My Harold Ramis Movie Marathon

LEGO CUUSOO Ghostbusters Ecto-1I am sensitive to words these days. Especially since a lot of people throw them around haphazardly. This is never more true than when someone describes an artist with words like “brilliant,” “genius,” or “hilarious.”

Brilliant. Andy Warhol was so brilliant. Really? If you make me believe that in thirty minutes, I’ll buy you a car.

Genius. This one comes with a whole string of adjectives: i.e., musical, literary, comic. Mozart was a musical genius. I agree, but I don’t really know why. Do you? Joyce was a literary genius. Yes, he probably was, but are you saying that because you’ve done an in-depth study of his work or because you can’t understand it and you’ve heard everyone else say he was a genius?

Hilarious. Lenny Bruce was hilarious. No, he really wasn’t. I mean it, go look him up on YouTube and watch five minutes of his stand up. Daring, yes. Groundbreaking, yes. Important, yes. Hilarious, no.

Every once in a while a person comes along who really deserves these words, since they somehow amaze or thrill us. And Harold Ramis was one of these people. He was, in fact, the man.

In a popcorn and cookie fueled homage to him this weekend, I will watch the following films and laugh at the hilarious antics and scenarios and the brilliant dialogue of a true comic genius.

Back to School

Ramis wrote this tale of a rags-to-riches goofball millionaire going back to college in his late sixties. Rodney Dangerfield plays that goofball. Sam Kinison is one of Dangerfield’s, um, intense instructors and Kurt Vonnegut writes a paper about himself. And gets a F.

Need I say more?


The one that started it all. Many people forget that Ramis directed this first installment of the modern classic comedy series. Actually, more people probably forget that it was written by John Hughes and is based on a short story of his called Vacation ‘58. This film introduces the iconic goober Clark W. Griswold as he embarks on a cross-country drive to Wally World with his family. Hilarity ensues – yes, actual hilarity, not Lenny Bruce “hilarity.”

This film has a number of classic scenes, characters, and quotable quotes. Also, it features the “This is crazy” dance. Just watch it.

Caddy Shack

“There will be no money, but on your death-bed you will receive total consciousness. So I got that going for me…which is nice.”

This film is a classic. Bill Murray’s largely ad-libbed role, Ted Knight as the fussy pants he played so well, Rodney Dangerfield’s quips (again, but hey, he was good at it). Also, you get to see 1970s, um, pubic fashion, Chevy Chase before he was a total dickhead and hear the word “negro,” in such a way that it doesn’t require an immediate retraction and apology. This movie should be in some hall of fame reserved for films that break social convention just enough to make you pee your pants but not enough to cause people from Florida to start praying for our souls.

Groundhog Day

This might be Ramis’ masterpiece – masterpiece being another word that’s thrown around too often, by the way. But this is where everything really came together. It is a gut-busting funny film, it makes you care about a jerk, and it’s got Bill Murray. Again. Further, it is poignant and makes you think about life without shoving a moral down your throat.

Not only is this Ramis’ masterpiece, it is a masterpiece. It’s one of the greatest comedies of all time and I’m not the only one who thinks so. It has been added to the United States National Film Registry for its cultural and historical significance. Its plot has been linked to Buddhism, purgatory, and the term Groundhog Day has become military slang for a bad situation that never ends. Sort of like any Andy Warhol film I had to watch.

It is his magnum opus. I shall now go kick my own ass for using Latin in a blog.


This is one of my favorite films of all time and a real comedy classic. It has giant dogs, a catchy tune, and John Belushi’s ghost. It is a teacher of life lessons, such as: “When someone asks if you’re a god, you say yes!”

But besides that, it is just a bubbling cauldron of nostalgia for me.

I will never forget seeing this in a theater on a rainy afternoon in the summer of 1984 (I. Am. So. Old). Immediately after seeing this film my friend Eddie and I began searching for ghosts everywhere. We became obsessed with finding and fighting ghosts. We created a supernatural investigation club (E&D Investigations, bankrupt 1986), and tramped through the woods, scoured attics and basements and never saw a thing.

We did, however, send each other into feverish fits of self-induced horror and hilarity. Then we ate cereal.

What would you watch in your Harold Ramis movie marathon?  

  1. #1 by PJ on February 27, 2014 - 8:06 pm

    Perfectly said.

    • #2 by Damien Galeone on February 28, 2014 - 9:37 am

      Thank you sir. I think we should meet today for a shot to Mr. Ramis. Or a shot to Friday. Or air. Whatever. Let’s just have a shot!

  2. #3 by Lonnie P on February 27, 2014 - 9:23 pm

    Fantastic stuff here Damien. I’ll add Meatballs. I believe he at least co-wrote that. The “it just doesn’t matter” Bill Murray scene is worth it alone since it is the best motivational speech I’ve ever heard. It basically was the mantra of the Pittsburgh Pirates for the past 20+ years!

    • #4 by Damien Galeone on February 28, 2014 - 9:38 am

      hahahaha. A long fly ball to deep…oh it doesn’t matter, the Pirates are 12-128. Agreed on Meatballs and I was hoping someone would put it on the list. Thanks for grabbing it.

  3. #5 by Mary Widdicks on February 27, 2014 - 9:50 pm

    I can’t agree more about Joyce. I’ve said many times before that Finnegan’s Wake is actually more a product of Syphilis than of genius. But maybe that’s just me. Anyway brilliant post 😉

    And my marathon would have to include Animal House.

    • #6 by Damien Galeone on February 28, 2014 - 9:39 am

      Animal House is a must, Mary. Agreed! And really, what great art isn’t a result of syphilis?

  4. #7 by greg galeone on February 27, 2014 - 10:36 pm

    great post damo. but take it from your old man-You.Are.Not.That.Old.

    • #8 by Damien Galeone on February 28, 2014 - 9:39 am

      Thanks Dad! Although, right now, after the first run of the season yesterday I feel very old. Mainly in the back, neck, knees, and soul areas. oof.

  5. #9 by Lee Adams on February 28, 2014 - 7:46 pm

    Ok, in honor of the man, I will add Bedazzled. I loved that flick. Especially as a language teacher.

  6. #10 by Eddie on March 4, 2014 - 2:32 am

    Bluto’s Pearl Harbor Speach in animal house is up there with Murray’s Just doesn’t Matter. Ghostbusters so nostalgic! never gets old!

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