[sigh] Okay, here it is. Was it worth all the trouble and the hate and the exabytes of thinkpieces and blog comments? To put it bluntly: NO!! I chuckled a couple times and I laughed out loud once near the end. That’s about it. So let’s take a look at the Biggest Political Football of 2016, aka a movie that was liked by few and disliked by many.
Please note: there will be spoilers, and a few uncensored curse words. Starting now. The misogynists and the trolls can go fuck themselves. Not just because they suck (they do), but because they make regular geeks like me look bad! Those of us who didn’t like the film deserve better than to be lumped in with these losers.
And the studio PR people and the filmmakers can go fuck themselves for courting the controversy instead of taking the high road. Those of us who didn’t like the film have legitimate reasons for doing so and deserve better than to be lumped in with the aforementioned losers. Between this and screwing up Spider-Man (twice!), Columbia Pictures deserves whatever happens to it. (Uh, unless that “whatever” is good, in which case it doesn’t.)
The ghosts are being summoned by a… weirdo named Rowan (Neil Casey). He’s been bullied his whole life and wants to see the world end. The climax takes place in and around Times Square. After possessing Kevin, Rowan takes the form of the Ghostbusters’ logo (which is originally seen as graffiti in the subway). The ladies use the nuclear reactor aboard the Ecto-1 to close Rowan’s dimensional portal. A defeated Rowan manages to drag Abby with him but Erin jumps in and comes to the rescue. So all’s well that ends well. The mayor’s office decides to privately support and fund the team even though they have to disdain their work in public to avoid a panic. And I stopped caring an hour ago.
So… the backstory. Who cares? Ray and Egon were interested in the paranormal, Peter was a fraud but Dana gave him a reason to care, and Winston was your average no-nonsense everyman who wanted a paycheck. That’s all we needed to know. And while Bill Murray was great at the whole ironic self-aware thing, he could also play sincere and we believed him. He sold it. Wiig and McCarthy can’t sell it. I’m sorry to say this, especially since Wiig can be a very good actress (see The Skeleton Twins or Welcome to Me). I bought the friendship but I couldn’t buy them as serious scientists nor could I buy them as scared. The whole time I kept asking, “Who gives a shit?!”
The original is such a unique blend of humor and horror that if a studio exec asked me to remake Ghostbusters, as much as I want to play in that playground, I’d say no. In fact, the former head of Sony Pictures reportedly asked several filmmakers, “Why do all of you keep turning this down?” To them, it was sacred ground. Paul Feig’s opinion was basically, “They’re gonna remake it. It might as well be remade by someone who cares.” But I’m not so sure he did. And since I’m not a fan of his films anyway (his TV work was excellent, though), it’s a moot point.
The rest of the cast is way too over-qualified or doesn’t belong at all. Andy Garcia plays the mayor and his presence proves the idea that dramatic actors are oftentimes better at comedy than comedians. But he’s only in it for five minutes. Charles Dance is Wiig’s superior and he’s way too good for this movie. But this leads me to another problem: nearly everyone has schtick, they’re all going for the punchline… it would be like populating the original’s supporting cast with the likes of Harvey Korman and Dom DeLuise. (Actually, that might be kinda awesome!)
We see familiar faces like Silicon Valley’s Zach Woods and MADtv’s Michael McDonald (to be fair, Veep’s Matt Walsh got a chuckle out of me) and it made me think of the original where the guys were the only ones allowed to be funny, plus Rick Moranis. Not everyone needs to be “the funny one.” There’s no Dana character to ground this movie – everyone’s a comedian! It gets old and it’s why there’s a lack of authenticity to anything. And once again, I can tell when the actors are improvising because it’s the material that could easily be cut without affecting the rest of the story. Look, I sympathize – I wrote part of a screenplay in high school and ended up with a 200-page first act! But when did filmmakers, especially comedy filmmakers, forget how to edit?!
And yes, there are a few anti-male jokes… look, I wasn’t offended BUT it was enough to make me notice, and enough to make my friend give up after 15 minutes. (And my friend is no activist – politically, he’s basically in the “Fuck ‘Em All Party.”) Now was this material added after the controversy? In the script or ad-libbed on set? I don’t know. But I do know you don’t have to make your heroes look good by badmouthing someone else. And in this case, that someone else is me!
Of course, I don’t have to vent my frustration on Twitter like some assholes. [wink]
This is where I get off. I know I can’t convince you of anything and I didn’t like it enough to even give it a half-assed recommendation like I did with Battleship a few years ago! Better to put this all behind us. They most likely won’t make a sequel but if they do, they could use Max Landis’ treatment which involves a multi-gendered team (real equality!) and other Ghostbusters franchises from across the country. Better yet, they could hire Leslye Headland to write and direct the film. She did an indie comedy I like titled Bachelorette (better than Bridesmaids imho) and she can write and direct a good joke! Is that too much to ask of a comedy?
P.S. The film’s most egregious sin? Thanks to a product placement deal, the ladies eat Papa John’s pizza. In New York City!