Male and Female
Zesty Female Comedy
What always appealed to me about the original 1984 hit was its unique sense of humor that never tries too hard. It’s not quite imitated successfully with this remake of Ghostbusters, in fact it switches back and forth between trying too hard, not trying hard enough and hitting it just right. A majority of the humor between three of the four leads stems from intentional discomfort. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it just gets on my nerves. Overall, the humor is hit or miss, but there were moments that did genuinely make me smile. Just a word of caution though: there is one fart joke that falls flat in the first ten minutes, but just one, and it’s thankfully not cringe worthy enough to hurt the rest of the film.
So now let me get to the real matter at hand: the four women replacing the famous foursome.
Kristen Wiig is the new Bill Murray of the team. She plays a psychology professor at Columbia University whose book about the paranormal has been published online by her co-author/ longtime friend without permission. Wiig plays her character’s discomfort as calmly as possible, even while getting repeatedly puked on by ectoplasm. It’s not the best role she’s played, but it will pass. It’s also worth noting that the conflict with the book publishing sparks the events leading to the team, yet it is never resolved or even mentioned again after the first act.
She is for sure the one who stands out beside her old friend Melissa McCarthy, who plays the Dan Aykroyd of this team. She’s alright when paired with Wiig, but stands for not much else besides playing off the others.
Saturday Night Live performer Kate McKinnon is the Harold Ramis of the team, quiet but spunky with her gadgets. She is easily the most likable of the ladies.
But then there’s Leslie Jones, who plays the Ernie Hudson of the group. She’s the African American subway guard who joins the team purely for comic relief and nothing more. Now, Jones certainly tries her hardest with the direction given, but she still appears overall offensive to Black women by the way she screams all her lines, as well as one piece of dialogue that states how Black women know the most about New York City. Well, that’s certainly not a debatable statement at all, now is it?
As much fun as the cast may seem to be having, the movie’s reversal of gender roles in an attempt for social correctness is getting us absolutely nowhere. In fact, all the negative stereotypes are still very much here, just in a different way than we’re expecting. Take a look at who Chris Hemsworth plays: he’s cast as the eye candy that parallels the dumb-blonde secretary, with emphasis on the dumb part. He only got the job because the other ladies find him hot, and their interview with him consists purely of girly flirting. Now, Hemsworth is for sure the funniest character in the cast, but his shallowness still adds to how confused Ghostbusters is in terms of social correctness.
What exactly did director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, Spy, The Office) get right with his rehash of the classic? He still flings elements of mystery fun with the equipment testing and ghost hijinks in a rock concert. I can even forgive him for the awful special effects, because the feeling of cheesy hysteria still remains. But it’s still difficult to recommend because of the lack of real tension behind anything that happens. It’s not just because of the unresolved subplots, but because of the main villain’s lack of any motivation to fill New York with ghosts. Seriously, it’s never explained.
Overall, Ghostbusters is not the worst thing ever, like the YouTube comments made it out to be, and it is still a satisfactory feature without the original, but I doubt any lasting satisfaction could land from this wild heap.
With heated hatred targeting the LGBTQ community, women fighting for better positions in the workforce, and the whole #BlackLivesMatter campaign, social correctness has become predictable for America. But all it really does is make one minority group feel better by bashing another, and the real problem is never addressed. The issue is not how often women or people of certain races or sexuality are portrayed in media, the issue is how treatment of those groups influence our morality.
I never thought that it was a very smart idea for Ghostbusters to be remade with women, I believe that the inspiration for a film should come purely for the desire to communicate a valuable message. But now, movies have become a church that people turn to in order to find direction on how to look at race, gender, and sexuality. While there is a place for that, people shouldn’t get so fired up about it.
It saddens me even further to say that the media features barely any representation of people with autism, Asperger’s, or anything related to it. With all that people are stirring up about to see more or better representations of women, Blacks, or gays/lesbians, never do I hear of anyone calling out to the autism/Asperger’s community. There are only a couple of representations I can think of that feature autistic characters, such as Rain Man or There’s Something About Mary, the latter being one of the most dangerous portrayals of autism I have ever seen in my life.
The point being, the issue shouldn’t be that #BlackLivesMatter or #FemaleLivesMatter. We shouldn’t set campaigns to #GiveElsaAGirlfriend or #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend. Heck, we shouldn’t even be enforcing #AutisticLivesMatter. We should be enforcing that #AllLivesMatter. Personally, I want to see more and better representation of autism in mainstream films. But like I just said, it shouldn’t be done for the sake of doing it. Instead, it should be done because the message has an urgent need to meet the ears of today’s audience. Which in my experience, is absolutely needed.
For example: I remember watching an HBO movie about Temple Grandin, which documented how she went from an isolated little girl with autism to a revolutionary engineer of animal husbandry. It was one of the most accurate and most fair treatments of autism I have ever seen, as it told the truth about living with autism without demeaning it.
Stories like Temple Grandin’s really makes me smile. I want to see more films similar to this one making money, as their focus is not on social correctness. I say we need better representation of all individuals, especially the autism/Asperger’s community that the media habitually overlooks.
- Ask yourself: “What most angers me about movies today and why?” Then realistically think: “How can I make an influence to make a change?” Ask others their opinions, and think about steps you could take to become the change you want to see.
- If you do choose to see this movie, discuss with your viewing party afterwards how the race and gender roles affect your viewing experience. Do you think that this is doing more harm than good in adding better roles for women?
- Take a look at some more films that would broaden your scope on autism. Here’s a link that can get you started.
Click here to read my review on the original Ghostbusters.
If there is a specific movie in my Review List you’d like me to do an autism lesson on, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
5 Autism Films on Netflix. Autism Speaks, 22 July 2014. Web. <https://www.autismspeaks.org/news/news-item/5-autism-films-netflix>.
Bramesco, Charles. How the Ghostbusters Remake Became the Most-Disliked Trailer on YouTube. Digital image. Vanity Fair. Condé Nast, 1 May 2016. Web. <http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/05/ghostbusters-trailer-most-disliked-youtube>.
Ghostbusters. Columbia Pictures. Web. <http://www.ghostbusters.com/>.
Manelis, Michele. Why Melissa McCarthy stopped listening to the haters. News.com, 12 July 2016. Web. <http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/movies/new-movies/why-melissa-mccarthy-stopped-listening-to-the-haters/news-story/ac447f73d91630998d1293943e751ecc>.