It’s Okay to Not Be Excited About the New ‘Ghostbusters.’ Really.

GeekMom TV and Movies
Columbia Pictures'
The 2016 ‘Ghostbusters’ crew. Image: Columbia Pictures

I tend to avoid politically-charged content like the plague, particularly this year with heavy issues from the most psycho election year I’ve ever seen in the United States to the pretty intense “should we stay or should we go” referendum vote in the United Kingdom.

As such, it seems strange that I’m finding myself having to constantly defend my right to not be excited about one movie: the new Ghostbusters reboot.

I’m not going to go over every gripe or glorification of this movie—there have been plenty of reasonable and unreasonable explanations on both sides. So much so, I never paid much attention to any of it, until I saw a headline that read along the lines of, “There’s A Special Place In Hell For Women Who Don’t Like the New Ghostbusters Trailer.”

I can’t remember what site it was on, but you can Google around and find it. I realize this may have been an attempt at humor, but I remember making an involuntary Kermit the Frog-style “disgusted face” at the implication I hate other women, or am self-loathing because I didn’t jump with glee at yet another movie retread.

I remember thinking, “It’s just a movie trailer. Who cares if I like it or not?” Of course, people said the problem is trolls on either end, but this tendency towards snap judgment is nothing new. People have made “It’s going to rock/suck!” predictions forever, based on very little information.

I remember seeing the teaser poster for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Strange Tides on a movie site and the first comment was:

“Cool poster, but the film is still going to suck.”

The reply immediately after it:

“You can tell that by looking a poster? What are you, psychic?”

Then came the personal stabs, and cyber poop-flinging back and forth that monkeys tend to love.

The new Ghostbusters has taken on such an “everyone take a side,” air, I find myself, as a mother of two girls, having to give others reassurance that it’s okay not have your own non-political opinion about the film.

For example, here are the reasons I’m not excited about it:

It’s not a “sequel” like I feel fans were promised.

Doesn’t it seem like a century ago when people first starting hearing there would finally be another sequel to one of the most popular and iconic comedies ever? I was actually pretty excited when I first heard this, but then this idea begin to morph, mutate, and eventually dissolve.

Then we all forgot about it for a while. Then the wonderful Harold Ramis passed away, and my family and I had a Twinkie in his honor. They were stale, because we broke into our old hoard from that weird Twinkie crisis a few years ago, but no matter. This sad moment got us all thinking about Ghostbusters again. It would be sad without Egon Spengler, so we felt the sequel idea was finally gone as well.

Then we heard, much later, a new Ghostbusters movie was coming out, and it would have an all-female cast. Okay, but what is the story? Is one of them Venkman and Dana’s daughter? That would be awesome. What about Egon’s? Even better. It would be a great way to honor Ramis’s legacy.

Then, I saw the teaser posters later that highlighted the well-known logo. There was no variation from the original movie logo, so I figured this was a group carrying on the legacy from the generation before them.

1984 one sheet
The iconic 1984 one-sheet for the original ‘Ghostbusters’ hung in my bedroom until the edges were so shredded from reapplying masking tape, it wouldn’t stay up. Image: Columbia Pictures.

Then I saw the trailer. It was a reboot! No continuation. No sequel. No passing of the torch or anything like that. That disappointed me. I didn’t want a “do-over.” I wanted to proper send-off of the original team, while introducing us to a new one.

I just don’t like Paul Feig’s movies.

Another turn off for this film was the director. I don’t know anything about Paul Feig personally, but I know I’ve never been taken with his big screen endeavors. His television directorial work was good (The Office, for example), but the two movies I saw of his didn’t just leave me cold, they left me utterly grossed out.

I’m the first person to tell you all comedy doesn’t have to be highbrow. I’ve written about the importance of juvenile humor, but I’ve also said there is a limit to what I find funny. Over-the-top scatalogical out humor, and frat-boy style overtly graphic sexual references, like with Bridesmaids and Spy (projectile vomit-fests on each other’s heads and dysentery in a bathroom sink, for example), don’t really make me want to see his take on Ghostbusters. Slime is one thing, but green goop coming out of the mouth and nose is another.

Yes, there are other directors who can be as gross, and I wouldn’t want to go see a Ghostbusters directed at them either. Also, there was crude humor in the original Ghostbusters, but not as flat-out vile. In fairness, the PG-13 rating might tone some things down for Feig, but I’ll still wait until home release to find out for myself.

I’ve seen the original franchise’s director, Ivan Reitman, is said to be serving as a producer for the film, but that doesn’t always mean much. Remember when Tim Burton stepped over from director to producer after two beautifully done Batman films, and let Schumacher have the reigns. That was the beginning of the end for that era’s franchise.

One of my fellow GeekMom writers expressed a similar distaste with Feig’s movies. You can’t always judge a book by its cover, but you can make a more sound prediction of whether you’ll like it or not by its author.

Same with movies. If I haven’t liked past efforts from the director, I likely won’t their next film. If you’re a Feig fan, and a lot of people are, then by all means get excited. I’m not.

There are too many other movies coming out this year that I want to see more.

Another fellow GeekMom writer mentioned the new Ghostbusters isn’t on her radar, because they only see so many films in the theater each year. They are much more interested, for example, in Marvel’s Doctor Strange.

I agree one hundred percent.

This is a heavy movie year, particularly if your family is superhero crazy, like mine. We have to pick and choose what we go see. Like most families, we have a finite amount of not only time, but disposable income. Movies in the theater aren’t cheap, and when we go it’s a special occasion.

We’re finally making our family night to see Captain America: Civil War as I write this, and it’s been out a while. Avoiding spoilers has been almost painful for me on this one.

Pretty much everything we’re really zoning in on, and this does include Doctor Strange, is in the fall and winter. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Assassin’s Creed are movies that we know we’re seeing in the theater for sure. Our big summer picks in July will be Star Trek Beyond and The BFG. As for reboots, both my girls are keyed in on, believe it or not, Pete’s Dragon. Everyone loves dragons.

Nothing against the new Ghostbusters, but there’s just too much competition. We plan for the films we really want to see. The ones that just look okay, but not amazing, we stick on ye olde Netflix queue.

I simply love the original version way too much.

And, so do my very strong-willed daughters.

We recite lines from the movie, constantly, and it always makes my girls laugh when they are down:

“Listen! Do you smell something?”

It’s a family favorite.

I remember seeing the first Ghostbusters teaser poster in 1983, when I was 13, and I couldn’t wait to see it. We saw it the first week it opened that next year, and I was so amazed and entertained, I didn’t realize my foot was pried in the seats in front of me the whole time. When I stood up, my foot was dead asleep and I fell face first in the aisle. That was incredibly embarrassing, so I made sure to see it again the next week so I wouldn’t repeat that anticlimactic ending. Of course, I had to see it once more the week after that because a friend hadn’t seen it yet. All told, Ghostbusters became one of my favorite movies that year, and my brother bought me the official one-sheet for Christmas. My first “real” movie poster; not something out of a magazine with a fold and staple holes in the middle, but a real, wall-sized poster!

Oh, yes, I confess I owned the Ray Parker, Jr. 45 vinyl.

That Halloween, a friend and I even went as Ghostbusters. Not “female Ghostbusters,” not “gender-bent Ghostbusters.” Just Ghostbusters. Hey, it’s an occupation, after all, and we were ready to join up. Obviously, I had no issue with female Ghostbusters. I was one long before the 2016 cast members were.

GeekMom Lisa (age 14) as a Ghostbuster in the 80s. Thirty years later, she celebrate the film's anniversary with her own kids...and commemorative donuts. Images: Lisa's mom (left), and Rick Tate (right)
Me (age 14) as a Ghostbuster in the ’80s. Thirty years later, I celebrated the film’s anniversary with my own kids…and commemorative donuts. Images: Lisa’s mom (left), and Rick Tate (right).

I keep hearing a few cast members from the original movie, including Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd, will make cameos, but it just seems so “after the fact.”

GeekDad Tony wrote a good post recently, I Ain’t Afraid of No Trolls. The post was very well-done, but I tend disagree with a meme included with it. It depicts a middle-aged out-of-shape man representing the fandom of the original Ghostbusters, and a darling sad-eyed little girl in full Ghostbusters garb saying the new Ghostbusters is for her because “she needs heroes, too.”

True, girls need strong female heroes, but it’s okay for them to have male heroes as well. My youngest daughter, for example, loves Sabine in Star Wars Rebels, but also both Finn and Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Her favorite “human” superheroes are Captain America and Falcon, although she also loves the new DC SuperHero Girls, especially Harley Quinn. More than anyone, though, she’s into Rocket and Groot: a raccoon and a tree. A hero’s a hero, in her view.

As for the original Ghostbusters, she knows Venkman and Ray are the funniest guys she’s ever seen.

There’s an awesome, highly visible charity-minded fan group in my hometown, El Paso Ghostbusters, a member of the official Ghost Corps franchise. They are have a custom-made vehicle, and have created some excellent props and costumes. They have both men and women in the group, but the two main guys I always see at conventions and other events are extremely popular with both girls and boys.

When my girls, especially my 13-year-old, saw the trailer, she asked, “Where’s Bill Murray?” It didn’t matter to her if the new cast was male or female. It wasn’t “our Ghostbusters” and she just wasn’t interested at the time.

If this new 2016 lineup is your and your children’s Ghostbusters, that’s fantastic and I hope you have a great time at the film, but so far they aren’t ours.

Okay, it is somewhat the cast (but not for the reason you think).

The idea of women Ghostbusters has never bothered nor thrilled me. Females, including established Ghostbusters character Janine Melnitz, were already donning the nuclear accelerators in the IDW comic The New Ghostbusters, and they’re cool characters. This comic was also drawn from the original story line, though. Plus, if you recall, I worked a short stint as a Ghostbuster, so I can see why everyone would want to be one.

It was the choice of actresses themselves. Kristen Wiig is hit-or-miss with me. I didn’t like her in Paul, but loved her character in Whip It. Melissa McCarthey? Well she has great comic delivery, but nothing I’ve seen her in has really stuck with me.

As for the other two cast members, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones, I had absolutely no idea who they were (I had to look them up, and realized I haven’t watched Saturday Night Live in ages). As a result, this foursome didn’t do much for me.

I would have felt the same way if they were four men: two who I don’t always like in films, and two I had to look up to remember where, and if, I ever saw them before.

The question you’re likely asking is, “Well, who would you have picked?” Right now, no one—female or male. I’m just not in the market for any Ghostbusters reboot. No trolling. No hatred. Just indifference. This is the same way I feel about a lot of movies, except I don’t have to justify to anyone why I do or don’t want to see it.

Am I “boycotting” the film? No. I’m just not seeing it in the theater. If that is boycotting, then I “boycott” the majority of movies that hit the big screen.

Here’s the thing, and I’m about to get controversial, here. If this movie suits your fancy, go see it. If it doesn’t look good, don’t go. Life’s too short to sit through any movie you are told you’re supposed to like for any reason.

So, when July 15 rolls around and this Ghostbusters reboot, remake, reimagining, or whatever you like, hits the big screen, “Who ya’ gonna call?” Well, likely not me, but hopefully someone who wants to see it. I hope they enjoy it thoroughly and have a great time. That’s what movies are all about for me.

However, it might be a choice for this fall or winter’s family movie night, once it’s released on Blu-ray.

The comic The New Ghostbusters had already introduced a primarily female crew long before the new movie. Image: IDW Comics.
The comic The New Ghostbusters had already introduced a primarily female crew long before the new movie. Image: IDW Comics.
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12 thoughts on “It’s Okay to Not Be Excited About the New ‘Ghostbusters.’ Really.

  1. This is way too long. It sppears to create an issue the author than has to apologize for, when in reality this author is not up to date on popular adult culture; while clearly aquainted with popular comic/sci-fi culture, especially for children. I clicked on this article because I was intrigued, unfortunately it lacked any real argument other than nostalgic whining.

  2. Thank you for the response. I am curious, though. What is your definition of “adult pop culture?” Not an argument, just would like an example for our readers.

  3. I’m too a big GB fan, but for me too this reboot leaves me neutral on my feelings. I was to be excited but I’ already know the story so if I get a chance to see it on the big screen I will, if not I just wait for the DVD.

    It would have been great if it was a continuation of the original story arc, much like the IDW comics have been. I’d have loved for it to make me as excited as Star Wars VII did which I saw on the preview day.

  4. I think it make total sense to not care about this or any movie, it’s the guys that feel an appropriate emotional response to a movie trailer is to go on the internet and call Melissa McCarthy a fat whore that might want to take a look at themselves.

    1. Or the people who feel an appropriate emotional response to a movie trailer’s poor reception is to write near-libel internet articles decrying certain critics of the film as whiny, sociopathic, misogynistic “manchildren” when their criticisms were actually fair, contained no traces of sexism, and delivered in a calm, professional manner with open admissions that it was possible the movie could prove them wrong and be good. They could use a good time-out in the mirror corner too.

      Let’s not pretend one side has all the trolls. Critics and supporters alike have been acting in ways that they should be ashamed of and both should be equally called out, regardless of who had the “better intentions.” What everyone involved needs is to take a deep breath, turn off the indignant screaming in their head for two seconds, stop projecting strawmen onto each other, and actually COMMUNICATE.

      1. Amen. One reason I wrote this post was I can’t believe how people (on both sides) are being about it. There shouldn’t even be “sides.” If you like it, you like it if you don’t, you don’t. What’s sad to me is when they criticisms turn from the movie to each other.
        Communication is key, as you said.

    2. True. I always think it’s funny how anyone goes over the top on movies. I love movies, but they are never worth being a jerk to someone about. Thanks for the comment, Shakey.

  5. “It depicts a middle-aged out-of-shape man representing the fandom of the original Ghostbusters, and a darling sad-eyed little girl in full Ghostbusters garb saying the new Ghostbusters is for her because “she needs heroes, too.” ”

    I take a particular problem with the meme and arguments similar to the one it makes for reasons proto-feminist George Eliot outlined pretty well in her essay, “Silly Novels By Lady Novelists.” In it she describes how women’s literature in her time was often done poorly-by not by malicious sexism but benevolent sexism, in that the representation of media “by women, for women” was over saturated with poorly written, mediocre work that was allowed to bypass critical scrutiny more-or-less because people felt morally obligated to be nice to and help women:

    “We had imagined that destitute women turned novelists, as they turned governesses, because they had no other “ladylike” means of getting their bread. On this supposition, vacillating syntax, and improbable incident had a certain pathos for us, like the extremely supererogatory pincushions and ill-devised nightcaps that are offered for sale by a blind man. We felt the commodity to be a nuisance, but we were glad to think that the money went to relieve the necessitous, and we pictured to ourselves lonely women struggling for a maintenance, or wives and daughters devoting themselves to the production of “copy” out of pure heroism — perhaps to pay their husband’s debts or to purchase luxuries for a sick father. Under these impressions we shrank from criticising a lady’s novel: her English might be faulty, but we said to ourselves her motives are irreproachable; her imagination may be uninventive, but her patience is untiring. Empty writing was excused by an empty stomach, and twaddle was consecrated by tears.”

    The difference now is that instead of imagining that we are helping jobless pious women out to care for their families, we now seem to have taken up the habit of bypassing scrutiny if we believe that it is “giving women role models,” “showing that girls can do anything boys can,” or the furtherance of other such feminist goals. Regardless, it all boils down to abandoning our better judgment of quality to give women a pat on the head and a scratch under the chin and feeling morally superior for it. If we think it’s “for a good cause” we pretend it is above criticism, ignore its obvious flaws, and accuse those who do not play along of being coldhearted.

    Now obviously this is not me trying to make a definitive stance on whether or not Ghostbusters 2016 is going to be good or bad. Rather, I feel obligated to outline the danger in having “but it’s helping the females!” as one of your primary reasons for rising to a piece of media’s defense. George Eliot’s complaints about this attitude are the same as my own: Not only is it condescending to girls to presume that their contributions need gentler consideration and lower standards than would be given to men’s in order to make them feel better about themselves, but it ultimately serves only to hinder girls and women by allowing the overall quality of their contributions to be represented by crummy work. Good Intentions =/= Good Quality. As noble a quest as it is to give young girls heroes of their own gender, that does not say anything about whether or not your work actually succeeded on its own merits as a piece of art/media and not just a glorified social statement. Most importantly, you should never confuse criticism of your piece’s execution as criticism of the intentions behind it. Remember: “Birdemic: Shock and Terror” had an environmentalist message.

    Yes, the world is in dire need of more female heroes. That doesn’t mean your female hero automatically deserves praise just for being a female hero. She’s got to earn it like every other hero before her – and that is the foremost lesson we should be teaching our daughters.

    1. That last paragraph or yours, is especially true. Heroes no matter the gender, race, etc. need to earn that title. It’s what they do not what they are. Very well thought out.

  6. Great read, thanks! How ironic that so many feminists are going absolutely berserk defending an unwanted reboot, that should have been a welcomed sequel – ignoring the fact that a MAN was 100% in charge of the thing. He made all of the plot decisions that angered Ghostbusters fans. Going with a female cast was about the only GOOD idea he had.

    I like the cast, they have tons of potential, and I hope they get to do a (hopfully better) sequel. I don’t give a flying fajita that they happen to be women. I mean why not? It’s a new decade or three since the first movie, a new century in fact, and obviously, we are not going to get another movie with the original cast, so no worries. But this still should have been a continuation of the same world as the original, and they really need to get a new director/writer who understands why Ghostbusters is so beloved. Paul Feig obviously does not get it. He just did his usual schtick, and turned this into “Bridesmaids: Paranormal Division”.

    1. Thanks Arty. I’m enjoying that these all comments from everyone, good and bad, are being done with thought and diplomacy. Thank you all for backing up your opinions well.

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