Ghostbusters is one of the most successful, and most loved, films to come out of the 1980s. In Cleanin’ Up the Town Remembering Ghostbusters director Anthony Bueno and his sister and co-writer Claire Bueno dive deep into the story behind the film, from the stories of Dr. Samuel Ackroyd, dentist, psychic investigator and great grandfather of Dan Ackroyd through its surprising success, beating out Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and becoming one of the biggest grossing films in history.
In production since 2008 and over two hours long, with more to come, Too Hot to Handle: Remembering Ghostbusters II is currently in pre production, the makers of Cleanin’ Up the Town took a very deep dive. Given the fine line between interesting and overkill, is the Buenos’ film bueno or no bueno?
Over forty of the film’s cast and crew including Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, Annie Potts, director Ivan Reitman, and producers Joe Medjuck and Michael C. Gross. The film’s visual effects crew is represented by Richard Edlund, John Bruno and editor Sheldon Kahn. The late Harold Ramis and David Margulies appear in interviews shot before their deaths. The only major cast members not involved with Cleanin’ Up the Town are Rick Moranis and, unsurprisingly, Bill Murray. Murray does appear in archival footage, however.
These people have a lot of interesting stories to share from the way the story changed, it was originally a science fiction film set on a spaceship in 2012, thirty years into the future at that point, to the script that was eventually filmed. Along with that went changes in the planned cast of the film caused by the death of John Belushi and John Candy pricing himself out of a role. There’s also footage of Daryl Hannah and Denise Crosby auditioning for the part that would go to Sigourney Weaver.
Thankfully most of those interviewed are good storytellers, nothing is worse than a documentary filled with dull talking heads. The more interviews you have, especially with behind-the-scenes personnel who may not have experience being interviewed, the more you risk this happening. And Cleanin’ Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters devotes a lot of time to these frequently overlooked crewmembers.
In fact, a large part of the film is devoted to the effects crew. From the guys who animated the proton streams to the artists who sculpted the Terror Dogs and brought them to life. And, of course, the creation of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Many of these were groundbreaking for the time and had to be done on a relatively short schedule for a film like this back in the days before CGI.
The obvious pride and affection all of those interviewed feel for Ghostbusters is matched by the obvious affection the Buenos have for the film. As a result Cleanin’ Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters is as much a celebration of the film as it is a documentary on the making of it. And that feeling is contagious, you can feel the excitement when Sigourney Weaver talks about how she threw herself into the role of Dana. Or when Ray Parker Jr. talks about the challenge of writing a song around the word “Ghostbusters”. Sadly we don’t get to hear the song itself, presumably due to cost and copyright reasons.
While a shorter version has previously played on Crackle, it’s the full two-hour version of Cleanin’ Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters that will be released to select theatres on October 1st, and On Demand on October 5th via Screen Media . You can the film’s website or Facebook page for details.
Pair Cleanin’ Up the Town up with something like Wolfman’s Got Nards, Best Worst Movie, and/or Leviathan: The Story Of Hellraiser And Hellbound: Hellraiser II and have fun geeking out.