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Off the Books vs. Ghostbusters

Key Takeaways

If there’s something strange on your movie screen, who you gonna call? Off the Books! It’s time for another edition of the accounting movie bracket. Mike pits Catherine and Steve against the OG Ghostbusters! Does the film show the EPA as unfairly evil? How does it handle relationships? Is it even an accounting movie!?


Mike Gravagno dressed up as a Ghostbuster
Off the Books producer Mike Gravagno shows off his upcycled (trash-made) Egon Spengler costume.

Season 3, Episode 21: Off the Books vs. Ghostbusters | Transcript

Mike Gravagno: Hello and welcome to Off the Books where we serve the uncharted waters of accounting, finance, risk, and wherever else the waves take us. This episode is brought to you by Workiva the ESG, risk, reporting, and compliance platform that simplifies your complex work and helps you trap focus non-terminal repeating phantasm class five full-roaming vapors. Check it out at

Catherine Tsai: I don't even know what you just said there.

Mike: Well, it's from the movie, so that does not bear well, Catherine. I'm Mike Gravagno. I'm an Off the Books producer, recovering Cherry Coke addict, and today's host. I'm looking forward to debiting a great conversation today, and I'm very glad to have you hanging ten with us. With me, as always, you've already heard from her, is Catherine Tsai.

Catherine: Thank you, thank you.

Mike: And Steve Soter. We are continuing our accounting movie bracket with our fourth seed Ghostbusters. And, Catherine, the reference earlier is what Slimer's designation is.

Catherine: Clearly, I wasn't paying enough attention. I'll have to watch it yet again.

Steve Soter: Yeah. What is happening right now? I'm still trying to figure this out.

Mike: It's a movie ep, where we let our hair down and get a little crazy.

Catherine: Okay, it's that time again.

Steve: Well.

Mike: It's that time again.

Steve: I guess it is.

Mike: Now, before we dive in, we have very serious things to talk about with Ghostbusters and Off the Books. I want to know your personal relationship with the movie before watching it through this week. Catherine, what's your general relationship with Ghostbusters and the franchise?

Catherine: I watched it as a kid, though not in the theater. I think I probably watched it on TV with my family, but have not watched it since then.

Mike: Not at all? Not since being a kid?

Catherine: Not at all.

Mike: Wow. And the rest of the movies, have you seen the sequel? The cartoons, the remake, the new sequel? Anything?

Catherine: None, although I kind of want to see the one with Melissa McCarthy and gang.

Mike: Full disclosure, I prefer that one. I think it's funnier than this movie. And the hate it got was absurd. But it's an actual comedy where maybe we'll get into that about this one. Steve, what's your relationship with Ghostbusters?

Steve: I saw it as a kid. I actually don't recall if I saw that in the theater, but certainly it was one of my favorites. So saw the original, saw the sequels, saw the cartoon, actually played the original eight-bit Nintendo game—the Nintendo entertainment system—actually beat the game, which was no small task. So and I've actually seen all of the sequels, including the new ones, including the most recent one Ghostbusters Afterlife. So I feel like I am very familiar with the original movie as well as the franchise.

Mike: And I think we have a very good tiered levels of expertise here then, as Steve being the absolute expert and Catherine being "I saw it as a kid and moved on with my life," and I'm somewhere in between. I had the proton packs. I was obsessed with the cartoon as a kid, loved the movies. I was even Egon Spengler just a few years ago for Halloween. I made a proton pack out of soda bottles and cereal boxes.

Catherine: I want to see that.

Mike: I'll dig it up, and maybe we'll post the picture in the the show feed or whatever.

Catherine: Please do.

Mike: And I found $50 in my jumpsuit that I bought from Goodwill, so I made money that year on my Halloween costume. All right. We're going to take a quick break, and then we're going to dive right in to Ghostbusters.

Directed by Ivan Reitman and written by Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd. Ghostbusters was a wacky horror/comedy starring Aykroyd, Ramis, Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, and Rick Moranis that became the second-highest-grossing film of 1984 and launched a multi-billion dollar multimedia franchise, all based on a few wacky down on their luck paranormal investigators. Bookies, I ask you this. Ghostbusters is the first movie I thought of when we started to talk about an accounting bracket. After watching it, is that absurd?

Catherine: Yeah.

Steve: A little.

Mike: You don't think this counts as a representation of an accounting movie?

Steve: Well, it obviously counted for something otherwise it would not have made it this far in this exercise. But as I watched it, I was trying to find—and there were a few, you know, mostly with Louis Tully and, you know, kind of his whole tax thing. But it certainly wasn't like Shawshank, which to me accounting was surprisingly woven throughout the story and, you know, a handful of different areas. So that was one thing that stood out to me, certainly in contrast with Shawshank Redemption.

Mike: Sure. Catherine, as a non-accountant, what's your stance now?

Catherine: I agree. It didn't seem like accounting was central to the movie, but for Steve's sake, I was happy to see the accountant was hosting a party. He was at a party.

Mike: That's so harsh to Steve.

Catherine: Well, it's just it's just nice to see an accountant out in the wild and not behind the books or with a calculator.

Steve: Back to those stereotypes, I'm telling you. Right back to the stereotype.

Mike: I do think Rick Moranis as Louis Tully inhabits a lot of the stereotypes more than Andy DuFresne might have. Catherine, let's see if we can use some of the stereotypes we saw. Catherine, what do you think? What did Louis do that is stereotypically accounting?

Catherine: Glasses, interesting attire, average height.

Steve: Seriously?

Mike: Ok, so Catherine has different stereotypes than you do, Steve. What are we hitting? He's very efficient with his workouts and his maintenance of mineral waters.

Steve: Here's the thing to me about Louis Tully is that he was overall kind of nerdy, kind of geeky. There was a sort of a hipness, a coolness, whatever, that he certainly did not have. I think that was very intentional with how he played the character. But this is one of those stereotypes, and not actually sure it's a bad thing, but he noticed things and he thought about things from an accounting, you know, implication of like tax, like he was talking to Sigourney Weaver, right, about like certain tax things. He was thinking about that. He was noticing those things that I actually feel like is perhaps an accurate stereotype. Now, whether or not that turns you into just kind of a dork or a geek or whatever you want to call it, that probably depends on the person. But that was something that stuck out to me, again, as he's playing this character. He was intentionally noticing certain things and providing, you know, well, hey, if you did it this way, that might save you a little bit of money or, you know, whatever.

Mike: Yeah, I think he has a clear attention to detail, and it is geeky because that's how Moranis plays him, but I feel like Moranis is most people on the internet these days. The folks who are 25 and still can rattle off all the Pokemon and the attributes of Pokemon like that is that attention to detail and you obsess over your hobby. His hobby just happens to also be his job. I'm trying to pivot, like, pitch it in like a positive light.

Steve: Well, I think the average height was maybe uncalled for. Now, I say that as a vertically challenged individual. I mean, that that was a little too far, Catherine. I'll be honest with you. Which, by the way, you and I see eye to eye.

Catherine: Oh, for sure.

Mike: You're both tiny folks.

Catherine: I'm close to the size of an accountant, I think. But I only mention it because in a previous episode someone made a comment about height.

Steve: Well, and Andy Dufresne was very tall, right? I mean, we're not going to contrast two movies, right? But I mean, we agreed he was super tall.

Mike: He broke the accountant mold, literally. He grew through the top of it. I think another accounting stereotype we've talked about in the past is his whole party that Catherine was very happy that the little Steve in the movie could go to a party—he threw as a tax write-off. "No," he says. "None of these people are my friends. I wrote this off." And then he talks about the cheese. It just he's somebody who wants to be around people, but he doesn't know how to be around people. That's what I'm getting from this. And because the cartoon might be filtering in to me as well, where he always wanted to be one of the Ghostbusters, but it was never allowed to be.

Steve: I would agree with that. I think that's an adequate depiction, and I think for purposes of the movie was a useful comedic tool. Right? In order to just really kind of hone in on who that character needed to be within the context of the overall story. And, again, I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, but then the fact that he "ends up"—I say that in air quotes—but he "ends up" with the girl in sort of a weird, demonic kind of way, right? I mean, that almost sort of like flips that on its head just a little bit, that you wouldn't think that he was going to be the one, you know, to ultimately end up with Sigourney Weaver. But of course, that happens. They were both possessed. So maybe you, you know, take that down a knotch.

Mike: Yeah, I think that's part of the gimmick is look how tiny he is and look how tall she is. Look at them kiss. And so they do the reverse dip. But another woman was after him. The blond at his party just wanted to dance, and he couldn't stop accounting long enough to just dance with her.

Steve: What was the deal with that? There were no other parts from her or any other character development or anything like that at all, right? It was literally just that dancing thing in the beginning where she's like, I want to dance.

Mike: Another way to highlight how hyper-focused he gets that he can't even see somebody wants to give him attention.

Steve: And then he starts doing the mashed potato, right or whatever that little move was that he—I think that's the mashed potato. Don't quote me on that.

Mike: So looking ahead, wrapping up the accounting portion of this, we now have our barometer from Shawshank Redemption to Ghostbusters. And everything else I do think will fall somewhere in between is how accounting based it is when we eventually come to vote for the best accounting movie, how much will the accounting part of it be there and how much is it "no, this is just a great movie." What do you guys think is going to weigh on your conscience?

Catherine: My gut is going to say 50/50 split.

Steve: Yeah. I actually wonder if maybe the accounting becomes a little less important because I feel like when we originally went through that, what was the 32 movies? When we went through the original 32 movies, we had already sort of used that as a criteria. And again, probably a lot of it had to do with what movie it was being compared to, right? Like in this case, I'd actually remember the movie Ghostbusters is compared to, we decided Ghostbusters wins largely because of Louis Tully, once it had sort of met that minimum threshold? I don't know. Are we going to care about how much accounting there was within it? I don't know. I don't know. Having said that, if I had to do Shawshank Redemption versus Ghostbusters, I would actually give to  Shawshank in part because of how much accounting there was and how critical that was to the story.

Catherine: Me too.

Mike: All right.

Catherine: And also because rewatching Ghostbusters, I don't think it holds up as well as some of the other '80s movies like Ferris Bueller or Back to the Future. Am I breaking your heart here?

Mike: We will talk about holding up and how well it does and its reputation later on for sure. We have to take a quick break. And when we come back, we're going to dig into another topic that's near and dear to the Off the Books hearts. We've been talking about ESG a lot throughout the last season and a half, at least, of Off the Books. So I wanted to kind of shine a light on that and how Ghostbusters relates to it. One of the main villains in the movie, other than Gozer and their minions, is Walter Peck from the EPA. But how do we feel about the portrayal as EPA as a bureaucratic busybody? And is there anything ESG related here to dig into?

Steve: I think that he had to play the character the way that he did in order for it to all work. I mean, had Walter Peck been a reasonable person, the likelihood of him, you know, barging in with that, you know, police officer or whatever so they could shut off the power for the containment unit or whatever it was, you know, that obviously would not have happened. It's interesting. Would you characterize, you know, ESG evangelists in that same way today? Maybe. Maybe. But I think that's probably more of the extreme. I don't you know. I feel like he was having to play it up, though, because had that not been the case, I don't think the story would've worked out, right? Wouldn't have been that big of a deal. And it wouldn't have set up that ultimate kind of conflict in the mayor's office.

Mike: Right.

Steve: Right? Where, you know, it all sort of came to a head and then, you know, obviously the Ghostbusters win and, you know, Walter Peck looks like an idiot.

Mike: Is he a universally hated character?

Mike: Yeah. I don't know if anybody is on Walter Peck's side. And there's a William Atherton in the '80s especially—he was Thornburg in Die Hard. He just has a face and a vibe that even if he is right, fudge, this guy.

Steve: Yeah. Yup.

Mike: He mostly just hates Venkman and everything they're about, but he is not wrong. There is what is essentially a nuclear reactor in an unsupervised, unregulated old fire building in the middle of New York. He shouldn't have turned it off, but it's so funny because I think what this movie is trying to say is, one, this guy is a jerk, but also that any authority screw them. Anybody who tries to tell you what to do is wrong. And it kind of hits that like slobs versus snobs that was very big in the '80s, but being older and watching the world literally burn around us and, at Workiva, we we do a lot of ESG reporting stuff, and I wonder did he go about it in the wrong way? Sure. But I kind of think Walter Peck might have been right here.

Steve: Oh, I think so. I think for sure. I mean, you know, a nuclear reactor in the middle of a city. I mean, who among us would not have a little bit of concern if we were living next door to that? You know, and of course, again, he's playing the character for purposes of the movie. But I think for that to happen in real life. Yeah, I don't think that was unreasonable for them to say, hey, how, how did you even get permission to do this? How did this come to fruition without anybody knowing about it? Yeah, I think it's a great point.

Mike: Catherine, since ESG is one of your main beats here, did you feel insulted that we are getting environmental stereotypes now with Walter Peck?

Catherine: I think we might be. He's just trying to protect our planet where we live.

Mike: Do you think that the messenger can get in the way of the message, then?

Catherine: Perhaps. But here is another character where I kind of didn't really care as much about him as some of the others, so.

Mike: Well, sure. I mean, he's the bad guy. I think he's the bigger bad guy tham Gozer. Gozer is an act of Sumerian gods. Gozer is going to do what Gozer is going to do. I think Walter Peck is the one who actually causes Gozer to get power by releasing all the ghosts all at once.

Catherine: This part might have to be edited out, but is this the character where they call him —?

Mike: Yes. Yes, it is true. Say one of the best line deliveries of the movie.

Catherine: I was watching a commentary and I guess the actor was mad because people on the street were just yell at him and they'd be like, "Oh, hey."

Steve: I remember as a kid watching that and thinking, "Oh, wow. Can you believe what he said?" That was a that was a big deal.

Mike: Think a good lesson in that scene is to if you think of a joke or an insult, don't show with your face what you're about to do. Keep it as emotionless and close to your vest. And then it hurts so much worse than if Bill Murray was snickering about it, I think. There's a reason he has a good reputation or one of the best reputations in comedy. And at that is his delivery is chef's kiss. I honestly think that's probably all about the environmental stuff we can talk about. So we're going to take another quick break and then come back and more Ghostbusters.

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So early in the episode we talked about what a massive legacy, both culturally, financially, comedically this movie has. And we talked about how Walter Peck, he's supposed to be a jerk. But looking at, I think, two characters that really stand out to me as what this movie is saying about men and how they relate to the world is Louis Tully and Peter Venkman, who is the ostensible hero of the film. Does the movie know most of its men are creeps? And do you agree with me that most of the dudes in this movie are freaking creeps?

Catherine: It feels, yeah. I mean, watching it now, today, the beginning seems a little creepy, right?

Mike: Oh, the very. Breaking every scientific standard and ethic and regulation when he's testing ESP?

Catherine: Yeah.

Mike: On college students!

Steve: But look I'm not justifying it, of course, but wasn't it funny like that poor college, the guy, right, who was getting it right or close to getting it right.

Mike: I think it's nuanced because I think Venkman, we meet him as a con, so we're supposed to be like, "Oh, this guy's a bit of a dirtbag." I don't think the movie has any rose-tinted glasses on. He is a dirtbag when he's working at the college. He harasses Dana and the movie goes back and forth with between being like Venkman's wrong. So like, I don't know, he's the hero. Look how charming he is, which I think is like Bill Murray's entire career is like, if anybody else did this, it would be such a dirtbag. But isn't he so sly and slick and maybe a heart of gold so he gets away with it?

Steve: Do you think that that may have been part of the sort of the arc or kind of the character building of him, that that may be the end. And, you know, this is a comedy. This isn't like a hero kind of story, but maybe it wouldn't have been so dramatic for him to sort of be the hero at the end if he hadn't started out as kind of the, you know, the creepy dirtbag at the beginning?

Mike: Yeah, that's a good point. He doesn't believe in any of this, even though he's part of the paranormal team at Columbia. He thinks it's all a joke. Life is kind of a joke to him. Anybody in authority is a joke, and he's you get to do what he wants. And by the end, he actually does care about this woman. And he obviously believes in the paranormal and supernatural.

Catherine: And this is what makes me want to watch the new one too just to see it from the women's point of view, if I would find more jokes funny than in this one.

Mike: Did you find there's a lot of jokes where the butt of the joke is like, look at this dumb broad?

Catherine: No, I mean, I still thought it was a fun movie, but it's definitely you can tell dudes wrote it.

Mike: Yeah. And even like the Louis Tully, he was, you know, he's nebbish. He's a creeper. He's stalking his neighbor, Dana. And maybe it's hard to meet somebody who looks like Sigourney Weaver. Maybe you're going to turn creepy a little bit. But both the dudes who interact with her don't treat her great.

Steve: I'll challenge that just a tiny bit. Do you think that Louis Tully ends up—I say this in air quotes—"stalking" his neighbor out of a sincere interest, almost like an innocent crush? Because I actually didn't get a ton of, I mean, it was weird that he knew when she was coming and going and like all of that stuff, but I didn't get nearly the same amount of just kind of downright deceptiveness and creepiness that Bill Murray exhibited at the beginning, right, with, you know, the whole ESP test or whatever. I mean, it's almost like Louis Tully was there in a place of kind of innocence and sincerity because of just sort of the socially awkward, geeky person that he was where Bill Murray was like, you know, Peter Venkman, rather, he was just straight out deceptive.

Mike: I think Venkman is more predatory, but I also think you can call something an innocent crush in like middle school. And then when it's adult man in his 30s who knows when his neighbor comes home and she has to try to quietly sneak by I'm going to say it's no longer innocent, even if his intentions aren't creepy. It it is creepy. And I think that's a lesson we all need to learn and that maybe we didn't know in the '80s.

Steve: That's fair. Catherine, did you perceive Louis Tully's awareness of, you know, when his neighbor was coming and going? Did you pick up on that as creepy or as just part of his his crush?

Catherine: I guess I didn't pick up on it as creepy, but I do have to make a confession that when I first watched the movie opening scene, I was bought in because it opens up in the New York Public Library, right? I like to read and write, so I was like, "Oh, this movie is amazing. Card catalogs? What?" And then it kind of went downhill from there for me. So I think I maybe wasn't paying attention to the rest of it until the Marshmallow Man came out, and then I got excited again and that was fun.

Steve: So, yeah, that's the whole movie.

Mike: Let's zoom out there because you're saying you liked the beginning and the end. Do you get why this is such a massive franchise and what it did for like horror comedy?

Catherine: Well, I suppose because I know the humor and I recognize characters and different lines from that movie. So.

Mike: Well, not do you recognize that it has impacted culture. Do you understand why it's impacted the culture? I guess. Do you get you're like, yes, this should be one of our biggest franchises. Or are you like, I can't believe that this is what turned into so many movies, cartoons, toys, etc.?

Catherine: I think at the time I did, and then just watching it again, I don't know if it lived up to my memories of it being like this amazing movie.

Mike: Steve, rebuttal?

Steve: Well, I think, I mean not to weave in anything, you know, not to weave in something that's completely unrelated. But actually think about my own experience recently of having watched the first Top Gun as an adult, as in, you know, this was within a matter of weeks watching that in preparation for the second one. You know, watching it as a mid-forties person who grew up in the '80s, who could certainly identify with the references and why that would have been really popular. I watch it now and it's like, "uhh." I mean, you know, I could see why people liked it back then. I had zero interest in ever watching that again, but could I see how people would have gotten into it back then? Yeah. And as I think about Ghostbusters, I actually suspect that was a lot of it was maybe not the adults. Maybe there were some adults at the time that like, Oh hey, this funny movie or whatever, but actually wonder if it was the kids and teenagers. Because I specifically remember thinking to myself, I was kind of a science-ish sort of interested kid. I had a chemistry set. I, you know, kind of got into that. And the fact that I could sort of, you know, put together this proton accelerator and build these cool things and go hunt ghosts or whatever, right? That was kind of a a sort of cool, neat kind of thing that as a kid you could identify with in a superhero-ish kind of way, but not like He-Man or, you know, Superman, or whatever, right?

Mike: They did it with the things they invented. Yeah, I think that's it. It's so dorks they solve the save their word with science. And at the same time they're both like that nerd stereotype, especially in the '80s, and the slacker stereotype because the whole time they're like giving the bird to the mayor and anybody who tells them what to do to like you're all wrong anyway, so I think it's that that slacker attitude plus nerd ability created people like me.

Steve Soter: Yeah, I don't think my mid-70s'-year-old father who was watching this 40 years ago as a 30-year-old, you know, whatever is like, "Oh, what a great movie." I mean, I don't know, maybe, but me as a kid, having seen it, you know, growing up, "Oh, hey, I have these really positive, you know, kind of vibes about the movie." Which feeds right into the fact that there had been all of these sequels and all these, you know, Nintendo games, for crying out loud. I mean, I love playing that. And truth is, as a video game, it sucked, but it was Ghostbusters and I was really into.

Mike: The 2009 video game is supposed to be pretty cool. They released screenshots like the gameplay stuff I've seen looks sweet. I'm going to look for it on the Switch. But yeah, I think again I'm somewhere in between the two. I get why it's huge. Watching this one as an adult, Catherine, I had the feeling because I loved the 2016 reboot and the world hated on it. And I have a big issues with that kind of toxic dude movie watcher. Rewatching this one, I was like, No, I was right. The new one is funnier. Like pound for pound. It has jokes. It does horror action better than this one does. This is "give a bunch of money to SNL guys and just have fun." And I think they might be too of that actual slacker vibe to like, make a tight, cohesive movie that fully works for me.

Catherine: Well, I'm going to watch the new one. You've persuaded me that I want to watch the new one.

Mike: I think more people should. Steve, how's Afterlife? How's Ghostbusters Afterlife?

Steve: Oh, I loved it. I loved it because, so here was the thing, And please don't group me within, you know, the toxic reactions to Afterlife. I guess I expected Afterlife to sort of be the kind of female version of all of the kind of both good and the bad that we were talking about the 1984 movie. That's sort of what I expected. But it wasn't that. It was a it was good, polished, right? I feel like Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, like, "Hey, what if we kind to put this idea together and, oh, my gosh, people are actually interested and oh, my gosh, here's some money and we can actually go film this. And, hey, Bill Murray actually said yes, holy crap." I don't think anybody was as surprised as them that the 1984 Ghostbusters got legs. And so, you know, it suddenly becomes this phenomenon. But for a lot of kind of weird reasons that we talked about, I expected Afterlife to kind of be the version of that. And it wasn't a bad movie. It just wasn't what I was expecting in relation to, you know, the 1984. Now if you see the brand new one—it's a year old or two old or whatever—that to me actually tied together all the kind of loose ends of the story and what happened to Ghostbusters and how do we sort of weave in this sort of same element of this, you know, supernatural activity and whatever? I actually thought it was a great, great movie that was kind of true to the 1984, you know, the first two, and then kind of tied it all together with what happened after the fact. So I'm not a hater of Afterlife, but it was such a different movie for me that I had a hard time kind of like piecing it together within just the whole, you know, Ghostbusters series.

Mike: That makes total sense. The only thing on is the Afterlife is the one that came out a year ago. Ghostbusters 2016 is the all women.

Steve: Oh, yeah. My bad. Sorry. So everything that I said just a second ago probably makes no sense.

Mike: I was tracking it and everybody could track. We have smart listeners.

Steve: Oh, well, thank you. Hopefully our listeners were tracking it.

Mike: All right. I think it is time to wrap up. We're going to jump right into awards. Catherine, what is the best accounting moment of the movie?

Catherine: Oh, gosh. I suppose the tax advice.

Mike: At the party?

Catherine: Yeah. It's tax advice by example by Louis.

Mike: Write off your cheese. Steve?

Steve: Well, I think it has to be that one because the movie is woefully lacking accounting moments, and that might be the only one, actually. So I guess it wins by default. I mean, are there others, Mike, that we're not remembering?

Mike: Well, give it up to the two of you. That probably is the most representative. The one I wrote down just to avoid that one is at the end when he is all bedraggled, Louis Tully—he has climbed out of the dog statue, the credits are like about to start. He's asking the Ghostbusters who does their books as they run away. I like that is like he is so in it that even though he almost died, he's just like, "Do you guys need an accountant?" So I did that for mine, but the party definitely takes it.

Steve: Good call.

Mike: All right, pound for pound.

Steve: You know what it was that attention to detail, right, Louis Tully to a T.

Mike: Maybe I have a lot of accountant in me perhaps. Though, I'm not good at numbers. Pound for pound performance, Steve?

Steve: Wait. What's the criteria for pound for pound performance?

Mike: No, no matter how much screen time they had who is the best?  Who clears and soars over the bar that they were given?

Steve: I actually think it's Winston.

Mike: I like that.

Steve: I actually think it's Winston. I mean, here's the thing, Peter Venkman, obviously, you know, it's a big deal and then, you know, whatever, Dan Aykroyd and Egon read it. But you would expect them to sort of deliver because, you know, they were the main characters. I actually really liked Winston. You know, like "Does it have a steady paycheck. I'll believe whatever you want, right?" I mean, like.

Mike: Just a dude who shows up.

Steve: Yes. I feel like he didn't get nearly enough play and actually didn't in the sequels and everything else that kind of came behind it. I feel like he kind of got shafted a little bit.

Mike: Yeah, I think part of that is because it was supposed to be Eddie Murphy who then didn't do it. So I'm sure the script said "and Eddie says something" and then they're like, "Oh, well, Ernie Hudson's great, but I don't know if he's Eddie Murphy."

Steve: Yep.

Mike: Yep. All right, Catherine pound for pound performance.

Catherine: I'll say Bill Murray because there are some line readings that he does that are perfection.

Mike: Yeah, he's great about the off the cuff. I'm giving it to Sigourney Weaver. I think that to play a normal person, which in my head she's just always Ripley from Alien, to not be an action hero just to be a cellist as you are, just a single cellist making your way through the world and then go into the Zuul. I think her switch from Dana to Zuul is amazing. All right. Final is choose your own adventure: best scene or worst scene or both if you have two off the top of your head. Catherine, what do you got?

Catherine: Opening with the library.

Mike: You loved the library. And I think it might be the scariest scene. I think the way they do the library and the screaming.

Catherine: Yeah, yeah. You could definitely see how they could have turned this into a full-on horror movie like Poltergeist or something. And instead, it's a comedy.

Mike: Steve?

Steve: That's a tough one. I feel like I watched that movie so many times. The entire movie is just like emblazoned in my head. I do think that that iconic moment where a lot of the memes are of where they're walking up to Gozer, and they kind of like in unison, right they sort of pull out the the whatever the wand is. Right? It's part of the proton accelerators or whatever. That to me is just a really kind of very iconic moment, kind of sticks. Its in a lot of memes. So I tend to see it quite often. So maybe that's why I'm a little more biased towards that.

Mike: I think my best scene is Venkman and Zuul. When he goes to think he's going on a date with Dana, and starting from the "Are you the key master?" "No" She just slams the door. Like, it's super funny. But also I think this is the pivot. He's no longer creepy because Zuul says, "I want you inside of me." And his reaction, one, made me laugh and, two, good reaction, dude, when somebody you're with is obviously not in their full mind who wants to sleep with you. He says. "It sounds like you've got at least two people in there. It might be a little crowded." Like his whole thing at that point is just like I need to take care of Dana. This is not a good situation. Like, I was impressed, and I thought it was the funniest scene out of all of them.

Steve: And maybe that's part of the that, that transformation, right? Peter Venkman. And I don't know, that actually hadn't occurred to me. Maybe they should have played that up a little bit in order to sort of fully overcome or get past the very deceptive, predatory creepiness that was, you know, evident in the beginning.

Mike: I buy that he has a subtle arc in the movie. That's that's the show. We did Ghostbusters.

Catherine: How did we get through the whole thing without even talking about the theme song?

Mike: What do you have to say?

Catherine: It's everywhere. That's all. Ray Parker Jr., that's all I have to say.

Mike: Fun fact. I don't know if the two of you know this. They went to Huey Lewis and the News and said, "Hey, can you write us the theme song?" And they said, "No." And then they got Ray Parker Jr. And said, "Hey, write a song that sounds like Huey Lewis and the News." And Huey Lewis is still pretty salty about it.

Catherine: Oh, interesting.

Steve: No kidding. I didn't know that.

Mike: I don't think the whole song sounds like Huey Lewis, but there's definitely aspects of it.

Steve: Oh, there definitely is aspects of it now that I'm connecting those dots. 100%.

Mike: All right. We did it. We did Ghostbusters. Big thanks to you, dear listener, for surfing along with us. Big thanks to Catherine Tsai and Steve Soter. This has been Off the Books presented by Workiva. Please subscribe. Leave a review. Rate. Tell a friend. Follow. Find it wherever you get podcasts. We are there. Feel free to drop us a line What are your thoughts about Ghostbusters? Did we get it right? Did we get it wrong? Should we have said more about Winston than the theme song? Let us know. Surf's up and we'll see you on the next wave.

GHOSTBUSTERS is a trademark of Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.

Nintendo is a registered trademark of Nintendo of America Inc.


Off the Books season 3


35 minutes


Steve Soter, Catherine Tsai, Mike Gravagno

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