Let’s Talk About Ghostbusters.

Posted: June 4, 2016 in Cinema / Film, Reviews
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Sarah Connor, Katniss Everdeen, Saya, Rey, Alice Abernathy, Jessica Jones, Buffy, The Bride, Fox, Ellen Ripley, Samus Aran, Imperator Furiosa, Trinity, Selene, Darnerys Targaryen. This is but a small fraction of the staggering list of pop culture heroines I’ve compiled over the last few days since I came across the smear campaign against James Rolfe. Being what society labels as a, “fanboy” this list was compiled with minimal effort, but according to the recent opinions of journalists, and media outlets it should’ve been an arduous task given the misogynistic nature of those of us branded by that monicker. And it all started with one man’s refusal to watch, and review a film.

Here’s the link to the video for those whom haven’t watched it.  https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hz8X2A7wHyQ

I’ve scoured the video in question numerous times now in an attempt to find the heinous misogyny it’s been so rampantly accused of, and here’s the thing, it isn’t there. Not once does Rolfe make a defamatory claim against the film for starring women, and even states how absurd it is that people are labelling it as the “female ghostbusters.” His main gripe with the film is that he feels it’s a heartless cash grab, (an opinion I actually agree with) and he articulates his stance calmly, and without prejudice. So why then the sexist outcry that has ranged from fictitious to childish, to the downright obscene?

Here’s an excerpt taken from the Atlantic, “His reasoning dances around the simple fact that has set this innocuous-seeming movie apart from its fellow blockbusters this summer—that it’s a tentpole genre film starring women.” Um, no it didn’t. There was no dancing, not even a spastic jig.

Here’s Another, this one from twitter, “I keep fixating on his wedding ring. Someone MARRIED this man-baby,” to which another added, “probably a gold-digger who just married him for his Star Trek V gum ball dispenser.” Nothing shows how non-misogynistic you are like insulting someone’s wife.

It’s not only journalists whom are digging for something that isn’t there, celebrities have jumped on the bandwagon as well such as Patton Oswalt, and Dane Cook. Oswalt tweets, “I really wanted to hate this Cinemassacre GHOSTBUSTERS review, but I’m such a fan of noisy, thick-saliva swallowing it won my heart.” Oswalt recently validated his tweets by stating that he liked Rolfe, and Cook was quick to delete his insults completely.

The answer is quite simple. The modern Ghostbusters film was never about satisfying fans of the original nor attracting any new ones for that matter. It’s been a political statement from day one, masked as a summer blockbuster in an attempt to cash in on the grand spectacle generated by its mere existence, and the quality of the trailer exemplifies this truth.

A trailer’s sole job is to entice you, to act as an appetizer so to speak, and give you the consumer a taste of the product so you’ll spend your money on the main course. The trailer, which has garnered 859,000 dislikes at the time of writing is a testament to its failure of doing that job.

I for one went into it with excitement. Not only do I love the cast, but the prospect of having more female heroines for this younger generation to look up to is never a bad thing. What I got was a joyless, and unfunny two minutes of actresses almost purposefully portraying caricatures of their male counterparts, and who seemed like they wanted to be anywhere else than starring in the film. The chemistry between them was non-existent, which I’d argue is what made the original films so great. An apathetic, pessimist dealing with the absurd jubilance of his scientific colleagues at the paranormal threat burgeoning around them was lightning in a bottle, and it had nothing to do with the flesh dangling between their thighs. Also factor in the stereotypical portrayal of its only black lead, and the clear objectification of Chris Hemsworth’s counterpart to Annie Potts and you have a film that is troubled to say the least.

My issue with the film is that so much press, and attention was given to the fact that it was a female team that it’s become impossible to look at it any other way, and that’s pathetic. There are plenty of films, and books with female leads that don’t hammer you over the head with it, so why is it so important for this remake to do so? If anything I think it creates a problem when there doesn’t need to be one, and gives an excuse for extremists to attack anyone who doesn’t conform to their agenda.

This whole ordeal seems very Orwellian to me. Not only do we have to be cautious of our opinions, but now we must also prepare for what people are going to insinuate based on them, and that’s ludicrous. I’ve always been of firm standing that we should only be accountable for what we say, not what others hear. Apparently this rather simple perspective is no longer acceptable.

Disliking the new Ghostbusters has become a bit of a kobayashi maru, (a no-win situation). Social justice warriors are quick to deem those who have a distaste for the film as sexist, and granted many are. I’ve read more than a few tasteless comments directly in regards to the female cast, and for that I’m inclined to agree, but the few do NOT represent the many, and this narrow-minded witch-hunting is harmful both for the victims of it, and those trying to nurture their own political agendas.

I don’t remember there being such a vehement outcry back in the late 90’s when the series was rejuvenated, and rebranded as the Extreme Ghostbusters, and consisted of a female, black, Hispanic, and handicapped team. The series was both a fantastic shakeup to the original formula, and a loving homage to the source material all at once, something this modern incarnation is not. Perhaps therein lies the reason.

A side note to end on.

I make it a habit of holding the door open for women when I’m in public, not because of their gender, gratitude or some archaic notion of chivalry, but because they’re human, and it’s a simple, selfless gesture extended to men as well. Strange right? But I can’t help but wonder how long until such a random act of kindness will be mistaken for misogyny. Not long, judging by this trendy infatuation with outrage our current generation has adopted, And that thought terrifies me.



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