Cruise Ship Director Julie here giving my two cents.
I love Harold Ramis. Whether writing, acting or directing, the man makes me laugh and ponder the facts of life, all at once. Ghostbusters is one of those movies that also stands the test of time. I love this movie -- I won't lie -- and could watch it once a week if I had the time to devote to it. Funny lines like, "I collect molds, spores and fungus." and "Back-off man. I'm a scientist." and "So be good for goodness sake, wo-ah, somebody's comin'." and the whole bit with Ray and Winston pondering Revelations just hits home no matter how many hundreds of times I've seen the movie. The ultimate story of good prevailing over evil and sacrificing your life to save the lives of many resonates with most people, as do the love stories between Dana and Peter and Egon and Janine (no matter how hokey). Fear often holds us back in life, but we relate to these characters that conquer fear and find each other in the end. Plus the movie's damn funny.
Second, I watch Groundhog Day whenever I have a chance. Perhaps its my belief in reincarnation that draws me to it. The idea that you can perfect your life over time by reliving it over and over again. But here Ramis simplifies the idea even more -- what if you were doomed to relive the same day forever? In Groundhog Day Phil Connors is a flawed human being and isn't ready for love with Andy McDowell's character (btw, I hate Andy McDowell, but I love this movie so much I forgive her mediocrity). Phil is stuck on the same day, Groundhog Day, for approximately 10 years, according to Ramis. So, Phil essentially goes through the stages of grief. He's in denial, he's angry, he tries to trick or bargain his way out, he goes through depression, and then finally he accepts his fate. In acceptance he reworks himself into a better person and stops using the girl as his motivation to live. Simplified: Phil betters himself for him and only then, as a result, he gets the girl. This is a paradigm by which we all should live. I know we've often heard it -- don't do this or that because you think it'll get you what you want, but do it for you. I think I love Groundhog Day because it reminds me that we all should be the best people we can be with no other motivation than to do it for ourselves -- not for recognition, wealth, power, or love, but for our own well-being. Naive? Maybe. But if nothing else, it's also a damn funny movie.
I must make an honorable mention to another Harold Ramis movie that is often forgotten. Stealing Home stars Mark Harmon, Harold Ramis and Jodi Foster. Harmon is facing the end of his baseball career and Ramis is his best friend. Jodi Foster embodies his past in that she was once his best friend and love and he finds out she has committed suicide and he is charged with scattering her ashes. This movie is Harmon's character's rumination on his life, not just with Foster, but overall and helps him re-allign himself and get back on track. Ramis' character also goes through points of reflection and philosophizing and he is excellent in his supporting role. More a drama than a comedy, this movie makes the viewer reflect on what's important in life. That's probably why I like it. Plus it has Ramis in it, so it can't be bad!
Other movies that I recommend that have that all-important Ramis factor: He acted in Stripes, Orange County (it's fluff, but funny fluff)and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story; He wrote the screenplays for Animal House, Caddyshack, Armed & Dangerous, Back to School, Analyze This and Bedazzled (a guilty pleasure): Lastly he Directed National Lampoon's Vacation.
Look for my next post soon, Bill Murray: An Under-rated, Broken Man