Music Video of the Day: Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr. (1984, dir. Ivan Reitman)


I wish the literal video for this was still up. Oh, well.

All these years later, I still don’t have any idea why she goes into that house. I guess we are supposed to believe she lives there with these two kids that miss their cue?

These other kids nail it.

Despite finding lists of all the celebrities in this video, I have no idea who this guy is that Ray Parker Jr. becomes for this bit.

I also wonder why she didn’t see him while turning away from the moving table to go to the window.

In the window is footage of the movie that has aged horribly. Parker Jr. is blue screened in there for this famous shot.

He ain’t afraid of no ghost. A lawsuit on the other the hand, that’s a different matter. I hope this music video doesn’t remind me of a Huey Lewis & The News video as well.

Now Ray Parker Jr. stands creepily outside of her window.

This is looking familiar.

Chevy Chase can call Ghostbusters if he has a ghost problem…

but what about if he gets stuck in Benji again?

Who can he call then?

I knew this looked familiar.

Do You Believe In Love by Huey Lewis & The News (1982)


Do You Believe In Love by Huey Lewis & The News (1982)

I’m sure it’s a coincidence. I just find it humorous to see that considering the lawsuit saying that this song ripped off, to one extent or another, the Huey Lewis & The News song I Want A New Drug. The scene above is from the video that helped kick off their career on MTV and set the tone for their future videos since it was such a success despite being ridiculous. Is the riff in You Crack Me Up…

sound like the same riff from Johnny And Mary by Robert Palmer?

Or is it just me?

What a feeling. Thanks for making that one easy, Irene Cara.

Something tells me that Cindy Harrell was hired by someone who saw the movie Model Behavior (1982), which she was in.


Model Behavior (1982, dir. Bud Gardner)


Model Behavior (1982, dir. Bud Gardner)

From what I’ve read, they just showed up on the set of a movie Candy was shooting to try and get him to make this cameo appearance.

Ray Parker Jr. rising from the top of the stairs like he’s Michael Myers come to kill her. Why?

Or at least scare her. It’s probably a reference to Gozer.

Melissa Gilbert. I have no idea what she’s doing here. I’ve only seen an episode or two of Little House On The Prairie, so I guess there could have been some episodes with ghosts. Some of these cameos feel like they happened because the celebrities were involved with NBC.

Speaking of cameos I can’t explain, it’s former baseball player Ollie Brown.

Boundaries!

I do like that for the majority of the shot it looks like she should be falling over but isn’t.

More people that Parker can summon for some reason.

Don’t worry about them.

Pose for the featured image of this post.

Thank you.

Jeffrey Tambor.

Is it 555-5555…

or 555-2368 as you showed earlier?

George Wendt apparently got in trouble with the Screen Actors Guild for his appearance in this video. I’ll link to the article with that information at the end.

Senator Al Franken.

Now we get a series of confusing cameos.

Danny DeVito. I think this is only the second music video he has ever been in. The other one was for the song Billy Ocean did for The Jewel Of The Nile (1985).

Carly Simon for some reason. She would go on to do the theme song to Working Girl (1988) with Sigourney Weaver. Maybe they were friends. I don’t know.

Umm…one more thing. Have you tried calling the Ghostbusters? No clue as to why Peter Falk is here.

The breakdancing was improvised. So was Parker Jr. pushing Bill Murray around.

I think Teri Garr has one of the best cameos.

Don’t swallow that cigarette, Chevy.

Fun fact: In European and other non-US markets, the “no” sign was flipped.

If you want to read some more information about the video, then follow this link over to ScreenCrush where they have a write-up on the video with information from people who worked on the video.

According to mvdbase, Ivan Reitman directed, Keith Williams wrote the script, Jeff Abelson produced it, Daniel Pearl shot it, and Peter Lippman was the production manager.

If you ever get a chance to watch the literal music video for this, then do so. I doubt it will surface again though seeing as this music video almost didn’t get an official release because of the issues surrounding all the cameos.

Enjoy!

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A Movie A Day #287: Leviathan (1989, directed by George Pan Cosmatos)


A group of miners are sent into a dangerous environment by an evil corporation.  When they explore an abandoned ship, they unknowingly bring a hostile creature onto their own vessel.  One of the crewman is killed when the creature mutates inside of his body.  The rest of the crew includes a scientist, one strong woman, one woman who cries, and a strong, silent captain.

Sound familiar?

No, it’s not Alien.  

Instead, it’s Leviathan, which could best be described as being Alien underwater with a dash of The Thing tossed in.  The main difference between Leviathan and the films that inspired it is that people are still watching Alien and The Thing while Leviathan is one of the most forgettable films that I have ever seen.  Peter Weller is the captain.  Richard Crenna is the scientist.  Amanda Pays has the Ripley role and Ernie Hudson fills in for Yaphet Kotto.  Daniel Stern plays Sixpack, who turns into a monster after he drinks contaminated Russian vodka.  (It happens to the best of us.)  Meg Foster, with her translucent eyes, represents the corporation.

That’s a good cast and the script was written by David Peoples (who also wrote Blade Runner, Unforgiven, and 12 Monkeys) and Jeb Stuart (who wrote Die Hard and The Fugitive).  The above average special effects were designed by Stan Winston.  Why, with all of these talented people involved in the production, is Leviathan so by the numbers and forgettable?  It probably had something to do with the presence of George Pan Cosmatos in the directing chair.  Cosmatos is also credited with directing Rambo: First Blood II, Cobra, and Tombstone.  The first two films starred Sylvester Stallone, who was known for directing all of his 80s films in every way but name only and everyone knows that Kurt Russell was in charge on Tombstone.

If you want to see Alien underwater done right, watch Deepstar Six.

Cleaning Out The DVR: Women of San Quentin (dir by William A. Graham)


(Lisa is currently in the process of cleaning out her DVR!  She’s got over 170 films to watch before the end of 2017!  Will she make it?  Who knows?  She recorded 1983’s Women of San Quentin off of Retroplex on January 25th.)

For some reason, back in January, I felt the need to record several prison movies off of cable.  I’m not sure where my mind was at that I would see a title like Women of San Quentin listed in the guide and think to myself, “That’s something I definitely need to record.”  Maybe I was thinking of pursuing a career as a prison guard.  That seems to be the easiest way to get a show on A&E nowadays.

Anyway, I imagine that anyone reading this review is looking that title and considering the VHS cover art and they’re probably assuming that Women of San Quentin is some sort of Cirio Santiago-directed women in prison film.  And then consider the film’s cast: Amy Steel is best known for Friday the 13th Part II and April Fool’s Day.  Stella Stevens is an exploitation film vet.  One of the prisoners is played by Rockne Tarkington, who starred in a handful of blaxploitation films.  William Sanderson, star of the infamous Fight For Your Life, has a small role.  Yaphet Kotto plays a prison guard here but he’s best known for playing the villain in Live and Let Die.  Gregg Henry plays a sociopath.  Hector Elizondo and Debbie Allen play sympathetic guards.  Even Ernie Hudson, a now-respectable actor with several less-than-savory films on his resume, shows up.  Finally, consider this: Women of San Quentin was written by Larry Cohen, the man who directed both Black Caesar and It’s Alive.

However, despite all of that, Women of San Quentin is not an exploitation film.  Instead, it’s a made-for-TV movie.  (Director William A. Graham has over a hundred TV shows and made-for-TV movies to his credit.)  It follows several storylines.  Lt. Janet Alexander (Stella Stevens) is the tough-but-fair captain who is in charge of one of San Quentin’s most intimidating cell blocks.  She’s great at her job and she has a vaguely romantic relationship with Hector Elizondo but she’s also tempted to find a new career.  Charles Wilson (Ernie Hudson) steps up to lead the prison’s black inmates after another activist is assassinated.  Meanwhile, the leader of the Mexican Mafia plots a prison riot and Yaphet Kotto and Debbie Allen use any means necessary to discover what’s going to happen.

And then there’s Liz Larson (Amy Steel), the newest prison guard who struggles to prove that she belongs in San Quentin.  Sexist colleagues play cruel pranks on her.  The prisoners shout at her whenever she walks past their cells.  When she has to use a gun to break up a fight, she hesitates just a second too long.  Will she be able to step up when real trouble breaks out?  Among horror fans, Amy Steel is remembered for “surviving” several slasher films.  (Her performance as Ginny in Friday the 13th Part 2 largely set the standard for which all final girls are judged.)  Steel does a pretty good job as Liz but, actually, the entire movie is well-acted.  The script is frequently rudimentary but the cast is full of unique talent and it’s always fun to watch so many good actors playing opposite each other.

I assume that the Women of San Quentin was meant to be a pilot for a TV show or something.  It just has that feel to it.  If just for the cast alone, I would recommend watching Women of San Quentin if you get a chance.  I’m as surprised as anyone but, after all, where else are going to get a chance to watch Hector Elizondo, Yaphet Kotto, Stella Stevens, and Amy Steel all hanging out in a bar together?  There are certain opportunities that you just don’t miss.

TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Part 7 (dir by David Lynch) (SPOILERS)


As I sit here typing this, I just noticed that Vox has a new analysis of the show.  The headline reads: “Twin Peaks Brings New Meaning To The Idea of an 18-hour movie.”  Hey, Vox!  I said that three weeks ago!  I know you guys claim to be the smartest people in the world but you need to give credit where credit is due!  Anyway … Welcome back to Twin Peaks!

Before even getting into recapping tonight’s episode, I’m just going to say it.  I absolutely loved this episode.  While I’m not going to claim that it’s the best of the season so far (it’ll take a lot to beat any of the first four episodes), I think it can be argued that Part 7 is perhaps the most entertaining.  Without sacrificing any of Lynch’s signature style, this episode moved the story forward and served to prove — regardless of what some naysayers may claim — that there is a method behind the madness.  Even though we’re not sure where, Lynch is taking us someplace.  We just have to be willing to keep the faith until we reach our destination.

We open, as so many episodes have, in the woods.  Jerry Horne (David Patrick Kelly) stares at the trees, totally stoned.  He calls Ben (Richard Beymer) at the Great Northern and announces that someone has stolen his car.  Ben, not being fluent in the language of marijuana, is of little help.

At the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department, Hawk (Michael Horse) shows Frank (Robert Forster) the pages that he previously found in the bathroom stall.  It turns out that they are pages from Laura’s diary, in which she writes about a dream she had in which a woman named Annie appeared and told her that she had been with Dale and that the “good Dale was trapped in the Black Lodge and could not come out.”

Hawk explains that the diary was found, years ago, in Harold Smith’s house.  Hawk also shows Frank that, on one of the pages, Laura had written that she knew who BOB was.  Hawk suggests that maybe her father, Leland, hid the pages in the stall before he died.  Hawk also mentions that Leland also killed Jacques Renault, an important reminded since, later in this episode, we’re going to meet yet another Renault brother.

Frank goes to his office and places a call to Harry, who is apparently in a hospital somewhere.  From the tone of the conversation, it becomes apparent that Harry is terminally ill.  (As always, the shadow of death hangs over Twin Peaks.)  Frank doesn’t ask Harry about Cooper.  “Beat this thing,” Frank tells his brother.

After talking to Harry, Frank skypes with old Doc Hayward (Warren Frost, who passed away shortly after filming his scenes and to whom this episode was dedicated).  Frank asks Doc Hayward about the night that Cooper returned from the Black Lodge.  Doc Hayward says that he can’t remember what he ate for breakfast but he’ll never forget that night.  Hayward retells the story of the second season finale.  Other than revealing that Audrey was in a coma after the bombing at the bank, it’s nothing that we don’t already know but it’s still good to see both Doc Hayward and Warren Frost again.

Out in a field, Andy (Harry Goaz) has found the truck that Richard was driving when he ran over the little boy during the last episode.  Andy talks to the truck’s owner, who is not Richard and who is also obviously very afraid to talk about his truck.  Andy agrees to meet with the man in two hours in a safer, more secluded location.

In South Dakota, Lt. Knox (Adele Rene) meets with Detective Macklay (Brent Briscoe).  Knox asks about the finger prints that Macklay submitted.  He takes Knox to see the headless corpse that was found in Ruth Davenport’s bed.  Knox is shocked to hear that the dead man — who possesses Garland Briggs’s fingerprints — was in his late forties and, when discovered, had only been dead for five to six days.  Briggs supposedly died 24 years ago in a fire and, even if he had survived, he would have been much older than just his late 40s.  Stepping out into a hallway, Knox calls Col. Davis (Ernie Hudson) and lets him know that 1) they have a body, 2) the head is missing, and 3) the body is the wrong age.  Davis says that he’ll have to make “the other call.”

While Knox speaks to Davis, a shadowy figure walks down the hallway behind her.  Knox barely glances at it as she steps back into the morgue and tells Macklay that she doesn’t think this is going to be his investigation for too much longer.  The shadowy figure walks past the room as they speak.

At the FBI HQ, Gordon Cole (David Lynch) whistles in his office until Albert (Miguel Ferrer) enters and tells him that Diane’s response to the prospect of seeing Cooper was “No fucking way.”

Gordon and Albert go to Diane’s apartment, where Gordon talks Diane (Laura Dern) into going with them to see Cooper in prison.  For years, fans of the show have wondered what Diane was really like and Laura Dern does not disappoint.  Dern plays the role like a tough film noir femme fatale.  One of Diane’s defining traits is that she tells everyone that she sees to fuck off.  Nobody handles profanity with quite the skill of Laura Dern.

On the plane to South Dakota, Albert’s sarcastic, Diane drinks, and Gordon flirts with Tammy (Chrysta Bell).  Bleh.  No offense to Tammy (who I sympathize with because we both get car sick) but everyone knows that Gordon’s soulmate was Shelley Johnson.  We also learn that, over the past 25 years, the only know photograph of Cooper (actually Cooper’s Doppelganger) was of Cooper outside of a house in Rio.  In the picture, Cooper looks like a drug lord from a cheap 80s crime show.

At the prison, Diane reacts to kind words from Tammy by saying, “Fuck you, Tammy!” and then she has her meeting with Evil Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan).  Evil Cooper is still speaking slowly and without emotion.  Diane sees through him almost immediately.  She traps him by asking him if he remembers the last night they saw each other.

“I’ll always remember that night,” Evil Cooper drones.

“Who are you!?” Diane hisses.

“I don’t know what you mean, Diane,” the dead-voiced Evil Cooper responds.

Diane storms out of the meeting room.  Outside of the prison, in a beautifully acted scene, an emotional Diane tells Gordon that Evil Cooper is not the “Dale Cooper that I knew.”  Diane says that Evil Cooper, whoever he is, is missing something inside.

Evil Cooper is returned to his cell.  He tells the guard that he wants to see Warden Murphy.  “We need to speak about a strawberry,” Evil Cooper says.

In Twin Peaks, Andy stands on the side of the road and waits for the owner of the truck.  The owner never shows up.

Back at the prison, Evil Cooper is escorted into the office of Warden Murphy (James Morrison).  Murphy sends the guards out of the office, tells Evil Cooper that the security cameras have been turned off so that they can speak freely, and then pulls out a gun.

“The dog’s leg,” Evil Cooper says, “That dog had four legs.  One you found in my trunk.  The other three went out with the information that you’re thinking about right now.”

When Murphy asks why he should believe that Evil Cooper knows what he’s talking about, Evil Cooper replies, “Joe McCluskey.”  Warden Murphy gets a panicked look on his face and Evil Cooper explains that he wants a car for himself and Ray Monroe.  He wants a gun in the glove compartment.  And he wants to leave the jail at one in the morning.

In Las Vegas, Janey-E (Naomi Watts) waits impatiently for Dougie/Cooper to get off work.  However, Dougie/Cooper is busy sitting in his office, drawing stuff and ignoring his former friend, Anthony Sinclair (Tom Sizemore).  Both Janey-E and the police — led by Detective Fusco (David Koechner) — enter the office at nearly the same time.

Fusco wants to know about Dougie’s car.  As usual, Dougie/Cooper has little to say, though he is fascinated by the officer’s badges.  (“Badge,” he says as he reaches forward.)  When Janey-E asks if Dougie’s car was stolen, Dougie replies, “Stolen.”  The police all get their notebooks out and start taking notes.  Janey-E demands to know what’s happening and Fusco reveals that Dougie’s car was blown up.  Fortunately, Janey-E is there to do the talking.

(And let me just say that I totally and absolutely loved this scene, everything from the performances to the fact that, after all this time, absolutely no one seems to realize that Dougie/Cooper is acting strangely.  Another thing that I liked is that all three of the detectives were named Fusco — according to the credits they were E. Fusco, D. Fusco, and “Smiley” Fusco.)

As Janey-E and Dougie leave the office building, they are attacked by Ike the Spike (Christophe Zajac-Denek).  Fortunately, Ike bent his spike during the previous episode and is forced to come at Dougie with a gun.  However, Dougie/Cooper suddenly comes to life (perhaps Cooper’s FBI training somehow managed to kick in) and, along with Janey-E, they kick Ike’s homicidal ass.  While Dougie/Cooper is grabbing Ike’s gun, the mutated “arm” suddenly appears and orders, “Squeeze his hand off!  Squeeze his hand off!”  Dougie/Cooper gets the gun out of Ike’s hands and Ike runs off to parts unknown.

The police and the media arrive.  As Dougie/Cooper blankly stares forward (a bit like Chance the Gardner in Being There, to be honest), a very animated Janey-E tells the story of how Dougie took down the assassin.  Other onlookers — some of whom look traumatized by the whole thing — also tell what they saw.  One woman proudly announces that Dougie Jones is not a victim.  “He moves like a Cobra!”

At the Great Northern, Ben and Beverly (Ashley Judd) are in his office.  Beverly has been hearing a strange hum in the office.  Pervy old Ben walks around the office with her, searching for the source of the buzz.  As they do so, Beverly shows him that an old room key came in the mail.  Ben looks at it and, after mentioning that the Great Northern switched for keys to cards over twenty years ago, he notices that it’s from 315.  Ben says that he thinks that was the room where Agent Cooper was shot.

“Who is Agent Cooper?” Beverly asks.

“He was here 25 years ago,” Ben explains, “investigating the murder of Laura Palmer.”

“Who’s Laura Palmer?” Beverly asks.

“That, my dear, is a long story,” Ben says.

The buzzing continues as Lynch’s camera glides across the office, finally focusing on one of the wooden walls.

Beverly returns home, where her sickly husband, Tom (Hugh Dillon) is waiting and angry.  He wants to know why Beverly was late.  Beverly says some things came up at work.  When Tom says that he doesn’t want his dinner, Beverly snaps.  “I know you’re sick and in pain,” she tells him, “but do not use that to fuck with me!”  Tom stares at her as she asks if he realizes how lucky she is to have gotten her job.  “Do not fuck this up for me, Tom!” she yells.

At the roadhouse, we spend two minutes watching an anonymous janitor sweep the place up while Jean-Michel Renault (Walter Olkewicz) cleans up behind the bar.  Jean-Michel gets a call and, judging from the conversation, Jean-Michel is just as bad as his brothers.  He talks about sending someone two blondes.  As I rewatched the episode for this review, I heard something that I somehow missed the first time I watched it.  Jean-Michel says that the Renault family has owned the roadhouse for over fifty years.  That explains why there’s always a Renault working there, despite the fact that the family has, in some way, been involved with every bad thing that has ever happened in Twin Peaks.

At the prison in South Dakota, Evil Cooper and Ray Monroe (George Griffith) are allowed to leave their cells and the prison.  Outside, a car and a gun are waiting for them.  Murphy watches as they drive off.

From this sordid and menacing scene, we return to Twin Peaks.  This episode ends at the diner, where Shelley (Madchen Amick) is pouring coffee and Norma (Peggy Lipton) is looking over the bills.  A man ducks into the diner.  “Hey,” he yells, “has anyone seen Bing!?” After being told no, the man leaves.

And life goes on as the end credits role…

Twin Peaks on TSL:

  1. Twin Peaks: In the Beginning by Jedadiah Leland
  2. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.1 — The Pilot (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  3. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.2 — Traces To Nowhere (directed by Duwayne Dunham) by Jedadiah Leland
  4. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.3 — Zen, or the Skill To Catch A Killer (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  5. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.4 “Rest in Pain” (dir by Tina Rathbone) by Leonard Wilson
  6. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.5 “The One-Armed Man” (directed by Tim Hunter) by Jedadiah Leland
  7. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.6 “Cooper’s Dreams” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  8. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.7 “Realization Time” (directed by Caleb Deschanel) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  9. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.8 “The Last Evening” (directed by Mark Frost) by Leonard Wilson
  10. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.1 “May the Giant Be With You” (dir by David Lynch) by Leonard Wilson
  11. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.2 “Coma” (directed by David Lynch) by Jedadiah Leland
  12. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.3 “The Man Behind The Glass” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Jedadiah Leland
  13. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.4 “Laura’s Secret Diary” (dir by Todd Holland) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  14. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.5 “The Orchid’s Curse” (dir by Graeme Clifford) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  15. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.6 “Demons” (dir by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Leonard Wilson
  16. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.7 “Lonely Souls” (directed by David Lynch) by Jedadiah Leland
  17. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.8 “Drive With A Dead Girl” (dir by Caleb Deschanel) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  18. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.9 “Arbitrary Law” (dir by Tim Hunter) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  19. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.10 “Dispute Between Brothers” (directed by Tina Rathbone) by Jedadiah Leland
  20. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.11 “Masked Ball” (directed by Duwayne Dunham) by Leonard Wilson
  21. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.12 “The Black Widow” (directed by Caleb Deschanel) by Leonard Wilson
  22. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.13 “Checkmate” (directed by Todd Holland) by Jedadiah Leland
  23. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.14 “Double Play” (directed by Uli Edel) by Jedadiah Leland
  24. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.15 “Slaves and Masters” (directed by Diane Keaton) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  25. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.16 “The Condemned Woman” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Leonard Wilson
  26. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.17 “Wounds and Scars” (directed by James Foley) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  27. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.18 “On The Wings of Love” (directed by Duwayne Dunham) by Jedadiah Leland
  28. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.19 “Variations on Relations” (directed by Jonathan Sanger) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  29. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.20 “The Path to the Black Lodge” (directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  30. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.21 “Miss Twin Peaks” (directed by Tim Hunter) by Leonard Wilson
  31. TV Review: Twin Peaks 22.2 “Beyond Life and Death” (directed by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  32. Film Review: Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  33. Here’s The Latest Teaser for Showtime’s Twin Peaks by Lisa Marie Bowman
  34. Here’s The Newest Teaser for Showtime’s Twin Peaks by Lisa Marie Bowman
  35. 12 Initial Thoughts About Twin Peaks: The Return Parts One and Two by Lisa Marie Bowman
  36. This Week’s Peaks: Parts One and Two by Ryan C. (trashfilm guru)
  37. TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Parts One and Two (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  38. 4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Twin Peaks Edition by Lisa Marie Bowman
  39. This Week’s Peaks: Parts Three and Four by Ryan C. (trashfilm guru)
  40. 14 Initial Thoughts About Twin Peaks: The Return Part Three by Lisa Marie Bowman (dir by David Lynch)
  41. 10 Initial Thoughts About Twin Peaks: The Return Part Four by Lisa Marie Bowman (dir by David Lynch)
  42. TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Parts Three and Four (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman 
  43. 18 Initial Thoughts About Twin Peaks: The Return Part 5 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  44. This Week’s Peaks: Part Five by Ryan C. (trashfilm guru)
  45. TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return: Part 5 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  46. 14 Initial Thoughts On Twin Peaks Part 6 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  47. This Week’s Peaks: Part Six by Ryan C. (trashfilm guru)
  48. TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Part 6 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  49. 12 Initial Thoughts on Twin Peaks: The Return Part 7 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  50. This Week’s Peaks: Part Seven by Ryan C. (trashfilm guru)

TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Part 5 (dir by David Lynch)


Well, there’s one thing that you can definitely say for sure about not only Twin Peaks but also about every other film that David Lynch has ever made.  (And make no mistake — they may be calling this the third season of Twin Peaks but it’s obviously meant to be more of an 18-hour film than a traditional television series.)  Lynch moves at his own pace.  He knows where he’s going but, often, he doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to get there.

And, quite frankly, that can sometimes to be frustrating.  David Lynch requires patience on the part of the viewer and a willingness to have faith in his ability as an artist.  To a certain extent, the modern world almost seems to be set up to make things as difficult as possible for an artist like David Lynch.  We’re used to things being fast-paced.  We’re used to having immediate (if superficial) answers to any and all questions.  In a time when movies are dominated by hyperactive editing and overwhelming soundtracks, David Lynch has the courage to portray moments of silence and stillness.  It’s what sets him apart from other filmmakers.  It’s also the reason why this critically acclaimed director has always struggled to get his films made.  In 41 years, David Lynch has had ten films theatrically released.  Michael Bay directed his first film twenty years after the release of Eraserhead and he has gone to direct twelve more.

Part 5 of Twin Peaks is a perfect example of Lynch’s deliberate pace.  As I watched it, I found myself occasionally saying, “When is Cooper going to get normal again!?”  I mean, Kyle MacLachlan is doing great work as Dougie/Cooper but how many more times am I going to have to watch him get confused over the need to urinate?  That’s a joke that’s getting old.

Yes, I was frustrated.

But here’s the thing:

As frustrated as I may be by the whole Dougie/Cooper situation, I’m not going anywhere.  I trust David Lynch and, throughout Part 5, there were scenes that reminded me of why I trust David Lynch.  The man is a genius.  I’m thinking of the three women in pink nonchalantly watching as the casino pit boss got beaten.  I’m thinking of the close-up on Amanda Seyfried’s face after she snorted the cocaine.  I’m thinking of Russ Tamblyn ranting.

I will follow David Lynch anywhere.

As for Part 5, it opened with Lynch’s camera prowling through the streets of Las Vegas, a city that seems especially Lynchian.

Out at the Rancho Rosa Development, the two hitmen who were sent to kill Dougie are still sitting outside of the deserted house that Dougie used for his lost weekend with Jade.  They’re watching Dougie’s car.  One of them calls a woman and tells her that they still haven’t seen Dougie.  She does not take the news well.  She sends a message to Argentina, where it is apparently received by a black box sitting in a basin.

In South Dakota, the coroner has found something in the stomach of the body that was found underneath the head of Ruth Davenport.  It’s a gold ring, one that has an inscription: “To Destiny, With Love, James C.”  (I’ve listened to the line about the inscription about a dozen times and I’m pretty sure that’s what the coroner said.  If I’m wrong, please let me know.)

(CORRECTION: According to Dylan Lange, host of Dylan Knows, the inscription read: To Dougie With Love, Janey-E.  Thank you, Dylan! — LMB)

In his prison cell, Doppelganger Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) stares at himself in his cell’s tiny mirror.  He flashes back to the time he and Killer BOB shared a laugh in the Black Lodge.  He sees himself smashing his face into the mirror at the Great Northern.

In Twin Peaks, we are reintroduced to Mike Nelson (Gary Hershberger), who was Bobby’s best friend and fellow drug dealer during the first two seasons of Twin Peaks.  (He eventually became Nadine’s boyfriend during the time that she had amnesia and thought she was 16.)  Mike is a grown-up, suit-wearing professional now, sitting in an office that is decorated with the mounted heads of dead deer.  Mike is conducting a job interview with Steve Burnett (Caleb Landry Jones), who appears to be a real loser.  Mike informs Steve that his resume is the worst resume that he’s ever seen and then kicks him out of the office.

At the Sheriff’s Department, Doris Truman (Candy Clark) comes by to yell at Frank (Robert Forster) about something.  Honestly, I kinda tuned out this scene and I hope that Doris doesn’t become a major character.  If anything, Frank is even more laconic than his brother.

Back in Las Vegas, Janey-E (Naomi Watts) finally gets Dougie/Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) out of the house.  She has to tie his necktie for him.  As she tells him everything that he needs to do, Dougie/Cooper stares at her with a blank look.  It’s interesting that, as frustrated as Janey-E gets with Dougie/Cooper, she still tries to rationalize his strange behavior.

At the Rancho Rosa development, Dougie’s car continues to sit there.  The two hitmen drive by again.  They are followed by five more guys, who are all in a black car and playing their music super loud.

Janey-E drops Dougie/Cooper off at his place of employment.  Apparently, Dougie worked for Lucky Seven Insurance.  However, Dougie/Cooper is less interested in his job and more fascinated by a statue of a cowboy pointing a gun.  In an oddly beautiful scene, he imitates the statue’s pose.  Finally, one of his co-workers wanders by and tells Dougie to “get the lead out” because they have a meeting.  That co-worker is carrying 8 cups of coffee so, of course, Dougie/Cooper follows after him.

At the meeting, which is full of vapid insurance people, Dougie/Cooper reveals that he can now tell when people are lying.  Apparently, whenever someone lies, a green light flashes across their face.  When Dougie/Cooper offends another agent (played by Tom Sizemore, no less) by calling him a liar, their boss, the wonderfully named Bushnell Mills (Don Murray), defuses the situation by giveing Dougie/Cooper several case files to take home with him.

Out in the hallway, Dougie/Cooper needs to pee but, like a panicking Sim, has no idea what to do.  Luckily, one of his co-workers, assuming that the men’s room must be locked, sneaks Dougie/Cooper into the ladies room.

At the Silver Mustang Casino, Rodney Mitchum (Robert Knepper) and Bradley Mitchum (Jim Belushi) demand to know how Cooper/Dougie could possibly have won 30 jackpots.  Rodney’s way of handling it is to beat up the pit boss (David Dastmalchian) while three women in pink stand in the corner of the room and nonchalantly watch.

Back at Rancho Rosa, Drugged-Out Mother (Hailey Gates) is passed out so her son leaves the house and walks across the street, intent on investigating Dougie’s bomb-laden car.  Fortunately, before the kid can set the bomb off, the black car pulls up.  The five men jump out of the car and tell the kid to “get the fuck outta here!”  They’re planning on stealing Dougie’s car for themselves.  Of course, as soon as the engine starts, the car explodes and takes three of the car thieves with it.  The kid runs back to his house, where the junkie mom is just now starting to come out of her stupor.

At a nearby carwash, Jade (Nafessa Williams) is getting her car washed when she comes across the key to Cooper’s room at the Great Northern.  She drops the key in a nearby mailbox.

At the Double R Diner — it’s Norma (Peggy Lipton) and Shelley (Madchen Amick)!  25 years have passed and they’re still exactly where we left them.  Except that Shelley now has a daughter named Becky (Amanda Seyfried) and Becky’s married to Steve.  Becky comes by the diner to borrow money from Shelley.  Then she goes outside and snorts cocaine with Steve.  Lynch’s camera gives us a close-up of Becky’s face as the drugs temporarily takes away all of her problems.  In this scene, not only does Becky look like Shelley’s daughter (Madchen Amick and Amanda Seyfried really do look like they could be related) but there’s also a disconcerting resemblance to Laura Palmer as well.

(Also, remember how Shelley used to say that she married Leo because of his car?  Well, Steve has a corvette of his own.)

Back in Vegas, Dougie/Cooper is still acting weird.  He doesn’t understand that, when riding an elevator, you’re supposed to get off when the doors open.  Some people get upset with him about that but Dougie/Cooper is more interested in going outside and staring at that statue.  Of course, Dougie/Cooper is still holding onto those case files.

At the Sheriff’s Department, Andy (Harry Goaz) and Hawk (Michael Horse) go through the Laura Palmer case files, searching for what’s missing.

In his trailer, Dr. Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn) goes live online, delivering a rant about globalist corporate conspiracies and selling his gold-painted shovels so that his listeners can “dig yourself out of the shit.”  Nadine (Wendy Robie) and Jerry (David Patrick Kelly) listen appreciatively.

At the Pentagon, Col. Davis (Ernie Hudson) is informed that they’ve gotten another “database hit” on Garland Briggs’s fingerprints.  Apparently, in the years since his mysterious death, Briggs’s finger prints have shown up in 16 different locations.

At the Roadhouse, the kickass band Trouble is playing.  Meanwhile, a handsome but dangerous looking man (Eamon Farren) sits under a sign that says no smoking and smokes a cigarette.  When a Roadhouse employee tells him to put out his cigarette, the man hands over a pack of cigarettes.  Inside the pack are several hundred dollar bills.  So, apparently, the Roadhouse is still the center of the Twin Peaks drug trade.

When Charlotte (Grace Victoria Cox) tries to flirt with him, the man suddenly turns violent, grabbing her and taunting her with, “Do you want to fuck me, Charlotte?  Do you want to fuck?  I’m going to laugh when I fuck you, bitch!”  It’s a deeply unpleasant scene, as Lynch obviously meant for it to be.

The man’s name is not mentioned but, according to the end credits, he’s Richard Horne.  Presumably, he’s a member of the infamous Horne Family.  Is he a cousin?  Or maybe Jerry’s kid?  Or, even more intriguingly, Audrey’s son?  Whatever he is, Richard is bad news.

(And let’s not forget that, way back at the start of Part One, the Giant told Cooper to remember “Richard and Linda.”)

At FBI Headquarters, Tamara (Chrysta Bell) compares the finger prints of both Cooper and his Doppelganger.

At the South Dakota prison, Doppelganger Cooper finally gets his phone call.  The warden (James Morrison) thinks that they’ll be able to listen in on the call but Doppelganger Cooper has other plans.  After taunting everyone listening, Cooper pushes several keys on the phone, which somehow causes every alarm in the prison to go off.  While the warden tries to restore order, Doppelganger Cooper says, into the phone, “The cow’s jumped over the moon.”  As soon as Doppelganger Cooper hangs up, the alarms fall silent.

In Argentina, the black box changes into a small ring.

In Vegas, Dougie/Cooper continues to stare at the statue.

And so, the latest episode ends.  The story may be moving at its own pace but I can’t wait to see where else it leads.

Twin Peaks on TSL:

  1. Twin Peaks: In the Beginning by Jedadiah Leland
  2. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.1 — The Pilot (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  3. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.2 — Traces To Nowhere (directed by Duwayne Dunham) by Jedadiah Leland
  4. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.3 — Zen, or the Skill To Catch A Killer (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  5. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.4 “Rest in Pain” (dir by Tina Rathbone) by Leonard Wilson
  6. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.5 “The One-Armed Man” (directed by Tim Hunter) by Jedadiah Leland
  7. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.6 “Cooper’s Dreams” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  8. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.7 “Realization Time” (directed by Caleb Deschanel) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  9. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.8 “The Last Evening” (directed by Mark Frost) by Leonard Wilson
  10. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.1 “May the Giant Be With You” (dir by David Lynch) by Leonard Wilson
  11. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.2 “Coma” (directed by David Lynch) by Jedadiah Leland
  12. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.3 “The Man Behind The Glass” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Jedadiah Leland
  13. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.4 “Laura’s Secret Diary” (dir by Todd Holland) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  14. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.5 “The Orchid’s Curse” (dir by Graeme Clifford) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  15. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.6 “Demons” (dir by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Leonard Wilson
  16. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.7 “Lonely Souls” (directed by David Lynch) by Jedadiah Leland
  17. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.8 “Drive With A Dead Girl” (dir by Caleb Deschanel) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  18. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.9 “Arbitrary Law” (dir by Tim Hunter) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  19. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.10 “Dispute Between Brothers” (directed by Tina Rathbone) by Jedadiah Leland
  20. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.11 “Masked Ball” (directed by Duwayne Dunham) by Leonard Wilson
  21. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.12 “The Black Widow” (directed by Caleb Deschanel) by Leonard Wilson
  22. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.13 “Checkmate” (directed by Todd Holland) by Jedadiah Leland
  23. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.14 “Double Play” (directed by Uli Edel) by Jedadiah Leland
  24. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.15 “Slaves and Masters” (directed by Diane Keaton) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  25. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.16 “The Condemned Woman” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Leonard Wilson
  26. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.17 “Wounds and Scars” (directed by James Foley) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  27. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.18 “On The Wings of Love” (directed by Duwayne Dunham) by Jedadiah Leland
  28. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.19 “Variations on Relations” (directed by Jonathan Sanger) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  29. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.20 “The Path to the Black Lodge” (directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  30. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.21 “Miss Twin Peaks” (directed by Tim Hunter) by Leonard Wilson
  31. TV Review: Twin Peaks 22.2 “Beyond Life and Death” (directed by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  32. Film Review: Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  33. Here’s The Latest Teaser for Showtime’s Twin Peaks by Lisa Marie Bowman
  34. Here’s The Newest Teaser for Showtime’s Twin Peaks by Lisa Marie Bowman
  35. 12 Initial Thoughts About Twin Peaks: The Return Parts One and Two by Lisa Marie Bowman
  36. This Week’s Peaks: Parts One and Two by Ryan C. (trashfilm guru)
  37. TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Parts One and Two (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  38. 4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Twin Peaks Edition by Lisa Marie Bowman
  39. This Week’s Peaks: Parts Three and Four by Ryan C. (trashfilm guru)
  40. 14 Initial Thoughts About Twin Peaks: The Return Part Three by Lisa Marie Bowman (dir by David Lynch)
  41. 10 Initial Thoughts About Twin Peaks: The Return Part Four by Lisa Marie Bowman (dir by David Lynch)
  42. TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Parts Three and Four (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman 
  43. 18 Initial Thoughts About Twin Peaks: The Return Part 5 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  44. This Week’s Peaks: Part Five by Ryan C. (trashfilm guru)

 

 

 

Catching Up With The Films of 2016: God’s Not Dead 2 (dir by Harold Cronk)


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Much like Warcraft and Nine Lives, God’s Not Dead 2 is one of those films that you just know is going to be mentioned on all of the “worst films of 2017” lists.  I imagine that it will get a lot of Razzie nominations and it might even win a few.

But you know what?  I watched God’s Not Dead 2 on YouTube and I enjoyed it, though probably not for the reasons that the filmmakers intended.  God’s Not Dead 2 is one of the most thoroughly over-the-top and shamelessly melodramatic films that I have ever seen.  This is one of those faith-based films where all of the Christians are practically saintly while the atheists are portrayed as being so evil that they might as well be tying people to train tracks and twirling their mustaches.  This is one of those films where the good guys discuss their plans while sitting in quaint kitchens while the bad guys gather in conference rooms and growl about how much they hate religion.  And the propaganda is just so blatant and lacking in subtlety that it becomes undeniably watchable.

God’s Not Dead 2 is, for lack of a better comparison, the Reefer Madness of Christian filmmaking.  It’s a film that makes Rock: It’s Your Decision look like a work of subtle nuance.  You may want to look away but you won’t be able to.

Essentially, God’s Not Dead 2 takes the heavy-handed sanctimonious sermonizing of the first film and then adds a healthy dash of anti-government paranoia.  (And you know how much I love anti-government paranoia.)  In this one, Melissa Joan Hart is a teacher who makes the mistake of 1) mentioning to her class that the Sermon on the Mount inspired Gandhi and Martin Luther King and 2) counseling a student who is struggling to deal with the death of her brother.  (When the student asks Melissa what gives her strength, Melissa replies, “Jesus.”)  Melissa is brought before the school board, which says that Melissa has broken the law and that they want to take away her teaching license.  Offering absolutely no support is her principal (Robin Givens).  Fortunately, a handsome lawyer (Jesse Metcalfe) is willing to help her out.  He doesn’t believe in God but how long do you think that will last?

Prosecuting Melissa is … a lawyer from the ACLU!  We know that this lawyer is evil because his name is Peter Kane and he’s played by Ray Wise.  And here’s the thing — Ray Wise gives perhaps the least subtle performance of the year.  When he talks about the importance of convincing America that there is no God, he does so with the type of evil gleam in his eye that we typically tend to associate with lower tier MCU villains.  When he cross-examines Melissa’s students, he smirks like a serial killer.  Whenever he has to say words like “God” or “Jesus,” he literally spits them out.  The only thing that trips him up is when a Christian admits to having once been an atheist and Wise looks so stunned that you half expect him to say, “But that is illogical and does not compute” before revealing that he’s actually a robot sent from the future. He’s one of the most evil characters of all time and Wise so throws himself into the role that you can’t help but enjoy watching him.

So, on the one side, you have Ray Wise spitting hellfire and, on the other side, you have a literally beatific Melissa Joan Hart.  And let’s give credit where credit is due — Melissa Joan Hart does as well as anyone could with her seriously underwritten and kinda drab character.  (Add to that, Melissa Joan Hart was Sabrina, The Teenage Witch and, therefore, I will always give her the benefit of the doubt.)

Meanwhile, there’s another subplot going on.  The local preacher — who somehow manages to get on the jury, despite the fact that there’s no way a preacher would actually be put on the jury of trial that centered around separation of church and state — is being pressured by the local authorities.  They want to see copies of his sermons.  Damn government!

Of course, what’s interesting is that this actually did happen in Houston.  In 2014, several preachers were presented with subpoenas demanding copies of their sermons, in order to determine if they had been preaching against the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.  For that matter, there was also recently a story down here about a high school football coach who lost his job because he led his team in a prayer.  There is a basis in reality for both of the film’s main storylines but you’d never guess that from watching God’s Not Dead 2.  God’s Not Dead 2 is so melodramatic and so firmly devoted to its good-vs-evil worldview that it sacrifices whatever real world credibility it could have and probably does more harm than good to the cause that it supports.

That being said, it’s a fun movie in much the same way that the Atlas Shrugged trilogy was fun.  It’s just so silly and over-the-top that you can’t help but watch.  I imagine that believers will enjoy seeing the nonbelievers ridiculed while nonbelievers will enjoy shaking their head and saying, “How can anyone buy into this?”  By taking the side of half the audience but doing so in a way that seems to confirm every pre-conceived notion held by the other half, God’s Not Dead 2 appeals to all.

If nothing else, Ray Wise deserves some sort of award for perfecting the art of villainous overacting.  Though this year, he may have to share it with Kyle Secor.  Secor’s work in The Purge Election Year is impossible to top but Ray Wise sure does come close.

Overacting is not dead.

Film Review: Ghostbusters (dir by Paul Feig)


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If you need any further proof that 2016 is a screwed-up year, just consider the fact that Ghostbusters, an entertaining but ultimately rather mild-mannered and innocuous summer action/comedy, has become the center of one of the biggest controversies of the year.

It all started, of course, when the reboot was first announced.  Fanboys reacted with outrage, offended that Hollywood would even consider remaking a film that was apparently one of the defining moments of their childhood.  Then, it was announced that Ghostbusters would feature an all-female cast and it would be directed by Paul Feig, the director of Bridesmaids.  The howls of outrage grew even louder.  Then that infamous trailer was released and even I felt that trailer sucked.  I wasn not alone because the trailer quickly became one of the most disliked videos in the history of YouTube.  Reading the comments underneath that trailer was literally like finding yourself trapped in a production of Marat/Sade.

Suddenly, in the eyes of very vocal group of internet trolls, the reboot of Ghostbusters went from being simply another dubious idea to being a crime against humanity.  And the trolls were so obnoxious that they managed to turn this big-budget, studio-backed production into an underdog.  Here was a movie directed by one of Hollywood’s biggest directors and starring some of Hollywood’s hottest stars and suddenly, it had become David in a biblical showdown with the Goliaths of internet.

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And then it happened.  Earlier last week, Ghostbusters was finally screened for critics.  The first reviews started to come in and they were surprisingly positive.  In fact, they were so positive that I found myself distrusting them.  I found myself wondering if critics were reacting to the film or if they were simply trying to prove that they were better than the trolls who leave obscene comments on YouTube.

Which was true, I wondered.  Was Ghostbusters the worst film ever made or was it the greatest?  Or was it perhaps just possible that Ghostbusters would turn out to be a typical summer film?

With all the controversy, it’s tempting to overpraise a film like Ghostbusters.  Battle lines have been drawn and sometimes, I feel as if I’m being told that failing to declare Ghostbusters to be the greatest and most important comedy of all time is the equivalent of letting the trolls win.

Well, that’s not true.  Ghostbusters is not the greatest or the most important comedy of all time but you know what?  Ghostbusters is good.  Ghostbusters is entertaining.  Especially during the first half, it’s full of laugh out loud moments.  At times, Ghostbusters is everything that you could hope for.

No, it’s not a perfect film.  Paul Feig is a great comedy director but, in this film at least, his direction of the big action sequences often feels uninspired (especially when compared to his previous work on Spy).  The final fourth of the film gets bogged down in CGI and the film goes from being a clever comedy to being just another summer spectacle.  Even the one-liners, which flowed so naturally at the start of the film, feel forced during the final half of the film.  Ghostbusters is good but it never quite becomes great.

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Here’s what did work: the cast.  As he previously proved with Bridesmaids, Paul Feig is a director who is uniquely skilled at creating and showcasing a strong comedic ensemble.  Kristen Wiig plays Erin Gilbert, who is denied tenure at Columbia when it is discovered that a book she wrote on the paranormal has been republished and is being sold, on Amazon, by her former best friend, Dr. Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy).  When Erin goes to confront Abby, she not only meets Abby’s newest colleague, Dr. Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) but she also gets dragged into investigating an actual case of paranormal activity..  Soon, Erin, Abby, and Holtzmann are investigating hauntings and capturing ghosts, all with the secret approval of the Mayor of New York (Andy Garcia).  Of course, for PR reasons, the mayor’s office has to continually disavow the Ghostbusters and occasionally have them arrested.  Working alongside the three scientists are Patty (Leslie Jones), who apparently knows the history of every building in New York, and Kevin (Chris Hemsworth), their adorably stupid receptionist.

As written, both Patty and Kevin are fairly thin characters.  Kevin’s the handsome dumb guy.  Patty is streetwise and sassy.  But both Hemsworth and Jones give such enthusiastic and sincere performances that they transcend the stereotypical nature of their roles.  At times, Kevin runs the risk of becoming too cartoonish for even a Ghostbusters film.  But if you can’t laugh at Chris Hemsworth explaining that he took the lenses out of his glasses because they were always getting dirty, what can you laugh at?

Erin is an interesting character and Kristen Wiig deserves a lot of credit for her performance.  Erin is actually given a fairly affecting backstory, centering around how she was haunted by the ghost of the old woman who used to live next door to her.  Erin is a former believer, someone who, in order to succeed in the “real” world, gave up her beliefs and conformed to the expectations of society.  When she actually meets a ghost, it’s more than just a confirmation of the supernatural.  It’s a chance for Erin to finally embrace who she truly is and what she truly cares about.  When she and the other ghostbusters chase after evil spirits, Erin is not just doing a job.  Instead, she’s finally found somewhere where she belongs.  She no longer has to pretend to be someone that she isn’t.  Wiig plays the role with just the right touch of neurotic wonder.  She grounds the entire film.

Wiig McKinnon

But the true star of the film is Kate McKinnon.  Whether she’s cheerfully smiling as a ghost vomits all over her colleagues or cheerfully explaining how easily their equipment could kill them all, Holtzmann is the greatest character in the film and McKinnon gives the best performance.  If Wiig grounds the film, McKinnon provides it with a truly demented soul.

The first half of the movie, which focuses on the relationships between the characters and features snappy and endlessly quotable dialogue, is wonderful and I was thrilled while watching it, convinced that the entire movie would be as good as the first hour.  However, the second half of the film gets bogged down in a rather predictable plot and the final action sequences could have just as easily been lifted from Pixels or one of The Avengers movies.  The surviving cast of the original Ghostbusters all show up in cameos that are, at best, inoffensive and, at worst, groan-worthy.  The end result is rather uneven.  If the film had maintained the momentum of that first hour, it would be a classic.  But that second half transforms it into just another entertaining but not quite memorable summer action film.

That said, Paul Feig is an excellent comedy director and let’s hope that he never gets so self-important that he ends up turning into Jay Roach.  Hopefully, if there is a sequel, Feig will return to direct it and Kate McKinnon will have an even bigger role.

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