Over a decade ago, I was visiting my dad from college. We went to the gym together in Deerfield, Illinois. Then he pointed out Harold Ramis, actor, director, and writer of such gems as Groundhog Day, Bedazzled, and of course, Ghostbusters.
I summoned the courage to speak to him and ask him if he would ever be interested in speaking to college students. He said sure and gave me his work email. I let my professor and communications department know. It never came to be, but I remember how warm Mr. Ramis was.
For the next couple of years, he went to the gym regularly to get fit for a new film, rumored to be Ghostbusters 3. Then something happened, he was sick and very weak. Of course, the gym never told us, but my dad and I witnessed him trying to build up his strength with his personal trainer.
We kept up pleasantries, and I moved to New Zealand for a year. My dad came to visit me, and we were taking a vacation to Sydney. I remember it so clearly, we were getting breakfast at the hotel, and I checked Twitter, and the news came that Harold Ramis died on February 24, 2014.
My dad and I were so sad to hear the news. I immediately sent a condolence email to his work since I still had it. They were very nice and thanked me for getting in touch with them. Two years later, an all-female Ghostbusters came out, and there were haters. From what I could gather, it was not a remake or to be “woke” or anything like that. They were really planning a third film with the original cast, but when Mr. Ramis passed, they stopped. Probably, they thought, “Well, why stop altogether? We can’t do it without him, but what if we sort of do it differently?” I personally felt the 2016 version is not great, but it isn’t bad either. It is cute and fun.
Then the impossible happened: Jason Reitman, son of the Ivan Reitman, will direct and co-write a new Ghostbuster film. He was adamant about never doing such a film. There would be no possible win to it. The original is a classic. A generation grew up on it. But then even more impossible: the film was a success!
I recently watched it, and I remember hearing from reviewers that they laughed and, by the end, not a dry eye in the house. That is still true for me. Jason Reitman, the cast, and crew did Ramis, the fans, and his father proud.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife not only allowed a new generation to enjoy a story but let those who love the original have a cathartic goodbye and welcome a new storyline. For me, there was the added memory of having a personal connection to Mr. Ramis and the fact that my late father was with me during those interactions. This film was about a father and his daughter. I was thinking of my dad and thinking of how Ivan Reitman recently passed but was able to see the final piece of his son’s work. So yes, it is more sentimental for me, but I do think this film is a true treasure.
*All images are from imdb.com