Ray Has Gone Bye Bye
Date of Assessment: December 17, 2010
Positive Buzzwords: "SNL" original, Blues Brothers, Ghostbusters
Negative Buzzwords: 1990-present, Ghostbusters III
The Case: An entity like Dan Aykroyd demands a different type of evaluation than most of our assessment subjects. With Aykroyd, one must acknowledge that he's enjoyed quite a long moneymaking career in Hollywood, but the vast majority of his acting credits spawn from unwatchable films. It's bloody obvious that his best days have long since passed and there is no hope for his future, so let's talk in terms of legacy, shall we?
In comparison to his founding "SNL" colleagues, Aykroyd's presence has always been overpowered by the likes of Bill Murray (who can do no wrong), John Belushi (whose early demise saved him from his brother's fate in sitcom hell), and (to a degree) Chevy Chase (who enjoyed a couple of rather banal but long-lived franchises). Then, there's Dan Aykroyd, who had a few big hits (we'll get to those in a moment) but primarily plodded through a series of buddy movies like The Great Outdoors, Spies Like Us, and Dragnet. Sure, Aykroyd received an Oscar nomination for his supporting role in Driving Miss Daisy, but that accomplishment can be swiftly counterbalanced with a failed attempt to direct with Nothing But Trouble. He also participated in a short-lived sitcom ("Soul Man") and took on bit roles in Grosse Point Blank, Pearl Harbor, 50 First Dates, and I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry; none of these late-breaking career entries have generated a level of audience goodwill that would allow Aykroyd to possibly headline movies again. Hell, even at Aykroyd's height of fame, he couldn't really headline movies either, for he was reduced to second fiddle alongside Eddie Murphy in Trading Places. You do remember that underappreciated bit of Russian Formalism, correct?
Yes, Aykroyd is the brain behind Ghostbusters, The Blues Brothers, and Coneheads. While those three franchises carry vastly different levels of nostalgia, there's still something to be said about sentimentality. Then again, Aykroyd is also the same man who wants to destroy all that is decent and holy by making Ghostbusters III. If you haven't figured this out by now, I've got a serious problem with the prospect of a third Ghostbusters movie, although I wouldn't go so far to call it an "ethical" problem, since I'm not that presumptuous. Okay, maybe I am, but for those who honestly believe that bringing back the proton packs would be a good thing, let's just look at Aykroyd's record at reviving old franchises: Blues Brothers 2000. Need I say more?
Quite simply, Ghostbusters should have stood alone in the first place. Ghostbusters II certainly had its charms but failed to live up the momentum or appeal of the first movie. So how does making a third movie necessarily sound any better, other than as a mere money grab? While I certainly appreciate the idea of making money and admire Aykroyd's entrepreneurial sense, he's obviously depleted his potential to forge on within the film industry, and his efforts are best suited to outside endeavors. After all, he recently made a tidy profit off selling his House of Blues clubs, and he's got some money coming in from his own Crystal Skull Vodka and winery nonsense. But nothing good can come from pushing forth with Ghostbusters III, especially since the only possible reason that Aykroyd's pushing so hard is because he can't see past the dollar signs in his greedy little eyes. C'mon, this won't be a nostalgia trip, it will be a massively-budgeted crap (taken in post-production 3-D) taken upon the chest of Ghostbusters fans.
Further, Aykroyd really needs to stop badgering Bill Murray into accepting a role within "his nightmare." Such tactics only stir up bad juju, particularly when Aykroyd opens an all-scale media war over the topic by calling Murray a jerk (and now Ernie Hudson's been ranting away to the same effect). Seriously, leave Bill Murray out of this mess. He's moved on. He's in a better place now. And Dan Aykroyd needs to move on as well and accept the fact that, essentially, Ray has gone bye bye:
Prognosis: Dan Aykroyd could someday have been (generously) referred to as a Hollywood legend if he'd only have quit Hollywood a few decades ago. If this had happened, Aykroyd could live off the proceeds of his vodka, wine, and crazy ass UFO beliefs while making occasional cameo appearances for friends in high places. Instead, Aykroyd shall appear this weekend as the voice of Yogi Bear; and, ultimately, he will destroy the Ghostbusters franchise. You've been warned.
Agent Bedhead lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She and her little black heart can be found at agentbedhead.com.