There’s something strange in theatres this July…and I don’t know why…

Everybody else has offered their thoughts on the new Ghostbusters movie…so here’s mine.  TL:DR version: After watching both trailers, I’m opposed, and I wanted to break down the reasons point-by-point.

  1. It’s not gender based.  I don’t feel like I should have to defend that statement.  I’m well-known for being a supporter of equal rights and for being egalitarian.  I don’t think anyone who knows me needs to hear me defend why the all-female lead cast isn’t in and of itself the issue for me.  I’m for gender equality (regardless of the gender).  I’d like to think the way I live my life speaks for itself.  I’m only putting this statement here for people who stumble upon the blog blind and wouldn’t know better.
  2. Well…  It’s KIND OF gender based.  Okay.  Everything I said above still applies…  But I guess it’s not so much that there’s an all female cast, as it is that it seems like that’s the ONLY reason they’re doing it.  It seems like the planning meeting took less than a paragraph.  “We’ll remake the Ghostbusters.  But this time it’s all women.  That’ll sell.”  And for some reason no one took a second to say, “Are you sure this isn’t just exploiting an otherwise good cause?” (I’ll flesh this out further below.)
  3. I don’t like remakes as a general rule.  Especially remakes of movies where I can remember the originals being in theatres.  Now that’s bound to happen as I get older, anyway…but I’m 35.  It’s not like I’m an old man and people have forgotten the movies I watched when I was a kid.  Or like those movies aren’t regular parts of everybody’s viewing as we speak.  Every year, some high school kid says, “Have you guys seen Ghostbusters?” to their friends, and they watch the fucking thing.  (And then they do the same with Animal House in college–I’m sure that remake is a couple years or less away, too.)  Plus, it wasn’t a little-known flick that didn’t get enough attention.  It’s a classic. People know it and watch it.  This may be over-stating it, but why not remake Citizen Kane, while you’re at it?  Just seems like movies that had toys on the shelf that I played with are still a little too recent to be remade–and I’m also of that same mind with the Ninja Turtles.  For example: Regardless of any individual feelings on any of the Star Wars flicks, at least every one has been a continuation instead of a remake.  And they’ve all had new toys associated with them, too…
  4. If you’re going to remake something, you’ve got to answer the question of “why?” and I don’t think they’ve done that.  (In fairness, few remakes ever do.)  I can’t think of any reason other than, “Because we can make money off the fact that people want women in Hollywood to get paid more.”  Why is it a REMAKE?  Why isn’t is a sequel?  If it were Ghostbusters 3, I probably wouldn’t even be writing this post.  I don’t think there would be so significant a backlash.  In fact, I think making it an all-female cast was a manipulative move to make the backlash on the concept of a remake SEEM sexist, when we’d be against it no matter the cast.  Nice way to make women equal, Hollywood…make them the fall guys (err…fall girls) for the whole bad idea.  If it were a third entry rather than a remake, the all-female cast wouldn’t get even a blink out of me (or many others).  It even makes sense for the sake of cohabitation of the headquarters–no objection to the logic of that at all.  It could even suck and I’d think, “well, at least it wasn’t a remake.”  My main objection is to the IDEA of the remake in general.  There’s just no need.  The manipulation of political issues surrounding it just adds more voice to that when they were obviously hoping it would reduce it.
  5. I saw the original in the theatre about a year ago (or so) on a re-release.  It still holds up.  Still hilarious and looks great.  No idea why anyone would need to change it.  And that’s coming from me–a guy who ends up accidentally cosplaying the EPA guy every time I wear a suit.
  6. I don’t like the new cast.  Again, not because they’re women, but because of the specific actresses.  Person by person:
    • I’ve never gotten it with Melissa McCarthy.  Seems like she’s going for Chris Farley, but somehow even louder?  Or maybe your aunt who thinks she’s funny because she quotes stuff that was kinda funny ten years ago?
    • Kate McKinnon has her moments on SNL, but they’re usually moments that could’ve ended three iterations of the joke she’s making sooner.  She is indeed NOT ready for Prime Time…
    • Leslie Jones on SNL plays one note and keeps hitting it until you can’t even sing along to it anymore.  (Although her twitter feed can be entertaining–if extremely angry.)  The “I don’t know if it’s a race thing or a lady thing but I’m mad as hell” line in the trailer seems to be a complete summary of her career for me.  Don’t get me wrong, that type of character can be used well…but if that’s all I’ve ever seen you do…so what?  Tell a joke.
    • Finally, I never really liked Kristen Wiig on SNL, but in her case I’m willing to consider that there might be something I’m over-looking.  I did enjoy her a lot in Skeleton Twins–she did really beautiful work in that movie and you should really seek it out if you haven’t seen it.  It may be that I don’t enjoy her writing, but if she’s playing a character she didn’t write, I’m on board.  She is the one actress I could go either way on.
  7. Why, yes…I HAVE thought about who I’d cast if it were up to me!  Since it’s happening anyway, why not do some dream-casting, even though I don’t care for the idea?
    • First of all…what the hell is Tina Fey not doing in this flick?  She’d be a make or break for me.  If she said no, we wouldn’t storyboard a frame.
    • And I’d put in Sarah Silverman (she’d piss people off, but she’d sell tickets).
    • I’d probably KEEP Wiig, because people like her and like I said, she could go either way.
    • And I’d go off-center and put in Morgan Murphy.  (Look her up if you don’t know her.  She’s great.)
    • Or if we need to have a woman of color in the cast–is Rain Pryor doing anything?  She’d be fun.  (I admit though that I’m woefully unaware of black female comics.  Seems like there’s not a lot of attention being cast on them as a group–and maybe that’s worth examining a little closer, since we’re clearly on an equality trip on this whole thing.)
    • I’d also look at Maria Bamford, Kristen Schaal, the ladies from Garfunkel & Oates, and a few others.  I’d go a little more counter-culture than they’ve done in this cast.  That’s part of what made the first one work–let’s not forget that SNL was more underground back then than it is now.  Most of those guys were not necessarily household names yet.  Murray was your biggest star at the time–and that’s why I’d probably keep Wiig.  You need someone like that.
    • I feel like we’d need at least 2-3 strong personalities that have established comedic careers that can carry the flick on their good will.  Right now, frankly, they’ve only got Wiig.  (Arguments can be made for McCarthy…but is Mike & Molly really what you want to hang your hat on in a feature film?)  If two or all three of the others were on her level, maybe we’d have something salvageable, but we’ve only got who we’ve got.  Unfortunately, they made several “love her or hate her” choices and I almost unanimously fall to the latter. I’m not alone, either.
    • And no…I wouldn’t go anywhere NEAR Amy Schumer–for the exact same reasons I wouldn’t cast Ricky Gervais if we were doing a male cast.
  8. It’s got nothing to do with “my childhood being destroyed” by this particular remake.  My childhood seems in tact…whatever.  The only people I’m seeing talking about “childhoods being ruined” online are the people DEFENDING the movie, like they think that’s the only argument anyone’s making.
  9. I have watched the trailers…and I didn’t laugh.  Nothing has appealed to me.  Some of the effects look okay, but they don’t have the same charm as the original–it looks like a video game, not a movie.  Sometimes technology actually hurts the flick, and when that happens you need to have a warm cast to fall back on…and I’ve made my feelings on the cast clear.  I don’t see a strong cast.  I don’t see strong effects.  I don’t see a strong joke in the trailers to date.  And I’m not going to see the movie.
  10. Ultimately I’m not only left wondering why this movie needs to be made, but also who in the cast is going to benefit from it.  I can only see it hurting some of the smaller careers, like whoever the guy is that is cast in the Janine roll in the flick.  “What ever happened to the guy from the Ghostbusters remake?” seems like something we’ll be saying in five years.  (Either that or, “Did you know that guy was in that Ghostbusters remake? Yeah, there was a Ghostbusters remake!”)  Wiig will be fine.  She’s got enough good will to last her a few dozen bad movies.  McKinnon will be fine on SNL, but it’ll be a toil for a while.  Jones is teetering on having to be Googled to remember her name as it is–if the movie were getting positive buzz it could make her, but it’s almost bombed before even hitting the theatre.  From what few public statements I’ve seen her make, she’s taking it pretty personally too, and that’s not going to serve her well, either.  And McCarthy is on the downward slope of being a fan favorite already–this won’t help.  As for the guy in it…I already don’t know his name, and since I’m not going to see it, this movie isn’t going to make me learn it.
  11. In the end, I think it’s going to have a big opening weekend.  People who WANT it to be good are going to be sure to see it just to prove a point and play the, “well you didn’t even SEE it, so you shouldn’t judge it!” card.  People who want to see how big a train wreck it is will go for exactly that reason.  And then a massive drop-off will happen in week two and we’ll all forget about it just like we did the remakes of 12 Angry Men, The Fantastic Four (that was just last year kids!), Arthur, Friday the 13th, Poseidon, Robocop, BOTH Godzillas, Red Dawn, and a dozen Robin Hoods.  You’ve got a movie here that most of your target audience has rejected before the second trailer dropped.  On the plus side, at least it’s bringing those of us who loved GB2 out of the woods to defend it when people say, “This thing’s going to make the second one look great!”  Fuck you, man…the second one is already great!  🙂
  12. …and on a side note, I’m not exactly excited about the Rocky Horror remake either. (Why is it made for TV? Why is Frank-N-Furter a woman*** singing about being a transvestite yet dressed as a woman? Why do it at all when it’s never left theatres?)  But Tim Curry’s involvement means I’ll at least give it a look–the beloved member of the original cast taking an on-screen part makes me trust it.  Something that maybe the Ghostbusters should’ve noted.  (I know Aykroyd is producing, but if any of them are in it, they’re keeping it too closely guarded a secret cameo.)
    • ***EDIT — Following publishing, I did what I should have done beforehand and Googled Laverne Cox, who plays Frank.  I was unaware of her backstory.  Laverne Cox is transgender, which does alter my initial feeling on it a little.  However, I’m still not sure the casting is correct.  Frank-N-Furter identifies himself as “TRANSVESTITE” which is not the same as transgender, which many if not most transvestites would be quick to point out.  (Cross-reference Eddie Izzard.)  Additionally, Frank is regularly referred to with MALE pronouns throughout, whereas Cox does identify as female, so I feel that point still sticks to some degree.  However, I do better understand the choice now, and regret any accidental insensitivity to the Trans community.
Sorry for ranting.  But I wanted to.  Now call me a sexist all you want…but I’m not.  I just don’t want to see a movie that doesn’t appeal to me with a cast I don’t like, man.  I also make it a habit to avoid anything with either Russell Crowe, Jim Carrey, James Franco, or Andy Samburg in the lead role, if that helps.
If you made it that far, my hat’s off to you.
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