From the Archives: What can we do in the fight for Ghostbusters?

From the Archives: What can we do in the fight for Ghostbusters?

In the interest of getting “hard” copies of my work under one roof, I plan to spend the next few weeks posting the entire archive of my film journalism here on ScullyVision. With due respect to the many publications I’ve written for, the internet remains quite temporary, and I’d hate to see any of my work disappear for digital reasons. As such, this gargantuan project must begin! I don’t want to do it. I hate doing it. But it needs to be done. Please note that my opinions, like everyone’s, have changed a LOT since I started, so many of these reviews will only represent a snapshot in time. Objectivity has absolutely no place in film criticism, at least not how I do it. 

Without further ado, I present to you: FROM THE ARCHIVES.
Originally posted on Cinema76.

The battle for Ghostbusters reached critical mass this week after some dingus released a lame video in which he proudly proclaims that he outright refuses to even review the new film upon release. Never mind the fact that this is a potently needless exercise (seriously bro, just don’t go see it if it looks that bad to you), but it is also indicative of the worst kind of sexism: the kind that is so deeply ingrained that we don’t even realize it’s there. When people loudly and explicitly say sexist things I barely bat an eye. These folks have made their intolerance recognizable and do not pose a threat. It’s those insidious, hidden hatreds that scare me. Why? Because we all have them. You do. I do. Everyone does. It’s unavoidable, and it’s what makes progressive discourse over something like a gender-swapped Ghostbusters reboot next to impossible to have. And since most of “the conversation” happens on social media, it becomes very easy to lose sight of a discussion and have it turn into a quest for “victory.” Even worse is that online, it’s so much easier to declare victory for yourself while effectively shutting down any hope for progress. I see it every day, and I do it myself. We all do. So the question is no longer “how do we stop the vocal sexists?” (Pro-tip: ignore them). The question is now “how do we determine if it is indeed sexism at the heart of the disagreement?” Well, I have an answer, and unfortunately it falls upon those of us who aren’t against this new team of lady Ghostbusters to take action. I promise you though that my plan is easy, and worth it.


Let’s start at the beginning. Let’s entertain a few of the arguments against Feig’s Ghostbusters that, on their surface, are pretty valid. There are 3 that I keep seeing in the annals of Facebook, Twitter, and the dreaded YouTube comments thread:

1. “The trailers do not pique my interest. It just doesn’t look very good.”

2. “It’s just another Hollywood cash grab. I want to see something new.”

3. “Leave my childhood alone. My fondness for Ghostbusters was bred in my youth and I’ve seen far too many remakes/reboots prey upon nostalgia only to deliver a subpar product of something for which I have an intense appreciation.

These are all valid critiques to some level, but there is a valid rebuttal to each one:

1. That’s fine. Hopefully the movie delivers something different and more appealing to you. Or, if you are that disinterested, don’t go see it.

2. Every Hollywood film is a cash grab. It’s a business. always has been, always will be, and if you’re only just now realizing the merchandising potential of the Ghostbusters brand, then you have not been paying attention to the decades of action figures, special edition DVDs, costumes, toys, video games, and tv shows. Hollywood wants your money. Get used to it. Also, if you want to see something new and original, open your eyes. There are more outlets for film exhibition now than ever in history, and there are more original films being pumped out by interesting, diverse filmmakers than ever in history. Open. Your. Eyes.

3. Your childhood is over. You are a grown adult and nothing that anyone can do will ever erase your childhood. It’s just how time works. A million new Ghostbusters movies will not erase the one you love, and any new films are, just like any other film outside of Triumph of the Will, entirely optional.


Regardless of my responses, there are plenty of non-sexist folks out there who are predisposed to disliking Ghostbusters for the above reasons, and that is totally fine. I certainly don’t want to live in a world where every piece of entertainment is meant to appeal to everybody. That would be awful. Imagine a world without the deliciously poopy glory of The Human Centipede. I certainly don’t want to live there … but if you do, THAT’S COMPLETELY OKAY.

So what, as proponents of Ghosbusters, can we do to weed out the legitimate haters from the harmless trolls? Easy.

You might want to sit down for this one.

Next time a reboot/sequel/prequel comes down the pipeline, no matter how bad it looks, no matter how much liberty has been taken with the original property, no matter how much its existence irks you … shut up. Just shut up.

It’s that easy. We nerds need to come to an agreement and an understanding that reboots/sequels/prequels are coming, and until we stop spending money on them (and we won’t), they’re going to keep coming. Some of them will be bad, some will be decent, and some will be – gasp – better than the original. If we all collectively nullify the lame-o argument that our favorite cultural items are so damn sacred as to be beyond any future updates, the next time someone tastelessly yells “”they’re raping my childhood!” we’ll be much more informed as to where the anger is coming from. We’ll also have much better standing to facilitate the discussion on what to do about it. And it’ll be one of those old fashioned discussions where people respect each other mutually and consider all of the information available as opposed to simply establishing heroes & villains and then yelling about it (see: typing in all caps).

For every The Invasion there’s a The Fly. For every Total Recall a The Thing or Ocean’s Eleven.

If we all stop whining every time somebody remakes Point Break or craps out yet another Transformers it’ll be so much easier to dismiss the trolls and recognize the true haters. And then we can do something about it.

Oh, and before I go, allow me to unveil the strongest weapon in our fight against the sexist Ghostbusters haters: review the movie as fairly as you can. If you love it, love it hard. If you hate it, hate it hard. If it’s decent, be as middle of the road about it as you can. Just be fair. If these sexist louts are going out of their way to hate the film before it even comes out, blindly loving it will only strengthen their resolve … and their methodology. See it with a hopeful, open mind, and review it as fairly as you can. That way when some agitated neckbeard accuses our ranks of only liking it because of the gender swap, we can be honest. We can show our work. Because the only thing that could ever end such a disgusting scourge as sexism is open-mindedness. And it’s gotta be that old fashioned open-mindedness where we consider all of the information on the table, and not just the information that pleases us.

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