If our Twitter feed is to be believed, we follow a very high percentage of people who are interested in a) watching GHOSTBUSTERS or b) purchasing the new GHOSTBUSTERS on Blu-ray or c) purchasing the new GHOSTBUSTERS video game. Perhaps this brain trust could help us answer why GHOSTBUSTERS was so great and GHOSTBUSTERS 2 is probably the lamest sequel to a beloved film ever. Our own theory? Ivan Reitman is just a very bad director.

Speaking of Twitter, one of those who was engaged in the GHOSTBUSTERS hunt was Geoff Johns, whose recent Twitterings are showcasing his storytelling skills in a stunning way. Last night’s tale of a stolen bicycle, a large slurpee and a friendly 7-11 clerk should have come with a Danny Elfman soundtrack.

As for other Twitterings, the comics world quite rightly rallied with support when Len Wein’s house sustained a serious fire…will they be as supportive for his latest setback?:

Off to a Father’s Day brunch w/@mcvalada and son. Starting to think today’s the day I’m gonna pass the kidney stone. Suspense mounts.

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  1. My love for Ghostbusters 2 knows no bounds. I love whenever Ghostbusters is brought up, but despise it at the same time, as I know the Ghostbusters 2 hate will soon follow.

    “Yeah, I know Bass Masters… sure.”

  2. Since when is Ghostbusters 2 “probably the lamest sequel?”

    I’ve never met a single person who feels this way, and I’m friends with plenty of Ghostbuster fans…

  3. Ah… how easy it is to forget… That month of box office was a (near) perfect storm… Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, a weekend box office record. Next weekend, Ghostbusters II, another record set. The next weekend would have seen another record, had Star Trek V not sucked so much (although Nichelle Nichols did get to sing). And the weekend after that? The event of the summer. The first Midnight screening of a blockbuster. A movie that made comicbook t-shirts fashionable. A serious actor playing a comedian, and a comedian playing a serious role. (And another comedian playing comic relief to Kim Basinger.)

    (And I still think an African-American Two-Face would have been brilliant, even if it was Billy Dee Williams.)

  4. Ghostbusters 2 is a mildly enjoyable yet ultimately slapdash and disappointing sequel. Formulaic, unimaginative writing, old ideas badly disguised as new ones, and a duo of antagonists so lame that even Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy seem like a formidable team-up.

  5. “Our own theory? Ivan Reitman is just a very bad director.”

    Ivan Reitman didn’t write the thing, did he? When I think of how GHOSTBUSTERS 2 disappointed, I think of plot/story elements–the comparative lameness of the river of slime being such a big deal (yeah, “He slimed me.” was a great line, but ectoplasmic ooze is not why we liked the the first movie, and it’s not like having twice as much slime makes for a twice as good movie); a giant ambulatory Statue of Liberty would probably have seemed more cool had we not already had the even-cooler giant ambulatory Mashmallow Man; etc.–and not directorial elements.

  6. Sure the script was lame but can you honestly say Reitman ever made a good movie aside from Ghostbusters 1? He made both the movie where Ahnold is twins with Danny DiVito AND the movie where Ahnold is PREGNANT. Surely that qualifies for some circle of hell.

    Torsten brings up a good point — the summer of 89 was indeed a record setting one for BO, and the other sequels were pretty sure fire. But given how important the whole “franchise” idea is to Hollywood, it’s remarkable how a surefire idea like GHOSTBUSTERS 2 came out so lifeless.

    Perhaps there is a simpler explanation: as Bill Murray goes, so goes the franchise. In 2 he’s totally phoning it in.

  7. But Tommy, the movie is badly paced; even if this is due to the script’s inefficiencies, it’s down to the director to sharpen things up. Also, he’s responsible for ensuring we have well represented characters to care about. As Bill Murray noted upon the film’s release, “it was a whole lot of slime and not much of us.”

    Ivan Reitman’s directorial resume on IMDb, for the record, reads like a magnum opus of arse-biting awfulness.

  8. @Douglas – The only people that hate Ghostbusters 2 are internet people. Most real people like it.

    I also found out the internet hates the first two Spider-Man movies a few weeks ago. That crazy internet!

  9. Hard to say why “Ghostbusters 2” was so disappointing, but I’m sure the pressure to make everything “bigger” while sacrificing the odd but amusing little plot elements and extensive ad libbing of the original was a large part of it. You get the impression from watching the film that no one involved really had their heart in it, but the physics of Hollywood were such that a sequel had to be made regardless, and enough money was put on the table to make it happen.

    Also, hard to top Gozer the Gozerian as a villain.

    But yes, as someone remarked above, “Speed 2” takes the crown for all-time worst sequel (exposure to computers gave the villain “copper blood poisoning”? Whuzzah?), but “Spider-Man 3” is a serious challenger.

  10. “Sure the script was lame but can you honestly say Reitman ever made a good movie aside from Ghostbusters 1?”

    Neither movie is Citizen Kane or anything, but I think Stripes and Meatballs qualify. Perhaps a better question is whether Reitman ever made a good movie not starring Bill Murray.

  11. My loathing of Highlander II holds no bounds. I was so upset when I saw it that I not gave the review an “I” for Incomplete, but wrote a separate column about horrible movie sequels. It shows what can happen when you have the same starts and the same director, but not the same writer who came up with the idea.

  12. If you want real Reitman hell, watch Evolution. It’s Ghostbusters with dinosaur monsters, similar scenes and plot points, similar set-up, a cute monster at one point that turns angry like Slimer, etc. It also has no charm, chemistry or wit, blighted with lousy performances, braindead direction and a script that makes Ghostbusters 2 look like Aliens. Sad, sad rotten little movie, naked, uncreative grab at former success. I saw it on cable and still wanted my money back.

    Another 48 Hours is another sad sequel. Templated to the original. much like G2. Ditto Escape From L.A., two guys sitting around smoking pot and transferring the Escape From NY script to L.A., practically a scene for scene remake, with lousier effects, some of Carpenter’s clunkiest action direction ever, and surfing. And they managed to waste Bruce Campbell, which is a crime, a crime, I say.

    Holy shit, I’m talking about movies on the internet. Must have forgotten to take my medication again…

  13. Reitman’s sins in the make up of GB2 are a contributing factor (btw, I liked TWINS), but I maintain Dan Akroyd and Harold Ramis should not not have absolution just because of their trying to salvage things on screen.

    Without Belushi as his muse, Akroyd’s scripts have resulted is some really bad/misguided films. (See also Nothing But Trouble, Coneheads and Blues Brothers 2000). Ramis had the lead writing credit on GB2, but this was not the Ramis of Caddyshack, Stripes and Back To School. GB2 has on display the Ramis of Caddyshack II, Meatballs 3 and Rover Dangerfield.

    The fact that Columbia/Tri-Star, having licensed GB to animation and toys, would also factor in with the suits pushing for it to be more “kid friendly” and “more Slimer” may also what’s leaving a bad taste in our mouths.

  14. Having just seen the extremely…tepid (but good natured) YEAR ONE, also written by Ramis — many years ago — I can say that consistency is not his strength either.

    Jeez, these 80’s comedy icons of ours are surprisingly thin.

  15. “Sure the script was lame but can you honestly say Reitman ever made a good movie aside from Ghostbusters 1?”

    Well, I’d give him STRIPES as a good one, but I take your point; Reitman’s directorial credits certainly don’t make up a roster of awesomeness.

    Still, I once heard a saying that if everything about a movie is good, the director should get a lot of the credit, and if a movie is bad, the director might not necessarily deserve all the blame.

    Which, I realize, is probably a bit of conventional wisdom developed by members of the DGA, but it’s still something that springs to mind during all this discussion…

  16. Ivan Reitman may not be a good director, but the real problems I have with Ghostbusters 2 is in the plot/script. Sum up what the characters go through, the situations, the bad guy, etc., and it just doesn’t sound all that great. I can’t imagine another director really making it a better film, unless a sign of their quality was to say “this script is crap” and have the thing rewritten before shooting.

    The other thing I could never grasp was the breaking of the fourth wall by having the “2” ghost logo on the building and costumes.

  17. I like GB2 a lot more NOW than I did before. It’s grown on me over the years. Plus, the Bobby Brown theme is pure awesomeness. “found out about vigo/the master of evil/try to battle my boys?/that’s not legal!”

  18. Wow… people mention bad sequels on a comics board, and no one considers “Batman & Robin”? “Son of the Mask”? “Superman IV”?

    Worst sequel ever? How about “Sting II”?

  19. Ditto to Ian– the new Ghostbusters game (the PS3 version, at least) is a total kick in the pants. A number of my coworkers have been enjoying it as well.

  20. Hating Ghostbusters 2 is not just an internet meme, I’ve hated that movie since before the internet.

    How did they explain that all the GB’s gear (including the Ecto-1) has the GB2 movie logo on it?

    Dana was a classical musician turned art restorer?

    THe main bad guy is a painting? I’ll tell you the real evil painting: http://img413.imageshack.us/i/ghostbusters2.jpg/

    That said, we watched GB2 on Sunday too. My girlfriend had never seen it because she had always heard it was awful. She now wants those 2 hours back.

  21. I’m no fan of Reitman, but it always irks me when the success or failure for a film are laid at the feet of the director. Reitman’s work on Ghostbusters 1 (and Stripes) proves he’s not a terrible director, but that he is JUST a director. He’s not a cinematic artist or a writer or anything but a guy who can shoot a script to the script’s strengths, when the script has strengths. If he has a bad script he, like so many other directors, can only sit around with their thumbs up their butts. I guess I’m not so much arguing in favor of Reitman as saying that this isn’t an extreme example of directorial incompetence, but rather par for the course in Hollywood.