Is there A More Superflous Character in Movies than Winston in Ghostbusters?

I could never really understand what purpose the character of Winston Zedmore (Ernie Hudson) in Ghostbusters served. He’s brought ito the film late inthe second act, when the Ghostbusters get busy and need an extra man…AND THATS IT. The Ghostbusters needed an extra man, but the film did not. On no level was that character neccesary to the story.

  1. He has no character arc, or backstory… he gets the job, busts some ghosts, the end. Also, how did he get the job? Were’nt all the other guys scientists and paranormal investigators? Winston was hired off the street, no previous experience neccesary. He’d never even SEEN a ghost.

  2. He doesnt contribute anything to the outcome of the stroy. In the climax, he’s just another guy standing there. Were he to NOT be present, would he ne missed? Nope.

  3. Major problems with the structure of the film become apparent when he arrives; a much better introduction to the character would be if the film started with the Ghostbusters already established, and we follow Winston on his first day of work, we see their world through his eyes, he is our link to the story. This was done quite well in the Hellboy movie, where we follow the character of Myers through the movie, learning al the strange intricacies fo the plot as he does. But Winston is added to the film late, whne we fully understand the goings-on of the Ghostbusters. Ray takes him on a tour of the Fire Station, showing him the containment unit… WHY? We know this already! Why show it again in the second last reel?

  4. All the other Ghostbusters were played by comiedians… to the best of my knowledge, Ernie Hudson wasnt a comiedian, nor affiliated with SNL or such. Again, as with his character Winston; how did he get this job? Seems like some producers panicked and felt like th emovie needed a black character, but why not write him in earlier on? Why shoehorn him in so late?

  5. He spoils the whole Doh…Ray… Egon… bit (well, he would, were he in that scene).

The whole character just seems so out of place… The story doesnt need him, or use him correctly when he does arrive, the Ghostbusters as a team dont need him (the climax would be more exciting if it was only three Ghostbusters vs. Gozer… four increases their odds. Besides, they defeat Gozer simply by crossing the streams… do they need an extra man for that?).
Is there a more Superflous character than Winston?

Well, March of the Penguins could probably have lost a penguin or two.

According to the directors commentary on my GB DVD, Winston Zeddimore was supposed to be “the voice of the common man” to the audience, all the other 'Busters had scientific backgrounds, so Winston was supposed to explain things for the non-scientist audience

now, wheter it worked or not is another thing, but that was their intent

Indiana Jones, in Raiders of the Lost Ark. If he hadn’t been there… nothing would have changed at all.

If that’s so, it would appear the movie was badly edited in terms of Winston-related scenes, or else it simply wasn’t necessary. In the jail scene, it’s Peter Venckman who asks the boys to speak in plain English, which doesn’t really make any sense - if you needed an everyman to interject that, Winston is the logical choice, not Peter, who did get his Ph.D. somehow.

Winston actually gets some pretty good lines: “Ray, the next time someone asks if you’re a God, you say YES!” But there’s no particular reason he needed to be there.

Why he was hired despite not being a scientist is pretty clearly explained, though; they’re overworked and Ray Stantz will say yes to pretty much anyone with a pulse at that particular moment.

Oh the Nazi’s might have gotten there eventually…

I always felt Winston was just the means by which the audience was shown that the Ghost Busters had moved beyond their meager “Mortgage Ray’s House to Survive” existence to the “We’re a household name and we’re hiring” existence.

In one of Jackie Chan’s movies (I can’t remember which one) there is a female character who starts out looking like she’s going to be important, then completely disappears in the middle of the film, never to return.

And they all would have died when they opened the Ark, anyway. The Nazis can’t possibly use the Ark, because it only works for the people God wants it to work for. And God doesn’t want it to work for the Nazis. So it doesn’t matter if the Nazis get the Ark or not. Arguably, it would be better if they had kept it, because they’d have tried to open it again, and gotten a bunch more of their soldiers and researchers killed. Heck, let them keep it for a few years, and they’ll probably wipe out their entire paranormal research division trying to crack it. Then you don’t have to worry about them going after the Holy Grail.

I’m reminded of a sketch from Saturday Night Live about cartoons with black characters. Dennis Haysbert introduced (and then berated) a number of black-themed cartoons, including one about a gang of token black characters led by Winston, Melody from Josie and the Pussycats, and Franklin from Peanuts. They lose their powers when there are too many blacks and not enough whites around, and have to be rescued by Bryant Gumbel. It was as silly as it sounds.

This, of course, is the correct reason. The reason he is so extraneous and late in arriving is that they just wrote his part on the fly after someone noticed there wasn’t a single black in the cast. Rather than shut down production and re-write the script, they probably just tacked on his part as an afterthought.

Well, Dietrich wanted to take it straight to Berlin, but Belloq talked him out of it, pointing out that should open the ark at the secret Nazi island just to make sure it wasn’t empty and they had the one, true ark. Hence, the “Jewish ritual” just took out them, Toht, and a few dozen German submariners and soldiers instead of der Fuhrer.

Of course, you don’t have to worry about them going after the grail either, since it can’t be removed from the cave it’s hidden in. For some reason, this seems to be the one piece of grail lore not known by Indy’s father.

Either that, or he was the only actor who absolutely nailed the best line of the film during casting calls:

“…That’s a BIG Twinkie…!”

Well the ark was an indiscriminant killer, which was the reason why Indy and Marion needed to close their eyes when the nazis were facemelting. What’s to prevent them from opening the ark in front of the allied armies, killing a few of their own dupes, and wiping out all their enemies in one blow? If you argue that god wouldn’t kill the allies, then the whole closing the eyes bit was unnecessary.

Well, there’d be a few more swordsmen in Cario, but in regard to the disposition of the Ark, it’s true, and I’ve been saying this for years…which still doesn’t stop the film from being a classic. Similarly for James Bond in Goldfinger, unless you subscribe to the notion that Bond’s udder manliness actually converted Pussy Galore back from lesbianism (implied in the film, explicit in the book). Personally, I think she just got tired of Goldfinger putting the moves on her and decided to sell him out to the goverment after making off with a considerable portion of his private bullion stock.

I believe it’s Mr. Nice Guy. However, one must acknowledge that not only whole characters but indeed major plot elements are entirely disposable in a Jackie Chan film, which is really nothing more than an excuse for Chan to spend time doing some amazing acrobatics and beating the snot out of people with all manner of improvised devices. Jackie Chan films are plotted at the same level as Three Stooges movies. (This is not a criticism, just an observation.)


Their enemies close their eyes, too?

Would make for an amusing battle, at least.

The Nazis (and Belloq) were arrogant, believing they could “talk to God” and bend the Ark for their own uses. Indiana Jones was ultimately humbled (“I’m willing to be reasonable. All I want is the girl!”) and survives because he is knowledgeable about the Ark and its effects on any army that does not carry it under the good graces of God (“Good God!”, “Yes, that’s just what the Hewbrews thought.”) If the Nazis attempted to use the Ark, they’d find their own cities scoured by the wrath of God. (“Fire. Lightning. Power of God or something.”)

And the final shot is priceless; both a classic, ironic moment in film (that Indy would spend the movie risking his life in numberless absurd ways only to have the Ark disappear into some anonymous, undocumented crate in a gigantic warehouse) and a reference to Citizen Kane.


It’s also unique in the annals of cinematic history, in that shadowy government forces get their hands on an artifact of unimaginable power, and think, “This thing is super dangerous, and we don’t have a clue how it works. Let’s just put it away some place where nobody will ever find it.”

In every other sci-fi/fantasy/horror movie I’ve ever seen, the US government getting their hands on the Ark of the Covenant would be the opening scene of the movie, not the resolution.

Nitpick: Melody was the blonde airhead who played drums. Valerie was the black guitarist.

I don’t know why I remember that.

'Cause the toon rocked, dude.