Ghosts of Ghostbusters: Ruth Oliver

By Christopher Redmond

Mailed on August 25, 2014

Dear Ruth Oliver
Library Ghost

Dear Ruth,

Talk about leaving an impression. Ghostbusters marked only your second (and final) film credit, but that brief acting career sure ended on high note--a screaming, squealing, terrifying, hilarious high note. The pitch-perfect delivery of your gentle shush followed a minute later by a face-melting shriek represents everything right with this comedy-horror-sci-fi classic. It's a formula filmmakers have been unsuccessfully trying to emulate for the past 30 years.

So what, exactly, makes _Ghostbusters _so great? The answers seem both obvious and immeasurable. The best way to break it down is just to look at that opening. We're introduced to all-new characters and an original concept (imagine!), plus a story that's motivated by the "who", not the "how" or "why". When we follow a group of neurotic screwballs to the New York Public Library, it doesn't feel like an obligatory plot point. We're already laughing at Bill Murray, already intrigued by Dan Aykroyd's passion--we'd happily follow them into a phone book (sorry, I'm trying to think of something even more boring than a library).

That's when the camera movements get smooth, the music gets serious, the gadgets start blinking, and everyone becomes laser focused. Well, almost everyone. Murray's casual approach to your floating, semi-transparent, full-torso figure sets the tone for the entire film: a high-wire balance act between making people laugh at the ridiculous premise while still getting them to buy in. And it works That you were able to upstage one of comedy's all-time greats in one of his all-time greatest performances says it all.

I hope you're finally floating in peace somewhere;: a library, a theater, or whatever else suits you. And don't worry--you didn't miss anything in Ghostbusters 2.



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