Hey, guys–let’s lighten the mood a bit this week. Instead of sex assault and mass suicides, let’s talk about this:
I’m just going to put it on front street—people are fucking incensed about this movie. It’s nothing particularly novel, nerd rage has been something of a national pastime over the last few years. The reaction to this Ghostbusters rebootmakeimagining in particular, though, has sat kind of weird with me. There seems to be some kind of strange vehemence bubbling up in regards to it, especially online, where everything goes way past eleven anyway. In point, here are the Google search results for “new Ghostbusters bad”
The print’s a little small, but the search returned 5,420,000. Remember—that’s just for “bad.” That didn’t include “terrible,” “stupid,” “sucks,” “sux,” or “sux0rs.” I also omitted the term “cinematic abortion,” which would have returned this:
Yipes. It’d be one thing if Ol’ Tom McDonald was an isolated lunatic bellowing into the wind, but he’s far from it. That’s not to say that Tom shouldn’t be isolated, like, forever; but he’s just another member of what seems to be an exponentially increasing group. I used to always think that this had to do with the anonymity of the internet, but as we’re learning, there’s really nothing anonymous about what we do online. Also, dipshits like Tom McDonald sign their entire names. There’s some tetchy language in that comment, and in a lot of similar comments. So, we’ll talk about how often words like “rape” and “abortion” pop up in discussions of “nerd properties” a little later in the series. But for now, I promised that we were going to keep it light this time out, so let’s get back to this:
Why are people so worked up about this? I’m not entirely sure. A lot of it seems to stem from a weird reaction to the all female cast. And, despite what I would have guessed, it’s not all coming from the semi-psychotic men’s rights weirdos, like Tom McDonald. In fact, one of the first things that came up was a short piece in Huffpo by Heather Magee called:
Why An All-Female ‘Ghostbusters’ Cast Is A Bad Idea
You can read the piece in about thirty seconds, and despite the title, she doesn’t really explain her position. Rather, she uses the space for a sort of dumb pitch on how she would write the movie. She also says St. Vincent is “brilliant,” so we can just dismiss her opinion out-of-hand. Heather’s not the only one weighing in on the subject, though. Here’s a quote from someone whose opinion I’m actually interested in, star of the the original Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters 2, Sir Ernie Hudson:
“I heard it was going to be a total reboot, and that it would have nothing to do with the other two movies,” he told The Telegraph. “If it has nothing to do with the other two movies, and it’s all female, then why are you calling it ‘Ghostbusters?'[…] I love females. I hope that if they go that way at least they’ll be funny, and if they’re not funny at least hopefully it’ll be sexy. I love the idea of including women, I think that’s great. But all-female I think would be a bad idea. I don’t think the fans want to see that. Maybe it will come out and be the most amazing thing, but in my opinion I think it would be wrong to do another movie that didn’t include the guys. And that didn’t include me!”
Sorry about the ellipses. I omitted a snarky aside that the author of the article felt the need to jam in, in the middle of the goddamn quote. Anyway— so it comes across that Ernie Hudson isn’t too stoked about an all-lady Ghostbusters, and the blog community had a bit of a hissy fit about it, as they’re wont to do. But, if we take a moment to parse his quote, what is he really saying? That he hopes they’ll be funny? Well, I hope so too. That if they’re not funny, at least they’ll be sexy? That’s a little weird, but is it terribly sexist? Maybe, but aren’t most movies sold on sex appeal, at least partially? I mean, there’s probably a reason that movies starring Brad Pitt do better at the box office than ones starring Paul Giamatti.
He wraps up by saying that he thinks including females is a great idea, but an all female cast isn’t, because of a vague notion about what the fans want to see. The sad thing? It seems like he’s right.
Almost none of the criticism I’ve read is leveled at anything more substantial than either the sex of the cast (to the point where Sony has already greenlit a male Ghostbusters rebootmake, to counter-program themselves) or the fact that they’re somehow ruining Ghostbusters. That’s—weird. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I have concerns about the movie also; but they’re mostly based on the fact that I’m not crazy about the director, Paul Feig. The Heat was okay, I didn’t see Spy, and I really don’t understand the fuss over Bridesmaids. I think it’s a totally serviceable comedy, with a couple (literally two) genuinely touching moments, and some decent performances. None of these concerns are rooted in the soil of “there’s too many broads in this.”
As for the idea that it somehow ruins Ghostbusters? Stop. Just stop. If you really think that, I mean really believe that in your heart, and you’re really upset about it; please go jump off your roof and ruin your skull. I promise that Sony isn’t going to kick in your door, steal your copy of Ghostbusters, and add it to a gigantic pyre; just like I promise that Obama’s not going to sneak into our houses like we live in fucking Whoville and take all our guns away.
The idea that a remake somehow lessens the quality of the original is faulty in the same way that thinking a shitty movie ruins the book it’s based on. The book stays the book, and Ghostbusters is still going to be Ghostbusters, no matter the cervix count of the cast.
Next week, we’re going to get into the psychology of nerd rage, and we’re going to start by talking about the Communist Revolution in Russia.
Til next time, baby