Saturday, October 27, 2012

Who Ya Gonna Call?

Monday, October 22, 2012 was a pretty special day for Monster Dad.  I went to see "Ghostbusters" (1984) at the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline, MA.  What makes this such a special event?  Well, please allow me to explain...

I was fourteen years old when "Ghostbusters" was first released.  For someone very much into movies in general, and horror/sci-fi movies in particular, "Ghostbusters" was pretty close to a perfect movie for me at that age.  It had a ton of supernatural elements that were superbly balanced with some of the best comedy I had (or have) ever seen in a film.  I was already a big fan of Bill Murray and Ivan Reitman's brand of comedy from watching and enjoying "Stripes" (1981) on TV.  "Ghostbusters" was very much the same sort of movie--with a different plotline, setting and cast (besides Murray and Harold Ramis of course).  The fact that the main difference was a supernatural one was...well...perfect.

I saw "Ghostbusters" four or five times in the theaters.  That might not sound like all that much for a supposed "favorite" movie, but keep in mind that I was only fourteen and needed to get someone to take me to see it.  If I had my license at the time I'm sure that number would have been a lot higher.  I loved listening to Ray Parker Jr.'s song "Ghostbusters", regardless of how overplayed it was on the radio.  I'd tape it on my portable tape recorder over and over again, despite the fact that I also had the soundtrack on cassette tape.  I even joined the Ghostbusters Fan Club.  In the days before the internet there were only so many ways to keep up with and feel involved with interests like "Ghostbusters".  I did my best to read everything I could about the movie in the magazines like Starlog, and watch anything I could about the movie on TV (reviews on shows like "Sneak Previews" and "At the Movies", and coverage of the movie and its stars on shows like "Entertainment Tonight").

The years passed and my love for "Ghostbusters" remained with me.  While I never picked it up on VHS, I was very happy to finally get my hands on my own copy of the movie in the little DVD boxset that also included the flawed and far inferior (in my opinion) "Ghostbusters II".  A couple years ago I introduced The Little Monster to "Ghostbusters".  At about four she was obviously a lot younger than I had been when I first saw the movie, but I felt like she was ready for it.  In my attempt to share my interests with her and transform her into a Monster Kid I had shown her many of the movies I had enjoyed as a kid.  She liked most of them and "Ghostbusters" seemed like it would be a good choice as well.  Other than a couple mild PG-13 sort of "adult situations" and a few swears it is pretty tame.  As it turned out, she did indeed love the movie and wanted to watch it over and over again (as she's known to do with a current favorite).  The added bonus was that she found a few of the "scary" scenes actually scary.  It was nothing that would traumatize her or anything, but it was really fun to be able to watch it through her young and imaginative eyes.

The gigantic Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is hilarious,
but understandably a bit scary for a little kid

We recently moved to Brookline, MA and I was very excited to be able to go to the Coolidge Corner Theatre on a regular basis.  We live so close in fact that I can actually walk there!  Last month I saw a flyer at the theater announcing that they would be screening "Ghostbusters" on October 22nd.  Other than really wanting to see it and take along The Little Monster I didn't give it a whole heck of a lot of thought.  What hadn't occurred to me was the fact that, despite having seen the movie dozens of times over the past couple of decades, this would be my first time seeing it on the big screen (and on film too) since its original release!  Of course that meant it would be The Little Monster's first time seeing it on the big screen too.  Suddenly our little father/daughter pre-Halloween date night took on a greater importance.

The Coolidge's flyer for the Big Screen Classics screening of "Ghostbusters"
The Coolidge corner Theater's marquee,
with "Ghostbusters" advertised on it
Ticket to the show!

I ended up totally geeking out and picking up one of those adult Ghostbuster costumes (complete with inflatable proton pack) at Newbury Comics.  It also seemed like a good time to finally buy The Little Monster the plastic Stay Puft Marshmallow Man bank that I'd wanted to get her for a couple of years.  I'll admit that I felt a bit odd going to see the movie with a six-year-old and being the one dressed up as a Ghostbuster.  I alleviated that feeling by letting The Little Monster wear the proton pack as well as bringing along her new Stay Puft bank.

Apparently a lot of people besides us were looking forward to this night too.  While the crowd was predominantly adult, quite a few other people also brought their kids along to share the experience with them.  There were even three other people in Ghostbusters costumes that were a LOT more realistic than my store-bought version.  I believe that at least a couple of them were part of a group called Bay State Ghostbusters.  The show was sold out and the theater was packed (I should have gotten a photo of the crowd before the movie started).  We got our seats and had to wait to get popcorn until the movie was under way because of long lines and a shortage of popcorn (the machine couldn't keep up with the demand).  The Coolidge crew had a little pre-show entertainment where they brought people who claimed they had seen ghosts up to the stage to tell their stories for prizes.  This was probably the scariest part of the night for The Little Monster--as well as the most disappointing, since she was hoping to get some of the prizes.  Of course she already had a Stay Puft Marshmallow Man toy and a Hot Wheels Ectomobile, but that didn't stop her from wanting more.  The only one of the prizes she didn't already have was a Lego set of some sort.  Oh well, there's always Christmas, right?

The Little Monster's Ectomobile

The movie itself was wonderful to see again.  I always forget how much better it can be watching a film in a theater than on DVD on your own TV.  The capacity crowd was very much into it and laughed in all the right places.  No matter how many times I see it I still find myself laughing out loud many times.  The kids in the audience (and there were a pretty good number of them too) were obviously a tad nervous during a few scenes.  As much as I don't want my Little Monster to be terrified by anything I show her, it was just so rewarding turning and seeing her with her fingers stuck in her ears a few times during these scenes.  It had been a while since she'd seen the movie and I think she kind of forgot that it really wasn't all that scary.  I think my favorite moment of the night might just have been when I looked at her during one of the "scarier" moments and she nervously said "Daddy, cover my eyes...while I block my ears.  Teamwork!"  The movie is chock full of awesome quotes too numerous to list, but with that line The Little Monster managed to add yet another one to my personal favorites!  Honorable Mention: when Stay Puft explodes and everything gets covered in marshmallow she asked, in all seriousness, "Can they eat it now?"  Aah, the mind of a child and the magic of a child's imagination.  Priceless!

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