Anne T. Donahue
October 30, 2014 2:11 pm

The first time I saw Ghostbusters, I was 22 years old and I had food poisoning. It was all kinds of awful. But as I was watching it, I bonded over text (in a big way) with the guy I liked at the time. And despite me being too sick to attend a “Welcome to Vancouver!” party being thrown in my honor, Ghostbusters and a text-message quote-off made the circumstances a little better.

Unsurprisingly, even after said guy ended up going his own way, Ghostbusters still helped make circumstances better on several occasions. (Even if those circumstances included decisions like, I don’t feel like doing my work, so I’m going to watch Ghostbusters instead.)

So this week–the week of All Hallow’s Eve–we’re going to set our sights on Ghostbusters. Or more specifically, I’m going to tell you about eight things I’ve learned.

1. Because you ALWAYS call the Ghosbusters

As in, if somebody says, “who are you going to call?” You need to answer, “Ghostbusters.” I don’t care if it’s an emergency. I don’t care if you are only allowed to answer one question, ever, as long as you are living, and that is the question you are asked. I don’t care if you’re in jail and you get one phone call, and the cop says, “Who are you gonna call?” The answer is “Ghosbusters.” The answer is always “Ghostbusters.” Ghostbusters are who you’re gonna call. Always.

2. Because there is no ANYTHING, only Zuul 

Now, admittedly, Ghostbusters isn’t entirely non-scary. In fact, looking back at my six-year-old self, maybe I was right to cry and freak out about Zuul, his evil powers, and the fact that he turned kind humans into terrifying beasts.

And even the idea of Zuul is pretty unsettling–just everything he’s about. BIG FREAKING DOGS, YOU GUYS. Possessions! Galaxies in the fridge! Rick Moranis! (Not like, Mr. Moranis in general, but his character was pretty weird, both as Dana’s creepy neighbor and then as the maniac in search of Zuul.) This is why Ghostbusters trumps all other “scary” and Halloween movies–humor is involved.

Do you know how sick I am of scary movies that involve zero realistic dialogue? (Very.) Because let’s admit it: if faced with an oversized Stay Puft man, we’d be spewing sarcastic remarks just like Peter Venkman. The witty commentary would be FLYING. All scary movies–nay, all movies–should strive for such a sweet mix of funny dialogue and being taken over by centuries-old gods.

3. Because all of us should strive to be Janine and Dana

All of us. First, Janine does not give a c-r-a-p. Not one. You can’t impress her. And she still steals the show–together with her delivery, her attitude, and her fashion sense. Dana? Same story. Girlfriend is in an ORCHESTRA, for crying out loud. These are women who are smart, who are satisfied with their lives, and who absolutely aren’t interested in compromising any of that for anything at all–particularly dudes. (Maybe Zuul, but that’s unrelated.)

In fact, even when Dana is saved by the Ghostbusters, it’s not a White-Knight situation. Ultimately, they were her clients whom she hired to save her. (Or: hired to figure out what was in her fridge, and hey: did they ever.) And then she happened to develop feelings for Bill Murray, and hey! Valid.

4. Because ghosts are real 

I mean, sure. MAYBE some of us have always believed in ghosts, and we are choosing to use this comedic and fictional movie as a way of backing up what we already know: there are ghosts, and some of them might live in the library, or may be Slimer, or may hang out at the local antique market. Or maybe this is just an excuse for me to call up Bill Murray and ask him for life advice.

5. Because you should never discredit the underdog

I am not saying this because I just told you I believe in ghosts, but because Ghostbusters is THE essential underdog story. First, they lose their funding. Then, nobody buys into their business. THEN, when it’s finally up and running and they hire Winston, THE MAN shuts it down and they’re forced to take on Stay Puft and Zuul all on their own. What happens next? They prevail, obviously. Which drives home the most important point: always bet on the underdog. ESPECIALLY if one of those underdogs are Harold Ramis.

6. Because you should always work with your friends

Ghostbusters, ultimately, is a movie about the good things that can come from working with your friends. This would hardly be the movie it is without the celebration of friendship. Can you imagine how forced the banter would feel if these guys hated each other? If, even when someone screwed up, insults were flying and judgements were made? Even when a massive screw-up ensues, no one is mad. It’s friendship! It’s a guide to friendship! And also, a guide on how to just invent a job you want.

7. Because seriously, though: you CAN invent the job you want

Man, I wrote that last sentence in the paragraph above and then realized: YEAH! HELL YES you should invent the job you want. I mean, you can also go for a job that already exists, but if there’s something you want to do and it hasn’t been done yet, do it yourself! What’s the worst that can happen?

8. Because the Ghostbusters theme is the best movie anthem, ever

And I am saying this as someone who once taped “My Heart Will Go On” from the radio onto both sides of a cassette tape in 1997. I owned two Titanic soundtracks. I pretended (via chair) that I was “flying” a la Rose and Jack. And even I am saying that the Ghostbusters theme is THE BEST MOVIE THEME OF ALL. Because who are you gonna call?

I just told you. In the first answer.

Happy Halloween!

Images courtesy of Columbia Pictures

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