A Short Review of Ghostbusters and A Longer Pummel of Manboys

What I thought of the new Ghostbusters: I liked it, and would happily rewatch it. It’s definitely the second-best Ghostbusters movie, and much closer to the original in terms of enjoyment than the willfully forgotten Ghostbusters 2. There are legitimate criticisms to make of it: the plot is rote to the point of being slapdash, the action scenes are merely adequate, and Paul Feig is no Ivan Reitman, in terms of creating comedic ambiance. But the film got the two big things right: It has a crackerjack cast that’s great individually and together, and it has all the one-liners you can eat. And now that the origin story of these particular Ghostbusters is out of the way, I’m ready for the sequel.

But what about the Ghostbusters being all women?!??!?? Yes they were, and it was good. If you can’t enjoy Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones snarking it up while zapping ghosts with proton streams, one, the problem is you, not them, and two, no really, what the fuck is wrong with you. The actors and the characters had chemistry with one another and I would have happily watched these Ghostbusters eat lunch, just to listen to them zap on one another. And in particular I want to be McKinnon’s Holtzmann when I grow up; Holtzmann is brilliant and spectrum-y and yet pretty much social anxiety-free and I honestly can’t see any sort of super-nerd not wanting to cosplay the shit out of her forever and ever, amen.

BUT THEY’VE RUINED MY CHILDHOOD BY BEING WOMEN, wails a certain, entitled subset of male nerd on the Internet. Well, good, you pathetic little shitballs. If your entire childhood can be irrevocably destroyed by four women with proton packs, your childhood clearly sucked and it needs to go up in hearty, crackling flames. Now you are free, boys, free! Enjoy the now. Honestly, I don’t think it’s entirely a coincidence that one of the weakest parts of this film is its villain, who (very minor spoiler) is literally a basement-dwelling man-boy just itchin’ to make the world pay for not making him its king, as he is so clearly meant to be. These feculent lads are annoying enough in the real world. It’s difficult to make them any more interesting on screen.

But this is just the latest chapter of man-boys whining about women in science fiction culture: Oh noes! Mad Max has womens in it! Yes, and Fury Road was stunning, arguably the best film of its franchise and of 2015, and was improbably but fittingly nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Oh noes! Star Wars has womens in it! Yes, and The Force Awakens was pretty damn good, the best Star Wars film since Empire, was the highest grossing film of 2015 and of all time in the domestic box office (not accounting for inflation. Accounting for inflation, it’s #11. #1 counting inflation? That super-manly epic, Gone With the Wind).

And now, Oh noes! Ghostbusters has womens in it! Yes, and it’s been well-reviewed and at $46 million, is the highest grossing opening for its director or any of its stars and perfectly in line with studio estimates for the weekend. Notably, all the surviving principals of the original film make cameos, suggesting they are fine with passing the torch (Harold Ramis is honored in the film too, which is a lovely touch), and Ivan Reitman and Dan Aykroyd are producers of the film. If your childhood has been ruined, boys, then your alleged heroes happily did some of the kicking.

I’m an 80s kid; my youth is not forever stained by a Ghostbusters remake, any more than it was stained by remakes of Robocop or Point Break or Poltergeist or Endless Love or The Karate Kid or Clash of the Titans or Footloose or Total Recall and on and on. I think most of these remakes were unnecessary, and I don’t think most of them were particularly good, or as good as their originals, and I question why film companies bother, aside from the “all the originals were made before the global movie market matured and there’s money on the table that can be exploited with these existing brands,” which is, of course, its own excuse.

But after a certain and hopefully relatively early point in your life, you realize remakes are just a thing the film industry does — the first Frankenstein film listed on imdb was made in 1910, and the most recent, 2015, and Universal (maker of the classic 1931 version) is planning yet another reboot in 2018 or 2019 — and maybe you get over yourself and your opinion that your childhood is culturally inviolate, especially from the entities that actually, you know, own the properties you’ve invested so much of your psyche into. It’s fine to roll your eyes when someone announces yet another remake, tweet “UGH WHYYYYYY” and then go about your life. But it causes you genuine emotional upheaval, maybe a reconfigure of your life is not out of the question.

(Not, mind you, that I think these shitboys are genuinely that invested in Ghostbusters, per se; they’re invested in manprivilege and, as noted above, would have wailed their anguished testeria onto Reddit and 4chan regardless of which cultural property had women “suddenly” show up in it. This is particularly ironic with anything regarding science fiction, which arguably got its successful start in Western culture through the graces of Mary Shelley. Women have always been in it, dudes. Deal.)

The happy news in this case is that, whether or not this Ghostbusters reboot was necessary, it’s pretty good, and fun to watch. That’s the best argument for it. I’m looking forward to more.

117 Comments on “A Short Review of Ghostbusters and A Longer Pummel of Manboys”

  1. To get ahead of any potential “but there are women saying their childhood was ruined too!” nonsense: Maybe there were? But if there were, and they weren’t gamergate-like sockpuppet accounts, a) I didn’t see much of them, b) they were swamped by the wailing boys, c) the advice to them is the same as to the whining dudes: Remakes happen, maybe get over it.

    To get ahead of “it’s sexist to bag on the men here,” argument, leaving the whole larger argument about power stuctures and sexism and all the stuff you recognize play into sexism when you think about sexism on a level higher than “this is a playing card I can slap down in this game called Rhetoric,” you can imagine me in that Wonka meme pose, saying “Tell me again as a man how I can’t criticize men, that’s adorable.”

    Finally, to get ahead of any “beta cuck” stupidity, I’m not the one who just spent half a year wailing about the ruin of my childhood, boys. I do find there’s an correlation between the sort of dude who questions my masculinity and the sort of dude who whines excessively about how mean the world is to him, waaaaaaaaaaaah. And this is me in the Wonka pose again.

    All of which is to say, Mallet is out for general whiny male bullshit. Behave, children.

  2. Well said, John. All of it. If one’s childhood memories are so fragile that a remake of a beloved film makes you soil your pants and destroy said memories, well, life is tougher than that for most everyone. Welcome to the world.

  3. Every review I’ve read has been basically “It’s a fun movie and I liked it.” I might go to the theater to see it but if not, I’ll cheerfully watch it in my living room. My childhood movies aren’t sacred and that’s a good thing

  4. I hope that it’s a middling film that does middling well. That’ll serve right both camps, those who lauded it sight unseen & those who slammed it sight unseen, for their respective reasons.

  5. I don’t have a problem with the cast being all women, but I also don’t see the point of making it so either. For me it is more about talent than sex. From the ads I have seen, the movie looks awful. Your review is the first I’ve seen to say it is worth seeing, but I haven’t gone looking for reviews either.

    I enjoyed the original, mainly because of the central characters. I have no plans at this time to see this one (but then I rarely go to theaters to see movies since they are such inhospitable places these days….)

  6. “Manbaby rage” has become my favourite movie genre of late. Fury Road, The Force Awakens, and apparently Ghostbusters (gonna be a few days before I get to see it for myself). I hope Rogue One is awesome as well.

  7. People who get bent out of shape about movie remakes need to take the lesson of those who deal with (instead of getting bent out of shape about) favorite books being made into movies, or being ‘reimagined’ like your own “Fuzzy Nation” take on “Little Fuzzy”. It’s taking the same title, character names, and general concept, and putting them through a separate set of filters.
    Just as though a teacher in a creative writing class (or in a challenge on a writing development board) said “Here is your big plot point: Ghosts are suddenly become an issue in NYC. You must develop a 4-6 person team who happen to have the knowledge and resources to battle them, and their cause. It’s a comedy. The movie must last no more than 2 hours. Go.”

    Note that no mention is made of gender, or nationalities, or handicaps, or religions. Why should there be? Where does that play into the skillset and determination to deal with the issue? What’s most likely to be the mix of talents and skills in real life? Yeah, more than one possibility You wouldn’t go into a D&D game or one of the online team shoot ’em ups with only one character types, would you? All mages? All berserkers? Thieves, healers, archers, jacks-of-all-trades? All from the same town or trade or family? All snipers, or all tank drivers, or all officers, or radiomen, or explosive expersts. No, it wouldn’t work, would it?

    FN said “alien planet, exploitative company that will lose ownership if suddenly discovered new race is determined to be intelligent. Maverick finds said new race and starts the fight. Go.” That was the basis of Little Fuzzy, and FN, and 2 different authors, informed by 2 different worldviews (and around half a century apart!, gee, just like GB old & new are 2+ decades apart) had different ways to bring it alive. How shocking.

    Fuzzy Nation isn’t my favorite of your books, but I’m sure not complaining it ruined H.Beam Piper’s Fuzzy books for me; I may revisit them any time I choose. I might even recommend FN over LF to a younger reader, as it would be more in keeping with their tastes and experiences. It has a more modernly cynical worldview.

    When someone makes a movie of a book that I love, I’ve learned to go in saying “it’s the same title and character names, it won’t be the book. Deal.” These folks can do the same

  8. Glad you liked it. I’ve been feeling “meh” about the new movie, based on the promotional bits I’ve seen— but then if I search my memories I mostly felt kind of “meh” about the original too when I first saw it.

    My impression when I left the theater in 1984 is it had a few funny lines at various points, and that the Sta-Puf idea was clever, but that a lot of the rest of the movie felt juvenile (not in a good way) or tedious. (Plus, I was annoyed about the title song hook being ripped off from Huey Lewis.)

    Over time, my memories of the movie grew fonder, as the good bits became cultural touchstones, and they’re now enough for me to sit through and enjoy the movie at this point if I’m in the right mood.

    Watching a movie coming out now is by its nature not going to be the same kind of experience as watching a movie that you first saw more than 30 years ago. That’s true whether it’s an original movie or a derivative one. With this one, I was a bit concerned that they might essentially be hitting the same plot points and basic laugh lines as before, just with new actors and updated effects and references. But if, as it sounds from your description, they’ve done something fresher than just some tweaks and restagings, it might well be worth going to see. And there might be reason to remember it, and not just the original, years from now.

  9. Well, Rick Moranis (very much alive and well) was conspicuously absent, but from what I’ve read he had his reasons for not appearing, which I certainly respect. Aside from that very minor quibble, this review and subsequent rant is spot on: this was not only one of the best remakes in recent years, it was a damned funny movie on all accounts! And let’s not forget Chris Hemsworth’s clearly tongue-in-cheek upending of his own uber-masculine personna – fanboys must be throwing themselves against their parents’ basement walls knowing that “The Mighty Thor” plays a near-sighted, feckless, albeit hunky, dweeb who spends most of the film being objectified by the female characters; essentially a complete gender reversal of how fanboys generally seem to perceive the females in their own midst.

  10. Well put.
    Though, secretly I have my doubts if any of those whiners are actually old enough to call the original Ghostbusters “their” movie.

    But even if they where, I don’t think their complaints are worthwhile, and my personal notions about the director’s movies aside, am glad to hear that it is doing well in the Box Office.

    Long as they don’t dare to come up with a female Django! *j/k*

  11. when I heard that the remake had all the Ghostbusters being women I thought….nothing really. Didn’t phase me one way or another. It never occurred to me that it should be considered a bad thing or that it really mattered at all. I was truly more concerned that it be a decent movie should I choose to see it and now that it has the Scalzi Seal of approval, I will add it to the list of movies I may one day see. [Don’t get to see too many movies these days because of young children and lack of baby sitters but that will change eventually.]

  12. I quite enjoyed the movie; the original was probably “better” in the sense that it was so unique and memorable. But at the same time, what I really liked about this movie was that it took a lot of queues and idea, but it made them its own. It wasn’t trying to just remake the original… it took a completely new direction with a lot of similar themes. The characters weren’t the original four, only female; each one was a new (and very well defined) character that may take some queues, but was otherwise someone new.

    That and Chris Hemsworth. My god, I would watch the whole thing again just for that. Outside of Deadpool, I don’t think I’ve seen a movie where an actor was so clearly enjoying, and embracing, their role.

  13. As for remakes, one of the foundations of my childhood was Battlestar Galactica. When the remake came I was rather twitchy.. unstill I started watching. Other then the last half of the last episode, The new was better than the old. Except that I still love the old. I won’t trade one for the other.

    With the right cast, Ghostbusters (the 1st) would still be the masterpiece it is. Male, female, mixed? Who cares? I’ve been a little reticent about the new one, not because of the cast, but because Hollywood had dipped too many times into the well. Based on this review though, I think I may be buying a ticket soon.

  14. Just got home from watching it, and speaking as someone who was blown away on watching the original in my first year at university – this version *rocked*. The friend I was with has never seen the original, and was aware she was missing meta bits, but says it was a lot of fun even for a first time viewer.

  15. Will probably not get to see this movie for several months to years. I live in the Arctic and it costs about $3000 for flights and hotels to go to a movie, so… Anyways, WOMEN!

    Sure, why not?

    OTOH, you know what ruined something childhood for me? Re-reading Little Fuzzy. Holy Rude Words. Very very rude four-letter words. So utterly sexist (17 year old me did not see that), so very WRONG and OLD and NOT GOOD in so many ways.

    Life changes us. Hopefully it makes us better.Our childhood choices turn out to be shallow. F(orget) It and Move On.

    What was, was. Are you still a seventeen year old? FIMO!

    Women -not girls- in lead roles in movies not about men. Not enough of that in Hollywood, Bollywood or Nollywood.

  16. If I have a “political” problem with the trailers, it looked chock full of racist stereotype script writing. Of the “Oh, no you didn’t…Ah Hell No” variety. Otherwise, it just looked like another boring soul less remake to put on the pile of other boring soul less remakes. Along with TFA and Star Trek Abrams and …you get the point. It will make some money. No one’s childhood will be destroyed. The world will move on. If there is any cost, it’s possible that these things tie up some of the resources that might (emphasize might) get put into new ideas.

    Just to quibble with a detail, I have a hard time imagining Amy Poehler not being funny. I can certainly imagine McCarthy et al. not being funny. I have seen it. (Puts palantir back under the cloth.)

  17. Responding to the “both sides” argument above:

    Did anyone laud the movie sight unseen? I mean, I’m sure people went “cool, that’s interesting that they’re trying this with female main characters.” But that’s not the same as going, “Therefore it will be awesome!”

    On the other hand, if people were saying something like, “Oh, I like Melissa McCarthy, so this will be fun!” then… fine? That is certainly lauding it sight unseen. But I think you’d have to do some work to find a movie no one has drawn conclusions about based on its actors, writers, or director, and I doubt you want all those movies to be mediocre.

    So, the suggestion, then, is that people were saying the movie “would itself be great” (as opposed to being a great idea, which is not an indicator of execution) for political reasons. I strongly suspect this is a mischaracterization of what all but a fringe of people were arguing.

    Or in other words: quit it with the “both sides.” “I want representation of women in movies to be at least a little closer to real life” is not the same thing as “Women should not be in major action movie roles.” It’s silly to suggest they are equivalent, as a “pox on both your houses” argument suggests.

  18. “Maybe it would be OK to have SOME women on the team, but it’s ALLwomen! That’s sexist!” Nonsense. Reminds me of what Ruth Bader Ginsburg said when asked how many women should be on the Supreme Court (paraphrasing here): “Nine. It was nine men for how many years, and nobody had a problem with that.”

  19. You’re quick to call out “manbabys” but no mention of the Sony corporation for selectively deleting well articulated criticism of the movie yet leaving the sexist comments which were in the minority.

  20. I saw it Friday and thoroughly enjoyed it. It wasn’t perfect, and maybe could have benefitted from one more pass through editing imho, but my childhood is just fine.

    Of course, my childhood has withstood worse onslaughts. It made it through Michael Bay’s Transformers none the worse for wear.

  21. “You’re quick to call out “manbabys” but no mention of the Sony corporation for selectively deleting well articulated criticism of the movie yet leaving the sexist comments which were in the minority.”

    Sure, he never said he was writing a comprehensive response to all of Ghostbusters’ aesthetics and cultural reception, did he? He also didn’t talk about the 2016 elections, the still-upsetting revelation that Cosby is a rapist, or what he had for breakfast this morning.

    If you mean to suggest that Scalzi is being sexist in his selection of topics, it would probably behoove you to make that argument and try to substantiate it, which you have not done.

  22. “This is particularly ironic with anything regarding science fiction, which arguably got its successful start in Western culture through the graces of Mary Shelley. Women have always been in it, dudes. Deal.)”
    Off topic a bit, but that line makes me wonder if there are any eastern stories before Shelley that would classify as Sci-fi? I can’t think of any, but my local libraries are very western focused.

  23. I won’t go and see this movie – for the same reason that I didn’t go and see Blues Brothers 2, or Men in black 2, Ghostbusters 2 for that matter. I loved all those first movies but I am not a movie buff. When I was younger I guess I went to the cinema three or four times a year. (Now about once every two years – and no, I don’t have a TV set. I really prefer reading.)

    I look at most remakes or reshapings of movies as I look at the modern, Hollywood lite version of having semi-famous authors making modern versions of classical fiction. I don’t give a damn if I do: my childhood will not be destroyed by someone publishing a version of Huck Fynn where the main characters are rabbits. I just won’t read it.
    So many books (or movies, if you wish) and so little time.

    Mind you, I hugely enjoyed the wailing & gnashing of teeth of the man-boys. It’s kind of funny that they claim this destroyed their childhood – since they so obviously don’t have a life at all.

  24. I loved it, for all the reasons you gave, plus: Chris Hemsworth! The man knows how to make fun of himself, doesn’t he?

    As for the whiners: They can’t stand women, so one wonders how they manage to reproduce themselves–yet they seem to keep showing up. And so many of them are raging homophobes, too, that one can only conclude they must lead very lonely lives. Stuck in a basement somewhere, no doubt.

  25. Mandarbza:
    If you include Fantasy – which these days is the orthodoxy – the Mahabharata may be the first epic fantasy work.

    As far as I know Lucian of Samosata (AD 125-180) wrote the first story about people going to the moon. (Yes, I had to Google)

  26. Growing up in the early nineties, I LOVED the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I had a stuffed toy of Leonardo. I wanted to BE Leonardo and had a blue plastic sword to prove it. In all the photos of me in the hospital visiting my newborn baby sister, I am wearing a pair of bright yellow TMNT sunglasses because I refused to take them off. I had a TMNT birthday cake three years in a row. I watched my favourite Turtles VHS tape so many times that it eventually wore out. There are very few things that I would consider seminal to my childhood, but for some reason TMNT lodged itself in my young imagination and holds a special place in my heart to this day.

    So what I did I do when I saw that Michael Bay, one of my least favourite directors, would be responsible for rebooting the franchise?

    That’s right! I ignored it and continued on with my life as usual! I didn’t see the movies. I didn’t go to YouTube to downvote the trailers. I didn’t leave furious diatribes on positive reviews. I didn’t seek out people who like the movies on Twitter and try to needle them into “debating” with me. I didn’t petulantly announce that I would be boycotting the movies and then spend time obsessively poring over the box office numbers in search of vindication. How were those movies received? I don’t know. I don’t care. After a few moment of “ugh no”, I pretty much just forgot about their existence. AND LO MY CHILDHOOD FONDNESS FOR ANTHROPOMORPHIC REPTILIAN VIGILANTES IS INTACT.

  27. I go with a group of retired folks to see movies. We loved it and agreed it was much better than anticipated. I thought the ghostbuster women had more on-screen chemistry than even the original cast (sorry, they were good too). Oh, and you forgot to add that one of the better bad guys was that creepy woman assistant to the mayor, who BTY got away with all her prissiness even to the end, which tickled me too. And of course, we all loved the man-boy assistant, though some were disappointed they didn’t get to see “Michael Hat.”

  28. I’m just croggled that anybody considers Ghostbusters an icon of their childhood. Yeah, I know, I know, one person’s disposable crap is another person’s cherished plush toy, but Ghostbusters? John’s testimony that the new one is the second best Ghostbusters movie is about the most potent “damning with faint praise” I can imagine, so I’ll stay away, even though I thought the trailer looked fun, and I’m actually in favor of women, because I trust the movie doesn’t begin with a replication of that long tedious scene in the original of Bill Murray hitting on Sigorney Weaver, which is what made me turn it off when I tried to re-watch it.

  29. What really made me laugh was the poopsocks who had decided to hate the movie before they ever saw it justifying their hate in all sorts of ways. “I DON’T HATE IT BECAUSE OF THE WOMEN,” they protest, and then go on to say things you could say about any movie, ever.

    I thought the movie was perfectly in line with decent Hollywood fare. Not awesome, not awful.

  30. Sequels and remakes: Mostly, I don’t care for them. If the first was good, why redo it? If it wasn’t, what makes you think there was enough in it to make a do-over worthwhile? I have seen remakes that I liked (True Grit, to name one) but then, I hadn’t seen the original. I especially dislike American versions of foreign movies; they’re almost all unbearably softened or unsubtle. God help us if someone tries to remake Citizen Kane because the original is in black-and-white.

    As Ferd of the Nort suggests, sometimes time has made the original deeply offensive. I think of Disney’s Song of the South, which is so deeply racist that it’ll never be rereleased, despite its clever combination of animation and live action, and the unforgettable “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah”. But I can’t see how a remake would work.

    I don’t mind sequels in books (lucky for you, John), but I don’t think writers improve things when they do remakes. Clarke’s The City and the Stars wasn’t better than Against the Fall of Night, and T. H. White definitely made things worse when he rewrote The Sword in the Stone.

  31. “Sure, he never said he was writing a comprehensive response to all of Ghostbusters’ aesthetics and cultural reception, did he? He also didn’t talk about the 2016 elections, the still-upsetting revelation that Cosby is a rapist, or what he had for breakfast this morning.”

    No he didn’t mention those things but that’s off topic. It’s worth mentioning Sony’s tactics because it pertains the the movie. If you’re going to call at fans and insult them, it’s worth getting the whole story not just the one that fits your narrative. Once again most comments against the film were not sexist just the ones Sony opted to leave in the comments.

  32. DB, one of my friends is a huge GB fan. Several have been over the years, come to think of it, but the one I know off the top of my head is a huge lady-buster fan because he’s a feminist, too! Imagine that! I saw the movie Friday with my boyfriend—we went to see it in the theater as a first run JUST to be sure that we maximized our vote for Yes, More Ladies, Please. (Agree with you on the Bill Murray hitting on Sigourney Weaver scene, and yes, she has a cameo, and she’s boss.) I really liked the movie and the effects were great, and I think they should have had more Leslie Jones. I will watch anything these ladies do next, in or out of the proton pack.

  33. I saw the original ghostbusters in theaters when it first came out. I dont care if they rebooted it with all women, but *wow* do the previews suck. Havent seen it yet because of the previews being not-funny and also because summer==busy time.

    I also didnt care they rebooted star trek, but *wow*, how in gods name am I supposed to believe that some punk ass kid from Iowa spends a little time at the academy and is immediately capable of captaining a capital ship? Carrier captains in the us navy have to be former pilots *and* then have to work their way up to captaining some massive tonnage ship that isnt a carrier. Its a career path that takes decades. The reboot was like watching Tiny Toons go to war.

  34. However, there is precedent. I do remember when the Bride of Frankenstein was made there was a small but vocal group crying, “Oh noes! Womans in Frankenstein!”

  35. I’d love to see more great roles for women (which is why I’m writing some) and the Ghostbusters concept works as well with female characters as male. I’m just tired of Hollywood rehashing everything that’s already been popular, and not taking a chance on something original.

  36. Some movies that we consider canonical versions, are themselves remakes, frequently because the original was a silent film, so I should be careful about a general criticism of remakes, but when I see remakes being made of relatively recent films, I wonder what the point is. OK so 33 years isn’t exactly recent, but the original is in color, has sound, and the special effects look reasonably good. Obviously some characters are so iconic that we can expect perpetual remakes. I expect a few more versions of Superman before I die, and I suppose the question of whether the James Bond films are remakes of themselves is a philosophical question. Is Ghostbusters such an iconic property that it needs perpetual remakes?

    When the buzz started that they were remaking Ghostbusters, I rolled my eyes, because, ugh, another remake. Then the buzz started that they were considering an all-female ghost busting team, and the internet was atwitter with just how absolutely awesome that would be, as if that were reason enough to remake them film. My concern at the time was that they allow the goal to be to cast a film with all-female ghost busters rather than to make an entertaining film. I’m sure I’ll see it sooner or later, if not during the theatrical release, and I guess I’ll find out. If in thirty years, I hear that they intend to remake Pitch Perfect about an all-male acapella choir, I’ll roll my eyes for that too. I do roll my eyes when SF personalities announce that they refuse to participate it panels without gender parity. Programmers have a hard enough time finding the right participants for panels without adding additional constraints.

    As for my youth, it will be fine. I always considered Ghostbusters to be an moderately entertaining film, but it’s hardly an icon of my youth, and I’m sure that I’ll be able to find the original version if I really want to see it.

  37. I saw it this weekend and loved it. I especially loved Kate McKinnon’s character, who was queer and funny and unapologetic and kickass and goofy and completely hot. I also loved, as other people have pointed out, that here are four women over thirty on the screen, none of whom are objectified, none of whom are tearing the others down, and none of whom are prizes for a man to win.

    Also – I have a massive problem with the people who are complaining that there was no reason to make it all women. None of you object that the original was all men, and there was no reason for that either. Your prejudice is showing.

  38. I took the kids to see it yesterday since three of them said they were interested. Both of my teenage boys seemed to like it, but my oldest daughter and I had the reaction of ‘meh’. In fairness, that was my same reaction to the original when it was new, though both the original film and the new one had scenes that amused me. I guess it’s just a YMMV issue.

    Given what the special effects must have cost them, I hope the film does well enough to clear a decent profit. I’d like to think that would minimize some of the knee-jerk misogyny in post-run profitability evaluations, but I’m probably being overly optimistic.

  39. Occasional laugh here and there. It didn’t blow me away and it wasn’t the trainwreck that loads of people on social media said it was going to be. Loved Chris Hemsworth as the dopey receptionist. The ladies had great chemistry.  
    If you plan on watching it, stick around until all of the credits have rolled.

  40. My husband took my son to see it (in 3d) this weekend. He liked it too (as did my son), but noted that the action scenes would have been better with a better soundtrack.

  41. Never saw the first one because I just wasn’t (and still am not) a big fan of movies in general. But I’m a little interested in seeing the remake. It’d be a nice change to hear older-lady snark that doesn’t center around men or cutting each other down, and I don’t mind the setting being what it is.

  42. “No he didn’t mention those things but that’s off topic. It’s worth mentioning Sony’s tactics because it pertains the the movie. If you’re going to call at fans and insult them, it’s worth getting the whole story not just the one that fits your narrative. Once again most comments against the film were not sexist just the ones Sony opted to leave in the comments.”

    I’m glad you understand that the Cosby show and Scalzi’s breakfast are off-topic, but so is any potential censorship from Sony.

    The topic is: “A Short Review of Ghostbusters and A Longer Pummel of Manboys.”

    The topic is not: “Everything you ever wanted to know about the reception of Ghostbusters.” Or the topic you seem to want, which would be (at a guess): “A comprehensive analysis of comments on and critiques of Ghostbusters, and whether or not they are in the whole sexist.”

    Now you need to explain why Scalzi should have written about the topic you wanted. That’s the first plank of your argument, even though you refuse to articulate it.

    You offer a partial reason. Scalzi bears the responsibility to write about what you want because he has “call[ed] out fans and insult[ed] them.” He has, of course, called out some fans as sexist — which is a statement of fact, not an insult — but he’s Scalzi so he offered some humorous insults, too. We can stipulate that he has insulted them.

    So, if he has called out fans and insulted them, now we get to the question of “what does fan mean” in this context? Does it mean “any person who is a fan of Ghostbusters?” Or does it mean “people who have offered sexist critiques of Ghostbusters?”

    Scalzi’s article calls out “manbabies” specifically. He is also clear that he is talking about men who have offered sexist arguments. That means he is not talking about fans in general. You’ve pulled a trick with that word by trying to conflate the two.

    Therefore, it is, again, irrelevant that Scalzi did not talk about censorship from Sony. It is irrelevant because Scalzi is not talking about all people who have offered critiques of Ghostbusters. It is irrelevant because Scalzi is only talking about a subset.

    So, your reason why Scalzi should talk about what you want to talk about is invalid. He has not “called out fans and insulted them”–he is “calling out manbabies and insulting them.” The two categories are not the same.

    Ignoring the fact that the first prop of your articulated argument is wrong, let’s look at the conclusion that would rest on it if it was solid enough to have something rest on it. “It’s worth getting the whole story not just the one that fits your narrative.Once again most comments against the film were not sexist just the ones Sony opted to leave in the comments.”

    Sure. But again, this is off-topic. His narrative does not relate to non-sexist critiques of Ghostbusters.

    Here, let me try your comment in a less hostile form:

    “I don’t like that the emphasis here, and a lot of other places, is on the sexist responses to Ghostbusters. There were a lot of other reasons people were trepidatious about the film, and a lot of legitimate critiques about how it came out. Sony’s decision to censor those comments, but leave the sexist ones up, creates a skewed impression of how common the sexist arguments are.”

    There, see? I still don’t have to agree with you, and neither does Scalzi, but if you set aside the snark — which caused you to make some argumentative errors — you might be able to get your point across.

    I know Scalzi has opinions on chew toys, so I will forebear any further comment on this subject, and leave the last word, should you want it, to you.

  43. Count me in the ‘moderately interested’ camp, but I don’t have any idea if I might consider this the best film of the summer, or another bad remake, because I haven’t seen it yet. Will I go see it? Maybe. We have had a number of remakes and revisits of old franchises in the past decade, and sadly, the trend seems to be more about special effects rather than writing an entertaining plot that tries to keep some flavor of the original. Very few of the current revamps seem to have any consideration for the things that made the originals interesting. We will go to see the newest Star Trek movie in the theater, but that’s mostly because we won free tickets.

  44. [Deleted for responding to a deleted post. Come on, guys, you should know a post like that was going to get Malleted by me –JS]

  45. My feeling is that if seeing a remake is going to ruin my childhood memories of the original, I just won’t go see the remake. Just like I don’t see movies of books I love – I never like them, so why spend the money and time?

    Such a simple solution to a non-problem.

  46. I am disappointed by the implication that the original 1980 version of Endless Love was good, or in any way worthwhile. (Not that I’m defending the “remake,” of course.) The original Scott Spencer novel deserved better, in both cases.

  47. Maybe I’ll go see the movie. I wasn’t that impressed with the previews, which didn’t portray a lot of chemistry and seemed another low-quality remake, but the number of positive reviews I’m seeing are surprisingly high. There are some lines from the original that I still use occasionally – “Print is dead” keeps being relevant, and “You don’t usually see that kind of behavior in a major appliance.”

  48. I think some of the rage, if you can call general grumbling a rage, comes more from the place of frustration about any sort of change in a reboot than from one of sexism. To me, people complaining the Ghostbusters are women are complaining because it appears to be change for change sake. Maybe there’s a good reason, maybe there’s not. I haven’t seen the movie but I’m sure I will at some point. I would hope the choices were made because those were the best actors for those parts not, “We can hit a whole different demographic.”

    In the end, if I wanted to watch the original Ghostbusters, I’d watch the original Ghostbusters. It’s still there, untouched, for me to enjoy. I can do that and love/hate the new one to. The success of something new does not lessen the original.

    If you’re going to reboot a franchise, do it right. Keep the spirit, but make it new and different and unexpected. Love or hate JJ Abrams’ take on Star Trek, you have to respect the choice he made. He could have phoned in a passable Star Trek, but he gave a plot twist that made it clear he wasn’t rehashing someone else’s vision.

  49. The better something was in the first place, the more likely it will be reused in some way. Even Shakespeare — especially Shakespare — gets remixed, reconfigured, and reinterpreted in ways Elizabethan theatregoers would scarcely recognise. A mature person might celebrate the fact that culture grows, changes, and finds new ways to tell old stories.

    An immature person would get all bitter because a new generation is enjoying this story the wrong way. Kids will play Ghostbusters pretending to be be McCarthy, Wiig et al. instead of Murray and Aykroyd. It ties into that feeling of ownership Scalzi alluded to.

    Dudes, chill. You don’t own the story, and you certainly don’t own the audience. If you don’t like the remake, that’s fine; but you can watch the original any time you want on Blu-Ray. One day the kids might discover the original and like it, or maybe they won’t, but either way it has no impact on your own life.


    they allow the goal to be to cast a film with all-female ghost busters rather than to make an entertaining film

    The goal of any movie studio is always, always, always to make money. If the studio suits expect a good return on investment, they won’t hold back for artistic reasons. OK, people sometimes produce indie films just to make a point, but with Ghostbusters we’re firmly in big-budget studio territory.

    That’s one of the encouraging things about this movie. Big studios are notoriously risk-averse (and to be fair, a flop can cost them the best part of a billion dollars), but even they are beginning to figure out you can make a successful movie without a male-centred cast.

  50. I thought it was a blast, and almost-but-not-quite as good as the 1984 film in its own way. Certainly Paul Feig has a different comedic tone than Reitman, Ackroyd and Ramis, but that’s not a criticism. Slavish aping of other people’s style is not where good movie-making comes from.

  51. My boyfriend was outraged when he heard that they were remaking Ghostbusters. It’s one of his favorite movies and he rewatches it at least once a year. He saw no reason for a remake that he believed could never approach the classic goodness of the original and was disgusted by the cash-grab attempt (not that he spent even 1 second online complaining about it, however, as he has a life). I had a different perspective.

    I liked the original when I first saw it but I don’t think it has aged as well as people might want; Murray’s character is a complete dickhead throughout most of the film. And the special effects really show their age. So I was excited about a remake, with this cast and director, because I’ve liked their other stuff. And I was not disappointed!

    I thought it was really funny, the effects (although over-busy at times) were good and seeing it in 3D was well worth the extra money. My boyfriend, who went with me reluctantly, even laughed throughout as well and had to admit that it was funny. He was pleasantly surprised. The new movie will never over-take the first movie for him, which is fine, but it was much better than Ghostbusters II and it really set up the franchise to continue into the future. And who couldn’t use more fun in their lives?

  52. I’ve heard a number of positive reviews from friends, will probably go see it.

    Perhaps someday our society will be somewhere that we’ll see all-female or mixed-group-without-romantic-overtone casts alongside all-male or males-plus-romantic-interest casts for a wide variety of film genres, and it won’t be a big deal. Maybe I’ll even live to see it.

  53. I saw it Saturday and enjoyed it–not as much as some people in the audience, who were howling with laughter, but I certainly laughed out loud several times. The plot was meh and the song’s remake was just terrible (terrible!), but the acting was all first-rate and I loved the chemistry among the Ghostbusters themselves. I’ll see the sequel just for that.

    It was incredibly refreshing to have women characters who didn’t look, act, and dress like some 14yo boy’s idea of a sexy lady. I loved loved loved that there were no fat jokes, no boob jokes, no competition over a man and no man who swooped in to save the day.

    I liked the original Ghostbusters. I liked this one too. The world can hold more than one thing!

  54. I enjoyed it; it was neither the dreadful waste of talent one critic opined nor the “laughed so much I missed the punch lines” comedy one viewer mentioned, but it was pretty funny, and I caught most of the cameos.

    Apparently, most of the film was shot in Boston, but it didn’t ping my reflexive sense of “That’s not New York!” too much. Nevertheless, [NOT A SPOILER] there is no “Seward Street” stop anywhere in NYC, and trains travel on the right, not the left.

    The four of them had distinctive personalities and I hope that in the sequel, they’ll all have backstories.

    (Also, you’re actually going to want to stay during the credits.)

  55. Ghostbusters, like the first one, is the perfect hot’nhumid summer day entertainment. The spouse, loved the first Ghostbusters, but by now just generally hates movies and even when is at a film screening of a director – friend, walks out within 15 minutes and leaves me to watch and carry the weight of discussing the film with the director. Well! he began laughing in the first scene. He laughed all the way through. He WATCHED it all the way through. He didn’t get up and leave.

    The audience with us also laughed and applauded happily at the end.

    By the way, that whole wimmen thang? A man fixed it for ya. Chris ‘Thor’ Hemsworth mansplained to all the girls that he in particular took down the ghost plague. In the credits roll he busted moves in a long sequence. Who knew he was such a good dancer? And so funny?

    It was a great cast all the way around, and they worked beautifully together.

  56. Oh dear. The babbymen are awfully easily frustrated, if that last about-to-be-deleted comment is any indication.

    I’m one of those who,considered the original film to be hilarious as a teen, only to see it through a different lens as an adult and realize I didn’t like it as much–especially the Peter Venkman character, who I think now is pretty much a who has no business being the lead role in any movie. The science–such as it is–is used opportunistuically, and the metaphysiscs, again, such as they are–are very much the same. The Sigourney Weaver character has no agency, the character of Louis is a one-joke wonder saved only by the brilliant performance of Rick Moranis in the role.

    I have no preconceived notions about this new version, and no problem with it, but no desire to see it either. I do have issues with the way Leslie Jones’ character is portrayed in the trailers, though. I’ll check it out when it hits video, probably. Hopefully I’ll cringe less at Jones’ charcter than at Venkman’s utterly shabby behavior.

    It’s worth noting, however, that it’s a measure of how successful our society is that we have the time to argue about this topic–and a condemnation of it that we waste our time doing so.

  57. @Rachel Swirsky

    “Did anyone laud the movie sight unseen? I mean, I’m sure people went “cool, that’s interesting that they’re trying this with female main characters.” But that’s not the same as going, “Therefore it will be awesome!””

    Yes, but not in nearly equal numbers. 538 had a piece on it. Unfortunately, they just gave splits by gender and didn’t show the score distribution so I can’t say exactly how things were spread, but before the movie hit theatres the user rating on IMDB was at 3.6 out of 10 from 7,547 male reviewers and 7.7 out of 10 from 1,564 female reviewers. Betting most of them had not seen the movie at that point.

    So yeah, there was some of that happening. But again, worth remembering that not nearly equal in scale.

  58. Wait. They made a remake of Endless Love? I remember seeing it as a teen newlywed, but can’t fathom why anyone would want to do a reboot.

    As far as Ghostbusters goes, we saw it this weekend. My daughter and I loved McKinnon’s Holtzmann. My wife was torn between Abby and Erin (with an ‘E’) as her favorite. We all loved Kevin. Chris Hemsworth seemed to revel in the role. I thought the ‘villain’ showed they anticipated the manbaby pushback perfectly.

  59. I generally ignore the Sturm und Drang around remakes, especially those that mix up race and gender, because, frankly, I find the whining beyond stupid. Much of this probably comes from my background, i.e. theatre production and performance media major at an all-female college, followed by working as a freelance arts & entertainment journalist for several years.

    Personally, I think choosing to produce any work with an all-something cast is a perfectly acceptable choice. It can be done experimentally or to pull in a new audience, for love or money or simple curiosity. If someone is willing to finance it, more power to everyone involved, and the production will succeed or fail on its own merits.

    Someone up-thread very wisely pointed to Shakespeare, who’s works have been remade millions of times. I’ve personally probably seen thousands of variants. My least favorite was a production of Macbeth set in the Old West (USA). The characters spoke in crazy, drawling dialects that were more modern Southern, than Old West – as far as we know (since there are no actual recordings from the period), early American accents more resembled modern Irish/Elizabethan English than modern SE USA-in. Also, having Macbeth drawl “Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand?” while holding a six shooter upright was so ludicrous the audience broke up into laughter, which completely threw off the poor actor.

    On the other hand, I absolutely adored As You Like It set in Flapper-era USA. Gorgeous production, thoughtfully adapted.

    And, it’s notable that all modern Shakespeare uses “non-traditional” actors, as 99.9% of the original casts were male.

    Not too long ago, I saw a version of All My Sons with an all-African American cast, set in Seattle’s segregated black neighborhood. I wasn’t sure how it would work for me going in, but I exited feeling like it was the best production of All My Sons I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing, and I actually worked on two productions of that play, which made me hate it with a burning passion. Seeing it with an African-American cast in a setting that was still relevant to my experience, redeemed the play for me. Brilliant, truly brilliant.

    The Wiz, on the other hand, was generally terrible, but still worth doing. It was a commercial and critical failure, but it’s been a cultural success, becoming both a cult classic and as much of a cultural touchstone as the film Wizard of Oz starring Judy Garland, not least because The Wiz explicitly criticizes the earlier film’s white-washing of the original story (which is still pretty damned white.)

    Getting my degree from a same-sex college meant that if we wanted to perform most standards, there would simply not be enough male actors for all the roles, so we adapted. Sometimes successfully, sometimes not so much. Tennessee Williams often ended up with far more explicit homosexual (lesbian) themes, which usually turned out pretty awesome, but Driving Miss Daisy was a disaster. (A train wreck during an avalanche, yes, that bad.)

    I enjoyed the original Ghostbusters. It was fun, for the most part, although I never really understood why Zuul was apparently super-horny. That was weird, and is still weird now. On the other hand, Weaver was (and probably still is) something of a sex symbol, so maybe the character was written that way to bring in the 13-25 hormone-raddled male demographic.

    I will go see the new Ghostbusters, although I don’t go to the movies much and generally avoid remakes and sequels, for the sole reason that it does have the fantastic foursome as women. I think that is interesting, both creatively and culturally. I am also favorably inclined, because Hollywood is notoriously conservative about casting, and the fact that a female-led remake got green-lighted and funded is truly shocking. I hope it makes lots and lots of money for the producers, which leads to more roles for more women of more ages, sizes, and shapes, and to many more movies that acknowledge that 52%+ of the potential audience have both ovaries and money to spend. I want advertisers, producers, marketers, et cetera, to court ME, to cater to ME, to give ME products that I will enjoy, use, and spend my money on.

    And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. If some small subset of non-ovary having peoples have a conniption because they are no longer the be all and end all of everything ever, well, fuck ‘em. Not my problem. I will be happily enjoying my hot nacho cheese from the very center seat of the Cinerama. Laughing.

  60. I’m going to go see it with my 10 year old son, so, you know, if it ruins his childhood he’s at least still living it and there’s room to heal. With two older sisters, you think he has any impressions on what women can’t do? Pshaw.

    More to the point, doesn’t the mind boggle at all that can be done with the term “anguished testeria?”

    Trademarks, John, trademarks. Let me know if you need some help.

  61. I stayed away from reviews and only saw one trailer. Stars aligned and my wife and I went to go see it last night with a friend. Going in I wondered what I’d think because the trailer was a bit flat, but I certainly didn’t going in thinking I’d hate it. And I was right. I actually liked it quite a bit. On the drive over I decided I’d be ok with it if one actor made their character their own. That wound up being a really, really low bar. The cast was really good. It’s a much more low key feel from the original. No one’s chewing scenery. Kate McKinnon’s Holtzmann has an organic feel to it. Different from Ackroyd or Murray, but laugh out loud funny nonetheless. It’s a darned good origin story and I look forward to the next one.

  62. Scazi on Twitter: (For the record, I liked @NMamatas’ review, which is why I linked it. We saw the same film; we have different tolerance levels for things.)

    You have different tolerance levels for KKK-level racism? I mean, it’s good for us to own our white privilege from time to time, but damn, that’s a bold move.

    Seriously, either it’s racist and you should note that. Or it’s not and you should refute it. Feeling free to just let that lie there is the privileged part. And if you did not want to get into the subject at all, why link to a review that says something like that?

    Plus you put me in the position of siding with Nick Mamatas. Hard to forgive, dude.

  63. “But after a certain and hopefully relatively early point in your life, you realize remakes are just a thing the film industry does ”

    Not to the extent we see today, I think. As an avid filmgoer in the 1980s I don’t recall a huge flood of 30-year-old movies being remade. Which is not to disagree with your main point–I’m looking forward to seeing the new Ghostbusters.

    Mintwich, when you say The Wiz was a disaster, are you referring to the Diana Ross film? It is, but the stage version is marvelous.

  64. Oh dear. The babbymen are awfully easily frustrated, if that last about-to-be-deleted comment is any indication.

    Okay, HOW IS BABBY FOMENTED?? is my new fake internet headline.

    If you really hate pointless remakes then this Ghostbusters should be better than most for you; it actually represents doing something at least a little different. I didn’t think the Robocop movie managed to be good but it, at least, managed to try something different and explore slightly different territory. Way more respectable than stuff that just does a shitty photocopy for the sake of new dollars.

  65. PrivateIron:

    I suspect you’re interpreting my Tweet rather broadly. Saying I liked Nick’s review does not imply I agree with everything in it; saying we saw the same movie and have different tolerances for aspects of it doesn’t mean that I uniformly came to same conclusions he did, merely on a sliding scale. Remember that Twitter is about brevity.

    As to why I linked to it, why shouldn’t I? I should only link to stuff that is 100% in line with my own thoughts? You want that I should volunteer for epistemic closure? I think Nick makes arguable points, not all of which I agree with, but are nevertheless worth thinking about. And he does them from a point of view different than the waaaaaaaahbabies, which is good.

  66. When I read Ferd of the Nort’s comment about being shocked when rereading LF, my reactions were “I’m so glad we’ve got to the point it’s being noticed by men” and “I’m so sorry you’ve lost some enjoyment.” You may have to develop the internal wall of “it’s a product of its time” I did when I was a girl to enjoy the classics of SF (or any classics). Thank you.

    It would be nice if the guys here engage in a thought experiment on what it’s been like to be a female reading SF (as one aspect of life) these many years: virtually none of the major characters are your gender; the protagonist – the person whose voice you hear in your head – is not only Not You but often makes dismissive comments about you; and people who look like you are not present in significant numbers and/or are there only to be the “prize,” to mention some of the biggies.

    Wandering back over into SF in movies and TV, it has been utterly maddening that the preferred demographic, explicitly stated, was males in their teens through twenties. That Big Movies now think an action movie like this is a good investment makes me happy.

  67. @ Mike

    My concern at the time was that they allow the goal to be to cast a film with all-female ghost busters rather than to make an entertaining film.

    This is a puzzling concern because the reverse is true for the original. They didn’t hold gender-blind casting. They had already decided the team would be male (and for the writers, be portrayed by themselves) and that women would be cast only as office admins or love interests. None of this is unusual for mainstream films, where men are protagonists and women are cheerleaders or eye candy or nags or mothers. With the exception of Ernie Hudson, the filmmakers knew each other and had worked together before and had originally intended for two of the roles to be portrayed by their friends, which is an excellent explanation for why they didn’t hire other, individual men but does not explain why they didn’t even bother auditioning any women. The filmmakers of this adaptation / remake cast parts in much the same way, favoring friends and colleagues. And so I find it odd that for one film this familiar and highly gendered approach to casting is reasonable, acceptable, and apparently yields “entertaining” results without incident, while another film behaving likewise is characterized as flawed and unentertaining for doing so.

    I can only conclude from this that you believe women are less valuable actors and that hiring more than one or two of them at any given time and for large speaking roles makes films inherently dull. That’s your opinion, you own it, and what it is, too.

    Obviously some characters are so iconic that we can expect perpetual remakes.

    The characters in this reboot are not the characters from the previous two films.

    Programmers have a hard enough time finding the right participants for panels without adding additional constraints.

    Women have a hard enough time snagging speaking roles in films as it is, without men complaining about being laid low by the New World Order cum matriarchal conspiracy when (shockhorror) a whopping four are cast as stars. Yes, men have to eat and here we are with our own empty bellies, stealing the jobs that were your birthright as men.

    @ Erick

    I think some of the rage, if you can call general grumbling a rage

    I call what we’ve witnessed for the past-odd year a combination of on-line shitfits, outright harassment, and long and baleful but sadly substance-less whinges.

    comes more from the place of frustration about any sort of change in a reboot than from one of sexism.

    So you witnessed people mourning their childhoods when we got a second Red Dawn and a second Point Break, for example?

    I would hope the choices were made because those were the best actors for those parts not, “We can hit a whole different demographic.”

    Far be it for me to question the sincerity of advocates for Ethics in Film-Casting and the Preservation of Childhood Toys from the Scourge of Cooties, but this is a bit too precious, with a sideorder of special pleading. Film and television is specifically devised and carefully crafted to “hit” certain demographics, and the wider the better. Men as a demographic are regularly and disproportionately catered to, to the detriment of a Pure and Randian Meritocracy (for where there exists a plane on which only men are invited to stand either as actor or spectator, more than one-half of all potential players goes to considerable waste, their talent and money directed elsewhere). This is how the film industry functions and this is its purpose: bums on seats. Lately, it’s been doing an historically bad job of acquiring enough of those bums, and has finally grokked that fixating on young-ish white men to the exclusion of everyone else is bad for business. Likewise, women and people of color are finally making headway (albeit at a snail’s pace) behind the camera and–surprise–this results in more diverse casting across the board and an interest in courting traditionally underserved ticketbuyers. Feigning credulity about this devious stratagem (developing and marketing films to appeal to specific consumers) and fussing in a concerned fashion over whether four women could ever possibly be the “best actors” for a job (the job being to portray four women on screen as explicitly specified by a script) in a world where men exist is risible, dishonest, and sexist. Men as men are not inherently the superior choice. The suggestion is absurd and illogical.

    Anyway, your concern and hope are noted and presumably you are equally filled with despair when you come across a film that is peopled only by men or only by white actors. I’m sure in this instance the film will do just fine, thanks for asking. Shakespeare seemed to do okay only having boys on stage, so this is fine. Thanks. Thanks for worrying but it’s going to be okay.

  68. Katie Sackhoff as Starbuck in the new Battlestar Galactica was a great casting choice. Kyle Scatliffe as Jud Fry in the 5th Avenue’s Oklahoma production was a provocative and brilliant casting choice. The two best Shakespeare productions ever put on film are Baz Lurhman’s Romeo + Juliette and Ralph Fiennes Coriolanus. I love that kind of thinking in dramatic productions.

    Ghostbusters was a fun film. I’ll see the remake it on DVD.

    Does it pass the Betchdel test?

  69. John, I haven’t seen the film, but I did see the trailer. Unfortunately, I agreed with the ‘manbabies’ (as you call them) that the trailer was crass, tacky, and on par with the trailer for Pixels or an Adam Sandler movie.

    Moreover, there’s a difference between having great female characters (e.g in Frozen, Brave, etc.) and being misandrist. Gender swapping the main characters in a much-loved cult movie… Well, okay… Having one of those female characters gleefully shoot a ghost in its incorporeal nuts (in the trailer I saw) strays into man-hating territory. I’m surprised that you think women want to see films that hate men, or that this is any way ‘progress’. A large number of us women enjoy the company of men, sleep with men, and – indeed – have male children. Yes, women should have their own stories, but those stories don’t have to be about laughing at men and protoning their ghostly counterparts in the balls.

  70. I probably will watch it later when it’s available on Amazon but I really have little desire to see it because of the casting of the particular actresses in it. Melissa McCarthy is as big a draw to me as John Candy, that is to say, not at all. I just don’t like her so putting her in a movie is a good way to get me to not see it in the theaters. And i know there are a lot of people who love her but I’m not one of them. Maybe when I see it I will enjoy it as she one of several main characters and not THE main character. Maybe it because I haven’t really enjoyed SNL since the second cast left in the 80’s so I don’t really know who these people are other than Melissa McCarthy.

  71. Saurs,

    That was a fairly awesome rant, all the more so because your points were spot on.

  72. John, I haven’t seen the film, but I did see the trailer.

    I think you could have profitably stopped at this point.Because after that, you’re just commenting on the movie in your head, and not the one on the screeen.

  73. “John, I haven’t seen the film, but I did see the trailer.”

    I didn’t read your whole comment, but I did read this sentence.

  74. “I didn’t read your whole comment, but I did read this sentence.”

    Except a trailer is supposed to be representative of the film as a whole, which is not the case for a lone sentence. But it allows you to dismiss a point before you’ve actually read it, so hey, bonus.

    Beyond that the “manbabies” (whatever happened to “men must express their emotions or they are not really humans” ?) don’t dislike the film because it has women in it, they dislike it because the film having women in it is all it has to say for itself. Which wasn’t the case for Mad Max Fury Road. Then again, the handful of people who spoke out against the film are not the same as those who spoke out against that sexist piece of filmic crap.

  75. I’m generally opposed to remakes and reboots because too often they feel like they’re made by lazy people without a creative thought in their heads. But there are always exceptions, and Ghostbusters may be one (haven’t seen it yet, but I will, probably on DVD at some point).

    For example, I liked the revamped Battlestar Galactica, and thought Daniel Craig’s James Bond breathed new life into the series.

    And lest we forget, the 1941 Maltese Falcon with Humphrey Bogart was the third remake of Dashiell Hammett’s novel.

  76. Manuel,

    I didn’t know Sony had censorial control over the entire internet. Frankly I don’t know why you think Sony is relevant. The comments weren’t limited to something Sony controlled. There was a general meltdown of poorly socialized manchildren.

  77. Corenair’s Id is showing.

    Amusingly, I just realized (four hours later, better than never?) I contradicted myself above, stating I had “no preconceived notions” about the new GB film, and then going on to talk all about my preconceived notions brought away from the trailer. My motives were pure, but my face is nonetheless red.

  78. A short comment here about word choices:

    1. “Manbabies” is in no way equivalent to “men who express their emotions.” It IS equivalent to “men who are acting like spoiled, immature children.” There is an age appropriate way to disagree with people and state your own well-reasoned opinions. Hint: insulting an entire gender and refusing to critically examine your own gender’s status in society is not it.

    2. “In the nuts” when used as a phrase to describe a self-defensive strike is in no way equivalent to “hating men.” The testicles are an (extremely) sensitive area and a perfectly logical place to hit anyone who has them if that person, living or dead, is attacking you. Yes, I realize ghost-nuts might be a less effective target, but I would argue that at that point it is more a psychological blow than a physical one (cf., “phantom limb syndrome”).

  79. Corenair:

    “Except a trailer is supposed to be representative of the film as a whole”

    No, that’s wrong. The trailer is marketing to interest you in a film, and not necessarily an accurate precis of the film itself.

    With that said: Folks, the discussion here is the film, not the trailer. Let’s snip out discussions of trailers and stay on topic, please. If you haven’t seen the actual film, maybe go see it first.

  80. I remember fondly, if not accurately, when nerds were supposed to be the more advanced, hatred-free fragment of humanity. Almost…Almost tempts me towards gate-keeperism. Instead, I shall follow the example set forth here and in the grandest tradition of fandom fully engage my best weapons in this fight, the chuckle and the mighty snark.

  81. @ vivienneraper

    the trailer was crass, tacky, and on par with the trailer for Pixels or an Adam Sandler movie.

    So Hollywood business as usual, then, nothing exceptional that would warrant hyperbole.

    there’s a difference between having great female characters (e.g in Frozen, Brave, etc.) and being misandrist.

    Why are you comparing adult women to cartoon children?

    Having one of those female characters gleefully shoot a ghost in its incorporeal nuts (in the trailer I saw) strays into man-hating territory.

    And Venkman immediately regarding Dana Barrett as potential girlfriend material in need of bullying, sex pest-ism until she agrees to a date is not a celebration of women, so, again: sauce for gander time. Why is one unremarkable and unremarked-upon and the other is not?

    Likewise, we have legitimate criticism of Leslie Jones’s character. Winston Zeddemore went from a well-seasoned, decorated military expert with a doctorate and a large speaking role to a Christian everyman making $11,500 annually overnight, with more than three-quarters of his lines slashed, and only after Ernie Hudson was cast in the part. So this much-admired “cult” film had identical race- and class-based problems. This is not an excuse for the reboot because there is no excusing its blindspots and dogwhistles and failures. Acknowledging that no progress has been made in the intervening thirty years, however, is not complimentary to the first film. I give it no faint praise because it warrants none. The script’s Smartest Man in the Room became the dumbest, the one in need of handholding and ‘splaining, when a black man was cast in the role.

    *waves at darrelle* Thanks! :)

  82. The original “Ghostbusters” film definitely didn’t rock my world. World-rocking films from that period for me fell into the “Tootsie” and “Repo Man” camps. I did love the “Ghostbusters” theme song, though.

    That said, the new “Ghostbusters” film is in my viewing queue. It doesn’t sound from reviews not waving the manbaby card as if it’s worse than the original. Though my eyes do roll at having the main black character display “street smarts.” Come on Hollywood, it’s been several decades past the 1980s. Couldn’t you come up with something more original?

  83. Quoting myself

    Winston Zeddemore went from a well-seasoned, decorated military expert with a doctorate and a large speaking role to a Christian everyman making $11,500 annually overnight, with more than three-quarters of his lines slashed

    when I write “overnight,” I mean just that. Hudson was informed of the change the night before shooting. Whatever we can speculate about the treatment of Jones as a cast-member, she was not disrespectfully blindsided in this way. This was and is shameful behavior, particularly because Hudson had agreed to the original part for so little money to begin with.

  84. @ Saurs: Huzzah! You wins the intertubes!

    @ frasersherman: Yes, I was specifically comparing movies to movies. Comparing movies to plays is simply not fair, imo, e.g. like comparing a play or movie to the book the production was based on. The constraints and opportunities of each form are unique unto themselves.

  85. (Oh, god, I’m sorry. You wrote it, I registered it, and utterly ignored it. Won’t happen again. Really sorry about that.)

  86. John: Is a considered discussion of whether going for the gonads is a legitimate defensive move within the context of the film acceptable, or is it off limits because the original comment was only about the scene being shown in the trailer?

  87. Mintwich:

    I’m not at all sure the discussion of proton streams vs. ghostly nethers will lead to anywhere useful, but sure, go ahead for now.

  88. Can I just say that criticizing a Ghostbusters movie for being crass is gobsmackingly weird? The original was not lacking in gross and crass. One of the things I found interesting about the movie was the way that crass humor work when it’s women who are delivering the punchlines. I was particularly fond of Abby looking down her shirt and saying, “It’s Mardi Gras down here.” I really liked the movie. It’s not a great movie, but it was a delight.

  89. ummm… John… Proton streams and ghostly nethers are always a topic for discussion. Not always a family safe topic.. but…

    You should play Star Trek Online. Get the Synchronic Proton Distortion Prototype Rifle. You can ghost/corporeal bust to your heart’s content. LOL And yes, the secondary fire mode of said weapon is based on the Ghostbusters Proton rifles. Ah sweet mayhem. LOL

  90. Well, I saw it, and I liked it. Possibly better than the original, considering any resemblance between Harold Ramis, Dan Ackroyd and actual actors is purely coincidental.

  91. @jhc — if Melissa McCarthy is truly your biggest problem with the film, you should see it! So many Melissa McCarthy fans are disappointed that they cast her to play it straight. She’s not really her standard movie persona at all.

  92. A large number of us women enjoy the company of men, sleep with men, and – indeed – have male children.

    Setting aside the amusement value of telling a heterosexual male married to a woman that some women actually like men to the point of having sex with them, giving birth to male children is a function of biology, not ideology. Misandry will not affect vaginal acidity so as to give X-bearing sperm the advantage. What are they teaching in biology nowadays?

  93. Is this the first mention of testeria? Nope, dates back at least to a 1994 academic paper with the word in the title. I attempted to read it, and will attempt a summary: I give up.

    Best of luck to anyone who manages to read the article, and understand it fully.

  94. Say John, you’re a movie guy, right? Maybe not today, but perhaps a few blog posts on, we could have a post and discussion on the theory and practise of movie trailers.

  95. Just chiming in. I do enjoy the adeptness of your wordplay and your discussion and argument regarding Ghostbusters and other topics. Helps that I agree with most of it. But I do enjoy it.

  96. I’ve heard the new movie is average, or good, or bad. I don’t really know what to think.I remember a college freshman orientation party. Ghostbusters (1) had come out that summer. A whole pavilion hall at a summer camp setting, college boys and girls dancing and laughing together to the great and goofy Ghostbusters theme. I thought it was awesome and danced too. Not that I knew how to dance, of course. Still had a ton of fun. Is the new movie gonna ruin the great fun from that movie? Nah. Much like they can’t ruin my love for Trek with all the nonsense going on now. (Which I will not tangent into, and urge others not to.)

    All women versus all men from the original? OK, I can agree, why not? But it seems like it’s more just for the sake of doing it, than if they’d had a mix of men and women Ghostbusters. I’ll note Janine, the snarky, hip secretary from the original, was undeniably a woman, even if she wasn’t directly out there busting ghosts. And I’ll agree, why couldn’t she have busted some ghosts? Anybody who can field weird ghostbusting calls ought to be able to bust some ghosts too, right? Hmm. Winston Zeddmore. Yeah, although his character was believable as an everyman just getting paid, giving it the good fight, I would’ve been happier if he could’ve been some sort of high-powered scientist too. So I’d think the same for a black woman’s role as a Ghostbuster. But OK, is that maybe asking too much of what is, admittedly, intended as a comedy and a spoof of the ghost hunting and paranormal / psychic phenomena folks, as 1 and 2 surely spoofed. (Come on, like you didn’t notice?) Or must we demand stringent political correctness from our comedy fantasy science ficiton too? I agree, it’s not so equal and it’s not so ideal. But much of real life is not either, unfortunately. We still have to live with it. Why not, therefore, make fun of it. Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Richard Pryor, Whoopie Goldberg, and others can and do gleefully skewer inequality with comedy. So why not do it that way. Note, that’s a suggestion that might fit other shows better than Ghostbusters. Rambling a bit off-point, there.

    Nothing wrong with having women up there making fun of women’s issues and men’s issues, and showing women can kick butt and bust ghosts, be scientists, be action heroes. Hey, if Sigourney Weaver can play in Ghostbusters as a not-quite-damsel-in-dissed-dress, as well as play a kick-butt starship officer busting some Alien butts, why not?

    I do have one concern about the new movie having all women as the Ghostbusters team: Now, granted, most men and boys will be smart enough not to let this bother them any. They’re smart enough to enjoy a movie with women leads as Ghostbusters. There are also the older two movies. However, I am sure some cool, smart boys out there will be fans of the new movie, and they will go to school / around the neighborhood, never expecting that some knuckle-dragging boys and a few girls will make fun of the boys for liking ~Girly Ghostbusters.~ Because you just know some boys and some girls will be bullies and accuse some unsuspecting fan boys of being somehow less manly because they liked a movie that had women Ghostbusters. They’ll likely tell those boys that they must want to be girls themselves, or they’re gay boys, or they’re less manly, because they liked some ~Girly Ghostbusters.~ And this will offend the boys who liked the movie, because they never thought of it that way, because they’re smarter than that to begin with. But the knuckle-dragging bully boys and girls are not, and they’ll happily make some nice boys feel miserable by casting doubts on their maleness, gender role, sexual orientation, and anything else they can pile on. Whether the fan boys actually have any insecurities about their masculinity, or whether any of them are gay or are discovering maybe they might be — the idiots will be all too happy to make them feel bad. Never mind that the fan boys are likely smart enough to see that. They still will feel bad because their manhood was called into question. And if they’re struggling with whether they are maybe not-straight, then that will likely make it tougher for them to deal with it. Although it might make a few of them ticked off enough to push back and stand up for themselves, and not put up with people giving them nonsense for it. — I will concede that, even if the movie had a mix of male and female Ghostbusters, the knuckle-dragging crowd woutd have simply switched tactics to tell a fan boy he must therefore want to be one of the Girl Ghostbusters instead of the Guy Ghostbusters. — Because the knuckle-dragging crowd have just enough brains to come up with that kind of thing, but not enough to see how ignorant it is in the first place. So, yeah.

    Let me state that i have no problem with boys being fans of the new movie and liking the ladies as Ghostbusters. I’ll note some of those boys might have crushes going on about the ladies, which, y’know, can’t blame a boy for dreaming. :) And for the fan boys out there struggling with that not-straight thing, well, I get it, boys. You guys rock. Don’t let that bother you. Also, go bust some ghosts. — And to the toy marketing folks out there, I’d say, boys, whether very straight or not so straight, and any girls, should get just as much chance to get the female action figures as they do the male action figures. There will be plenty of boys and girls, very straight or not so straight, who will want to get the female action figures right along with the male action figures. Making the girl figures more expensive or harder to get, because you think they won’t sell as well to the boys, is not smart at all. It will only frustrate the kids and their adult friends and relatives, wanting to get the figures for the kids to play with. This applies to all fandoms. Boys will include those girl figures. The boys have sisters and cousins and moms and aunts and grandmas after all, who should kick just as much butt as the menfolk. The straight boys might say the girl figures are friends or girlfriends. The not-straight boys might say the girl figures are there as friends. The girls will say the girl characters rock and the boys can be sidekicks or friends or maybe boyfriends. Just saying that this is not as much an issue for the boys as the toy marketers seem to think.

    I’m sure I’ll get to see the new Ghostbusters eventually. I’d see it sooner, but my budget has been taken over by a soul-sucking fiend known as the economic crisis. Anybody have a ghost trap for that one? I hope so!

  97. As for the whiners: They can’t stand women, so one wonders how they manage to reproduce themselves–yet they seem to keep showing up. And so many of them are raging homophobes, too, that one can only conclude they must lead very lonely lives. Stuck in a basement somewhere, no doubt.

    Kimberley Clark is their Best Girl.

  98. @Saurs Frozen isn’t a kid-only film. It works for all ages as a tender tale about the relationship between two sisters, and accepting yourself. Elsa and Anna aren’t depicted as children either: they’re responsible for running a kingdom.

    Also, just because films like Pixels and anything-by-Adam-Sandler exist in Hollywood, that doesn’t mean it’s the standard we should accept.

    Moving on from the trailer… Question to everyone who’s seen the film: Is the trailer representative of the film? And, if not, how would you sell the film to someone who’d been put off by the trailer? I liked Melissa McCarthy in Spies and enjoyed Ghostbusters as a kid.

  99. @ vivienneraper
    “Frozen isn’t a kid-only film”
    What Saurs said was “Why are you comparing adult women to cartoon children?”
    If you want to debate somebody, why not talk about what they really said?

    As for me, I look forward to the seeing the movie.

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