Harold Ramis Quotes

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Everything we see has some hidden message. A lot of awful messages are coming in under the radar - subliminal consumer messages, all kinds of politically incorrect messages...

I`d like to think I`d never do a gratuitous fart joke.

How one handles success or failure is determined by their early childhood.

At first I would get mail saying, `Oh, you must be a Christian because the movie (Groundhog Day (1993)) so beautifully expresses Christian belief.` Then rabbis started calling from all over, saying they were preaching the film as their next sermon. And the Buddhists! Well, I knew they loved it because my mother-in-law has lived in a Buddhist meditation centre for 30 years and my wife lived there for five years. - remarks to the New York Times on the ecumenical popularity of Groundhog Day (1993).

That`s one of the great things about DVD: In addition to reaching people who didn`t catch the movie in theaters, you get to have this interaction of sorts.

No matter what I have to say, I`m still trying to say it in comedic form.

I feel a big obligation to the audience, almost in a moral sense, to say something useful. If I`m going to spend a year of my life on these things, I want something that I feel that strongly about.

I had a lot of fun working with John Candy. We had a pretty good rapport.

I`m not a believer in the pratfall. I don`t think it`s funny just to have someone fall down.

Whenever a critic mentions the salary of an actor, I`m thinking, He`s not talking about the movie.

You can`t not have feelings about country clubs, whichever side you`re on.

I used to be married to a woman who pursued every spiritual trend with tremendous passion and dragged me along. I don`t believe in anything. I`d seen mediums and readers.

The cutting room is where you discover the optimal length of the movie.

The first comedy screenplay that I wrote was Animal House and I always thought I could and should be a director but no one was about to give me that opportunity on Animal House.

My first few films were institutional comedies, and you`re on pretty safe ground when you`re dealing with an institution that vast numbers of people have experienced: college, summer camp, the military, the country club.

I never read Playboy before I started working there and stopped reading it the day I quit.

I always claim that the writer has done 90 percent of the director`s work.

Everything we see has some hidden message. A lot of awful messages are coming in under the radar - subliminal consumer messages, all kinds of politically incorrect messages...

Acting is all about big hair and funny props... All the great actors knew it. Olivier knew it, Brando knew it.

Multiplicity was a movie that tested really well. People seeing the movie really liked it, but then the studio couldn`t market it. We opened on a weekend with nine other films.

I never work just to work. It`s some combination of laziness and self-respect.

We were tremendously encouraged by the testing of Analyze That. Audiences loved it. They were telling us that they liked it as much as the original. We recorded the laughs in the theater.

We all wish we could be in more than one place at the same time. People with families feel guilty all the time-if we spend too much time with our family, we feel we`re not working hard enough.

With both Caddyshack and Vacation, it`s not like the subjects were serious enough that they engaged my interest for another round. I love the characters, and the actors were great, but I didn`t see the need to make another Vacation movie.

You just make sure you don`t screw it up. It`s going to work as long as you don`t mess it up. Hopefully you have plenty of those moments in a big comedy.

My job is to come up with something that you like and you agree with that you would play wholeheartedly. If we disagree, I may not be doing my job correctly.

If Chevy Chase had not been an actor, he might have been a very popular guy in advertising or whatever field he would have gone into, because of his charisma.

Nothing reinforces a professional relationship more than enjoying success with someone.

There`s a personal story of my own that I will write at some point, and it`s a film that I will happily make. It could very well be the next thing I do, unless someone shows me something great.

My characters aren`t losers. They`re rebels. They win by their refusal to play by everyone else`s rules.

I`ve been directing for 25 years almost, and I`ve only directed nine films in that time because I like to be careful.

A psychologist said to me, there are only two important questions you have to ask yourself. What do you really feel? And, what do you really want? If you can answer those two, you probably can leave your neuroses behind you.

As much as we`d like to believe that our work is great and that we`re infallible, we`re not. Hollywood movies are made for the audience. These are not small European art films we`re making.

I believe things happen that can`t be explained, but so many people seem intent on explaining them. Everyone has an answer for them. Either aliens or things from the spirit world.

We are all several different people. There are different aspects of our nature that are competing.

It`s like the old rule-if you introduce a gun into the first act of a play, it`s going to be used in the third act. So if you do a movie about criminals, you have to accept there`s going to be Some action.

Billy Crystal knows how to make people laugh. He`s got 30 years on stage... there`s no telling him what`s funny.

I`m at my best when I`m working with really talented people, and I`m there to gently suggest or guide or inspire or contribute whatever I can to their effort. It`s not like I`m gonna tell Robert DeNiro how to act - but I could provide him with useful anecdotal material from my own life or other people I`ve known, or actual psychological information, or insights into his character. The technique`s up to him. But there are ways to gently urge an actor to pick up the pace or slow it down or focus more, to go bigger or smaller. Some actors are very open right at the beginning - they say, You only need four words with me: `Bigger, smaller, faster, slower.`"

First and foremost, you have to make the movie for yourself. And that`s not to say, to hell with everyone else, but what else have you got to go on but your own taste and judgment?

"Well, for me, it`s the relationship between comedy and life - that`s the edge I live on, and maybe it`s my protection against looking at the tragedy of it all. It`s seeing life in balance. Comedy and tragedy co-exist. You can`t have one without the other. I`m of the school that anything can be funny, if seen from a comedic point of view."

"Well, I never made big films to make big films; the scale`s been appropriate to the content."

"Chicago still remains a Mecca of the Midwest - people from both coasts are kind of amazed how good life is in Chicago, and what a good culture we`ve got. You can have a pretty wonderful artistic life and never leave Chicago."

" Everything we see has some hidden message. A lot of awful messages are coming in under the radar - subliminal consumer messages, all kinds of politically incorrect messages..."

(On whether he and Bill Murray would consider doing a third Ghostbusters movie) "My attitude is generally like Bill`s old attitude-- there`s no point unless it has some interesting quality or something to say about the subject. Personally, I don`t rule it out. I`m skeptical, but maybe it`ll work."

(During the 20 year Ghostbusters reunion commentary on the Ghostbusters DVD) "Acting is all about big hair and funny props... All the great actors knew it. Olivier knew it, Brando knew it."


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Harold Ramis

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