YMMV: Ghostbusters

  • Accidental Innuendo: "Crossing streams"? Really?
  • Applicability: Three heroic businessmen and scientific innovators who get paid for performing a service well and use their profits to expand and create jobs for more people are opposed by a villainous government bureaucrat who puts the world in danger when he tries to put them out of business, using public safety as an excuse but, in context, is clearly only on a power trip. The film is more Objectivist than the film adaptations of Atlas Shrugged!
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: The dream sequence in the first film, remnant of a cut scene that appears in its entirety in the novelization. The entire footage of the original scene, and others that were cut through production, has yet to ever be released.
  • Crowning Moment of Funny: Has its own page.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome:
    • The theme song is nearly as beloved as the franchise that spawned it.
    • "Higher and Higher." A literal example as it actually electrifies the Statue of Liberty's crown.
    • The Elmer Bernstein score. Dana's theme is especially powerful besides the Lincoln Center theme (which sounds like a waltz).
    • Bobby Brown's song "On Our Own" played during the end of the second film.
    • No mention for Mick Smiley's "Magic"? It set a very creepy and atmospheric tone for the escape scene in the first movie.
  • Cult Classic: The first film has a strong cult appeal, although unlike most cult classics it was massively successful and beloved on its release, too. The second probably counts as well; it's just not as loved as the original.
  • Designated Hero: The Ghostbusters tend to act this way throughout the movie, since many of the ghosts they catch aren't actually hurting anybody, and after their first outing where they cause more damage than the ghost they captured, they threaten to release it back into the restaurant they caught it from when they're called out for it.
  • Designated Villain: Walter Peck to a lot of people, see Straw Man Has A Point. Also, many of the ghosts in the film, which by and large cause less damage than the Ghostbusters.
  • Ear Worm: If there's some damn song / runnin' through your head / who ya gonna call?
  • Fan Nickname: Mention Walter Peck to a more casual fan of the franchise and you might get some confusion who you're talking about. Mention "Dickless" and they'll know at once.
  • First Installment Wins: The first film is an undisputed classic. Fans are split about the second film. The cartoon and video game? Even moreso.
  • Genius Bonus: In the first film, Venkman asks the librarian if there's any history of mental illness in her family, she mentions that she had an uncle who thought he was St. Jerome. St. Jerome is the patron saint of librarians.
    • Also in the first film, Peter's entire conversation with Possessed!Dana actually follows a lot of the accepted rules for conversing with a possessed individual.
  • Genre Turning Point: This franchise is perhaps the first major ghost story where the supernatural entities are successfully fought through scientific research, which produces purely technological weapons effective against them.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The first movie's scene in which Venkman tries to "scientifically" disprove the first ghost's existence. He asks the librarian if she has a family history of substance abuse… accusations of which later destroyed Bill Murray's second marriage.
    • Also in the first film, when the containment system is shut down, the trapped ghosts are released throughout New York and see them flying out over Manhattan. During a long-distance shot, they seem to originate from right around the Twin Towers. So we have bright lights and ghosts flying out from the World Trade Center towers. One of the memorials to the Twin Towers has been shining twin spotlights straight up into the sky from Ground Zero (now from the centers of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum's pools where the twin towers once stood) once a year.
    • During the scene where Egon interrogates a possessed Louis, Janine tells Egon that she feels that something terrible might happen and says that she's afraid that Egon might die in the process. The scene has since become much harder to watch since Harold Ramis' death in 2014.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Peter MacNicol (Janosz Poha) would later play an art curator who was forced to host Mr. Bean. Harris Yulin (the judge from the second film) was the owner of the museum!
    • In-universe, Venkman is the one who had the idea to found the Ghostbusters, having to talk Ray and Egon into it, even saying "The franchise rights alone will make us rich beyond our wildest dreams." Flash forward a few years; Dan Akroyd and Harold Ramis, were pushing hard to make a third Ghostbusters film but Bill Murray refused to come back.
    • At the trial in the second film, the judge gruffly states that "Before we begin this trial, I want to make one thing clear: the law does not recognize the existence of ghosts, and I don't believe in them either." Just two years after the film was released, New York state law did recognize the existence of ghosts. See Stambovsky v. Ackley 572 N.Y.S.2d 672 (1991) (holding that "as a matter of law, the house is haunted.")
    • From the first film, the librarian is asked if there any history of mental illness in her family. Alice Drummond, who plays the librarian, would play Ray Finkle's mother in Ace Ventura, with mother and son shown having both becoming mentally ill.
    • One of the psychics interviewed by Venkman near the beginning of II predicts the end of the world to be in the year 2016... which happens to be the year the female-led Continuity Reboot is scheduled to be released. (Though the psychic pegged Valentine's Day as the year the world was scheduled to end, and the film is set for release a little over five months later, but...)
  • Ho Yay: Believe it or not, yes. In the scene where the Ghostbusters first meet Dana, Egon and Ray sit awfully close to each other (when Ray has plenty of room off to his left), they choose to huddle together in fear just before Stay-Puft arrives, in the sequel when Vigo paralyzes the Ghostbusters, Ray is the first person Egon checks on and vice versa... it's almost enough to make one wonder if it wasn't intentional.
  • Internet Backdraft: Paul Feig's concept for a reboot of the franchise has made drawn anger from a lot of fans. The idea of including an all-female cast didn't seem to help, and although other mediums for Ghostbusters have had female teams before, most of the ire toward the project seems to be toward not bringing the original cast back in any capacity. There are plenty of other fans who like the idea and want to see it though.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks: One of the key points of criticism about the second movie is that it's in many ways a repeat of the first.
  • Memetic Mutation: Robert Zemeckis stated that the first Ghostbusters spawned more licensed T-shirts with lines from the movie that any other film.
    • Any reference to "crossing the streams", "Who You Gonna Call??", "This man has no dick", and many, many more. Notably, before the first film came out, "slime" had no verb form.
      • Perhaps most tellingly used in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where Buffy says "Who you gonna call?" in all seriousness, to which Spike replies "That line is never gonna be useable again, is it?"
    • The Ghostbusters uniform is still a standard of fancy-dress parties over twenty years later.
    • "He is Vigo! You are like the buzzing of flies to him!" frequently comes up whenever people talk about Viggo Mortensen.
    • There is no X, there is only Zuul.
    • "If someone ever asks if you're a god, you say YES!"
    • Any description of the End Times now includes "Cats and dogs living together... MASS HYSTERIA!"
    • "Back off man, I'm a scientist."
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
    • The proton pack start-up sound. You know the one; the one you just heard in your mind upon reading that.
    • Also, the distinctive siren of Ecto-1, though more for nostalgia than the actual merits of the siren.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The Terror Dogs. Particularly in the scene where Zuul kidnaps Dana. The second film has some choice moments as well, like Possessed!Janosz's glowing eyes and the heads on pikes that appear in the underground railway.
  • Nightmare Retardant: The whole premise of the franchise: there are horrific and powerful forces lurking in the shadows ready to do their evil at any time. However, they can studied scientifically by learned experts, who in turn can develop effective and easy to use weapons and countermeasures those eldritch will never see coming. In short, if you have the knowledge, the tools and the courage to face these supernatural entities of your darkest nightmares, they will have real reasons to fear you!
  • One-Scene Wonder: In the second movie, Cheech Marin as the dock supervisor who sees the wreck of the Titanic arriving and simply says "Well, better late than never.".
  • Peripheral Demographic: When Ramis and Aykroyd wrote the film, they obviously intended it to be for an adult audience like Caddyshack and Stripes. However, when the film became a smash hit, everyone noticed that kids were going nuts for it. After all, it is the ultimate Nightmare Retardant story about Science Hero characters facing the scary supernatural threats, and shooting them with Awesome Backpack weapons. From that realization came the long running The Real Ghostbusters cartoon series and a slightly softened sequel with the characters' smoking eliminated.
  • Sequelitis: The second movie is generally considered much weaker than the first, and something of a pale imitation at that. The fact that that story requires a completely illogical Extra-Strength Masquerade to have the Ghostbusters discredited about their claims of the supernatural after all the physical evidence and thousands of witnesses of Gozer's attack, and then essentially repeats the first film's basic plot, will do that.
  • Signature Scene: The Ghostbusters battling the giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
  • Special Effects Failure:
    • You can see where the where the heated tiles Dana's eggs cook on end and the regular tiles begin by some eggs not landing on the heated ones.
    • The Stop-Motion terror dog in the first movie just doesn't look like it's actually there, even though they do a fairly good job of having it crush a table and smash down a door. The puppets, however, are very well done.
    • Towards the end of the first movie, a rather large rock harmlessly bounces off of a police barricade instead of crushing it.
    • In the widescreen version of the first film when the ghosts escape, there's several incomplete ghost trails.
    • Mr. Stay Puft unintentionally appears to be going through some buildings at times (known as "clipping").
    • In Ghostbusters II, the mechanism that makes the toaster dance is clearly visible.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Played with. Janine was supposed to be Egon's Love Interest, but the manner in which Harold Ramis played the character, it came off as forced and stilted (which still worked in context of the movie.) Janine's romance with Louis in the sequel was better handled.
  • Strawman Has a Point: Walter Peck's initial request to see the containment grid was reasonable. He's also quite polite before Venkman gives him the runaround (albeit in a rather unctuous and condescending manner). It is his job to make sure people like the Ghostbusters are operating with safe equipment, and in fact the Ghostbusters' containment grid could cause a massive explosion in a densely-populated area. In fact, Egon was at that moment telling Ray and Winston that he was getting worried at the massive amount of psychic energy the grid was containing. After getting crudely brushed off by Venkman, however, Peck overreacts and orders the grid's immediate deactivation. If Venkman had cooperated, instead of treating Peck and the EPA as an enemy from the start, they could have avoided the ensuing meltdown.
    Walter Peck: Forget it, Venkman. You had your chance to co-operate, but you though it would be more fun to insult me. Now, it's my turn, wiseass.
  • Ugly Cute: The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.
  • Tear Jerker: It really is sad seeing Peter Venkman of all people mourning Dana when he believes she was killed during the crossing of the streams.
    • The fact that in Ghostbusters II the guys who were hailed as heroes and saviors of the world five short years prior are laughingstocks now. Ray looks heartbroken when the bratty little kid at the birthday party tells him that his dad says the Ghostbusters were full of crap and that's why they closed down.
    • The mundane jobs the Ghostbusters have at the beginning of the sequel. Peter is the host of an unsuccessful talk show (and every respectable psychic and parapsychologist thinks he's a fraud), Ray is the owner and seemingly sole employee of a bookstore (whose only customers we see are Venkman and an unnamed man picking something up for a Wiccan coven) when he's not doing kids' parties in costume as a Ghostbuster with Winston, and Winston is never seen doing anything outside of the birthday party gig. Egon is the only one who seems to be in a position of any prestige, hired back by Columbia University as a researcher. The fact that these heroes who defeated an ancient Omnicidal Maniac of a deity and prevented the apocalypse are just regular losers in New York now is a little depressing.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: Averted with the 2009 game, which was well-received by critics thanks to solid gameplay and full participation from the core four (even picky project selector Bill Murray) along with some returning supporting actors like Annie Potts and William Atherton. The 1990 Sega Genesis game is regarded to be pretty decent, but other than that the games based on the series haven't fared too well. In particular, the 1980s game by Activision based on the first film tends to be regarded as interesting in concept and scope, but extremely tedious in execution (and the NES port of that game flat-out horrible).
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The films have aged very gracefully over the years. The proton pack streams in particular look about as good now as they would with modern CGI effects. And not to forget Stay Puft. The only thing that has dated somewhat is the stop-motion of the terror dogs, but they are still scary.
    • The cards flying out of the card catalogue in the beginning sequence were very good and simply done - a blower out of view blew the cards out as the drawers opened.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: There's some cussing, some innuendo, and early on in the movie, Peter actually asks the librarian if she's been menstruating (It Makes Sense in Context).
    • Not to mention ghost-on-man sex and/or blowjob. Also, Pecker has no dick.
    • As well as the fairly obvious symbolism of the key and the gate.
    • While parents have a Nostalgia Filter, the scene where the librarian transforms and yells at them, and later the hands coming out of the chair and holding Dana down as she is taken through the door may be a little much for some kids.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: Some have referred to Ghostbusters as "the most libertarian Hollywood blockbuster of all time", as every government official is either too abrasive and/or ineffectual to save the day.