Sunday, October 27, 2013

Who You Gonna Call?

Flash back to 1984.

Seriously, the last time I'd seen "Ghostbusters" was when it first came out at a theater in D.C. back in the Reagan years.

Buying my ticket today at Movieland behind a group of what looked like Girl Scouts and their leader, I couldn't help but be surprised at how many people were in line for this show.

Ditto the ticket seller, who said perplexed, "Usually when we show these old movies, hardly anyone comes."

Don't I know it, honey. I'm usually one of six in the theater for Movies and Mimosas.

Inside the theater, there were already at least three dozen people in place, but I found a seat in my favorite row and the only other people in it were a couple of barely twenty-somethings.

I overheard them say that the rest of their group was out in the lobby finishing their mimosas. The ones who were legal, I guess.

When the rest of the clan arrived, they filled up all the seats in our row and began chatting.

Not a problem, or at least it wasn't until the movie began.

Several immediately started squawking because there were no previews.

"What could they preview? 'Ghostbusters 2'?" one challenged.

"They could show 1980s previews," another suggested.

And then as the featured film began, one piped up, "So what is this movie about?"

If the non-stop chatter had stopped there, I'd have been fine, but it didn't.

"Ghostbusters" has no opening credits; you see the title and the story begins at once. Meanwhile these idiots are carrying on multiple full-volume conversations like they're in their dorm room.

I couldn't help myself.

You guys are going to have to be quiet. Thank you, I said in my firmest voice and was rewarded with a mollified look and a timid "oh, okay" from the lone male.

Were you raised by wolves?

The movie begins in the New York public library with a spirit wreaking havoc, sending books flying off shelves and the cards in the card catalog exploding out of the drawers.

I feel quite certain the others in my row had no clue what the drawers or the cards were but at least they were quiet now.

Not sure why I was surprised at how baby-faced Dan Aykroyd looked or how adept Bill Murray was at ad-libbing lines, but the risque-for-the-time humor was as '80s as I expected.

Are you menstruating?
What does that have to do with it?
Back off, man, I'm a scientist.

Hysterical dialog aside, as always, it's the snapshot of the period that fascinates me.

Sigourney Weaver sported a very 1984 perm almost identical to the one I was wearing when I first saw this movie. Hell, every female character had big hair.

"Print is dead," one character declares authoritatively. Wait, we knew that then?

We heard Casey Kasem's Top 40 on the radio, a man and a program I hadn't thought of in years.

After seeing a spirit in her refrigerator, Sigourney enlists Bill Murray to come check, only to find it full of junk food. "What was he doing in my icebox?" she asks. People still said icebox in 1984?

Smoking was rampant and even the ghostbusters smoked while wearing their highly flammable proton packs.

Once Sigourney is possessed, she wears a full-on "Flashdance" one-shouldered dress, just like we all wore in 1984.

Her accountant neighbor Louis, played by geek extraordinaire Rick Moranis, throws a party (inviting clients so he can write it off, natch) and to further show how uncool he is, not only plans to play Twister, but the music at his party is "Disco Inferno."

Gawd, Louis, that song is so 1976.

But the most telling line for me was when Ernie Hudson's character, Winston, the new hire at Ghostbusters, gets freaked out by the demons facing them.

"This job is definitely not worth eleven thousand a year!" he screams.

That's just about exactly what I was making in 1984, big hair, off-the-shoulder shirt and all.

But let's be clear. I was not listening to "Disco Inferno."


  1. Nothing rankles me more than non-stop chatter in movie theaters. People act like they're watching TV in their own living rooms. One time at the Byrd I turned around and screamed at a family in my loudest voice to shut the f*** up! Hubby thought I was bonkers but we never heard a peep out of them for the rest of the movie. Got the stink eye when the movie credits rolled.

  2. Too funny! When the movie ended, I stayed through the credits but even so, the kids in my row sat there when I got up and just stared at me as I walked out. I got the impression they wren't used to being corrected. Oh, well.