So, by now you’ve heard straight from director Paul Feig that his cast for the reboot of Ghostbusters is in final negotiations with principle photography to begin this summer in New York City for a 2016 release.
— Paul Feig (@paulfeig) January 27, 2015
Unsurprisingly, Feig returned to his Bridesmaids cast to fill two roles, as Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy are helping the Freaks and Geeks creator complete his monumental task. The other two, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon, are currently on Saturday Night Live, a phrase that doesn’t mean much of anything these days.
Needless to say, I’ve hated this idea since I first heard about it last year. I hated the idea of a new Ghostbusters film when it slated to be helmed by Ivan Reitman, scripted by Ackroyd, and comprised of the original cast. There hasn’t been a sliver of good news during this whole process. There’s serious problems with this cast (one problem, none of them are particularly funny), the writer working on the film (Katie Dippold) is a substandard talent, whose comedic skills are completely inadequate for the needs of a Ghostbuster film, and the director at the helm is an absolute horror-show dumpster fire.
There a lot of people out there who think like I do, but there’s a whole other group that is feverishly defending the film from the position that criticizing the Ghostbusters reboot is akin to saying women can’t be funny. That’s ridiculous. My biggest pet peeve is cinema is a shitty movie, and this has all the hallmarks of a shitacular experience. The cast just affirmed my initial suspicions about the project. Let’s walk through my rational fear of the new Ghostbusters film.
You’re sexist! What’s wrong with an all-female Ghostbusters cast?!
When I first heard about Ghostbusters 3, the initial piece of information was “Paul Feig’s directing and it is going to be an all-female cast.” Okay…but doesn’t that have its limitations? Why put this unnecessary obstacle in your way by effectively halving the available comedic talent at your disposal? According to Feig, that prospect never entered his head:
“A lot of people accused it of being a gimmick. I guess I can see the cynics’ view of it, but for me I just love working with funny women. People said, ‘Why don’t you do a mix?’ I’m just more interested in the idea of lady Ghostbusters. It’s the way my brain works.”
Whenever someone leads with “a lot of people accused it of being a gimmick”, that’s because on the surface it appears to be a gimmick and once you sit down and think about it for twenty to twenty-five seconds, you realize that, yeah, it is a gimmick. You’re making a third Ghostbuster film – anyone would have shown up to act in that, dude. Pick of the litter in terms of comedians, writers, and producers – but now that’s cut in half because you like “funny women”? I love funny women too, but I also just like funny. Couldn’t you just focus on the funny? Making an irrational decision at the onset of your project is absolutely a gimmick – don’t say people are “cynics” just because they called you out for your head-shaking prerequisite.
Why can’t women be Ghostbusters?!
I have no problem with female Ghostbusters – I don’t claim sole ownership of this franchise, so do whatever you want. Now, some other parts of the internet and Ghostbusters fandom were a little extreme with their appraisal of this new treatment. Feig commented on it:
“The Internet is really funny — I love it, but I hate it at the same time,” Feig said. “The first wave when you make an announcement like that is overwhelmingly positive. Everyone’s so happy and you’re like, ‘This is great.’ Then comes the second wave and you’re like, ‘Oh my God.’ Some of the most vile, misogynistic s–t I’ve ever seen in my life.
I don’t doubt that he received some disgusting comments: it’s the internet dude…spend a minute reading comments under a YouTube video and you’ll discover racial slurs you never knew existed and a whole host of misogynistic garbage. But lost in this are the people actually calling Feig out on this weird process.
It’s not that I don’t like female Ghostbusters, I just don’t like this collection of women. Each one of them is lackluster in a unique way. From what I’ve seen of McKinnon and Jones on SNL, it seems like McKinnon is the more capable performer. I don’t know how they are going to make Jones work because she’s woeful in every skit in which she appears. The other two, despite this “track record” I keep hearing about, are more established but equally unfunny.
But Melissa McCarthy is hilarious!
Nope…not at all. In a movie founded on a gimmick, Paul Feig has cast the walking embodiment of a gimmick. With the lone exception of St. Vincent, McCarthy is unbearable in every movie that she’s in. Think about the garbage she’s been apart of since Bridesmaids: Identity Thief, The Hangover Part III, The Heat, Tammy. She plays the same character in Every. Single. Movie. And isn’t it weird that McCarthy keeps returning to collaborate with Feig because he clearly hates her. He writes her as an uncomplicated buffoon almost exclusively, and when she’s not shitting in a sink, she’s falling down because fat people falling down is funny?
Paul Feig originally wanted Melissa McCarthy to play Slimer, but they couldn’t figure out the CGI falling physics.
So great – we get to look forward to Melissa McCarthy falling over on the streets of New York while she tries to keep up with the rest of the Ghostbusting crew. I swear if that’s not featured in the first trailer, I’ll eat my hat. I mean, have you seen her on the poster for the upcoming Feig film, Spy?
She’s going to be a Ghostbuster. Let that image and those words wash over you. Terrifying.
Alright, she’s an acquired taste, but what about Kristen Wiig?
When’s the last time you left a movie and went “wow, Kristen Wiig was really funny in that?” Probably not The Skeleton Twins where she was playing against type as a depressive (and Bill Hader was best in show in that movie). It was probably Bridesmaids, and rightfully so: it is her funniest performance and most successful movie to date. Would it surprise you if I said she has been in twelve movies since then? Basically, Kristen Wiig hasn’t been commercially funny and successful for four years. But she represents one of the two “stars” of the picture. Also, it’s not imprudent to wonder whether Kristen Wiig is even a good comedic actor outside her skits on Saturday Night Live. So far, she’s appeared in a lot but has little to show in terms of mass appeal.
But Paul Feig has directed immensely successful comedies! Bridesmaids and The Heat grossed $340 Million in the United States during their release!
Big fucking deal. The two highest grossing films of all time are Avatar and Titanic, which are both massive turds. I feel like we’ve gotten past the idea that just because something makes a lot of money doesn’t mean it is good. Those Transformers movies make stupid amounts of cash and each one is worse than the last.
Paul Feig created Freaks and Geeks – come on, that was awesome!
Sure, I like Freaks and Geeks. It was a funny television show. That was also, like, sixteen years ago.
SIDENOTE: Eddie Murphy was suppose to be in Ghostbusters. That would have been weird.
You don’t even know what the story is going to be about though…
“The film reportedly starts with two characters named Erin Gabler and Abby Bergman as former colleagues, who co-wrote a book about the paranormal together and ended up taking different paths. Echoing the first film, Erin is close to getting tenure at Columbia, while Abby searches for ghosts with her new partner, Jillian. The fourth team member may be Patty, supposedly an MTA subway ticket employee who stumbles into the paths of ghosts.”
Let me guess – Patty is going to be Melissa McCarthy.
“Patty will be Melissa McCarthy.”
No shit – even her first character description has the word “stumble” in it. So, Bloody Disgusting, what could the rest of the film be about though?
“The plan is to land “Game of Thrones” fav Peter Dinklage for the villain role. He would play the ghost of a murderer…”
Dinklage is a fairly capable actor…I’m intrigued now.
“Who resurrects a ghost army based on historical characters.”
Seriously? If this is what they are going with, then the Dan Ackroyd script must’ve been a real piece of shit. Ghostbusters 3 is like Bridesmaids meets Night at the Museum…sounds like a good plan. Funny that they cast a man as the main villain for this too – what? Was the first Ghostbusters film too woman-hating because Gozer was female? Is that what caused this violent reaction in Paul Feig’s psyche when he wasn’t busy fat-shaming his top earner?
Why are you so worried? It’s not going to be better than the original.
That’s my principle problem with the reboot/remake mentality of Hollywood – they are taking already successful properties and just making shitty versions of them, instead of taking crappy results that had potential and injecting them with the right artists. If you aren’t trying to be better than Ghostbusters, then why make it? Oh, I remember…
Here’s a novel concept studio executives: how about you look for new stories from new artists instead of having hack television writers and directors make shitty copies of classics? I swear to you, there are original properties out there that a good – just take the risk instead of playing it safe.
It’s not going to retroactively ruin Ghostbusters.
That’s actually not true – well, yes, they aren’t going to change the physical existence of the original Ghostbusters films, but this property is more than just a movie. There are comic books, video games, and a whole universe built around the initial origin story. If you look at what happens when a rebooted or remade property is successful (Transformers is a good example), almost all of those peripheral properties suddenly mirror the latest iteration rather than the more established, and often better, original thread. So say bye-bye to Venkman and Company because any other property in the universe is about to feature an expertly drawn caricature of Melissa McCarthy falling down while firing her proton pack.
Here’s why Paul Feig said recently about the backlash he’s gotten from fans.
“The biggest thing I’ve heard for the last four months is, ‘Thanks for ruining my childhood,’” Feig continued. “It’s so dramatic. Honestly, the only way I could ruin your childhood is if I got into a time machine and went back and made you an orphan.”
You know what my biggest problem with that statement is? That last line. It’s not funny. Not funny in the slightest. Be prepared for more of those zingers in 2016!
Everyone is on board with this vision, so why don’t you just get in line?
Apparently Sony Pictures is hedging their bets a bit following some of the backlash to Feig’s film:
Sony Pictures is broadening the Ghostbusters franchise and the first order of business will be an action-centric comedy that is a counterpart to the Paul Feig-directed film that will start production in June. The studio is simultaneously forming Ghostcorps, a new production company whose principals include original Ghostbusters architects Ivan Reitman and Dan Aykroyd; they will have offices at Sony with the mission to scare up branding opportunities based on the 1984 comedy classic.
They make sure to emphasize “all-male” throughout their teasing of Deadline, which just makes this whole thing 20x more ridiculous. Now people can paint Reitman and Aykroyd’s film as the entry to placate the misogynists. Solid work, Sony. I’m sure that will go over really well.
So I’m guessing you aren’t going to see Feig’s film?
I’m going to see Ghostbusters 3 or whatever they end up calling it. Just because I don’t like all the things that have happened leading up to production, and just because I dislike almost the entirety of the announced cast, doesn’t mean I’m going to not see a new entry in a franchise I’ve been obsessed with since I was a child. It sucks that it is happening like this, but I am going to give it a fair shot like all other remakes of beloved classics. Sometimes remakes surprise me – the 2010 remake of The Crazies was surprisingly good and respectfully took the right parts from the source material before building a new story for itself.
My all-time favorite film is Dawn of the Dead, and when I heard it was getting remade, I was furious. Of course, I was sixteen at the time and an idiot, but I went to see it when it was released in 2004. I realized about halfway through that they didn’t remake Dawn of the Dead, they just borrowed the premise and built a new story around it. The result? It was a shitty horror-action movie. The original Dawn of the Dead‘s legacy was thankfully intact. It makes my life harder explaining what my favorite movie is to people (“No, the original one…yeah, that was a remake.”) but George A. Romero’s 1978 film is still the most remembered of the two. The only thing I was bummed to see was that the remake did not inspire a lot of people to try out the original, which doesn’t bode well for it’s long-term viability.
I see a similar situation with this new Ghostbusters film except that they are not really reinventing the wheel too much with their story like Zack Snyder did with his remake of Dawn of the Dead. And with that, you wonder what’s the point of it all? Are we just going to sit back and ingest this loop of content with a smile on our face for the rest of time? Couldn’t Paul Feig just go and make his own legendary property without cribbing this one and throwing a gimmick on top to make it buzz-y?
“All I can say is I’m coming into this so pure of heart, just like with Peanuts. I’m not looking to fuck this up,” he said. “If we do, I will feel horrible and I will flagellate myself until the end of my days. All I can say is I think we’ll pull it off.”
I guess we’ll see in 2016…
Probably not…but it might be the end of the Ghostbusters franchise.