Ghostbusters 2016: Impetus & Aftermath

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Well, the last year and a half have been quite the bumpy ride on the World Wide Web.  Now that the Ghostbusters 2016 remake is in theaters, there is a lot to reflect on.  There’s plenty to think about from the first announcement in 2014, following all the way through to now.  A little bit is good, a lot bad, so let’s proceed shall we?

 

  1. The producers at Sony leave much to be desired.

 

Yes, this shouldn’t surprise people, given the producers of this film other than director Ivan Reitman.  Amy Pascal was a producer before the infamous 2014 email hack exposed her as unsuited for the position.  It was her call to eliminate the third movie concept, and replaced it with the remake.

 

She was willing to be indifferent to Reitman’s requests.  She even left him out of pre-production meetings with key members of the executive team, leaving him in the dark.

 

https://wikileaks.org/sony/emails/emailid/158486

 

Her successor, Tom Rothman, has some missteps of his own.  He was the Fox producer that killed Joss Whedon’s Firefly. He might be better remembered as the one who wanted Deadpool without a mouth in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.  Heck, he even tried to block the Deadpool movie from coming to fruition.  You know Deadpool, right?  The most financially successful R-rated movie ever made!  Rothman made it a point to express how much of a publicity blessing the negative backlash has been for the Ghostbusters remake.

 

http://spinoff.comicbookresources.com/2016/06/26/sony-chairman-tom-rothman-calls-ghostbusters-hate-greatest-thing-that-ever-happened/

 

  1. The Leaked Synopsis was 100% accurate.

An unidentified individual under the username of Stantz1984 claimed insider knowledge of the Ghostbusters remake and was willing to break their NDA, leaking out the plot summary of the film.  At the time of the release, it was understandable to take the Reddit post with a grain of salt.  But, over the course of the months as more trailers and TV spots were released to the public, the synopsis showed to be absolutely true.

 

Below is the original post archived:

https://archive.is/AWGQQ

 

  1. The treatment of the fans of the original film speaks volumes of the difference between Paul Feig and Ivan Reitman.

 

As seen in online reports and his own Twitter, Paul Feig (director of Bridesmaids & Spy) has a knack for going off the handle with dealing with criticism.  He resorts to name calling, childish acts in general.  One would expect him to be above such antics and take the high road.  But, he has no problem sinking down to the degrading level, going Full Devin Faraci.

 

http://www.geek.com/news/paul-feig-has-had-it-with-ghostbusters-geeks-1654489/

 

Contrast Feig’s attitude with that of original Ghostbusters director, Ivan Reitman.  While Feig is virtue signaling about misogynists and sexism, Reitman gives the fans the benefit of the doubt.  Reitman recognizes that it is a small, concentrated group with the sexist attitude, but he knows that a lot more are concerned with a property that means a lot to them.

 

“I think there’s way too much talk about gender [when it comes to this film],” Reitman told Mashable. “I think that many of the people who were complaining were actually lovers of the [original] movie, not haters of women.”

 

http://mashable.com/2016/06/30/ghostbusters-ivan-reitman-reboot-backlash/#9oxZyWvxPuqT

 

Reitman’s stance as going against the narrative put forth by Sony and Feig may stem from the undeniable disrespect shown to him and to what he sees as base motivations for a franchise he had a key role in the creating.  That would be enough for him to throw caution to the wind.  Did anyone notice that he was not with the rest of the original cast while on the Jimmy Kimmel show on June 9th, 2016?  You can see that growing insubordination in this series of emails exchanged over the course of October 8th, 2014:

https://wikileaks.org/sony/emails/emailid/36115

https://wikileaks.org/sony/emails/emailid/152295

https://wikileaks.org/sony/emails/emailid/148486

https://wikileaks.org/sony/emails/emailid/56634

 

  1. Media outlets have no issue with showing their double standards.

 

When James Rolfe announced that he was not going to see the Ghostbusters 2016 remake, the media outlets had a field day.  They couldn’t be quick enough with article after article calling him a sexist or a misogynist.

 

http://www.indiewire.com/2016/05/ghostbusters-reboot-cinemassacre-youtube-critic-refuses-to-see-the-film-for-dumb-reasons-290290/

 

http://www.deathandtaxesmag.com/291025/ghostbusters-james-rolfe-cinemassacre/

 

Critic and YouTuber Bob “Moviebob” Chipman made the mistake of agreeing with Rolfe’s points.

 

https://medium.com/@RachelBanks/misogynistic-mra-bob-chipman-cries-male-tears-over-all-female-ghostbusters-94f07f0870f6#.8mc8t0dtk

 

While all of the media was focusing on Rolfe, they seemed to ignore the growing number of women who were speaking up as not in favor of the remake.

 

Queen Alachia:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41lNcwnmPJ8

 

Ellie Jayden:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=di7RFcU6jMk

 

Wooly Bumblebee:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HtUCsckMGg

 

Comic Book Girl 19:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQIuTGfPHvA

 

Here, we see evidence of the media being complicit in putting forth a dishonest narrative, and at the same time criminally ignoring voices that would contradict the narrative.  After all, wouldn’t it be in the name of gender equality that these women would be given the same treatment as Rolfe, or that Rolfe would be given the same degree of leniency as these women?

 

One writer summed up why a female ghostbusters film is actually a step back and sends the wrong message.  Thelma Adams of the Observer, a review conspicuous by its absence from Metacritic, gave one of the harshest assessments.  Adams stated:

 

“I don’t want to betray my sisters—the ones busily organizing watching parties and #GoSeeGhostbusters or #SupportGhostbusters. I get it. On Easter Sunday, my neighbor invited me and the moms to see My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. It was a group thing. We laughed, we cried, we cooed over John Corbett, we shared stories afterwards at Applebee’s about our own mothers and daughters—but was it a good movie? No.

 

As female viewers we can’t be so desperate that we’ll embrace almost anything female-driven as if we were Dickensian orphans pleading ‘please, sir, more?’”

 

http://observer.com/2016/07/ghostbusters-is-flat-when-good-enough-just-isnt-good-enough/

 

And this sentiment can be easily applicable to the likes of female Thor, the cries for a female Link, the Give Captain America a Boyfriend hashtag, you name any “progressive” trend in the last few years and it likely fits in Adams’ sentiment.  Don’t mistaken creative laziness for socio-cultural progress.

Ghostbusters-LOgo

  1. Review Aggregate websites have no problem with being narrative tools.

Many of us would be likely to assume that aggregate review score websites are meant to serve as a tool for the consumer.  They provide a resource for people to examine multiple movie reviews, easy access to their trusted critics.  However, there needs to be some discretion when relying on the score provided by the aggregate as opposed to what is seen in the actual review.  I found a few examples to illustrate my point.

 

http://www.metacritic.com/movie/ghostbusters-2016/critic-reviews

 

The Hollywood Reporter, according to Metacritic, has a score of a 40, which qualifies it as “okay.”  The first issue is that there is no score rating in the review, so how did Metacritic come up with the score of 40?  I read the review a few times and came to the conclusion that this was a unanimously negative review.  Yet, Metacritic apparently embellished the score so as to make the review come off as more positive than it really is.

 

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/ghostbusters-film-review-909313

 

The clearly negative review for the Vulture strikes me because of one line in particular.  Writer David Edelstein observes:

“Murray is the most painful to watch. He plays a skeptic who doesn’t believe in ghosts and learns a hard lesson — which might have worked if he had some jazzy patter, if he’d been funny. But he can’t disguise his discomfort: He says his lines as if there’s a gun to his head.”

 

http://www.vulture.com/2016/07/review-ghostbusters-never-finds-its-own-way.html

 

This all too much echoes the leaked Sony email where Executive Director David Steinberg said that “aggressive litigation counsel” against Bill Murray might have been a necessary option if he chose to not be a participant.

 

https://wikileaks.org/sony/emails/emailid/104704

 

  1. The silence in the UK.

 

The remake made its way to UK theaters on July 11th.  British reviews from the Guardian and other press gave it rave reviews.  But, where are the box office reports?  You would think Sony would want people to know how well the movie is doing.  If it was raking in the cash, Sony wouldn’t let us stop hearing about it.  In fact, we’ve heard word zero.  We’ve received news of the U.S. Thursday night screenings from July 14th, but nothing from the UK screenings over the course of the past week.

 

Let’s end on a high note…

 

  1. Remake as gateway to introduce young women to the Ghostbusters lore.

 

Kevin Smith made a great point on his review for the Ghostbusters remake.  He saw little girls wearing Ghostbusters jumpsuits, dancing around.  Good for them.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uekLK0znyMA

 

I can hope that this will lead to parents introducing their kids to previously established lore in Ghostbusters.  There have been no shortage of women ghostbusters, thus showing the franchise as one of the most understated in its sense of progression.  The key difference is that, unlike the aura surrounding the remake, the previously established lore doesn’t have to hit you over the head.

 

Shameless plug:

https://youtu.be/XKoe9-eZF4U?t=1m9s

 

Thanks for reading all the way to this point.  I know it was a lot.  Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

-M

 

Featured image courtesy of Darren Wallace

MST3K Reunion – June 28th

[Full Disclosure: I donated to the MST3K Reunion Kickstarter.  Take my opinion for what you feel it’s worth.]

 

mst3k_reunion

 

This past Tuesday, many a Mistie held witness to the highly anticipated presentation of the cast for Mystery Science Theater 3000.  The event itself was meant to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Rifftrax.  However, it must be said that without the success of MST3K, there would be no Rifftrax.

 

As someone who grew up with this show, it was a thrill to see the principal players share the stage.  It was kind of a bummer not to have Jim Mallon (Gypsy), Paul Chaplin (Pitch), and J. Elvis Weinstein (original voice for Tom Servo).  For the cast we got on stage, I really have nothing to complain about.

 

The pairings of the riff teams felt organic.  Bill Corbett (Crow 2.0, Brain Guy), Mike Nelson, and Kevin Murphy (Tom Servo 2.0) started the shorts off.  The duo of Mary Jo Pehl (Pearl Forrester) and Bridget Nelson (Mr. B Natural) had fun with their short which was 1950’s domesticating propaganda.  It would only seem right for Trace Beaulieu and Frank Conniff to be paired for their chemistry as the Mads.

 

When Joel Hodgeson and Jonah Ray took to the stage, I leaned forward in my seat.  I was intrigued.  This was my first exposure to Jonah, who will be the new experiment on the MST3K revival.  Overall, I thought Jonah did a fine job holding his own.  He reminded me of a young Robert Smigel.  I’m now slightly more optimistic for the upcoming revival.

 

mst3kpostcard

(image from Flavorwire)

 

The last two shorts of the night featured all nine performers on stage riffing together.  It was a sight to behold.  This perfectly displayed their professional approach to riffing.  Their got their own riffs in without intruding on each other’s’ words.

 

I had some minor gripes, mostly due to the pairings that didn’t happen.  I would have killed for Joel, Kevin, and Trace would riff on a short together just for old time’s sake.  I love Crow.  He’s my favorite character.  Pairing Trace with Bill would have been a sheer joy.

 

Overall, I had a grand time with the MST3K Reunion.  This was a fulfilling experience, one I was glad to put money behind.  If you missed it, you’ll have a chance to catch the encore on July 12th, or you can wait for the inevitable DVD/Digitial Download.

 

-Mackenzie Lambert