed for a page in some tabloid, increasing their exposure.
I personally know this actor from one of the Star Trek shows who is, literally, begging people on his Facebook page to follow him on Facebook and Twitter because hiring someone who has a lot of followers on social networks can help the production he will be working on generate more money. His talents appear secondary; this kid has to work on amassing a sizable following first before he is called in for casting.
Aspiring and current entertainers look at the likes of the Kuntrashians who invite the cameras, literally, up their vaginas, and trash like Snooki – parasitic entities that merely exist to increase ratings and profitability while racking up millions of dollars for being walking advertisements for cheap products and famous for being famous, as opposed to famous because they are creating something of value, and these newbies want a piece of that famewhoring pie.
But it is not just these bitches, look at Oscar nominated pukes like Jonah Hill whose douchebaggy assholishenss has increased in proportion to his fame and Oscar nominations to the point where he thinks he is even too good to shake hands with common folks.
Harold Ramis, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, John Belushi, Dan Akroyd, John Candy etc. and the film makers they worked with were a different breed. They weren’t fame-whoring and could tell jokes and make you laugh and sympathize with the underdog and question authority without being Judd Apatow vulgar. That is rare and I am sad to see Ramis, who was such an integral part of that, go.
I am sad not only because he was way too young and died too soon and appears to have been a genuinely nice guy, but because in a way his departure signifies a change within those of us who grew up with his movies and pop culture presence and for whom deaths like his signify the painful realization of the days of youth gone by.
Harold Ramis once said about his work:
“Well, for me, it’s the relationship between comedy and life – that’s the edge I live on, and maybe it’s my protection against looking at the tragedy of it all. It’s seeing life in balance. Comedy and tragedy co-exist. You can’t have one without the other. I’m of the school that anything can be funny, if seen from a comedic point of view.”
Indeed. What tragic and short lives we all live.
I love the 80s. I love the music, movies, hair and fashions. It was just such a funky time. The 80’s were all about everything being new. Vinyl LP records were being replaced by CDs. VHS format video tapes won out over Beta format video tapes, the home PC was on the rise, home video games were starting to replace board games and video killed the radio star. Microwaves, VCR’s, new cable channels, portable phones, walkmen….just to name a few of the exciting things back then really enriched the culture and interaction among people but also revolutionized a lot of things.
The 80’s witnessed the rise of punk rock, new wave music, nerds, stoners, preppies and the very beginning of MTV which at that point actually did play music videos 24/7 instead of running reality shows on knocked up high school white teenage trash. There also seemed to be more movies that were based on high school and pop-culture than ever.
Trickle down was a big word in the 80s justifying some of Reagan’s worst policy decisions that haunt us until this day, but the real vibe of the 80’s was the ambition that trickled-down, not the money. Everyone and their mom wanted to be rich or a hero – Superman, The Greatest American Hero, Rambo, Arnold movies, Ghostbusters – to just name a few of the movies that were inspired by that generation. This ambition or desire to be more and the opportunity for a lot of people to be just that is evident all over the place in pop culture.
The movie The Secret of My Success comes to mind. A movie which is the epitome of the 80s mentality but in a more positive, go-getter, you-can-achieve-your-dreams-if-you-work-hard kind of way as opposed to the more cynical view seen in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street.
My most favorite part of the 80s is the movies, especially those high school movies that always seemed to be about a group of normal kids or nerds or an unpopular bunch, fighting against the injustices of the high school clique system and the popular kids and the snobs who thought they were better. Teenage angst was a big part of the stories, especially exemplified in many John Hughes productions such as The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles and Pretty in Pink, but also Can’t Buy Me Love or Secret Admirer. There was a great sense of need for justice and these movies, which often times idolized the school years, were all over the place. Movies today seem too dark and too serious and as Roger Ebert said, “we live in an age of brutal manners, when people crudely say exactly what they mean, comedy is based on insult, tributes are roasts, and loud public obscenity passes without notice.”
There is so much more to be said about the 80s and how it changed the American landscape but suffice it to say that as a decade it was a very cool and exiting one, especially in terms of the pop culture it created and ideas that emerged. The end of the cold war at its tail end also eally made this decade a one of a kind. The 90s and 2000s were the information age and life, as we know it, changed drastically as a result, especially of the internet.
But here is one to good old times (and i feel sad to be calling the 80s good OLD times).
Here are some of my favorite 80s movies, and with that I don’t mean movies made in the 80s but movies that evoke that feeling of funk and punk and teenage angst and self assertion.