On Bill Murray Preventing a Train Wreck

When I was a child, I vividly remember my father telling me about the life cycle of an artist. There are only so many stories an artist has to tell and after that it is all repetition and rehashing of stories that he or she has already told. When that time comes, it is incumbent on the artist to recognize this and step aside for other artists to come and tell their stories.  This recognition does not get acknowledged when it takes place in the film industry. Based on some of the dreck that has been excreted upon the silver screen in the last handful of years some would say there is oblivion in this department. Not so with SuperGenius Bill Murray, who starred in the two Ghostbusters films and does not seem too keen in helping a third one get made.

Don’t get me wrong — the original Ghostbusters film was brilliant. It is a film to which I can turn any time I want a reliable laugh. It’s not a mind-blowing epic drama or film saga as Star Wars was, or even the Lord of the Rings films, but it still got me wanting to come back time and time again. I was even thrilled as a kid when, a number of years after the original film was out, a sequel got people lining up at the box office once again. See, kids, the box office was where we older folk got our tickets before robotic kiosks started thermally spitting them out and people printed them at home on their twenty dollar printers with fifty dollar ink.

Should there be a third Ghostbusters film? The question is why is there a need for a third film? It has been nearly two decades since the second film and not everyone involved in the making of that was even particularly thrilled — notably, Bill Murray. See this clip from David Letterman for more details on this notion.

In a more recent interview, Murray reveals that he didn’t like the way that the second film turned out and that even though a third film has been scripted, he has not read the script yet.

It doesn’t take a genius of the level of the scientists turned ghostbusters from the films to know that when someone avoids reading your script, what he is really telling you in not so subtle ways is that it is not a script that should get made.

Feeling as though you “owe” the scriptwriter is fine and dandy, but let’s be honest — if Bill Murray had wanted the third film to get made, it would have gotten made a long time ago. Rather, he saw that it had the potential to tarnish the whole series and so rather than allow the trainwreck to occur, he derailed it early on and keeps stalling so that nobody has to suffer.

We applaud this bold decision by Bill Murray to stop even more fetid material from reaching our screens and draining our wallets while not amusing us.

7 comments

  • I like Bill’s take on this, Gordon. You can’t play the same moment twice — let alone three times!

  • It’s definitely refreshing to see someone taking the stance that Bill Murray is taking in regards to Ghostbusters 3; some franchises should be left alone. Tron: Legacy was made almost 30 years after its predecessor; many of the people who saw Legacy weren’t even alive when the original was in theatres. As such, the newer generation of moviegoers will likely base their opinion of the Tron franchise only on the most recent movie; it’s quite likely that’s exactly what would happen to the Ghostbusters franchise, as well.

    It’s been almost 22 years since Ghostbusters 2 hit the silver screen, and even though it’s easier than ever to gain access to older movies with Netflix, hulu.com, Redbox, etc., Ghostbusters just isn’t in the public’s collective consciousness anymore. Ghostbusters 2 was released a full five years after the original (which seems like forever compared to how quickly follow-up films are released these days) but Ghostbusters was still relevant at the time and many people that had seen the original still went to see the sequel. As I said earlier, after this much time has passed, it’s likely that the Ghostbusters franchise would be judged solely on its most recent addition, which is just unfair.

    Sorry for being so verbose.

    • Verbose isn’t bad when it’s well written verbosity as yours is, Ricky — great comment and quite well appreciated. I fear that you are too right. People have a very short memory and when young moviegoers make up the bulk of the audience, the history of a movie series means little even if a number in the title indicates that other films came before it.

  • Hello, I stumbled upon this wonderful blog by accident.

    I have to agree with the general sentiment here. My own take is that if there was no intention or overwhelming other reason therefore that is it. Is it not the manifesto of “an artist” to create for arts’ sake? We all understand that people make business out of these and there is a lot of money to be made and everyone needs an income. We also know that there are artists out there who end up as sad spectacles because they wish to live that moment again and again. Based on all of these, we can therefore applaud Bill Murray for being a true Artist with a capital “A”.

    I live and have grown-up in Gibralta and there is a prudent saying here that came from the many (and I understand tiring and endless) WWII morale boosting shows for allied troops. “The Show must go on ….. by someone else”. In that spirit, give another five or so years and perhaps a new generation can “remake” Ghostbusters.

    D Charles QC

  • Pingback: Why Bad Movie Sequels Are Made | Celebrity Semiotic

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