I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Casper

tn_casper

RELEASE DATE: May 26
RELEASE DATE: May 26

I got a feeling a couple of you probly grew up liking 1995’s CASPER, the big Universal movie adaptation of the famous friendly ghost of comics and cartoons, and you’re gonna tell me it’s pretty good. But if so I will disagree. In my opinion it’s not cuttin it.

Why would I expect otherwise? Well, #1, as a positive individual I believe in the possibility of great art coming from anywhere. #2, as a striver for excellence I expect all artists to take a shot at said greatness. #3, This was produced by Steve Spielberg, with what at the time were groundbreaking effects by Industrial Light and/or Magic. Remember, this was only two years into the modern age of digital effects started by JURASSIC PARK. Computer generated imageries were still novel and scarce. This was the first movie to have an all c.g. main character. Of course, he’s deliberately cartoony, and transparent to boot, so it wasn’t gonna blow people away with its realism. But this was about half a year before TOY STORY came out, so I’m pretty sure it was the most computer animation that had been seen in one movie up to that point. So it was new.

An older generation than you CASPERheads now talks with deep nostalgia about “Amblin movies” as this beautiful type of family-friendly movies from the ’80s. They’re specifically talking about E.T., GREMLINS, GOONIES and BACK TO THE FUTURE, I believe. And then you can pad it out with HARRY AND THE HENDERSONS and *batteries not included I guess. I doubt they mean the serious Amblin productions like THE COLOR PURPLE, CAPE FEAR, SCHINDLER’S LIST or THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY.

Anyway, the Amblin family films of the ’90s were not exactly of the E.T. pedigree. We’re talking HOOK, THE FLINTSTONES, THE LITTLE RASCALS, LITTLE GIANTS, and then CASPER, intended to be in that same vein I’m sure, but not successfully. The main character being a ghost may be a metaphor for the death of that whole Amblin thing. It lives on in our memories.

What a hip, contemporary poster!
What a hip, contemporary poster!

Christina Ricci (BUFFALO 66, SPEED RACER) stars as Kat Harvey, a middle schooler who has no friends because her widower father (Bill Pullman, THE GRUDGE) drags her all over the country for his work as a “ghost psychologist,” on a mission to help spirits solve their unfinished business so they can move on, and also to find the spirit of his wife. I’m not sure they totally thought this premise through, because Casper ends up having a number of breakthroughs without it ever being addressed whether he should get to move on to a better place. Everybody else that’s dead can aspire to that but he’ll just be a friendly ghost forever I guess.

Anyway, like in BEETLEJUICE there’s a mean rich lady (Cathy Moriarty, COP LAND) with a wacky henchman (Eric Idle) who becomes owner of an old haunted house in a small town and wants to get rid of the ghosts (Casper and his three emotionally abusive uncles), in this case so she can search for treasure. Casper sees a profile of Dr. Harvey on Hard Copy and for some reason it includes TMZ type footage of his daughter, who the ghost gets a crush on, so he tricks the lady into hiring the doctor to do ghost therapy on the uncles. And Kat discovers Casper and they become friends and it’s supposed to be real sweet.

Kat tries to fit in at her new school and volunteers her famously spooky house for a Halloween party/school dance. There is a CARRIE-esque subplot where a dreamy boy asks her to the dance but really so a mean popular girl can humiliate her. But Kat spends most of her time with the ghosts, dodging the uncles’ painful jokes, trying to get Casper to remember his life, discovering a hidden underground laboratory with a ghost-resurrecting machine that Casper remembers his dad invented. Then they end up fighting with the rich lady who comes up with the questionable plan of ax-murdering her assistant so he can use ghost powers to go through the wall and get the treasure and then she’ll use the machine to bring him back. There’s only enough potion for one resurrection, but everyone takes it on faith that 1) this definitely for sure is a real machine and not just the work of a crazy person 2) it is still in working condition.

The script is by Sherri Stoner (an actress from Little House On the Prairie) & Deanna Oliver (an actress in HOT TO TROT and A GNOME NAMED GNORM and the voice of THE BRAVE LITTLE TOASTER). They had been writers for the Spielberg-produced TV cartoons Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs, and I don’t know, maybe their type of jokes were funny to kids at the time. Ha ha, he was pouring coffee but he wasn’t looking and the ghosts were making the coffee pour out of the cup! Ha ha, Casper turned into a shirt, and a balloon! He can be different shapes besides ghost shape! There is some real lightweight pop culture reference humor, such as cameos by Father Guido Sarducci and Dan Aykroyd in his Ghostbusting uniform, and a part where Bill Pullman looks in the mirror and his face morphs into Clint Eastwood (BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY), Rodney Dangerfield, Mel Gibson (BRAVEHEART) and The Crypt Keeper (TALES FROM THE CRYPT: DEMON KNIGHT).

still_casper7
I guess that was a thing back then, because of ALADDIN and THE MASK. If you’re a cartoon then you turn into different shapes, or Arsenio Hall, or whatever. The worst one here is when Casper turns into a generic super hero, but then does an Arnold Schwarzenegger imitation:

still_casper3
Did the animators not know what the voice was? Did the voice actor not see the animation? I don’t get why a Super Casper would be a Terminator. I guess at least I like this type of, you know… humor or whatever it is, better than the stuff with Moriarty and Idle. Anyway, in my opinion this afternoon cartoon style of frantic, broad jokiness does not work so hot with live action actors and a James Horner orchestral score underlining every joke.

And then that type of crap has a hard time transitioning into serious heartstring-pulling scenes like the one where Casper gets some of his memory back and sadly recounts the tale of his slow death from pneumonia or something after a sledding accident, and how hard it was on his father.

By the way, if his father lived such a troubled life (he lost his son and then they put him in an asylum because of his Lazarus Machine invention) why didn’t he become a ghost? And if the Ghostly Trio are Casper’s uncles does that mean they were his dad’s brothers? How the fuck did they all die? And why did they end up in Casper’s house? Did they live there too? I guess they must’ve, because they have beds there that say Stinky, Stretch and Fatso. Or were those ghost beds? And if Casper didn’t remember anything about his life before then how did he know those were his uncles? I’m so confused.

For sure the key to success would be to pull off a sweet relationship between Casper and Kat. They definitely try, but to me it’s kinda creepy. Not just because he’s dead and seems like an even younger kid than her, and is a cartoon, and had to explain that he had five fingers when he was alive even though he has four now, but also because they both seem too young to be in such a rush to fall in love. They’re kids, can’t they just be friends? Instead they go for this bittersweet EDWARD SCISSORHANDS unrequited love business where he sacrifices his chance at resurrection to save Kat’s dad (I forget to mention that he plummets to his death after a drunken night of karaoke with the ghosts) and in return he gets one night to be alive, live action, five-fingered, and he uses it to dance with her and kiss her. (In live action he’s Devon Sawa, who went on to stalk Eminem.)

I know our hearts are supposed to break when Casper whispers “Can I keep you?”, because they have him do it twice. But I’m not so sure about him snuggling up on her and kissing her while she’s falling asleep.

still_casper4

still_casper5
Especially after his reaction when he first saw her:

still_casper1

And then how he tried to pull a sneaky move on her:

still_casper2
He might be a little too friendly of a ghost in my opinion.

To me this comes off as a square imitation of the cartoon gothiness of Tim Burton or even the ADDAMS FAMILY movies with Ricci. You can have morbid jokes, curvy architecture and old timey Rube Goldberg inventions but you need more style and tonal control than this to pull it off. But I guess this isn’t the worst thing in the world. The animation is pretty good. I kinda liked when Bill Pullman got turned into a cartoon:

still_casper6

And they were playing it pretty smart because if they needed to fire Pullman and replace him with Jeff Daniels they could’ve used the same ghost.

Anyway, not a fan of CASPER. This is one ghost I wouldn’t mind busting. But to be fair bustin’ does make me feel good. So your mileage may vary.

Post-script:

CASPER was actually a big hit, opening at #1 and eventually making $287 million worldwide, the #8 box office movie of 1995. It did better than JUMANJI! But it doesn’t seem to me like it stuck in the public consciousness. Animation director/H.G. Wells great-grandson Simon Wells (AN AMERICAN TAIL: FIEVEL GOES WEST, MARS NEEDS MOMS) was set to direct and co-write a sequel, but it never came to fruition. Saban Entertainment (the Power Rangers people) did make two DTV Casper pictures, CASPER: A SPIRITED BEGINNING (1997) and CASPER MEETS WENDY (introducing Hilary Duff) (1998) and then there was an all computer animated CASPER’S HAUNTED CHRISTMAS. I guess the true continuation of this movie was in 52 episodes of a Fox Kids computer animated series called The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper, which started in ’96. It was made by Amblin and writers Sherri Stoner and Deanna Oliver, and featured the characters of Kat Harvey and her dad.

This was the feature debut of TV director Brad Silberling, who went on to direct the beautiful looking LEMONY SNICKET’S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS and the pretty funny flop LAND OF THE LOST.

Ricci briefly continued being a star of kid movies (GOLD DIGGERS: THE SECRET OF BEAR MOUNTAIN, THAT DARN CAT) but in the year 1998 alone she appeared in THE OPPOSITE OF SEX, BUFFALO ’66, FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, PECKER, I WOKE UP EARLY THE DAY I DIED and DESERT BLUE.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 26th, 2015 at 11:36 am and is filed under Comedy/Laffs, Comic strips/Super heroes, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

83 Responses to “Casper”

  1. Even as a kid, I thought this movie was a miserable, unfunny piece of shit. I guess the Dan Aykroyd cameo is kinda funny.

  2. I actually saw this in theaters. All I really remember was the cameos and Casper becoming a pretty boy at the end.

  3. I guess I’ll admit to helping vaunt this thing to number one that weekend, since I went to see it with my dad. If anything, this film proves that there are limits to nostalgia, because I don’t think you’ll find to many Caper fanatics out there. Even as a kid, I remember thinking something was off about the movie, but I just couldn’t articulate what it was. But maybe it was the fact that Casper was a total creep.

  4. Remember in the early days of CGI when every new movie that came out was an exciting opportunity to see what else this new tool could do? You’d hear that this time they were making a CGI snake or a CGI plane or CGI extras and you’d wonder what the hell that was gonna look like. Every new CGI movie had something in it nobody had ever seen before. That lasted, what? Four years maybe? Then “Whatever, it’s all just CGI anyway” became the new default. So people have actually been bitching about CGI for more than five times longer than they were excited about it.

  5. I thought it was funny that you mentioned James Horner’s music here but not in Braveheart, where it’s absolutely crucial to that movie’s success, instead of underlining how flat everything is already falling. That same summer, he also scored Apollo 13; that’s two genuinely great soundtracks and… this. And later in the year, he also did Jumanji, Jade, and Balto. Dude had a busy 1995.

  6. I like it when I was a kid, but I really can’t imagine that it holds up at all. My sister and I both agreed by the way, that the sappy ending, where Casper becomes a real kid again and Pullman’s wife appears as an angel, was nothing but awful. But this movie was our first encounter with the live action cryptkeeper. And we even instantly recognized him, although at that time, only the TALES FROM THE CRYPTKEEPER cartoon aired.

    BTW, Sherri Stoner was the model for either Belle from BEAUTY & THE BEAST, Ariel or Jasmin from ALADDIN (Forgot which early 90s Disney princess it was) and her TV cartoon output was MUCH better than this movie. And the CASPER cartoon that followed this movie, was maybe the first kids cartoon that parodied Quentin Tarantino. (In one episode Casper tries to make a movie and tricks hotshot director “Terry Quentantino” [His name may have been a “Don’t sue us” parody twist, but his design was pretty accurate caricature of him] into helping him. Of course the result is so awful, that he quits the movie business and goes back to working at a video store.)

  7. I will always defend TINY TOON ADVENTURES and ANIMANIACS. The former is a fine sequel to LOONEY TUNES and keeps the spirit of Avery alive. Meaning a lot of the jokes in both shows function for both kids and adults like in the old LOONEY TUNES cartoons and they also have a lot of great hollywood parodies. Yeah so the hack writers of this movie worked on one of those show but so did people like Bruce Timm and Paul Dini (who later created BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES) among other people who are now modern animation legends.

    The latter does so as well (keeps the Avery flowing) because a lot of the TINY TOONS people worked on it and even ups the ante even more by creating completely original WB cartoon characters. From the main Warner Bros….and their sister Dot. To the GOODFELLAS as pigeons & a depressed old former cartoon star squirrel. As well as the most famous contributions: Pinky and The Brain lab mice with ambitions of world domination.

  8. Wowzers, I remember seeing this one in theaters. My favorite part was when Dan Aykroyd pops up in a cameo as one of the Ghostbusters….but its like you say, I mean, I enjoy a good old fashioned cartoony ghost story, but this one just didn’t grasp itself into the publics consciousness. And when compared to the kind of films that Amblin Entertainment made back in the 80’s, this one doesnt really measure up.

  9. I’ll second the Tiny Toons and Animaniacs endorsement. Animaniacs introduced me to Martin Scorsese thanks to the Goodfellas parody. Tiny Toons had a Citizen Kane parody. There was even an Igmar Bergman parody in one episode of Animaniacs. I learned a ton about film and twentieth century pop culture from those two shows.

  10. BTW, can we appreciate for a moment that they hired voice actors for the ghosts instead of names? (Back then, Brad Garrett wasn’t a sitcom star.) Today they would most likely hire some SNL castmembers (in the best case) or some popstars or up-and coming tween actors and put their names big on the posters.

  11. I just re-watched this and it really doesn’t hold up. The few things I liked were definitely

    – What kind of assholes the Uncles were. They really love to fuck with Dr Harvey in the meanest ways and were even willing to kill him at one point.

    – The 1 minute where Idle and Moriarty try to kill each other. I wish the whole movie would have been like that.

    – The animation. These dead fuckers have enough personality to make this movie kinda watchable.

    But even as a kid I wondered what would happen the next morning. Everybody from school saw Kat kissing a ghost. She will become either the most feared or most bullied girl at school. And don’t you think at one point someone will investigate the disappereance of Moriarty and Idle? Then they will find those dead bodies near Whipstaff Manor. (Let’s just assume Idle died too, after being catapulted through the window.) 1 is an accident, 2 are murder.
    And what makes it even more mysterious, someone HAS to find Dr Harvey’s dead body at the construction site! Then the police shows up at Whipstaff to tell his daughter that she is now an orphan, but oh no, Dr Harvey opens the door ALIVE! (I doubt that the Lazarus machine dissolves the corpse or teleports it back onto the ghost.) Then they will make DNA tests and/or maybe suspect that he had an evil twin.

  12. “The animation. These dead fuckers have enough personality to make this movie kinda watchable.”

    Yeah, I rewatched the film a few years ago and I was kinda shocked how good the animation looked. I wouldn’t describe it as Pixar quality, but it hasn’t dated too badly at all. The fact that the ghosts are transparent probably helps hide texturing and lighting problems.

  13. Good stuff, Vern. Whatever the opposite of nostalgia is, that’s what I feel toward CASPER. Well, the feeling isn’t that strong; I probly forgot most of the narrative by the time I tossed my ticket stub in the trash on the way back out to the multiplex’s parking lot.

    1994-95-96 was a stretch when my younger sister and I had monthly disputes about which movie we should force Mom to drag us along to see. I let her choice prevail on more occasions than I should’ve, so yeah we contributed to the unfortunate blockbuster status of the likes of THE SANTA CLAUSE and CASPER, but I also convinced her and Mom that seeing John Woo Presents Christian Slater *is* BROKEN ARROW opening night was a good idea, so, you know, it all worked out. My conscience is clean.

  14. Can a movie that was never good to begin with be accused of “not holding up?”

  15. I remembered liking this movie as a kid and in 2013 I re-watched it on dvd out of curiosity.

    It is by no means a great movie, not even close, but shucks, it’s not half bad, it at least feels like the filmmakers were trying to make it a real movie, especially with the cool looking set design and not some stupid slapped together bullshit like a modern fucking ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS or THE SMURFS movie or whatever, compared to that CASPER is a masterpiece.

    However, at the end of the day is movie still pretty forgettable and I think that’s why it hasn’t stuck around in the public consciousness, I forgot Eric Idle was even in it and I just watched it two years ago.

  16. Vern, review THE PAGEMASTER next, that’s another forgotten 1995 (well, late 1994 technically) movie that little Griff liked.

  17. I loved this as a kid, and reading this review brought back a lot of memories. Specifically, these glow in the dark toys of the ghosts that you could get from Pizza Hut. Good review, Vern.

    Griff – The Pagemaster was my jam. That’s another that I hear is awful. The whole sequence where the paint chases him in the library was the most terrifying thing to me as a kid. That sounds ridiculous typing it out.

  18. I’ve yet to get around to re-watching THE PAGEMASTER as an adult but I’m sure it can’t be awful.

    It was scored by James Horner as well in fact.

  19. Sternsheim, it can, if you really liked it at some point of your life.

  20. I liked the elaborate production design here but the biggest hurdle was trying to reconcile 1995 Moriarty with RAGING BULL Moriarty.

  21. Holden – Stoner was the model for Ariel. Also voiced Slappy Squirrel on ANIMANIACS. Really worth tracking down was the video the Nostalgic Critic made for that show where he talked to her and other writers.

    Ah, Casper. One of those comic/cartoon characters well known to our parents but now collecting dirt in the dustbins of obscurity. Believe it or not, Dreamworks Animation owns the rights to him and the rest of the Harvey Comics catalogue. So yeah don’t be shocked if DWA does a Casper movie inevitably.

    So Vern, summer 1995 eh? So that means…you’ll tackle that one blockbuster that nerds still haven’t stopped complaining about for the last 2 decades?

  22. I’m not gonna lie. When I was young, I kinda had the hots for CGI Ghost Cathy Moriarty. (Also while re-watching it yesterday, I wondered if they made the CGI ghost boobs that jiggly on purpose or if that was just a result of whatever physics they programmed into those ghost bodies.

  23. Think I saw this twice in theaters. All I really remember are the cameos. Funny this came out a year after RICHIE RICH, because of the SIMPSONS episode where Bart hypothesizes that Casper is the ghost of Richie Rich.

  24. Now that you mention the Casper/Richie Rich joke: Is it possible that CASPER is one of the earliest examples of Hollywood’s “Let’s give everything an unnecessary backstory syndrome”? There is a whole scene where Casper remembers who he was and how he died and frankly, that’s unnecessary as fuck. Did they think audiences were REALLY interested in some made up origin story? it was accepted that Casper was “just a ghost” without a tragic backstory for decades and nobody cared!

    Wait! This might also be one of the earliest examples of putting depressing backstories into kids movies, for no other reason than “Y’know, for critics”, which happens to be my least favourite trope in today’s family entertainment!

  25. Yeah Vern, I don’t know where you heard people liked this movie. I think it only did well because parents will take their kids to see anything.

    I am excited about Summer 1995 reviews. Wonder if you’ll be taking a look at Crimson Tide, seminal ’90s movie Clueless, WATERWORLD in light of Mad Max fever, Dangerous Minds…

  26. Shit, It´s about a ghost?! And here I thought it was a biography of legendary actor Casper van Dien

  27. Random trailer observation: The trailer for this uses music from NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS and during my re-watch last night, I recognized a part of CASPER’s score from the trailer of THE FRIGHTENERS.

  28. I guess I blew my CASPER wad in the comments for BRAVEHEART. Didn’t see this review coming. But yeah, saw this in the cinema and didn’t like it at all despite having enjoyed lots of other crap I saw in cinemas before (and a fair bit after for that matter). Still I don’t count it as my first real disappointment with a film. That honour goes to SPACE JAM

    On a more positive note that spin-off cartoon was perfectly acceptable in a “wont flick over for a few minutes while it’s on” kind of way. I also remember finding the first DTV sequel (with Steve Guttenberg and, IIRC, Rodeny Dangerfield!) being watchable by the considerably lowered standard of a TV viewing either at the end of a School holiday or when I was ill/”ill”.

    And I’m sure a lot of people will disagree with me but I’m not sure ANIMANIACS has aged well. It’s not so much that the references are dated, it’s more that the kind of pop-culture centric humour which seemed fresh at the time is now what people complain about in the more generic Dreamworks movies/FAMILY GUY etc. Then again, LOONEY TUNES/MERRIE MELODIES cartoons had a lot more pop-culture references than people remember. But I don’t know for me something like ANGRY BEAVERS which stood out a lot less at the time has actually aged a lot better.

  29. I hope a BABE review is in the works. Didn´t that come out in ’95?

  30. TINY TOONS was my jam when I was twelve. It just seemed so sophisticated and clever compared to every other cartoon out at the time, even the well-regarded Disney afternoon stuff like DUCK TALES and RESCUE RANGERS. Don’t know how it holds up now, not having seen it since the early nineties, but it introduced me to They Might Be Giants, so it’s got a pretty potent legacy for me.

    Never got in ANIMANIACS. In the interim between TINY TOONS and that show’s debut I just aged out of that kind of thing.

  31. Pacman, last time I watched ANIMANIACS (around 2009) it held up damn well. Yeah, every once in a while you had to endure stuff like segments about the Warners going to a Hollywood party with the 1993 versions of celebrities (Including Mel Gibson with a mullet and a bald Sigourney Weaver + Alien), but the rest of it was either very funny or surprisingly clever and not afraid of exploring a huge variety of styles, from super silly kid audience oriented slapstick, to classic vaudevillan musical numbers to stuff like a completely sincere and joke free re-telling of Paul Revere’s ride.

    Also the show gave us the best Prince related pun ever.

    https://youtu.be/1xmAC9Qu908

  32. I remember preferring TINY TOONS as well, though ANIMANIACS had it’s moments as well. I remember the latter making a lot of references to R-rated movies it’s intended audience likely had never seen. Both shows seemed to have a lot of inside baseball jokes about Hollywood, that predated the sort of humor that would find it’s way in early Dreamworks animated fare. That to me seemed a natural evolution of what THE SIMPSONS did with their references which looking back seem more clever and not so on-the-nose.

    There’s a show on Netflix that debuted last summer, BOJACK HORSEMAN, that takes that “inside baseball” approach to it’s fullest limit. It’s much more for the Adult Swim crowd compared to those shows, but it has a lot of charm of it’s own. BOB’S BURGERS (the best animated comedy on Fox right now) summons up a lot of the charm of the early SIMPSONS stuff, but BOJACK is in it’s own way reminiscent of the more serious and cerebral side it showed at times, while never losing it’s funny bone.

  33. I hate BOJACK HORSEMAN. I didn’t watch much of it, but it made me wonder if I got too old for that kind of “adult” humor, where antropomorphic horses have sex with real world human celebrities and mafiosi randomly kill people with ultra gory headshots, because they wanna pressure someone into doing something ridiculous for them or if the whole “badly drawn cartoon full of sex and violence” formula became too predictable.

    BOB’S BURGERS on the other hand is seriously awesome, once you get through the pretty indecisive, but thankfully short 1st season. There aren’t many shows where it’s THAT obvious, that they used their debut year as testing ground for whatever they come up with, but it’s very clear that they tried to figure out if their brand of humor should be more Seth MacFarlane or KING OF THE HILL, in terms of edginess. I mean, season 1 had a full episode dedicated to paintings of animal anuses and another one full of jokes about transgender hookers, crack use and an end twist about a recurring character having a diaper fetish. Not to mention Tina’s Zombiphilia. But by season two they ditched the lame attempts at shock value. Even the Zombiphilia thing became kind of charming. It’s still not a kids show, but one that can be watched by the full family, if the kids aren’t that small anymore. That’s refreshing, in a time where every new prime time cartoon tries to appeal to frat boys and stoners.
    (I should also note that I’m super happy that by the end of season 1, they stopped trying to make every dialogue sound painfully improvised.)

    One cartoon that I’m very undecided on right now, is the MAJOR LAZER one. I admire it for its straight faced take on 80s Saturday morning cartoons, right down to an amazingly accurate copy of the character design. Also every show that has JK SImmons, Udo Kier and Tiesto as guest stars, has automatically a bonus. It’s just that they are SO straight faced, that it most of the time seems like they forgot to put jokes into their scripts. Basically the only time I really laughed, was when the stereotypcal Asian kid computer hacker genius appeared for the first time – and he was voiced by John Boyega in his normal, not Asian kid sounding speaking voice!

    Oh well. It’s Wednesday evening and I really got nothing else to do than talking about cartoons.

  34. I assume you started at the beginning with BOJACK, but the consensus online is that it gets much better around midway through. I think the first season has it’s bumps in the road but it didn’t prevent me from enjoying it It’s humor really just plays for laughs not shock value (which I’m as tired of as you). It’s much more a riff on ANIMAL FARM with regard to characters like BoJack and the other animal characters on the show.

  35. Mr. Majestyk – I loved TINY TOONS as well as a kid, I watched it a lot more than Animaniacs since TINY TOONS got a lot more airtime on Nickelodeon and later Cartoon Network.

    I remembered whenever they would spoof Madonna or “Nothing Compares 2 U” or Michael Jackson or whatever recognizing that they were parodying something from adult culture but I only vaguely understood what, it was still funny though, “AHHHHHH, MANGO JUICE!”.

  36. Illinois Smith

    May 29th, 2015 at 1:11 am

    Yeah, BOJACK gets REALLY good toward the end of the season. He actually has a really nice character arc over the whole thing, it’s not that episodic.

  37. I skim watched this on YouTube out of nostalgiuriousity or whatever. Skim because I skipped a lot of the stuff at Ricci’s school
    and other stuff I thought just wouldn’t be worth watching. I guess I’ve grown enough now that I can understand why this was a bigger hit and more critically respected than MR NANNY, or even TURTLES III, but it’s still a somewhat baffling movie. And I can certainly see why I was so bored at age 8; in addition to being a bit saccharine, it’s awfully slow. I can understand including a build-up to the first shot of Casper, but will kids really want to sit through a scene of two middle aged people talking to a lawyer first? And the uncles, the focus of much of the marketing at the time, don’t even appear until about 1/3rd of the way through the movie. I almost wonder if they didn’t think this would appeal to boomer nostalgics first and kids second; for one thing it’s fairly clear into the P side of PG by today’s standards, with smoking, drinking, SHE’S OUT OF CONTROL-esque anxiety about burgeoning female sexuality and saltier language than I expected.

    As a bit of a Toonhead and HUDSON HAWK enthusiast, I think I liked some elements, like Idle and Moriarty, and some gags such as the coffee thing, a little more than Vern (though if Casper had to turn into a shirt, he could at least have been on a hanger, that would have been a bit funnier), but the mythology, such as it is, indeed makes no sense, and does make you wonder why they didn’t just make a cheerful film about a magical young spectre. But I did think the scene with Pulman and his magic(?) wife was fairly well done.

    “I guess this isn’t the worst thing in the world” about sums it up. There’s not really anything particularly good about it, but it’s not as garish, crass or ungainly as most other cartoon adaptations. I can’t say I like it, but I guess, particularly given its technological significance, I sort of respect it.

  38. TURTLES III was one of the biggest movie going disappointments of my life; up there with TRANSFORMERS, SCREAM 4, THINNER and TERMINATOR SALVATION.

    I walked out of the theater so angry and the only thing that made it a bit better was seeing POINT OF NO RETURN that same day. Well it was a big deal to me anyway cause at the time I was like the only 10 year old kid on the planet obsessed with LA FEMME NIKITA so a version where I didn’t have to read subtitles was something very appealing to me. Suffice it to say it pretty much sucked compared to NIKITA but at least it washed the stink of TURTLES III away from my mouth.

  39. CJ Holden: I failed to mention that J.K. Simmons is actually on quite a few episodes of BOJACK HORSEMAN.

  40. Yeah, BOJACK has quite an impressive voice cast, which makes it even more frustrating for me.

  41. Yeah, but the show you described above isn’t BOJACK at all. The anthropomorphic characters on the shows are much clever than you might give credit for, and although it definitely earns it’s TV-MA rating, it’s actually written with a mature audience in mind, and not just reaching for the lowest common denominator.

  42. CJ: any chance you’ll give BOJACK HORSEMAN a 2nd chance? I read an article that said it’s the best show on Netflix and I have to agree. Even over something like ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, which is brilliant.

  43. I won’t rule out that I give it another try, but it’s not high on my list. Especially since Netflix’s damn release-it-all-at-once model makes me forget after a week, that a show or season existed. Until the Emmys I totally forgot about the 3rd season of OITNB! I’m not made for binge watching. If there would be one episode a week on TV, I would maybe by now be done with DAREDEVIL.

  44. BH is easier to binge because it’s half as long as those shows. Probably took me 7-8 hours where it might take a weekend and a few days for me to get through some of their other programs. Except for some reason I did manage to get each season of HOUSE OF CARDS done in less than a day.

  45. I haven’t even finished WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER yet and that’s not just 8 half hour episodes, but also a show that I really love and waited for since it was announced! I totally fail at binge watching.

  46. Crushinator Jones

    March 3rd, 2016 at 9:45 am

    The new Ghostbusters trailer is here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3ugHP-yZXw

  47. Oh man. My sympathies are with Wigg and McCarthy cause if that’s the best trailer that could be cut then this is one upcoming dud that is really going to quash their career momentum. Good grief.

  48. Crushinator Jones

    March 3rd, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    Yeah I didn’t want to say anything before someone viewed it but I found it to be absolutely dreadful. Unfortunately there’s a sizeable contingent of the He-Man Woman Hater’s Club who’ve decided that 4 women in their 80s comedy means that the SJWs have won and they are pulling out all the stops – just blasting the film with hateful shit. That should be condemned.

    I, on the other hand, wanted to like this movie. I liked the cast. I liked the promotional stills. Then I saw this trailer…horrid. Didn’t laugh once. The CGI ghosts really lack charm. The recycled gag with the Class 4 Apparition with the dumber, grosser payoff had me rolling my eyes. Yowza. This really dashed my hopes, man.

  49. I was neutral towards it. GB is one of my all time top 10 movies but I was never begging for another. I like McCarthy and Wigg but am completely unfamiliar with the director as things like BRIDESMAIDS and SPY never grabbed my attention even though it features one or both of the aforementioned ladies.

    I was open to giving it a shot if I thought it looked funny but the only thing that made me laugh was the non-Slimer ghost designs.

  50. It look like dogshit. Like an episode for a webseries on Machinima

  51. Full disclosure: I never thought this was a good idea. Not because the new GBs were female, but because they were NEW (without any participation from the old ones) and it was directed by Paul Feig, who never did anything I hated, but nothing I saw from him ever gave me more than a few chuckles. But you know me (or not). I’m one of those guys who don’t try to hate movies unseen (unless they were directed by Tarantino, von Trier, Snyder or Dietl), always root for them to be good and am in general more forgiving to a movie’s flaws than most other people I know.

    But man, that trailer…

    I love the look of the ghosts. Kate McKinnon is a joy to watch, even when she stands in the background, which is the first time I think that. (Not a dig against her physical appereance, but on SNL she tries most of the time way too hard to be the new Kristen Wiig and unfortunately always goes for Wiig’s most annoying traits.) McCarthy and Wiig seem to play more grounded and less cartoony characters than in most of her other comedy outputs and this is a good thing. And I liked the last bit, where Leslie Jones slaps a ghost out of McCarthy’s body, just because of the absurdity of it.

    Unfortunately they ruin it then by playing the old “It’s over, but she keeps slapping her” joke.

    And all the other jokes in the trailer land with a thud too. Okay, most comedy trailers are worse than the real movies, but this doesn’t look good.

    And let’s be honest. I’m not someone who cries “Racism!” at everything, but the black Ghostbuster is the one who admits to not be as smart as the others, plays the old, outdated “hysteric black woman” shtick, even says “Aw, hell naw!” at one point and is apparently the DRIVER!? That is…unsettling.

  52. Actually I just remembered that I’am familiar with the director but as a producer since he produced THE PEANUTS MOVIE which I really enjoyed. Nevertheless this looks like The Asylum’s take on GHOSTBUSTERS. I was just waiting for the FROM THE STUDIO THAT BROUGHT YOU PIXELS header.

  53. And come on, a slow piano version AND a Dubstep version of the classic theme?! I guess the end credits will play a version by [upcoming pop star] feat. Pitbull.

  54. Also much of my previous lacks proper grammar. Even more than usual. Sorry for that.

  55. *previous POST!

    Argh, I give up. Good night y’all.

  56. To their credit at least they didn’t have anybody whisper-singing “If there’s something strange…” during the melancholy piano take on Ray Parker Jr.’s greatest achievement. I really was expecting that followed by the BAAAAAAMMMM! sound used in every trailer since INCEPTION and was completely shocked that they showed some restraint.

  57. Crushinator Jones

    March 3rd, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    More thoughts: I like Paul Feig just fine btw but he’s a director who is way too lenient with letting the cast improv stuff into the movie and has a rudimentary sense of composition. I was hoping his passion for the material was going to pull it out but this looks like another PFJ (paul feig joint): a visually bland personality-based comedy. Maybe that’s the wrong kind of criticism to level at Ghostbusters which was, of course, a Bill Murray tour-de-force, but it just feels like that character was lightning in a bottle that can never be recaptured…not even for Ghostbusters 2. IDK maybe I’m rambling…that trailer dashed my hopes pretty good.

  58. Nah Bill Murray is the man in GHOSTBUSTERS II. Venkman is in top form through the whole thing. Egon was hilarious in both movies too. “Art deco; very nice!” and “I think they’re more interested in my epididymis.” are still two of the funniest things I ever heard.

    R.I.P. Harold Ramis

  59. Crushinator Jones

    March 3rd, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    Ah I just didn’t like him in Ghostbusters 2. He insults a baby and as everyone knows babies don’t “get” sarcasm. That it out of line IMO.

  60. Crushinator Jones

    March 3rd, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    Oh man I fucked that joke up. It’s supposed to say “I just didn’t like him in Ghostbusters 2. He sarcastically insults a baby and as everyone knows babies don’t ‘get’ sarcasm. That it out of line IMO.”

  61. I’m glad this is the one site we can discuss the problems of this trailer without someone busting in and calling all of us MRA’s or whatever. The internet’s ridiculous over-praise for the terrible character posters, and the bland teaser for the trailer, and every set photo was getting ridiculous. And yes, I’m sure there’s MRA’s and sexist people who don’t like the idea of this film, but just in my experience they’re outnumbered 100 to 1 by people who REALLY REALLY want to let you know they’re progressive and forward-thinking because they think every facet of this movie looks great. Look, I also had to go through the motions and pretend Fantastic Four 2015 didn’t look awful because I didn’t want to seem like a racist asshole, but it apparently didn’t make that movie better; I just don’t have the energy for it this time.

    To be honest I actually don’t think Ghostbusters 2016 looks THAT bad, it just sort of looks like Men in Black Part 9 and Pixels and RIPD and every other big budget sci-fi comedy. It’s also kind of strange they give away the “posession” angle like it’s this huge game-changer, differentiating it from the first film, then proceed to show the entire beginning, middle, and resolution. It’d be like if Temple of Doom’s trailer showed Indy drinking the blood, slapping Short Round, then getting burned by the torch.

    It’s funny that the tide has suddenly turned negative today – Re: complaints of “racism” (not specifically you, CJ, it’s been all over the interwebs today) of having the black character be the uneducated, loud, obnoxious “AW HELL NAH!” one? I wholeheartedly agree it’s unfortunate to see it in 2016, in a movie that seems to get ALL of its goodwill from being “progressive”. But I hate to say it but I don’t understand why people are surprised about it – it’s literally Leslie Jones’ entire schtick. The Gawker/Jezebel blogosphere I guess got tired of writing condescending articles about Lupita N’yongo’s “otherworldly beauty” or whatever, and have recently been tripping over themselves saying how hilarious and amazing Leslie Jones is when she plays the same loud, aggressive, violent character EVERY SINGLE SKIT EVERY SINGLE WEEK on SNL. Hell, she even managed to squeeze it into a 10 second gag during the Oscars. I get it, she’s loud and crude and she’ll beat you up; the fact that (mostly white) blogs claim she’s a comedic genius for essentially portraying the worst possible negative stereotype of a black woman makes me uncomfortable. Now she’s doing the same schtick in a movie and apparently the world is shocked and appalled that she’s playing the same character she’s famous for playing? OK.

  62. I actually think Kate McKinnon’s pretty funny in there. I have no idea who she is but she has all the trailer’s funny moments. Leslie Jones is capable of being really funny, but whew, what we see of her here makes this seem a role Queen Latifah would have turned down in 2003. I remain hopeful, but if that’s the best trailer they could put together… yeesh.

  63. Except this is Leslie Jones whole gimmick. Blame her.

  64. I’ve gotten some enjoyment out of each of Feig’s films, despite the trailers for all of them making them look torturous. I’ve come to the conclusion that it is impossible to cut a decent trailer for a modern comedy. So how can you tell a potentially good comedy apart from a likely trainwreck? You can’t. You just kind of have to give a movie the benefit of the doubt if you like the work the cast and crew has done in the past.

  65. Yeah, I don’t think the trailer’s that funny, but I’m definitely not writing it off. BRIDESMAIDS, SPY and especially THE HEAT are all kinda messy movies with very big laughs in them which I don’t remember translating to the medium of trailer. This one looks more polished and I like the ghosts.

    I’m not sure on the racial stereotype issue. I do think it’s a problem but also I thought Leslie Jones was hilarious in TOP FIVE and that’s basically her persona right there.

  66. I am very charmed by Paul Feig’s TV work (well, Freaks & Geeks, that’s pretty much it) but I keep wishing I liked his feature work more than I do. Bridesmaids was enjoyable, but I couldn’t make it all the way through The Heat or Spy (which makes it an aberration among Jason Statham movies, as I tend to enjoy even his stupider projects). Could be that’s a Melissa McCarthy thing as much as a Paul Feig thing, however.

    I *want* to like McCarthy, I really do. I don’t like the idea that Adam McKay could direct Will Ferrell playing the exact same character with the exact same dialogue, and I’d probably find it really funny. That might be true, though, I dunno. I know it’s probably not good if it is.

    In the case of The Heat, at least, maybe I’m just resentful of Feig for almost stealing the title of the greatest movie ever, give or take a ‘The’.

  67. I’m a HUGE Melissa McCarthy fan. GILMORE GIRLS got her a lifetime pass and when she goes full hyperactive and shrill, she gets more laughs out of me than when Kristen Wiig goes into full mugging mode*. It’s just very troublesome how typecast she got as that hyperactive and shrill persona. (Kinda like how Kevin James, who in my opinion has lots of potential, spent the last 10 years on easy paychecks with the Sandler gang.) So I appreciate that she seems doesn’t seem to play that kind of person** in the new Ghostbusters and they leave the obnoxious screaming to someone else.

    *I do however love Kristen Wiig when she restrains herself or even plays non to not-fully comedic roles.
    **Same goes for Kristen Wiig, although I see a few hints of her exaggerating her performance in the trailer and hope that she won’t go any further.

  68. Since I connect Paul Feigs name with comedies I have avoided his work, since I don´t care for straight comedies. Has he done something outside the comedy genre that is any good?

  69. He’s a comedy director. His talent is in giving funny people the space, encouragement, and support to go completely balls out in the search for jokes, while still being able to just barely tell an intelligible story. He has the basic chops to be a middling dramatic director but why bother? The world has plenty of those. Good comedy directors are rare.

  70. The TV show Freaks and Geeks was kind of a comedic drama series rather than straight comedy, still my favorite Feig/Apatow joint.

  71. That trailer wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t all that great either. I’m not exactly clamoring for a new Ghostbusters film, but I like the casting for the most part. I really can’t get invested in Melissa McCarthy. Maybe she has roles where she’s able to showcase different comedic skills, but she just relies too much on slapstick for my taste. Kate McKinnon looks like she’s going to kill it though. I occasionally watch/listen to SNL clips when I have to get work done on a Sunday morning, and she’s a pretty great cast member. Jones and Wiig can also be pretty damn good.

    Also, Freaks and Geeks was really great.

  72. I don´t know about this. I don´t feel the cast. never watched them in anything. The trailer looks cheap and lame. It doesn´t look like something that interests me. I´ll just dig up my GHOSTBUSTERS dvds and continue to ignore this.

  73. But Shoot, if you are as anti-comedy as you say, you would have said the same thing about GHOSTBUSTERS back in the day. “Who are these guys? Some dudes from some sketch comedy show and a golfing movie with a puppet woodchuck? And what’s the director done? A summer camp movie? Yeah, I think I’ll pass.”

  74. I don´t claim to operate on a logical level.

  75. I’m not all gung ho for this either, but if a GHOSTBUSTERS remake had to happen (and history has taught me that, apparently, it HAD to happen) I’m glad it happened in a way that’s guaranteed to piss off gynophobic nerds and internet tough guys. What’s the other option? This could SO EASILY have been Rogen (Venkman), Franco (Egon), McBride (Ray), and Robinson (Winston). And I like all those dudes (more or less) but that would have been thinking so far inside the box that you’d never even get to the thought, it would be just a never-ending series of boxes within boxes like an infinite Russian nesting doll. If you can’t be original (and apparently you can’t, it’s simply not allowed) at least be provocative. And as much as it shames me to say that simply casting some broads in a movie that is in no fucking way whatsoever gender-specific is still a provocative choice in 2016, the backlash clearly indicates that it is. So I wish these ladies the best of luck and I hope all the haterz get cooties.

    Also, I came up with an SNL-style skit where Dan Ackroyd, driven mad by his inability to get GHOSTBUSTERS III made after all those years, is encouraged by the ghost of Robin Williams to Mrs. Doubtfire the set of LADY GHOSTBUSTERS in an attempt to sabotage it, but then he ends up mentoring the new generation and teaching them all valuable life lessons. Then at the end he pulls his wig off and everyone forgives him for lying and then in the middle of a group hug he says “So what do you say, girls? Should we shoot my script?” and they’re all like “Ha ha, no, you’re insane, Danny, that script is terrible” and it ends.

    That has nothing to do with anything, especially since I haven’t watched SNL since I was 17 (which is appropriate, I think) so they could have actually done this skit for all I know, but I thought I’d put it out there in case The Secret actually works. Have at it, universe.

  76. I am starting to think GHOSTBUSTERS is making more harm than good when the discussions have become so hatefull. I am starting to believe Walter Peck. Shut it all down.

  77. Would you say that this film has led to human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, and mass hysteria?

  78. Crushinator Jones

    March 4th, 2016 at 8:24 am

    Freaks and Geeks was really great and you know what? The network promos made it look like shit.

    I took a mediocre trailer really hard and I shouldn’t have done that. Here’s hoping this new version works. They are all funny comedians and the potential is there. I still think Feig is a bland director, though.

  79. It was harsh of me saying that because of the actors I wouldn´t see it. It was kinda shitty and unfair. Also, in retrospect, I think I expected a different movie when I saw the trailer. I expected a summer blockbuster looking film. because that ios what I expecetd of a 2016 version of GHOSTBUSTERS. Instead of the comedy movie that the first one actually was.

    Still, I don´t like it.

  80. In terms of Feig: I already said that I don’t hate, but also don’t like him. Never saw FREAKS & GEEKS, but recently it popped up on several streaming sites over here. I’m just hesitating to check it out, because I’ve been burnt too many times by internet favourites and neither Feig’s or Apatow’s output makes me change my mind.

    The Feig movie I enjoyed the most was UNACCOMPANIED MINORS, which isn’t really a modern classic or misunderstood masterpiece or something like that, but it worked very well as the lighthearted kids-make-the-best-of-a-shitty-situation-by-disobeying-some-stuck-up’s-rules family christmas comedy, that it tried to be.

    BRIDESMAIDS had some funny moments (I will never be too old to not laugh at a bride taking a crying shit in her wedding dress in the middle of a busy road), but in the end I’m simply not a fan of “Hey, check out how the nice protagonist gets humiliated over and over until her friends hate her!” humor.

    THE HEAT got some time for me to get used to, because I simply hated both protagonists for good 2/3 of the movie. And how you put people like Tony Hale, Jane Curtin or Kaitlin Olsen in your movie without letting them do anything funny, remains a mystery to me. Now waiting for SPY to hit pay TV.

  81. Crushinator Jones

    March 4th, 2016 at 9:49 am

    If you are a Gen X nerd guy then Freaks and Geeks will have enough truth for you to be enjoyable, I think. It’s actually a pretty good drama about a former nerd trying to hang with burnouts and navigate teenage situations. Also her brother is a full-blown superdork who catches the eye of a hottie (in a totally not-power-fantasy way) and has to split time between his ultra-loyal nerd friends and trying to move out of his social strata. This probably sounds insanely boring and serious but it’s really well-done and funny IMO. And James Franco…holy shit. He crushes it.

  82. Thinking about it, the nuclear container (or whatever it was) that holds the ghosts is perhaps the most needlessly dangerous things ever invented. Most of the ghosts they catch and store are just mischevous little assholes. It´s not like they store Gozer or Vigo in there. What harm do most of the ghosts actually do? They slime and occasionally scares some poor timid librarian. is that reason enough to invent the spiritual equivalent of Guantanamo bay?

  83. The international trailer is a little better, but still has too many groaners. (“Character pushes a door instead of pulling it”, “crowd gets out of the way when someone tries to crowdsurf” and “sexy dude gets immediately hired with an awkward giggle” are the kind of jokes that you wanna put in your trailer in 2016?)

    GHOSTBUSTERS - Official International Trailer

    Thirty years after the original film took the world by storm, Ghostbusters is back and fully rebooted for a new generation. Director Paul Feig combines all t...

Leave a Reply





XHTML: You can use: <a href="" title=""> <img src=""> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <b> <i> <strike> <em> <strong>