In the wake of the recent election, many right-minded Americans came to the understandable conclusion that we coddle them too much these days.
We tiptoe around them, whispering from fear of offending them – afraid to assert our obvious authority.
Why, in my day, we used to bust ghosts.
It may seem hard to believe this now, but before 1983, people would have thought you were crazy if you’d claimed, “Bustin’ makes me feel good.”
It’s hard to believe we were ever that naive.
Still, a recent flurry of conflicting reports about a “Ghostbusters” sequel finally getting underway did not fill me with the expected gratification.
Now, I wouldn’t even begin to suggest that the first two “Ghostbusters” films weren’t influential. It’s the reason teams of amateur ghost hunters across the country bravely enter abandoned Kenny Rogers’ Roasters restaurants looking for the ghosts of gamblers, cowards of counties and women named Ruby, who died while taking their love to town.
It’s the reason the sort of drunken club-goer who is more likely to stand than sit in a public restroom turns to the man next to him and says, “Don’t cross the streams.”
Amazingly, that joke is as funny now as it ever was – it is exactly as funny. And you don’t even have to be profoundly inebriated to appreciate it, either.
A whole subset of public restroom-based humor would have suffered immeasurably were it not for the existence of “Ghostbusters.”
Despite these excellent reasons for the franchise to be extended or rebooted, is it really that good an idea for this franchise to be extended or rebooted?
Perhaps I am just grumpy at the news that Len Wiseman, who botched a reboot of “Total Recall,” has been put in charge of rebooting the most recent series of “Mummy” movies.
Should the chef who poisoned you be given another shot at cooking the fugu fish?
Then again, if you truly believe in second chances, you should probably extend them equally to movie directors and fugu fish.
Whatever my reservations about a new “Ghostbusters” film, the clamor for it is out there.
It started out as a mere din, then it graduated to an uproar and now it’s a clamor. Actually, that may not have been the order.
It may have gone din, then clamor, then uproar.
The only reason a sequel or reboot hasn’t happened yet is that Bill Murray doesn’t seem to want either of those to happen.
The seemingly answer-resistant question that studio execs and the franchise’s co-stars have been asking themselves for decades is, “Does ‘Ghostbusters’ need Bill Murray?”
Can a franchise continue on without an actor who some would argue is its most essential component?
It’s happened before.
“Ghostbusters” screenwriter and co-star Dan Ackroyd was intimately involved in “Caddyshack II” and “Blues Brothers 2000,” two sequels which weren’t all that bad, really, despite theater exit polls in which 40 percent of ticketholders vowed never to play golf or listen to the blues again.
But Murray may be especially special.
Everything that he is and everything that he does (or decides not to do) should be encouraged.
We have every indication from the few interviews Murray grants that he does not own a cell phone or a computer. All he has is a message machine, which he rarely checks.
Murray has managed to maintain his relevance and stature while remaining largely off the grid. He is an analog superstar.
If you want to know whether “Ghostbuster 3” should be made, ask the only guy who doesn’t need it for the paycheck or the career boost. That would be Murray.
Rumor has it that Murray once told Ackroyd, “No one wants to pay money to see fat, old men chasing ghosts.”
To be fair, most people could think of at least 100 things that they would be even less willing to pay money to see fat, old men do.
But Murray certainly isn’t afraid to tell it like it is, or tell it like he sees it.
It’s Murray’s aversion to BS that made “Ghostbusters” such a rare beast.
Murray ambled through it as if he really didn’t care that a lot of money was on the line. Stars of a megabucks blockbuster never seem as convincingly blasé as he did in that film.
In an era of reboot-fueled desperation in Tinseltown, wouldn’t it actually be more wondrous and magical if “Ghostbusters 3” didn’t happen than if it did?