Ghostbusters (1984)

When Someone Asks You if You’re a God, You Say “Yes”

Allow me to pose a query to you.  Assume, for a moment, that you are in the area in which you live.  Suddenly, you notice that something rather peculiar is happening there.  You have only your cell phone with you and 1% left on the battery life; time only to make one call.  Given all of this information that I have given you, to which group of people will your call be most efficient?  Today’s movie!  A lot of my movie reviews happen at the behest of someone else; either through requests or simply my thoughts about which movie could I most make fun of to entertain the people that read these.  Today’s movie was at my own behest.  What caused me to behest myself was a video playing on one of the TV’s at my job.  I was only able to see bits and pieces, and was able to hear none of it.  And since I love this movie, I needed to watch it.  That movie is Ghostbusters, written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, directed by Ivan Reitman, and starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis, Annie Potts, Slavitza Jovan, William Atherton, David Margulies, Alice Drummond, Steven Tash, Jennifer Runyon, Rhoda Gemignani, and Michael Ensign.

Three parapsychologists are called in when a strange occurrence happens at the New York Public Library.  Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) is already on the scene by the time Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) and Raymond Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) arrive.  Venkman immediately begins grilling the spooked librarian (Alice Drummond) to see if she’s just crazy or not.  Relatively assured that she actually may have seen something, the trio go to investigate, quickly finding that there is, indeed, a ghost.  They then run for their lives.  Egon feels that the readings he took could allow them to capture such spirits and this gives Venkman a business idea.  Unfortunately, as Ray points out, they already have jobs…or do they?  Nope, they’ve been fired.  So they go into the ghostbusting business, purchasing a retired firehouse as their base of operations.  At first, the only client they have is a woman named Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver), who claims to have seen eggs cook on her counter and a creature in her fridge.  The only thing that really comes out of that is Venkman’s immediate – and unrequited – love for Dana.  Then, their receptionist, Janine Melnitz (Annie Potts), gets the call that the Sedgewick Hotel has a ghost problem.  Capturing this ghost rockets them into stardom, making them so busy that they have to hire a fourth Ghostbuster, Windston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson).  But when the strange occurrences start to elevate for both Dana and her neighbor, Louis Tully (Rick Moranis), the Ghostbusters have to get involved, and may just have to save the world.

Let us cut through the formalities and just get right to the nitty gritty.  I hate this movie.  I hate this movie because of how damned awesome it is.  It has no right to be so great in every way!  It makes the rest of us look bad!!  OM to the G this is a great movie.  I would go so far to say this is one of my favorite movies ever.  Let’s talk story first.  Now, it’s been well documented (by myself) that I love ghost movies.  I love ghost everything, for that matter.  I certainly love these ghosts things more than most people who have never seen, and are skeptical about, ghosts.  Next to ghost movies, another one of my favorite things in movies is comedy.  Either the combination of my loves made Ghostbusters one of my favorite movies, or Ghostbusters made me love good comedies and ghost movies.  Who knows?  The story itself in the movie isn’t that spectacular, it’s the comedy and the performances that bring a good story to great stature.  And the look is amazing too.  I assume there was a certain degree of budgetary concerns to this movie, but everything looks great.  Granted, New York City has a great look to it already.  The stone lions in front of the library, for example.  They were already there, but you would have to use them.  They have a great look for a ghost movie.  Dana and Louis’ apartment was also well done.  If I remember correctly, it was a real apartment in New York that they added a section to the top of digitally because most buildings don’t have Gozer-gateways on the top.  The gargoyle that comes to life looked mostly great, but there were parts where the limits of the time made it stick out.  The ghosts looked pretty good though, like Slimer and the librarian ghost from the beginning.  They’re reminiscent of the ghost style used in Poltergeist.  Worked great there, works great here.

The performances are what really make this movie work for me.  And I would say that it is mostly one performance that stands out and simultaneously made me love that actor forever: Bill Murray.  Every moment he is in this movie, he’s doing something that makes me laugh, even on my 50th viewing.  Love Venkman, love Murray.  The second best performance would have to be the hands that popped out of the recliner to grab Sigourney Weaver, ’cause one of them grabbed himself a whole handful of Sigourney boob.  But both Sigourney and her boobs performed well in this movie.  She mainly acted as the straight-woman to Bill Murray’s craziness, but she did it very real, acted terrified as hands were groping her and she was being pulled into her closet, and shifted gears completely as she was inhabited by Zuul.  She also was still well within hotness in this movie, even with the 80’s perm.  I personally dug more on Annie Potts though.  Something about that nerdy little girl does it for me.  Even with that voice.  Rick Moranis was, perhaps, a bit over the top as his uber nerdy character, but got a nice dose of crazy to him when he was inhabited by Vinz Clortho, the penis to Sigourney’s vagina or, as they called it, the keymaster to her gatekeeper.  I went on a tangent and almost forgot about the rest of the Ghostbusters.  I would say my second favorite Ghostbuster would have to be Harold Ramis as the eccentric, nerdy scientist Egon Spengler.  He was pretty funny and I relate to him because I too collect spores, molds, and fungus.  Dan Aykroyd was the heart of the Ghostbusters, playing Ray as a kind of dopey but sweet guy.  I also like thinking about William Atherton as the douchebag from the EPA that fucks everything up.  I mainly like thinking about him because he could be the nicest guy, but I’d want to punch him in the mouth because of his character in this movie.  Such a douche and he gets the Ghostbusters arrested because HE fucked everything up.

One of my favorite movies, Ghostbusters combines a good story, fantastic performances, hilarious comedy, and a great look to make itself an epic win.  It holds up every bit today as it did back in ’84.  The only thing dated in this movie is the music, but it’s still enjoyable so that’s not a negative.  It’s just clearly 80’s music.  If you haven’t seen this movie, there’s something wrong with you.  If you don’t like it, I don’t like you.  If you don’t own it, I don’t own you!  Oh, that’s wrong.  Either way, go buy this movie already.  It’s amazazing.  Ghostbusters gets “We came, we saw, we kicked it’s ass” out of “Dogs and cats living together … MASS HYSTERIA!”

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inFamous 2 (2011)

Nobody Had More Humanity Than Cole McGrath

I had put off finishing it for a while but, after getting the Platinum trophy for Uncharted 3, I decided I’d go back and finish inFamous 2 to get my Platinum trophy for that. My memory of the Good storyline may be a little foggy because I finished that back in June, but I certainly remember the Evil storyline. So let’s take a look at inFamous 2, developed by Sucker Punch Productions and published by Sony Computer Entertainment.

Cole McGrath (Eric Ladin) has spent the entire course of inFamous preparing for the arrival of the Beast. As inFamous 2 starts, we get right into that battle and get our asses handed to us. We barely manage to escape Empire City with our long-time friend – and recent betrayer – Zeke (Caleb Moody) and NSA agent Lucy Kuo (Dawn Olivieri) to a town called New Marais, which is in no way affiliated with New Orleans. Here, Cole and Kuo meet up with Dr. Sebastian Wolfe (Michael Ensign), who has a plan to make Cole stronger using a device called the RFI (Ray Field Inhibitor) and Blast Cores. But, an explosion at Wolfe’s lab spreads the Blast Cores over the city. Cole must collect the Blast Cores before the Beast makes his way down the coast to New Marais. Along the way, Wolfe gets killed, we meet a crazy lady with fire powers named Nix (Nika Futterman), we try to over come the control of Joseph Bertrand III (Graham McTavish) and his militia, Kuo is kidnapped by Bertrand and given ice powers against her will, and we make some decisions that will make you either good or evil and affect the outcome of the game.

This is a pretty good game that just barely misses excellence. It’s an open world action-adventure game with similarities to Assassin’s Creed in that you can go anywhere and climb buildings at will. Then you throw in some electricity super powers and you get you some inFamous. I would say the problem with the controls, especially when compared to Assassin’s Creed, is that the wall climbing doesn’t always work that well. Climbing the building in Assassin’s Creed is so smooth and realistic, whereas this game is just a bunch of awkward jumping. I also found there was a couple complications in combat, like how it would take you using the circle button to dodge as you using the circle button to take cover against a wall that then gets you shot and killed. These problems were not super drastic or anything, but when this game will inevitably draw comparisons between it and a game that does wall climbing so well, it comes up in the brain. The new upgrades to Cole’s powers really make you feel awesome once you unlock some of the cooler ones. And you get to dabble in the ice and fire powers of your compatriots later on, and that get’s good too. One of them can even make travel easier. Taking Kuo’s powers gives you an ability that will launch you up into the air and make it easier to get around. Nix’s travel move was not as helpful to me, which bummed me out for my Evil playthrough.

The story of this game is awesome. Unlike most games that only have the final decision have any affect on the game, there are many choices throughout this game that affect the way people react to Cole, the way Cole looks, and even the environment of the city. And, of course, there are two different endings. Throughout the game, you side with Kuo or Nix on different problems that come up, and it even starts making a relationship develop between the character you side with. And then, it spins it all around on you by changing those sides at the very end. Both of the endings are very emotional and well written. I don’t know how they’ll be able to pull off inFamous 3 after some of the stuff that went down, but it made for a pretty touching ending on both sides and for different reasons. But don’t fool yourself, neither ending is a particularly good outcome for old Cole. There were a lot of moments I liked in this game: having a strained friendship with Zeke after he betrayed you in inFamous, dealing with Kuo after her kidnapping and painful conversion into a superpowered person, finding out Nix’s backstory, and even Bertrand had some sort of reason for what he was doing. Even quiet scenes like Cole and Zeke watching TV and drinking beers was kind of touching.

I thought all of the voice acting in this game was great. People complained a lot about Cole’s voice changing from the first game, but I didn’t even notice it. His voice wasn’t so amazing in the first one that they couldn’t decide to go in another direction for the second one. And this guy delivered anyway. The emotional story of this game would not have been delivered without great animation from Sucker Punch and great acting from the voice actors.

This game is also not a difficult game to Platinum, but I did find one problem with it. In the first playthrough, you can knock out about half of the trophies, choosing good or evil. The next playthrough, do the opposite and play it on Hard and you’ll pretty much have done it. Throw in a couple more exploration and collection things that aren’t that difficult and you’ll have your Platinum trophy. The problem for me was that I completed my Good storyline and started into my Evil one, then got bored and stopped. A couple months later, I finished my Evil one, got my Platinum, and was going to get the collectables again for fun but got bored and stopped. The game does not have a lot of replay value. You’ll probably want to play it twice anyways to see what would’ve happened if you made the other choice, but once you’ve done that it gets to be kind of the same old, same old and you lose interest. They are coming out with downloadable expansions to the game, one of which is already out and involves Cole becoming a vampire, but I’m not super interested. And, with no multiplayer, there’s not a lot of reason to hold on to your game after you’ve finished.

InFamous 2 is a great game that comes so close to excellence with it’s great storyline, solid graphics, fun gameplay, and great voice acting, but just falls short because of some wonky controls and lack of replay value. But it’s still definitely a game worth playing, and I recommend you do so, but it might be better as a rental. For me, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the game, but I no longer feel the need to hold on to it as I do with many fantastic games. But I still give this game “Great” out of “Great plus 2”.

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!