Cleanin’ Up The Town review: an excellent Ghostbusters documentary

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A terrific documentary digging into the original Ghostbusters film, here’s our review of Cleanin’ Up The Town.

For the past year or so, I’ve put together a weekly podcast that aims to dig into the stories behind films. It’s a lot of work, with the amount of research required comfortably dwarfing the amount of time spent recording. But I’m a rank amateur next to Claire and Anthony Bueno, whose exhaustive digging into the story behind the first Ghostbusters film sets a high watermark for films of this ilk.

The pair have spent around a decade on the project, and in just over 90 minutes pull together a huge collection of talking heads associated with the movie. From the librarian at the start of the film to the effects experts behind the scenes, they gather together a host of insights. And they also get on camera chats with front of house stars such as Dan Aykroyd and the late Harold Ramis. Director Ivan Reitman too. Some of the nuggets they dig up are known, others less so, the way it’s all threaded and told hugely impressive. Anecdotes such as why John Candy never took a role in the film are delivered by the people who were there, and there’s a logical but disciplined structure to the way the production’s evolution is relayed (right through to names missing from the end credits). Furnishing the film is extensive behind-the-scenes material to enhance the stories being told, and the Buenos supplant that with modern bridging visuals too.

I really enjoyed this. There are some gaps – the absence of Bill Murray is perhaps to be expected, but still a shame – but countering that, to see the late Harold Ramis talking about the film exclusively for this documentary is wonderful.

It’s a warm love letter to the movie, affectionate but not without criticism, and a very good film in its own right too.

Cleanin’ Up The Town arrives in UK cinemas in January.

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