Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Ghostbusters! Whaddya want?!

I went to see the new Ghostbusters movie and (SPOILER ALERT!) it was a lot of fun!

That’s what summer movies are supposed to be, right? You go to the theater, pay good money and hope that what’s on the screen makes you feel something … whether it’s joy, sadness, fear, anger or disgust. (Note to self: re-watch Inside Out.)

My daughter and I sat in an air-conditioned theater, rocked 3D glasses and sipped Ecto Cooler while watching Slimer and his buddies wreak havoc on NYC! Now THAT’S a great way to spend a hot July afternoon!
Is Paul Feig’s reboot better than the first? No. It’s basically a fan film with a REALLY big budget. There are so many nods to the original - including cameos by most ’84 cast members - that Ghostbusters 2016 is akin to the sexy apparition that gives Ray Stantz a supernatural blowjob. Bustin’ makes me feel good!

Unfortunately, that kind of onscreen fan service doesn’t hold up well upon subsequent viewings. This isn’t a movie I’ll watch over and over again. I won’t quote it in casual conversations or celebrate its 30th anniversary by eating a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts decorated to look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

This movie will soon disappear for the box office like a Class 5 Full-Roaming Vapor.
In other words, it’s not Ghostbusters or Ghostbusters II, but it’s a film every Ghostbusters fan should see because GHOSTBUSTERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ghostbusters debuted the summer before I started kindergarten. Even at 5 years old, I knew it was a cultural phenomenon. You couldn’t turn on the radio without hearing Ray Parker Jr. ask  Who Ya Gonna Call?.  Boys and girls were wearing Terror Dog T-Shirts and homemade proton packs. Those same kids – who are now middle-aged – sport identical, albeit larger, costumes at Sci-Fi and monster conventions.  The love for the franchise hasn’t waned in 30 years! Hell, I still play with my old Peter Venkman action figure! Back off man, I’m a scientist!

The toys associated with the new Ghostbusters movie are awesome in their own right, but they’re already in the discount bins at Wal-Mart.

Reboot-haters and sexist pigs dug this movie a grave so deep, not even the most powerful spirit could escape from it. The film openly mocks its naysayers (who are probably masturbating to illegally downloaded versions of it as I type this sentence), but it comes across as sour grapes. Another thing that left a bad taste in my mouth? The egregious Papa John’s Pizza product placement! It reminded me of that scene in Wayne’s World! It's like people only do things because they get paid. And that's just really sad.

That being said, it’s still better than most of those lame superhero sequels the studios churn out every summer to make a quick buck. Admittedly, I’m sick of the Melissa McCarthy/Kristen Wiig shtick, but their neurotic banter is a breath of fresh air compared to the ol’ James Franco/Seth Rogen bong-and-dance.
Leslie Jones got the most belly laughs from my 6-year-old. She has the comedic chops and charisma to make the most of a thin script. The real star of the show, however, is Kate McKinnon! A cross between Tank Girl and Val Kilmer in Real Genius with hair like cartoon Egon Spangler and a little Jeff Goldblum thrown in for extra-weirdness, Jillian Holtzmann is the quirkiest character of the four.

She could’ve easily been in the original Ghostbusters had the actress who plays her not been five months old at the time of its release. You're short, your belly button sticks out too far and you're a terrible burden on your poor mother.

Maybe if an all-girl reboot had come out on the heels of 1989’s Ghostbusters II, it would’ve done better at the box office and in the court of pubic, sorry, PUBLIC opinion. There was no Internet in the early-90s (OK, I’m sure there was a primitive chatroom where a few computer geeks spewed Hollywood-fueled hate), but armchair critics had to write and mail letters directly to Columbia Pictures if they wanted to bitch about Vigo the Carpathian. Back then, movie-going was just a form of entertainment, not some fucked-up social experiment or political statement.
I didn’t take my daughter to see the new Ghostbusters to further my feminist agenda. I took her to see the new Ghostbusters because I’m tired of watching talking pets, lost fish and motherfucking Frozen! Oh, and I really love Ecto Cooler.

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