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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Favorite things: Ghostbusters

I figured I'd start off with short essays of specific things I love and why I do. This way you guys can get to know your happy blogger and I can share a little too.

So we're going to start off with my absolute favorite movie of all time and how it affected a very creative 8 year old girl.

Ghostbusters was released in 1984 and from the moment I heard about it, I was intrigued. I remembered Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd from Saturday Night Live sketches I'd heard on a cassette my folks had.

For Halloween that year, I had a very crude Ghostbuster costume, which was a GB T-shirt, and my proton pack was a foil covered box with a light in it that blinked. The particle thrower was a squirt machine gun attached with some hose. My dad helped me make it. It certainly wasn't screen accurate, but I'd helped make this and was pretty damn proud of it.

I finally saw the film on cable the following year, and always watched it when it aired. At age 9, my parents got me my own copy on VHS, which I probably watched more times than I can count. My mother hated watching this with me, for I was memorizing the lines and would nearly repeat the movie verbatim.

When we entered the DVD age, it was the first DVD I purchased, and also snagged it when we finally went Blu-Ray earlier this year. I could watch this movie any time and be transported back to being an impressionable eight year old who had an infatuation with Egon Spengler, but was too young to know what those feelings were.

I'd always loved Egon. He was the straight man to Venkman's charismatic jokes or Stantz's childlike view of the world. Even when Janine kept trying to throw herself at him, he was always more interested in building things and eating junk food.

I'd learned a very short time later that I was actually related to Annie Potts, who'd played Janine. Due to my former residence in New York, I'd managed to nail down a pretty authentic impression of her.

When my husband and I started dating, I offered him the Litmus test of this film. If he loved it as much as I did, he was a keeper. After that first viewing together, we decided that his personality was most like Peter Venkman. It's been my pet name for him ever since. Some people ask why, but I always reply with a smile, 'Venkman got the girl at the end.'

Twenty-Five years after the release of the film, we got a video game, which was pretty much a wet dream for anyone who'd ever dreamed of strapping on a proton pack and saving New York City from the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. This was also the year that I got to make a costume that would win a prize.

Thanks to the help of my buddy Jeff (who will always be my Stantz), we built a proton pack. I toiled for some time to sew patches onto three jumpsuits (Spengler, Venkman and Zeddemore. Stantz had moved by then) and gathering the little details for my suit. I was determined that twenty five years after the first time I'd donned a backpack, I was going to do it again, and I was going to do it right. My Inner Child treated this like Christmas morning. Halloween arrived, and my work was holding a costume contest. I knew I'd have to bring my A-Game if I even wanted a shot at winning. So I slipped into my suit and pretended I was Egon Spengler. I discussed the Twinkies, talked about how print was dead and for a few moments, felt like the love and adoration I'd had for this film was coming full circle.

For my efforts, I walked away from that contest with a new iPod, which I thank that Proton Pack for every day (which is in my bedroom as I can't lock that baby up in my storage unit. She's too pretty!).

When Venkman and I got married this year, we knew we wanted to wear Chuck Taylors (Due to Doctor Who, which will be another essay) in our wedding colors. The nicknames we chose for the back were Venkman and Spengler.

If there is room in the GB3 script, I'd like to ask that I be cast as the love child of Janine and Egon. Granted, I will be a pierced and tattooed punkass, but I think my inner child would be fully satisfied.

I will proudly hang my Ecto-1 license plate up in my home, rattle off lines from the film, and even have the occasional fantasy of getting under Egon's jumpsuit and making him all hot and bothered. I'll even make sure my figures stay Mint In Box and keep the cat away from them.

But to those four guys who, after getting kicked out of Columbia University, went into business for themselves, I salute you. Your blend of scares and laughs, the wonderful characters, and setting it all in my home state have endeared this film to me, even 26 years later.

And I even liked Ghostbusters II. I can't help but smile anytime I hear Jackie Wilson singing 'Higher and Higher'.

Got anything to say? Let's hear it!

Be Well,

-Jen

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