February 25, 2014

Harold Ramis: A Personal Perspective

When I read that Harold Ramis had passed away, I was as surprised as many other people. Perhaps even a bit stunned (after all, my initial views of report of his demise were followed with the words "possibly a hoax").

It wasn't as if his illness was public knowledge, but I have to admit - he did seem to be a recurring meme in my life. (Did I just actually use the word meme in a casual blog). We shared similar backgrounds - grew up in Chicago, spent time in St. Louis (he was a student at Washington University; my story's a bit more complicated), and we both had involvement with Second City.

(Just pray you never have to read the "how my life is like Bob Newhart's" blog post. That's going to be painful).

Part of it was that many of his films (which he either wrote and/or directed) were part of my pop culture adolescence - so many that I will definitely forget one. For a guy at a Catholic grammar school (it was K - 8, so we didn't have any stinkin' middle school), it was catchphrase heaven: Stripes, Animal House, Caddyshack, Ghostbusters....and even as an adult, movies like Groundhog Day and Analyze This struck a deep chord....

....and that's Ramis' greatest gift - his ability to wrap high-minded themes around comedic stories. He was a deep thinker who didn't take himself too seriously. A man who had some high-minded goals....but also realized that they needed to be placed in entertaining contexts.

This is still....like many others, I have "the feels" (a phrase that I think should be outlawed). I'm really grieving this one, but only because Ramis was more than just another actor/writer director....he was more like a kindred spirit.

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