The sad passing of Harold Ramis has a lot of us reflecting on the man’s fantastic body of work today.
For me, of all the great things Ramis did as a writer/director/actor, it’s “Ghostbusters” that has the most personal resonance, not because it’s necessarily the best film he was ever a part of, but because as a kid, it was one of those movies that really captured my imagination as an 8-year-old.
And the film’s soundtrack was a big part of that.
Who could ever forget Ray Parker Jr.’s theme song, which was as ubiquitous in the summer of 1984 as “Flashdance” inspired leotards.
Who you gonna call?
A lobotomist if you ever want to get that song out of your head.
Admit it, you’re singing it to yourself right now at its mere mention, aren’t you?
As such, the “Ghostbusters” soundtrack — on cassette, naturally — was a hot item for me in the third grade, and is the first soundtrack I remember just having to have.
All these years later, “Ghostbusters” doesn’t rank among my favorite soundtracks, but it was my introduction to them.
In honor of the door it opened, here are my top five favorite soundtracks.
What are yours?
— “Repo Man”: The greatest punk rock soundtrack ever, as in-your-face and assaultive as Otto, the film’s lead character, played with maximum ’tude by a young Emilio Estevez.
— “Paris, Texas”: Ry Cooder’s slide guitar work here is so achingly beautiful, it’s the perfect distillation of the heart-wrenching longing felt by the film’s lead character, played by Harry Dean Stanton, as he attempts to put the pieces of his life back together.
— “Natural Born Killers”: This Trent Reznor compiled collection was my introduction to Leonard Cohen and Diamanda Galas. That alone merits its inclusion on this list.
— “Gummo”: An open maw of black metal, death metal, noise and stoner rock every bit as jarring and disquieting as the film in question.
— “The Royal Tenenbaums”: A seemingly incongruous mix of punk (Ramones, The Clash), lachrymose singer-songwriters (Elliott Smith, Nick Drake), and ’60s pop (Paul Simon, Nico), united by their shared greatness and Mark Mothersbaugh’s one-of-a-kind score.
Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0476. Follow on Twitter @JasonBracelin.