Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Harold Ramis 11/21/44 - 2/24/14

In the summer of 1984, I was twelve years old. We didn't have cable television and my favorite thing to do was play Barbies with my best friend, Kris. The way our town was laid out, our neighborhood (one of the older ones) was on the northern border of the township, while the schools and most of the other neighborhoods were on the other end of town. As a result, when school let out for the summer, the other kids pretty much forgot we existed. And that was fine. I grew up in a tight-knit neighborhood - everyone knew everyone, and we knew when it was time to go home for dinner because Mrs. Tesoriero would stand on her front porch and bellow for her son Michael to come home. That was our cue. Summer afternoons meant Barbies with Kris, swimming at the local pool, and hanging out - listening to music or whatever (usually done in the house with the best AC, since none of us had central air yet.) When I look back, it's fondly, because it was a great time to be a kid.

But, it did get boring at times and one of the things we did was go to the movies. A lot. One mom would drive, another would pick up (and we saw some howlers - Xanadu and Love at First Bite are two that come to mind. :D) but it was fun. Back then, when you were old enough to go to the movies at night, sans parents, meant you were finally no longer a little kid.

I remember the first time I saw Ghostbusters. I don't think I'd ever laughed so hard as I did at that movie. To this day, if I flip on the tv, and that movie is on, I'll stop and watch. Every. Time. It's still in my top ten lists of favorites, and in the top five of favorite comedies. And this movie was where I learned something very important about writing.

Writing comedy isn't as easy as it looks.

In that movie, the laughs come so naturally. To this day, the special effects might look dated ( it was the early 80s, after all) but the movie itself is still funny. It holds up. It's just a great movie and one I always thought should have been recognized by the Academy Awards. It's a shame it wasn't because good comedy is a gift.

After we saw it that first time, we talked about it for days after, reciting line after line, and cracking up over this scene or that scene. And Dr. Egon Spengler was my favorite Ghosbuster. He was smart. He was tall, dark, and handsome. And he was funny (maybe unintentionally funny, but funny nonetheless.) What wasn't there to love? Or to crush on?

I've seen pretty much every movie Harold Ramis either wrote, directed, and/or starred in - and to this day, I still will admit to having a bit of a crush on him. He wrote comedy brilliantly, sometimes so deftly that it took me a few viewings to get it - Groundhog Day was a movie I hated the first time I saw it. I thought it was boring and redundant. But then, I happened upon it on cable about a year or so after I originally sat through it, and for some reason I decided to watch it again. And again. And again. I fell in love with it, and now it's also on my list of great comedies.

The world has lost a brilliant writer, one of the few with the true gift of writing genuinely funny funny. And it makes me sad that there will be no more Harold Ramis movies released unto an unsuspecting world.

Rest in peace, Dr. Spengler.


Marian Perera said...

I've seen these comments about Harold Ramis, but until now I didn't remember that he played Egon. Now I know who he is... was. :(

Kim said...

I loved him as Egon - seriously, I had such a crush on him it wasn't funny. :(