Remembering director Ivan Reitman with his 10 essential movies

Can a movie about paranormal creatures that crawled out of the darkness and scared civilians still be hilarious? Ivan Reitman proved that such a film can exist. His most notable film was ghost hunters (1984). With his signature song, “Who you gonna call?” of Ray Parker Jr., ghost hunters is a staple of pop culture.

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However, this was not Reitman’s first film, his first directed film was a short, titled Orientation (1968) which depicted the life of university students. Reitman directed and produced a diverse assortment of comedies, including a political comedy, before his death on February 12, 2022, at the age of 75. To truly understand Reitman’s creativity and artistic range, it is essential to watch some of his films.

“Draft Day” (2014)


Kevin Costner in
Image via Summit Entertainment

draft day (2014) kicked off with one of the most stressful days for Sonny Weaver Jr. (Kevin Costner), the general manager of the Cleveland Browns. Decisions made on NFL draft day have impacted not only the upcoming seasons of professional sports teams, but also the future of several athletes. Any erroneous or uncalculated moves could jeopardize Sonny’s job security.

draft day (2014) was outside of Reitman’s usual lineup of films, but draft day demonstrated Reitman’s ability to deliver drama that anticipated the pressures of meeting expectations or taking risks. draft day the focus was not on the athletes but on the people working behind the scenes, such as the analysts.

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“Evolution” (2001)


David Duchovny, Seann William, Scott Orlando Jones in
Image via Columbia Pictures

David Duchovnyknown for his notable role as Fox Mulder in the television series the X-Files (1993-2018, starred as Dr. Ira Kane in the film Evolution (2001). Dr. Ira Kane and Professor Harry Phineas Block (Orlando Jones) investigated a meteor that struck Earth in Arizona. As they began to analyze the meteor, they saw that the meteor was oozing an unidentifiable substance.

The more they examined the meteor, the more strange specimens evolved near the meteor. Evolution (2001) captures the sci-fi aesthetic of ghost hunters (1984), but rather than focusing on ghosts, Evolution proposed the possibility of extraterrestrial and human contact.


“Six Days Seven Nights” (1998)


Harrison Ford and Anne Heche standing on an island in
Image via Caravan Pictures

In six days seven nights (1998), Robin Monroe (Anne Heche) was assigned to cover a story about Tahiti and hoped she would be back on vacation with her future fiancé in no time. His flight took a slight detour when the plane crashed on an island during a storm. Robin and Quinn Harris (Harrison Ford) were stuck on the island.

Robin and Quinn probably thought of themselves as the last person they wanted to be stuck on an island with. Reitman’s six days seven nights had less drama like in the movie Castaway (2000), but still contains the same amount of adventures.

“Father’s Day” (1997)


Billy Crystal and Robin Williams in
Image via Warner Bros.

What is a way to find a missing person? In Fathers Day (1997), Colette Andrews (Nastasja Kinski) convinced two men, Dale Putley (Robin Williams) and Jack Lawrence (billy crystal) to help him find his son. Collette previously had a relationship with both of them, so when she told each of them separately that they might be the father of her missing son, they didn’t seem to really question it. However, Dale and Jack realized that they were both looking for the same person.

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Reitman’s Fathers Day (1997) was based on the movie remake Freinds (1983) or The ComDads. A slight difference between the two films was the professions the two would-be fathers had. In Fathers Day, Dale was a writer and Jack was a lawyer, while in Freinds, one of the men was a journalist while the other was a teacher.

‘Junior’ (1994)


Danny Devito and Arnold Schwarzenegger in
Picture via Universal Pictures

In Junior (1994), Dr. Larry Arbogast (Danny DeVito) and Dr. Alex Hesse (Arnold Schwarzenegger) were about to make a breakthrough. They developed a drug that would minimize the chances of a mother losing her baby or having a miscarriage. To test their drug, Dr. Arbogast conducted an experiment by injecting the drug into Dr. Hesse.

What were the side effects of this experience? One of the side effects was that Dr. Hesse was pregnant. As the story progressed, with the narrative at a steady pace, more side effects were revealed. These side effects were similar to those most women experience when pregnant. Along with the side effects, it became harder to hide Dr. Hesse’s pregnancy.

‘David’ (1993)


Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver in
Image via Warner Bros.

Everyone is said to have at least six to seven look-alikes in the world. David Kovic (Kevin Kline) could have been the luckiest man in the world. One of these lookalikes was Bill Mitchell, the President of the United States in the film. David (1993). When President Mitchell fell into a coma, Chief of Staff Bob Alexander (Frank Langelle) wanted to make sure that this news did not reach the public.

So he decided, along with communications director Alan Reed (Kevin Dunn) that they would hire Dave to be the president’s replacement. Very few presidential staff knew of the replacement, but those who did were suspicious of the president’s new behavior and decisions. Reitman’s movie David could be compared to the movie The parent trap (1998), except that the stakes are much higher.

“Kindergarten Cop” (1990)


Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hunt in
Picture via Universal Pictures

In kindergarten cop (1990), cop John Kimble (Schwarzenegger) knew he could finally catch Cullen Crisp, a drug dealer. All Officer Kimble needed was Crisp’s ex-wife to testify against Crisp. The problem was that he didn’t know the ex-wife’s name, but did know the school his son went to. To catch him, Kimble posed as an undercover substitute kindergarten teacher.

Schwarzenegger usually stars in action-packed films such as The Terminator franchise, Predator (1987), or Evacuation plan (2013). He almost always portrays tough and fearless characters. In Reitman’s films, Schwarzenegger was able to express his comedic side, and his character realized that controlling a group of high-energy 5-year-olds can be just as difficult as fighting crime.


Robert Redford and Debra Winger in
Picture via Universal Pictures

legal eagles (1986) focused on the court case, where Chelsea Deardon (Daryl Hannah) was accused of stealing a painting. Assistant District Attorney Tom Logan (Robert Redford) and Chelsea lawyer Laura Kelly (Debra Winger) had planned to prove Chelsea’s innocence. However, the case didn’t seem as cut and dried as it first appeared, as Chelsea were also soon charged with murder.

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Tom and Laura had different approaches to investigating the case. They usually worked on opposite sides of the law and their client did not share all of her information with them. legal eagles was not just courtroom drama, but interwoven both romantic and comedic narrative.

“Ghostbusters” (1984)


Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson in
Image via Columbia Pictures

ghost hunters (1984) is a timeless classic. When strange, unexplainable paranormal activity took place on the streets of New York, there was only one team capable of getting the job done: The Ghostbusters. The Ghostbusters were made up of parapsychologists, Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Dr. Raymond Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), and Dr. Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis). After being fired from their jobs in college, they started their own company under the name “Ghostbusters”. Ghostbusters has put an end to all the paranormal spirits that haunt New York.

30 years after the remake ghost hunters (2016) was released with a female team of Ghostbusters. After the remake, was a sequel to the ghost hunters (1984), and Ghostbusters II (1989) films titled Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021). Murray, Aykroyd and Ramis reprized their roles in Ghostbusters: Afterlife.

‘Stripes’ (1981)


Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Joe Flaherty in
Image via Columbia Pictures

In Grooves (1981) was the final straw for taxi driver John Winger (Murray) when his fickle last client called him a “tramp” and told him he wouldn’t stand for anything. Soon after, he lost his job, his car, his apartment and his girlfriend left him echoing the similar reminder that the client said before, that he will stand for nothing.

With nothing to lose, he joins the army with his friend Russell Zimsky (Ramis). The film, Grooves, employed slapstick comedic techniques that exaggerated the definition of professional soldiers. However, it has become the perfect place for John and Russell, as they don’t seem like the type of soldiers who would fight on the front lines. Grooves was not like typical war movie viewers would likely find on Netflix.

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