The Daily Stream: Ghostbusters II Has Everything - Angry Paintings, A Cute Kid, And Peter MacNicol

(Welcome to The Daily Stream, an ongoing series in which the /Film team shares what they've been watching, why it's worth checking out, and where you can stream it.)

The Movie: "Ghostbusters II"

Where You Can Stream It: HBO Max

The Pitch: It didn't do well at the box office. Some people call it a bad sequel. I have never understood this. It's not that I don't get the criticisms or that people have different opinions. It makes total sense that viewers are attached to what they saw the first time — the discovery of ghosts, a large and angry marshmallow, and the very funny interactions of several misfits and weirdos who try to hunt them. All of that said, there is a place in my heart for "Ghostbusters II," and it's higher up than the original.

If you were put off by the negative hype and didn't see this film, here's the deal. Five years have gone by since Ghostbusters — Raymond Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis), and Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson) — saved the world from Gozer. Sadly, things haven't gone well for our heroes. They're being sued for property damage — something we don't talk about a lot in hero flicks — by the city and have been forced out of business. Ray has an occult bookstore and does children's parties in costume with Winston. Egon is studying emotions in a lab, and Peter is the host of a psychic talk show.

Of course, the ghosts aren't gone. A 16th-century European ruler named Vigo the Carpathian (Wilhelm von Homburg, but voiced by Max von Sydow) has begun haunting his own portrait at the museum where Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) works. And oh, he wants her baby.

Why it's essential viewing

Yes, Dana and Peter have broken up. Since then, she has married, had a baby, and divorced. And she doesn't know that the painting she's working on restoring is actually a portal. Vigo needs an infant's body to inhabit. He possesses Dana's incredibly dorky boss Janosz Poha (Peter MacNicol), who wants both Dana and her baby Oscar.

Okay, fine — it's a weird premise, I'll admit that. But its predecessor had a giant marshmallow that attacked New York City, a green ghost that looked like snot that somehow became a mascot, and the drippy face of a green drink (ick) from Hi-C called Ecto Cooler. The world is an imperfect place.

The thing is, "Ghostbusters II" is just dead — no apologies from me for that — funny. It has the charm that comes from established characters we already know, encountering new people that are weird even for their world. The banter is just as quick and witty as the original. Plus, it gives us a realistic look at what would definitely happen to the saviors of a city like New York. Of course, they would be sued. Of course, the place would turn on them. I say this as a former New Yorker, and I say it with love, but it's not the friendliest place in the world. Of course, Peter would have done something stupid with Dana — he called her his "ball and chain" — that would make her leave. He's an ass, and that's why we love him (but would never date him).

Add into the mix maybe the cutest baby in the world. (Except yours, naturally.) And the brilliant comedic timing of MVP MacNicol. With all that, you have a recipe for a lovely sequel. Boo.