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Why Ghostbusters (1984) is My Favorite Film of All-Time


Ghostbusters (1984) has been my favorite movie for pretty much my whole life. Why exactly is it my favorite film? Let me tell

All images from “Ghostbusters” (1984) property of Sony Pictures

Ghostbusters (1984) has been my favorite movie for pretty much my whole life. The franchise keeps growing larger and larger with a sequel, video games, two cartoon shows, comic books, a reboot, and another sequel coming next year. Why exactly is it my favorite film? Let me tell you.

The First Time

The first time I watched Ghostbusters (1984) was when I was around three years old. I received it and the second film, Ghostbusters II (1989), for my birthday, but I immediately thought it was a horror movie. Throughout the rest of the birthday party, the cover featuring the “no-ghost” logo haunted me, but my parents assured me that it was a funny movie. I remember the night I first watched it almost perfectly. I watched it alone, and I was scared, but somewhat excited.

From the start, I couldn’t take my eyes off of the TV. The iconic Ray Parker Jr. theme song plays, there’s witty humor mere minutes in (which I likely didn’t understand most of), and then, Eleanor Twitty (The Library Ghost) appears. At first seeming harmless, she then leaps into her monstrous form, frightening me, but I kept watching. It was funny and action-packed. I was around three years old, again, did I understand most of the jokes? Of course not, but I laughed and was already pretending to bust ghosts on my first watch. Ever since that moment, I fell in love with my favorite movie.

Iconic Scene: “Get her!”
The Library Ghost’s terrifying form in Sony Pictures’ “Ghostbusters” (1984)

Why It Works So Well

It’s the perfect blend of comedy and action/science-fiction. The guys are cracking jokes and quipping in the midst of saving the world from a demonic god. The script is also really smart. Perfect timing, pacing, and you actually feel like these guys know what they’re talking about. It seems natural, partly because two of the Ghostbusters themselves, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, wrote the script. The natural feel also comes because the cast is just full of comedic geniuses. Now obviously a Proton Pack could never exist, but they did put some research into their writing, both supernatural and historical.

The characters are relatable. Peter Venkman is the funny guy, Ray Stantz is the heart of the Ghostbusters, Egon Spengler is the particularly smart one, and Winston Zeddemore is the every-man. All of these characteristics also don’t pertain to one character. Each have their own funny and heartfelt moments. Peter, Ray, and Egon, all have doctorates, and each guy has to ask a question every once in a while, There’s just something about it all that simply works, and I never get tired of watching it.

Iconic Scene: “He’s an ugly little spud, isn’t he?”
The Onion-Head Ghost, or Slimer, from Sony Pictures’ “Ghostbusters” (1984)
Iconic Scene: “It’s the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.”
The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, from Sony Pictures’ “Ghostbusters” (1984)

Ghostbusters and Me Now

As I said before, Ghostbusters (1984) has been my favorite movie for most of my life, and that love has only grown. It’s the movie I’ve seen the most, and the one I always want to watch. I’ve read the comics and books, I’ve played the 2009 video game a thousand times, and I’ve watched every episode of the cartoons. I have a great love for Ghostbusters II, I didn’t mind the reboot, and I’m intensely awaiting Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Aside from superheroes, Ghostbusters is probably the subject I’m a fan of most. The charm never stops, and in the end, I always smile when someone asks, “Who Ya Gonna Call?”

Video Credit: Ghostbusters.net on YouTube

Extraction Review


An entertaining ride with fun action and performances, Extraction might just be enough to satisfy your hunger for new films. It's worth watching, but what holds it back from being a really good

Video Credit: Netflix

As new movies aren’t currently coming to theaters, streaming service originals and straight to VOD films seem to be our only option. Probably the biggest streaming original release so far is Netflix’s Extraction. Starring Chris Hemsworth and produced by Avengers: Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo, based on an original graphic novel by Ande Parks and the Russo brothers. It seems to be a big hit for the service, as I know a ton of people have watched it already, and it’s currently holding the number one spot on Netflix.

An entertaining ride with fun action and performances, Extraction might just be enough to satisfy your hunger for new films. It’s worth watching, but what holds it back from being a really good film?

Chris Hemsworth and Rudhraksh Jaiswal in Netflix’s “Extraction” (2020)

Before we get into that, of course we’ll talk about what works with the movie, starting with the cast. Chris Hemsworth gives a great performance full of emotion that shows how smart and experienced his character, Tyler, is. I have to admit I was very impressed with young actor Rudhraksh Jaiswal as Ovi Mahajan, the teen Tyler is sent to rescue. He is able to show a lot of emotion as well through the role. I also love seeing David Harbour pop up, even if he’s only in the film for about five minutes.

Chris Hemsworth and Randeep Hooda in the one-shot action scene from Netflix’s “Extraction” (2020)

Aside from the cast, what really works is the characters and the action. We’ve already discussed how emotional the characters are because of the cast, but Tyler and Ovi are really written well and have good written chemistry. The action is really solid throughout, well choreographed, and well shot, but what really stood out to me is the 12 minute long one-shot scene. It’s easily my favorite scene in the movie, as I am a sucker for one-shot scenes, as I’m sure most people are. This one in particular is very smooth, which is hard to pull off as we move from cars, through buildings, and off of balconies. I liked the ending too, both our final scene with Tyler and the very last scene, but although we’re teased, I don’t believe it will actually lead to anything.

Moving on to what doesn’t work as well, the rest of the cast doesn’t really stand out that well. I’ve seen some people really enjoy Randeep Hooda’s character, but to be completely honest, he didn’t do anything revolutionary with his performance to me. He’s just sort of doing what he can with the script. That’s another thing: the script by Joe Russo isn’t that fantastic. It’s not bad, it’s just not great. The plot is a little basic, and nothing except the very end really surprises you. I am interested in reading the graphic novel to see how they compare. The set pieces are very bland unfortunately. I’d say there isn’t one set piece that stands out besides maybe the bridge, but even then, it just isn’t that memorable or interesting. I think that’s something a lot of action films such as this one tend to struggle with. Another thing they tend to struggle with is exhaustive action scenes, which this movie has. As well choreographed and entertaining as a lot of them are, there can’t help but be some scenes that drag on. You know an action scene has really dragged on when I’m simply just bored watching it.

In conclusion, Extraction is an entertaining, fresh film to give us all something new to watch in quarantine. With really strong, emotional performances from Chris Hemsworth and Rudhraksh Jaiswal, and fun action, it’s worth a watch. Yet it can’t help itself from falling into the trap of other action films with drug on action scenes, boring set pieces, and just an okay script.

Ranking the Joker in Live-Action


The Joker is one of, if not THE best villain ever created. Among his many names (The Clown Prince of Crime, The Jester of Genocide, The Harlequin of Hate, etc.), everyone knows him. Yet the question remains: throughout his many live-action portrayals, who is truly the best? Although it is up to your opinion, I thought I’d attempt answering that very question by ranking each live-action interpretation from my personal least favorite to my personal favorite.

Which Joker is the best in live-action? Easy… Joaquin Phoenix killed it in the role. Keep reading to see why Joaquin Phoenix is ranked #1.

5. Cesar Romero Batman (1966)

Cesar Romero in 20th Century Fox’s “Batman” (1966)

Although starting in the Batman (1966) television series, Romero made his film debut as the Joker in the movie of the same name. While he gives the role his all and is perfect as a classic interpretation of Joker from the 1940s-1950s, the fact is that out of everyone else, he probably represents who the Joker is the worst. Instead of murdering and poisoning innocents, he mostly just pulls pranks and is a general nuisance. Again, great for the Joker of the fifties, but ultimately just falls last compared to everyone else.

4. Jared Leto – Suicide Squad (2016)

Jared Leto in Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Suicide Squad” (2016)

If you’ve read my Suicide Squad review, you already have a feel for my thoughts on Jared Leto’s portrayal. I don’t really hate it as much as everyone else does, I just think we didn’t see enough of him to have a well thought-out opinion. From what we did see, I actually did enjoy a lot of his ideas with the character. He was quite menacing and did seem like he might shine as the Joker under different circumstances. What brings him down is all the terrible design choices, such as the teeth grill and the tattoos, and his laugh was pretty bad. He might have wanted to work on his Joker voice a little more as well.

3. Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight (2008)

Heath Ledger in Warner Bros. Pictures’ “The Dark Knight” (2008)

A lot of you may be shocked to not see Ledger at the number one spot or even number two, however, let me explain myself. Ledger’s performance is absolutely amazing and possibly one of the greatest performances in film of all-time. Many people are quick to name him as the most accurate Joker portrayal ever, and that’s where I have to stop you. Ledger was so great because he did something so different. He gets things like Joker’s unpredictability down, but he does everything else so differently that he makes he Joker feel fresh and new. His Joker is scary, and scary because he’s so real. No one will ever be able to replicate what Ledger did, nor should anyone try.

2. Jack Nicholson – Batman (1989)

If I were ranking these by accuracy and not my favorites, Nicholson would easily be at number one. I do believe he embodies Joker the most accurately. He’s scary yet funny, and somewhat charming. I’ve heard a lot of people claim Nicholson is mostly just playing himself, but I don’t see that being true at all. He does everything Joker is expected to do and doesn’t overplay it. The performance is pretty safe compared to the others, but I think it’s so great and kind of overlooked these days. And who can look past that big, pretty smile?

Jack Nicholson in Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Batman” (1989)
Video Credit: Movieclips on YouTube

1. Joaquin Phoenix – Joker (2019)

Joaquin Phoenix in Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Joker” (2019)

Arguably the most creative interpretation of the Joker put to film, Joaquin Phoenix killed it in the role (which did earn him an Academy Award of course.) Far from accurate to the clown we all know and love, for some reason it does feel accurate in some ways. The costume itself does call back to the comics. Let’s forget about accuracy though, and just look at the performance for how beautiful it is. Even those who aren’t really fans of the 2019 film think Phoenix’s performance is excellent. Even if he doesn’t fully become Joker until the last thirty minutes or so, those last thirty minutes break into instant chaos, and chaos, is who the Joker is.

Video Credit: christine on YouTube

So that is my personal ranking of the live-action portrayals of the Joker. However, none of these are my favorite portrayal of the Joker overall. That answer will have to come another day. For now tho, who knows what’s next for Joker in live-action? It doesn’t have to come anytime soon, but let’s hope it’s another one of the greats. No matter what, always remember to put on a happy face.


Onward Review


Onward is the 22nd film from Pixar Animation Studios, and aside from one or two missteps, they’ve had a pretty solid track record. I was looking forward to this film based off of the cast alone, but the premise was intriguing and just seemed fun. It’s also the last film I saw in a movie theater before self-quarantining. I am happy to say that Pixar still has it, but let’s get into it.

Starting with what I liked, Tom Holland and Chris Pratt give great, emotional performances as brothers Ian and Barley. I’m a big fan of them both, and luckily it doesn’t sound like they phoned it in. I also liked Octavia Spencer as The Manticore, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus is always fun, but she isn’t given much to do as Ian and Barley’s mother. The movie is also quite funny. I found myself laughing through a lot of the it. I enjoyed the comparison of magic to modern technology, and how people just saw magic as old-fashioned. Just like classic Pixar, it gets emotional. Although it is about Ian and Barley trying to connect to their father while they can, it is more so about the relationship between brothers. How they are different, but still relate to each other, and how they can fight but still stick together. The movie also picks up the pace quickly, I never found myself feeling bored. It does a great job being entertaining for both kids and adults alike. Of course the animation is fantastic, as expected from Pixar.

If there are some things I wasn’t particularly fond of, let’s start with the fact that this is far from the most creative world Pixar has tackled. We’ve seen many films explore a fairy tale-like world and try to bring some sort of twist to it, and while the world itself isn’t bad, it’s just not as creative as we’ve seen Pixar be in the past. I also thought it was a little too easy for Ian to learn all of the spells, even if he was special. They do the thing where the two main characters have to fight with each other in the middle of the movie to split them apart. I get that it was supposed to bring them back together even stronger than before, but the trope is getting pretty old. Luckily it doesn’t last long. I thought the fairy biker characters were a little annoying, and could have possibly been cut out of the plot.

If you’re someone who has thought that maybe Pixar has lost their magic, no need to worry. Onward is so charming, funny, and may just make you shed a tear. It’s exactly what we’ve all come to expect from Pixar and does not disappoint. It may not be the absolute best thing they’ve put out, but I could see it turn into many people’s personal favorite. It’s funny, heartwarming, and just solid. With a cast that includes Chris Pratt and Tom Holland, and such a personal plot, how could you go wrong?

Final Rating: 8/10

5 Movies You Should Watch During Quarantine


If you are staying at home right now (which you probably are), you’re likely watching more movies while you have the chance. Although I know many of you have lists of what you’ve been waiting to watch, I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring and recommend some things that hopefully fit all of your movie-watching needs.

Upgrade

Upgrade is a 2018 Sci-Fi/Thriller directed by Leigh Whannell. The plot surrounds a man who is left paralyzed after a mugging in which his wife is also killed. Seeking revenge, he uses a young billionaire’s invention, STEM, to find his wife’s killer. STEM increases his strength and more, but it soon reveals itself to be more sinister than it first let on. The movie is futuristic but simple, and not very long so it gets right into the plot. It’s fun and tense and just feels fresh. If you are looking to get your sci-fi fix, this underrated thriller may be enough to satisfy you.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

If you haven’t watched this yet, get to it! It won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature for a reason. Following teenager Miles Morales as he learns what it means to be Spider-Man, he must also stop the Kingpin of crime from collapsing different dimensions onto each other, with the help of other Spider-people from across the universe. The animation is stunning, the cast is excellent, and it’s entertaining no matter your age. The film has been out for more than a year and still feels fresh to me. It’s likely one of my favorite animated movies of all time. Whether you think you’ve seen all that the Spider-Man franchise has to offer, or you aren’t really a fan of comic book films, that doesn’t matter. Into the Spider-Verse is different and amazing.

Beautiful Boy

A 2018 Amazon Prime original, Beautiful Boy is a drama that stars Steve Carell and Timothee Chalamet as a father and son who try their best to help get past Nic’s (Timothee Chalamet) drug addiction. It is beautifully shot and told, with fantastic performances. It’s probably the best dramatic performance I’ve seen Steve Carell give, and not enough people talk about it. Simply put, if you want something emotional that doesn’t shy away from serious issues like drug addiction, give it a chance.

Wonder Woman

We all know that it’s important for women to be represented on the big screen, and I believe Wonder Woman is one of the movies to do it best. It shows a strong woman front and center, which is important for women and little girls around the world, but the simple fact is that Wonder Woman is one of the greatest characters in comics, whether you’re a man or a woman. When soldier Steve Trevor lands on the mystical island of Themyscira, Princess Diana must travel to man’s world to help fight in World War I. A lot of movies have a difficult time uplifting women while also not degrading men, however this one shows how great women and men can be working together. The film is filled with action-packed set pieces, great comedy, and some inspiring messages. The film is one of the best things DC has put out in recent years, so enjoy it with the whole family.

Groundhog Day

One of my favorites and just a classic, Groundhog Day is pure comedy. Bill Murray is at the top of his game, working with the late, great Harold Ramis as director, and in my opinion, it’s one of the best comedies ever made. Weatherman Phil Connors travels to Punxsutawney to report on the groundhog’s shadow on Groundhog Day. They stay there due to a blizzard, and when he wakes up the next morning, it’s Groundhog Day again, and again, and again. The gags never get old, so much so that you’ll want to watch it again, and again, and again.

So I hope I’ve been able to recommend some movies you’ll want to check out during the break. I tried to cover many genres to appease your movie watching appetite, and to distract you during the hard times. Stay safe and keep watching movies!

Suicide Squad Review: Looking Back


 A few years ago in August of 2016, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Pictures released Suicide Squad. I was very excited in the lead-up to the film as a big comic book fan, and the film looked like so much fun. After first seeing the film, I did feel disappointed, but since I had been waiting to see it for so long, I saw it as a great and fun movie. In 2020, with my thoughts on the film changed, and no new films currently releasing due to the pandemic, I figured it was as good a time as any to revisit the mismatched group of maybe not-so-super villains.

       Let’s start with what I like about the film. The cast is still superb in my opinion, but let’s talk about which characters come off well. Will Smith brings a lot of coolness and gravitas to Floyd Lawton AKA Deadshot, but also some emotion to the role. His first scene where he is tracked down by Batman (portrayed here by Ben Affleck) is not only swift and cool to look at, but shows how much he cares about his daughter. In fact, his daughter is what drives him throughout most of the film. Margot Robbie is near-perfect as Harley Quinn, so much so that she is in my top three portrayals of the character. She rides the line between crazy and compelling so well without ever getting annoying, which is hard to do for the character. I also thought Viola Davis was a great choice for Amanda Waller because she pulls off being intimidating almost as if it’s natural to her. I enjoy El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), and Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) as well.

       Aside from the cast, there are a few things I also like. All of Deadshot’s action scenes are entertaining, and I often find myself returning to watch those scenes on YouTube. I love the few times Batman shows up, and I kind of wish we could have had more of him in the film, even if it were just one scene more. El Diablo’s backstory was well done, it’s still fun to see Ezra Miller’s Flash cameo (despite recent controversies), and I really dig that short post-credits scene between Amanda Waller and Bruce Wayne. Not to mention that the special effects aren’t too shabby and some of the jokes really land.

       What I think is bad about the film unfortunately really overshadows what is good about it. The biggest problem namely being the plot. The plot itself is one giant, jumbled mess. It starts off strong and promisingly, but falls apart, leaving something wanted. Although it may at first seem like it is just focusing on the characters more than the plot. I’m afraid it doesn’t seem focused on either. The movie isn’t focused. Things happen over here, then over there, Joker pops up for a second to distract you, and he’s gone the next to remind the audience, and the writers, that he’s not the real plot. You either make Joker the real plot or don’t include him at all, especially after hyping him up in every trailer, only for him to be in the movie for ten minutes. They kept the real plot hidden for so long, only for it to be another portal shooting into the sky. I am far from the first person to complain about all of this, nor will I be the last. Over time, I also just really don’t like Killer Croc in this film. Nothing is wrong with the actor (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), but Croc is given nothing to do until the last ten minutes. He has a funny joke once or twice but that’s about it. For such a built man, they somehow make Akinnuoye-Agbaje look small as Croc, it was a huge misstep on the (Oscar winning) makeup department’s behalf. It’s a shame because I was really looking forward to seeing the character.

       There are some things I’m basically indifferent about in the film. Jared Leto’s performance as the Joker isn’t great but it’s not terrible either, I think we really needed to see more of him to form a full opinion, but at least he was somewhat menacing (design choices aside). I also really have nothing to say about the Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) or Katana (Karen Fukuhara). Sure, their effects are cool and one is the main antagonist, but they’re both just kind of there. I don’t have as big of a problem with David Ayer’s directing style as everyone else does. It’s definitely the same thing in each of his films, but there’s nothing outwardly offensive about it. It’s just not that unique.

       Suicide Squad could have been great, it could have been a special kind of comic book movie, instead it’s just messy and mediocre. I have fun watching it and truthfully get the urge to watch it a lot of the time, but looking at it critically, it’s just not good. If you’re looking for some fun to entertain you for about two hours, you can pop it on and have a good time, but if you’re looking for a bit more than fun, popcorn fluff to pass the time, you can skip Suicide Squad.

Final Rating: 6/10