Cramming the plot of Ghostbusters 2 into a four-minute pop song is no easy task, but Bobby Brown handled it with tremendous skill on his New Jack Swing masterpiece “On Our Own,” which peaked at Number Two on the Hot 100 30 years ago this week. “Found about Vigo, the master of evil,” he sang, referencing an evil 16th-century spirit trapped inside a painting in the movie. “Try to battle my boys? That’s not legal!”
The movie landed in theaters during one of the busiest summers in the history of Hollywood up to that point. The much-anticipated sequel was up against Batman, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Turner & Hooch, The Karate Kid Part III, Lethal Weapon 2, Dead Poets Society, and Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, but still managed to rake in $112 million even though many critics and fans felt it was a pale imitation of the original.
Ray Parker Jr. wrote a song for the original Ghostbusters back in 1984 and created a star-packed video for it. This time around, the job went to Bobby Brown, then at the absolute peak of his powers, as evidenced by recent hits “Every Little Step,” “Don’t Be Cruel,” and “My Prerogative.” “On Our Own” was written by L.A. Reid, Babyface, and Daryl Simmons. For the video, Iman, Jane Curtin, Doug E. Fresh, Christopher Reeve, Malcolm Forbes, and Rick Moranis, as well as Marky and Joey Ramone (playing a tuba for some reason) were roped into filming short cameos. Oh, and fast forward to 1:02 to see Donald Trump emerge from Trump Tower. (Weeks before the movie came out, he took out full-page ads in all four major New York newspapers urging the state to restore the death penalty so the Central Park 5 could be “forced to suffer.” When asked about it recently, he said he was unwilling to apologize even though they’ve been released from prison and completely cleared, and most reasonable people have concluded they were completely innocent.)
Ghostbusters II was the final ride for the original Ghostbusters gang, even though rumors swirled about a third movie for years. An all-female Ghostbusters hit theaters in the summer of 2016, but didn’t make quite enough to justify a sequel. Right now, Jason Reitman (son of original Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman) is filming Ghostbusters 2020. It takes place in the same universe of the first two movies, but it’s unclear how many surviving cast members will be a part of it. News of the movie didn’t sit well with Leslie Jones, one of the stars of the 2016 Ghostbusters.
“So insulting,” she Tweeted in January. “Like fuck us. We dint count. It’s like something trump would do. (Trump voice) ‘Gonna redo ghostbusteeeeers, better with men, will be huge. Those women ain’t ghostbusteeeeers’ ugh so annoying. Such a dick move. And I don’t give fuck I’m saying something!!”
Bobby Brown, meanwhile, spent the summer touring with the New Edition spinoff group RMRM (which is basically just him alongside Bell Biv Devoe), though their show didn’t feature “On Our Own.” He still plays it at most of his solo concerts, creating the delightful sight of a room full of middle-aged fans singing along to a song about proton packs, evil slime, and the fierce need to “take control” of New York back from the evil ghost Vigo.