These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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. SeeStambovsky v. Ackley 572 N.Y.S.2d 672 (1991) (holding that "as a matter of law, the house is haunted.")
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.
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.
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.
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.".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.