Why I Probably Won’t Bother With Ghostbusters Either….


A lot of internet space has been utilised of late for discussion surrounding Paul Feig’s ill-advised-but-coming-anyway reboot of Sony Picture’s IP, Ghostbusters. Starring Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy and….well, whoever, really, the film as attracted a lot of attention for being either a) unwanted, b) all-female, c) a remake or d)all of the above. Heck, I wrote an op-ed piece a while ago about this very film, although my focus of that piece surrounded whether we needed a remake of such a classic film franchise in the first place. Today, that discussion has shifted to whether or not men will watch the film because it’s got women in it, or whether people who aren’t interested in the film are misogynists. There’s a lot – yeah, a lot – of name calling and opinionising on Twitter, Facebook and all forums and comments sections as to why people hate the idea of a Ghostbusters remake/reboot, and whether sexism of any kind plays into the negativity surrounding it. To wit: here’s my view.

10-ghostbusters.w1200.h630This year’s Ghostbusters is a film long in gestation, lengthy in protracted discussion with original stars, and naturally, blessed with the inclusion of my personal acting albatross, Melissa McCarthy. I’ve made no secret of my contempt for McCarthy as an actress: her performance style is asinine, her humour repugnant and her manner of the kind I typically find myself avoiding. I’m sure McCarthy is a perfectly pleasant person in real life, and from what I read is the utter opposite of her on-screen persona. But I’ve never sat down to lunch with McCarthy, nor do I have her number in my phone, and I don’t follow her on Twitter, so the only thing I can base my opinion of her on is how she does as an actress on the screen. And I’m not that impressed. (Although Spy was a good start)

Does my intense dislike of her make me a misogynist? Does her inclusion in Ghostbusters, and my disinterest in seeing it because of her, make me a misogynist? Hell, I hate Adam Sandler with a passion and nobody’s called me a misandrist! The phrase “misogynist” is bandied about these days like it’s a crime to dislike something without disliking everything similar. Just because I dislike McCarthy and the projects she’s involved with automatically makes me a hater of women? (That’s the definition of misogyny, look it up if you like…) I love women! Hell, the best kind of porn includes women, so there.

I jest, of course, but there’s a verbal section of Ghostbusters defenders who suggest that actively avoiding Ghostbusters and “hating on it” is somehow meant to say I hate all women. Fuck off. No it doesn’t. People who suggest that had the film starred a bunch of popular male actors it wouldn’t be garnering the hatred it has been – I’m sure there’s truth to that, because no doubt a lot of fanboys can’t handle strong women in strong female roles, but let’s look at this objectively, shall we?

movie-poster-ghostbustersThe only people who wanted a Ghostbusters sequel are fans of the originals, and it’s long been a fact that people really only wanted a sequel so long as it starred the stars of the original films. With tension between Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray continuing to dog production, poor Harold Ramis up and dying a while back, and everyone forgetting about that not-Eddie-Murphy black dude in it, it seemed like the possibility of getting the band back together has passed us by. Perhaps we should have been happy with one great and one pretty good film in the series, and left well enough alone. Not to be outdone by fan disinterest, and perhaps because they’re desperately scrambling to find an IP they own the rights to that could be mined for more coin after the clusterfcuk of a hack/leak which saw them basically hand back Spider-Man to Marvel, Sony greenlit a Ghostbuster reboot anyway, and gave it to their resident comedic muse Paul Feig and his desperately unfunny wife. Cue fanboy nerdrage.

The rage wasn’t so much directed at Feig’s decision to go all-women for the reboot, or the fact that the film paid absolutely no homage to the original films (from what I understand the new film doesn’t acknowledge the original movies), but that the reboot was happening at all. Remaking films is common in an industry so inept at creating new material when it can simply recycle, that we’ve kinda become deaf to the buzz around whether films seen as “classics” deserve to see the modern touch-up. Don’t forget, nary a word has been spoken about the upcoming remake of Ben-Hur, a film most likely to turn out as ordinary and stupid as that gosh-darn Total Recall and RoboCop double-act did a few years back. But Ghostbusters is different, somehow. For some reason, this remake has touched a nerve in film circles, with fans deciding that of all the available properties to stick the Mediocrity Knife into, Ghostbusters wasn’t the one to touch. Remember that amazing remake of Point Break? Nah, me neither, and I’ve seen it.

I don’t hate the idea of a Ghostbusters film because it has an all-female lead cast, or usurps the original films by effectively sweeping them into the realm of obscure quiz-night answers; I hate the idea that a film series of such high standing, of such classic iconography and of such unassailable greatness can be treated like a poor retarded cousin. And that’s what Sony have done. I have no idea if Ghostbusters (2016) will be a good, great or terrible film. Truth is, in spite of all the casting, terrible trailers and horrendous online dissection of it, I really just don’t care about it. Not only has the franchise had its day, but in trying to bring it into the modern era, Sony have fucked a pig to death here. James Rolfe’s essential video blog of why he won’t bother seeing it rings true for me. As much as I have to admit that as a film critic I do see a lot of bad films by choice, but you know what? I also have the choice not to see them.

And I choose not to see this one.

Afterthought: Given Hollywood’s rush to go the all-female-remake genre, the upcoming Ocean’s 11 remake (yeah, you read that right) is another one I’ll most likely skip unless it has Alexandra Daddario and Eva Green in it. Otherwise…. blech. Not because of it’s “all female” cast, but because IT WAS ONLY REMADE A FEW YEARS AGO ANYWAY! Obviously, the idea that we can remake remakes only a few years after the remake is the fruit of our continued rebooting of Spider-Man over the course of a decade.


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7 thoughts on “Why I Probably Won’t Bother With Ghostbusters Either….

  1. Ha ha, "any publicity is good publicity", right?

    I'm dubious crowds will flock to this, at least here in Australia, unless they really amp up the marketing campaign because to-date I've seen nothing. I'm not one to judge internet opinion, either, because everyone online was jonesing for that Karl Urban Dredd movie and thought it looked awesome, before nobody showed up to watch it at the cinema. Who knows, maybe GB will be a monster hit in spite of the tsunami of negativity, but mostly I think it'll be audience ambivalence that'll sink this, if nothing else.

    I agree – I couldn't give a rats ass about the cast being male, female, trans or beast, it matters not. What matters is that it's cashing in lazily on the original, contains what appears to be a tone-deaf approach to the material, and seems more imitation than creatively energetic. I hate to wish any film bad luck at the box office, but if we're to stop this rape and pillage of classic films being turned over for quick cash by studios (especially Sony) then it must start here.

  2. You make an important distinction that I'd not really considered before: the only people who wanted a Ghostbusters sequel were fans of the originals. It puts the fault at the producer's feet. They decided to reboot a beloved franchise. They could have made an all-female ensemble comedy about the paranormal and not branded it a Ghostbusters film surely? By doing so they've done the thing they ultimately wanted: garner publicity. "Everyone" is talking about it. Good or bad – people will flock to the cinema in order to support their viewpoint.

    The cast doesn't bother me. What bugs me is that I loved the original and don't feel a remake/reboot/whatever can be anything but a pale imitation that will constantly remind me that I wish the original cast had gotten back together . The film might prove to be far more enjoyable than the unfunny trailer but it has nothing to do with the gender of the cast.
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  3. I definitely differ on opinions here but I'm not gonna call you sexist lol. Did you like the new trailer they released today? I definitely liked it a lot more than the other one. Also, just thought I'd mention Paul Feig is not Melissa McCarthy's husband, Ben Falcone is. Thankfully Paul Feig is a better director than him. Thank god this isn't from the guy who did Tammy and The Boss because then I'd really be with you on this.

    On the Ocean's 11 thing, I'm completely opposite to you (although I'd really like Daddario and Green in it too) because the Ocean's films are just a cast gimmick doing a heist. It's really not anything that special so I'm actually really excited to see it. I do agree it is a bit early though.

    1. Oooo, thanks for the catch. I keep getting those two guys mixed up. 🙂

      I saw the latest trailer and while the effects looked pretty good, I didn't laugh once (never a good sign for a film supposedly funny) and all I kept thinking about was how I miss the original line-up. That big black yelling lady does zero for me, I admit, and the Wiig/McCarthy combo is a big fat (ha) no no for me. They're okay in small doses, but here we get them in big ones. The tone of this film is just wrong, annoying even, and I can't get past it. Good luck to those who give zero shits and will line up in droves to see this, though.

      As for Ocean's 11, considering Soderbeg waited some thirty or forty years before he staged his remake, perhaps we should call the Girl Version more a Name Trade-in than a legitimate remake. Making a film with the same name as a classic previous version isn't "creative" as much as it's just hoping audiences will watch it hoping it'll be just as good.

      I think I mentioned on twitter the other day that it seems Hollywood has struck a vein of new possible franchise potential in the "All Girl Remake" genre. Turning classic films into all-female variants adds yet another revenue stream for studios to gouge a creative vacuum and bleed idiotic audiences dry. Perhaps the Ghostbusters frenzy is a signal that peak-remake-fatigue has finally been achieved, and the backlash (and possible box-office drubbing to come) will find these lazy, gimmicky remakes disappear a bit.

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