So once again we have survived.

Ghostbusters (2016)

tn_ghostbusters16GHOSTBUSTERS was a popular movie in 1984 and we still remember it and it has a good logo and it’s 2016 so obviously there’s a remake. Luckily they chose director Paul Feig, who has gotten big laughs with BRIDESMAIDS, THE HEAT and SPY, and he brought along past collaborators Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig, plus current SNL cast members Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones to bust open those ghosts and devour their delicious green centers or whatever it is that ghostbusters do.

Like in the original, the ghosts and the quasi-science of busting are pretty much presented with a straight face. I guess come to think of it it’s the ABBOT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN method. For this one it’s all digital FX, from what I can tell, but that works well for these glowing, floating, rotting, transforming, transparent entities. It’s kind of a retro Haunted Mansion type of ghost I guess, not the type you’d expect to see in a James Wan movie or something like that.

Then within this story (scripted by Feig with co-writer Katie Dippold) of some unorthodox scientists starting a ghost extermination business and uncovering a plot to summon evil spirits to New York City there is comedic riffing. The jokes come at a much faster rate than the original, so even in the scare-based opening scene there are some big laugh lines. I think this is a wise approach since they’re not working with a new concept this time around.

In the original it seemed to me it was mainly Murray being a smartass and Moranis being a cartoon, the others being more subtle or playing straight man. In this one pretty much everybody’s going for laughs most of the time. Wiig, whose character loses her career in education due to her past ghost activities, is the closest to straight woman. But she still finds self deprecating humor in her vulnerabilities, for example her trouble hiding from the dean that she believes in the supernatural, or her inability to control a crush on their receptionist (Chris Hemsworth, BLACKHAT, RUSH) even though he’s a total dummy. His looks allow him to get away with being a brain damaged weirdo. Hemsworth runs with it, and I bet if he wants to he’ll get a bunch of comedy roles now like Channing Tatum after 21 JUMP STREET.

I’d already written by review of the original when I saw the remake, so I thought it was funny that they addressed the idea that a college should be embarrassed to find out they were funding ghost studies. I guess I wasn’t the only one who thought that. This not being the ’80s anymore the authority figures who get involved are not an uptight EPA, but the New York City government. They don’t disagree that ghosts are real, they just don’t want people to know. So it’s a more difficult type of The Man to stick it to.

mp_ghostbusters16Most of my friends are grumps who complain about the modern post-Apatow approach to film comedy, which is often based in improvisation and extended riffing. I strongly disagree with their complaint. To me, most of the mediocre or weak comedies are too based in their stories, too delusional about us giving a shit about what is clearly a half-assed version of a real movie. If they can’t pull that off for real they shouldn’t waste our time with it, and should spend more time going off on tangents capable of making us buckle over with laughter. I think this GHOSTBUSTERS strikes a pretty good balance. The laughs keep coming and the story part, though suffering some third act lag, mostly works.

There are some pop culture jokes here, movie discussions that made me laugh. There’s a part where they talk about their favorite Patrick Swayze movies, and they get most of the great ones (STEEL DAWN is not mentioned, sorry my friend from the book signing who I have vowed to review that for). By the way, did you know that as an actor Paul Feig was in the cast of the Dirty Dancing TV series in 1988? It didn’t star Patrick Swayze, though. It was a Patrick Cassidy, so that probly didn’t give him any special knowledge for that scene. Still, seems worth mentioning.

Also there’s a scene where McKinnon is playing Debarge in the lab and she just starts doing a stupid dance, and they all join in. On one hand, this and the Swayze discussion are an easy laugh, a more random and nonsensical approach to humor than what the original relied on. On the other hand, you can’t deny the joy of it, the pleasure of seeing them have fun and make each other laugh for real.

It’s weird that McKinnon’s character seems to have a look based on how Harold Ramis’s character was drawn in the cartoon. McKinnon, it seems to me, has an easier job than any of the other ghostbusters in either movie, because she plays her as a weirdo and can just follow any comic whim without having to make sense of it within the character. But it works, and I bet we’ll be seeing her in a ton of movies soon.

I first noticed Jones in her small part in TOP FIVE, and I’ve since seen her on SNL and she even made me laugh the other day on The Match Game with Alec Baldwin. I have seen some grousing that the white ladies get to play scientists and the black woman starts out working in a subway station. But since I love Jones’ comic persona and don’t consider “working class” to be a negative quality I can’t really agree with that complaint. It should also be noted that her primary contribution to the team is intellectual, having a knowledge of the history of New York City that the others don’t.

(I’ve also read that the character was originally written for McCarthy, but they decided she’d already played too many characters like that.)

In my review of the original GHOSTBUSTERS I noted that Murray’s humor was primarily based in the “I’m smarter than you and I’m going to be condescending to you but I’m charming so I can get away with it” type of mean humor, and I think this is very different. With the old approach we’d get a bunch of funny insults hurled at Kevin’s stupidity (that’s also what we’d get if T.J. Miller or Jonah Hill were Ghostbusters), but in this the joke is that they’re bending over backwards to not call him dumb. The humor often comes from being too nice, like when the ghost chooses a relatively non-threatening appearance and a relieved Jones says, “Thank you for being reasonable!”

Before BRIDESMAIDS, Feig was best known for creating the very personal TV show Freaks and Geeks (the show that populated most of the modern comedy movie scene, the later seasons of E.R., etc.). Here he has a less sympathetic portrayal of a nerd in the villain, Rowan (Neil Casey, a writer for SNL and Inside Amy Schumer). He’s the Dark Nerd archetype, the dude who says he’s been bullied his whole life and is mad that no one wants to be his friend, and who proceeds to make you not at all want to be his friend with his bitterness, his superior attitude, and (I guess most importantly) his machines that he uses to attract evil ghosts to different spots around town. Like ghostnip.

I doubt Feig knew when writing the movie that this character would seem like a caricature of the most vocal GHOSTBUSTERS fans (whose sexist online abuse either gets one amusing reference, or was correctly predicted by the movie). But hopefully most of that shit will be forgotten by the time they make the sequel, because they’ve had their time in the sun, they lost, let’s let them sip their Hi-C straws in peace and think about what they’ve done.

I guess those guys feared the proud history of Ghostbustering being erased from history, as if new generations would grow up on this one and not know about the old one. If anything, the remake is too reverent of the original, giving all the main actors (except retired and don’t give a fuck Rick Moranis) showy cameos, constant reminders of the original. They don’t play their original characters, though, which I suspect is more fun than if they were torch-passing Ghostbusters, since you don’t have to be disappointed that they’re not as cool as they used to be, and you get the game of finding out who each of them are gonna play.

Oh, the fat ghost called “Slimer” on the cartoon does return as the same character, and there’s a perfectly ’80s joke of him having a date who looks exactly like him but with hair and a bow.

All this referencing is not my thing, but it’s less intrusive than I would’ve guessed. Even better, the painfully bad Fallout Boy cover of Ray Parker Jr.’s theme song is only played briefly. The original version gets way more play.

But of course we’ve heard the original version. Alot. Really that’s the only weakness of the movie is that by using a basic story and set of mythology that we’ve already seen it is by definition not fresh like the first time we saw it. A more radical reinvention might’ve been the only way to avoid this, but I don’t think that would’ve gone over well. With at least a different approach to casting and a different style of comedy it’s a fun cover version. And for me it had more laughs than the average comedy – KEANU, POPSTAR and SWISS ARMY MAN are the last comedies I remember seeing in a theater, and I definitely enjoyed this way more. It has many jokes that I kept remembering over the weekend and laughing. But the true test is if I will think of any of them as often as I think of this scene from THE HEAT:

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, July 19th, 2016 at 12:45 pm and is filed under Comedy/Laffs, 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.

36 Responses to “Ghostbusters (2016)”

  1. Nailed it, Vern. Cheers.

  2. I enjoyed this as well. Mileage will vary of course, especially in regards to what you find funny, but I thought this was slight but fun overall. Especially for a remake of a classic. Not as good the legacy-quels or rebootquels (Creed, Mad Max: Fury Road, etc.) but FAR more enjoyable than remakes to other beloved favorites like Robocop, Total Recall, Halloween, The Thing 2011, etc.

    I liked Kate McKinnon as a zany cartoon character but I really enjoyed Leslie Jones, for whom the trailers (like the rest of the movie) did no favors for. Have to say I’m pretty much disgusted with all the hate and bile she got on Twitter. Shame there’s so much awful toxicity regarding this movie.

  3. Mostly excruciating. I hated the comedy and the Non-lead casting from the jump. That first line about the anti-Irish fence, I knew what we were getting, and I knew I was going to be miserable, and I was. Patty is the only three dimensional character in the entire show, making the abuse Leslie Jones is getting all the more revolting. She’s the best part of the movie, and her delivery of the line “here’s a room full of nightmares” has me cracking up a week later.

  4. I liked this one. I did wish it was a little less slavish in its obsession with referencing the first one (man, what would a person who had never seen GHOSTBUSTERS (1984) think if they saw this? What would they make of all the otherwise baffling scenes where the movie stops completely so older actors in pointless roles can say a few not-especially funny lines while the camera lovingly lingers on them. I mean, the movie ENDS on a cameo, and then ends AGAIN on another cameo!). Honestly, it might have been better-served as a sequel, where its reference-porn could have been more useful to the story instead of cumbersome to it. But eh, it’s good-natured enough that I was into it.

    Good-natured is kind a it’s thing, really. It has a shaggy, old-fashion comedy charm, where it’s more of a genial hangout movie than a anarchic riot of jokes. I didn’t really laugh all that much, but I smiled pretty much all the way through. It’s a genial movie more than a great one, but it makes for an inoffensive time-waster.

    Random thoughts:

    Though it feels fairly sleek for one of these 100+ million dollar movies, which are uniformly overwritten into incoherence, its still oddly disjointed. The “origin story” section of the movie is weirdly disconnected from everything else, and Erin is back on board remarkably easily and apparently has no regrets whatsoever about the complete destruction of her entire academic career. In fact, it’s never mentioned again, I don’t believe. Why establish all that and then ignore it? And why in the world is Charles Dance in there?

    Also, why is Michael K. Williams in there? Did they just want to see him dance?

    Why did they obviously cut out the big dance sequence, and then stick it back in over the credits? Now the villain just wants everyone to weirdly strike one pose, apropos of nothing? Surely that’s not how this was originally supposed to play.

    Jones’s angry-shouty-stereotype thing is a pretty awkward fit with the Wiig and McCarthy’s self-conscious riffing. She’s much better with the “unexpectedly knowledgeable historian” thread in her character, but someone –either Jones or the filmmakers– couldn’t seem to decide how this character should play. She’s kind of all over the place.

    I like most of the new ghost designs; the parade floats in particular are a good image. Too bad they can’t stick with them instead of hauling the Marshmellow out of the mothballs and pornographically fixating on it.

    McKinnon walks away with the whole thing. One of the first genuinely unique film characters I’ve seen in awhile, totally cool. With those goggles and the blonde hair and the cheerful insanity, I’m sure I’m not the only one who walked out of the theater wondering if maybe they should remake TANK GIRL.

    I like that intentionally or not, the villain is exactly the kind of angry nerd who makes a good stand-in for the kind of people who got so angry at this movie. But it’s even better that McCarthy points out that they’ve been shit on all their lives too, they just chose to be more positive about it. In fact, it’s a pretty good plot for a GHOSTBUSTERS movie at its core, even if it’s a little disjointed and cluttered in its execution.

    Ugh, does a comedy really need a post-credit commercial for its own sequel, especially one which is already so feverishly referential to the original?

    Anyway, not bad. You could do worse for yourself on a rainy afternoon. You could also do a lot better, I suppose, but let’s face it, you’re not going to.

  5. I think Patty was my favorite character because she’s just a great presence and personality (and has many of the best lines). It is truly tragic that Leslie Jones is being attacked on Twitter right now by racist misogynists but that’s the world we live in now I guess.

    But Kate McKinnon’s show stopping third act badass takedown of the ghosts had me on my feet cheering. Truly awesome moment.

    So yeah, pretty good movie. Not perfect but I’ll take it.

  6. It turns out I’m the only person alive who thought The Heat was painfully unfunny which is why I had low hopes for this one.

  7. I hold the first GHOSTBUSTERS in very high regard. In fact, on most of my post HD era viewings, I have kind of thought to myself “I think this might be the best movie ever made.” Not just the comedy and the performances, but the strange but well researched science around the equipment (due to Akroyd’s real life obsessions with such things), the cartoony yet somehow very real feel to the ghosts, as well as the surreal (yet again…real as far as these things go…) otherworldly aspects to the other realm appearing in a fridge in such. The music is also great. And not just the main theme…all the music, from the sort of goofy theme I’ll call the “Bill Murray” theme to the quasi-spooky ghost theme, to the ominous New Wave pop song that plays when the ghosts escape…great stuff all around.

    But two things make it really work: the outstanding cinematography and the charcters. Every shot, not just the ones with effects, is fantastic. Equal parts perfect graphic design and gritty and raw. As Vern said in reference to the effects in the original it “looks cool” and there is no denying that. It looks really, really cool. And the charcters really seem to shine.The brilliant but very blue collar feel to the 4 main guys gives this movie both a heart and realism most other movies in any genre are lacking. Smoking, Twinkie eating, crass joke making…all while really knowing a lot about the weirdest of physics and ancient lore. All 4 are very individual, but all 4 share this aspect. They are the kind of fellas you overlook in real life, but you can count on them to fix your car while explaining a weird antique you found in the basement. Everybody’s dad in my town (including my own) were exactly like these guys…and the main employers around were all very high tech but gritty industries.

    And while I have mixed feelings about this new GHOSTBUSTERS, that final aspect they really got right. These ladies really feel like the ladies league at the bowling alley, if that team was pulled from some high tech engineering firm. While wacky, you really did get that McKinnon’s character knew her shit about the weird plasma ray pseudoscience, and Wiig and McCarthy really did know about that energy beam crossing point. And Jones, an outsider to the mumbo jumbo much like Winston Zedmore was before her, really had a common sense “just get the shit done” approach that kept the others in line.

    Anyway, yeah, I liked this one. Not in the elite club the original was…that’s a real exclusive club…but better than GHOSTBUSTERS 2 by quite a landslide. About equal to some of the more memorable episodes of the cartoon. The REAL GHOSTBUSTERS cartoon…not that other shit with the monkey!

  8. Hey, I like the Fall Out Boy version. (Minus the Missy Elliott part, which is sad, because this might be the first time that she is the worst part of something.) But I also like the Run DMC version, the nu-metal-ish EXTREME GHOSTBUSTERS theme and this little bootleg remix. https://soundcloud.com/btrax/ghostbusters-2k10-bootleg So I guess I just love the song in general.

    Sternsheim: I wouldn’t say THE HEAT was “painfully unfunny”, but I really had trouble to warm up to 3/4 of Feig’s directorial output too. The more slapsticky gags in his movies normally make me at least chuckle, sometimes laugh out loud (See: Every time Statham is on screen in SPY), but most of his humor has such an odd Michael Bay-ish cynicism, that makes me feel uncomfortable. Especially in BRIDESMAIDS and SPY (and yes, also to a degree in THE HEAT) he loves to humiliate his protagonists over and over until it isn’t funny anymore. Yes, they usually come out as a winner and he most likely does it to create some kind of underdog situation, but it’s hard to see people getting called stupid, ugly, fat or being blamed for things that aren’t their fault over and over and over for 100+ minutes and laugh about it. (Especially BRIDESMAIDS played for me more like a drama than “the funniest comedy of the year”.)

    To my own surprise, my favourite movie of his so far (Haven’t seen GHOSTBUSTERS and wait till it hits Pay TV) is UNACCOMPANIED MINORS, which is also his worst reviewed. I guess because it’s simply a sweet wish fulfillment christmas comedy for the whole family, where even the antagonist gets redeemed (spoiler) and therefore it’s easier to enjoy it.

    Random note: Am I the only one who thinks it’s weird that SPY ended with a rape joke and Feig not just gets away with calling himself a super-feminist, but also still got the back of the feminist community?

  9. I’m probably never gonna watch this. I’m really indifferent towards it but what happened to Leslie Jones on twitter is beyond fucked up. This is exactly why I don’t use social media. People can miss me with all that ignorant and pessimistic nonsense.

  10. Don´t care. End of story.

  11. I don’t remember the rape joke or him calling himself “a super-feminist.” If they weren’t offended by the joke you want them to be offended by maybe they’re not as uptight as you want to get mad at them for being.

    Sorry if that’s harsh. I’m just emotional because obviously Missy Elliot is the only remotely tolerable part of that song and this I can back up with graphs and signed affidavits.

  12. Basically the rape joke was a post or mid-credit scene of Melissa McCarthy waking up in bed with Jason Statham, having no idea what happened and he telling her “Shut up, you liked it too”, which is IMO a pretty 80s style “Isn’t it funny when someone takes advantage of a drunk person?” kind of “Ugh, I thought we would be smarter by now” humor. And I definitely don’t hold it against him calling himself a “super-feminist” (He may not have used that term, but especially when it came to advertising his new movie, he had to mention over and over how feminst and empowering he and his movies are.) and I’m also happy that in our time at least one movie somehow doesn’t end up in a controversy, it’s just that this is exactly the kind of thing that normally DOES get turned into some kind of controversy. (Hey, there were even people writing thinkpieces about how EVERLY belittles the struggle of rape victims and the poster of a naked woman with a gun sexualizes violence! Not to mention the JURASSIC WORLD high heels.)

    In the end, I’m just totally weirded out how a harmless summer special effect comedy can turn into this huge war of agendas. I mean, you can say that you don’t like SCHINDLER’S LIST without being called an anti-semit and Holocaust denier, but your opinion on GHOSTBUSTERS 2016 crosses a line? (Even if it doesn’t include terms like “The females”, “feminazis” or “Kill everybody involved”.) Oh well, I just hope that in a year or more, when we have all gained more distance from that thing, someone very smart writes something about this whole situation. Like it or not, this was a remarkable (in the most negative way possible) event in pop culture and how the media handles it.

    And sorry about Missy Elliot. I love her to death and I’m glad she is finally making music again, but her lines in the song seem like an afterthought to me.

  13. It has almost turned into a new BIRTH OF A NATION.

  14. That’s not a rape joke in Spy.

    That’s a morning after the night before regret joke. Cos’ you see women are non-pedestal dwelling equally valid human things and they can do things while chemically less inhibited that are still consensual.

    To sat that the old waking up regretting it gag is a rape joke is a non sequitur.

  15. IMO it’s Statham’s remark that turns it rapey. Obviously she was drunk out of her mind and he wasn’t.

  16. I think something got lost in translation, CJ. The joke is “Oh shit, I made a mistake last night.” That’s all.

  17. Oh, and I would like to take what Mr. Subtlety said and got one step further: Holtzmann is the best new character of the year. I think the key to her awesomeness is the way she eye-fucks literally every person, place, or thing in her field of vision. There’s nothing awkward or insecure about Holtzmann: She’s weird and badass and she not only knows it, she assumes everyone else knows it, too. Egon had a similar sense of cockiness, like he had no idea that he was supposed to be a nerd and just figured that everyone thought science was as cool as he did, but he was portrayed as more of your standard eggheaded eunuch, too cerebral to be interested in the pleasures of the flesh. With Holzmann, it feels like a kind of scientific curiosity so profound that it transcends to sensuality. Add in a sense off Venkman’s lustiness and self-satisfied glee, plus one of the greatest haircuts the world has ever known, and the character really jumps off the screen. I am totally smitten.

    The rest of the movie is pretty entertaining, even if it feels like the edited-for-basic-cable version of itself. You can really spot the seams where whole sequences were cut out. But Feig’s theatrical releases always play like the Cliff’s Notes for the real version that will appear on the Blu-ray, so that’s not a deal-breaker. It is weird that Hemsworth is by a considerable margin the funniest thing in a movie dedicated to celebrating the comedic powers of women (The “John Cena in TRAINWRECK & SISTERS Conundrum”) but I think Holtzmann’s unapologetic badassness still counts as a win for feminism. Bring on Tina Fey as Gozer, I say.

  18. The political season has wearied me enough to have me abstaining from a lot of media furor, so I was only peripherally aware of the brouhaha surrounding this. I am a female gamer, though, so I’m aware of the tenor these things can take from a certain segment of the population. To be somewhat fair, I wasn’t impressed with the trailers, but the strength of the actors involved and my love (despite some of the cringe-worthy stuff) of the source material cemented my desire to see this one. And I enjoyed it from beginning to end.

    That’s not to say that it’s perfect. There’s a careful line they had to toe with this one, and it makes them/the script occasionally too self-conscious, when I feel like in a different climate they could have really taken it a lot further. But they hit the right note with this one, something that should have been impossible. I agree that many of the cameos seemed pointless from a story standpoint, but I think they were important from a tone standpoint.

    I love that the villain was the same type of whiny nerd archetype that is thought of (at least by me) when we read whiny fanboys’ complaints on the internet. I think it’s an interesting contrast to the original that the dudes became basically rock stars (doing the talk show circuit and gracing the covers of magazines), where as the female ghostbusters were pretty much mocked publicly the whole time until they’d finally received popular (though not publicly official) support at the end.

    I can totally see Hemsworth getting comedic roles after this. But I hope it’s most of all a breakout for McKinnon and Jones.

    And finally, all the media coverage seems to neglect the fact that the opening weekend pretty much hit its targeted projections, and that it’s the highest-grossing opening for a live-action comedy since Pitch Perfect 2. I’m hoping this one has legs on the back of positive word of mouth, and I’m excited for a sequel to see what this machine can do when they really open her up. Tina Fey as Gozer is a brilliant idea!

    P.S. Agreed: not a rape joke in Spy. Go back to Kingsman for that (annoys me in particular because I don’t know if I can even rewatch what otherwise entertained me because of this stupid throwaway at the end that didn’t need to be that way).

  19. Majestyk, I will look into the ending again and reply to that as soon as I can.

  20. How is the ending of KINGSMAN a rape joke? The whole thing is the woman’s idea! It’s a terrible, crass, tone-deaf, and unfunny joke, but it’s in no way a rape joke.

  21. Majestyk, the whole sex thing comes up because Eggsy wont let the princess out of her cell unless she promises him a kiss. It is just about the most coercive thing imaginable. Its hard to build a case for consent when the woman is incarcerated and the guy who fucks her is the one with the key. Its a pretty fucking despicable scene.

    I can understand how the filmmakers in Spy might have wanted the joke in that credits scene to be about regret. (And I am sure they didnt intend for it to be about rape.) But that scene too is really despicable. There are a bunch of indicators of whatever happened having been non-consensual, including the ridiculous number of empty champagne bottles in the establishing shot and McCarthys terrified reaction to seeing Statham laying next to her. But as CJ says, it is Stathams line that really puts it over the edge. Instead of letting the woman voice a joke that could have made the context clear, they have the man voice a joke in which he essentially tells the woman what her experience is/was (shut up, you liked it). Having a man tell a woman what she likes without giving the woman herself any say in the matter is such a deep, depressing expression of rape culture.

  22. Never compare me to the Jaws mayor. NEVER!!

  23. Two questions;

    Isn’t the much talked about scene from KINGSMAN firstly a parody of the male chauvinism in spy movies from the 60’s and secondly a joke about the way the world once viewed free spirited Swedes?

    Don’t you think that the fact that Stathams’s character is supposed to be a real moron establishes that the whole “mistake” was her idea?

  24. You are over thinking Spy. If you think that’s bad then I would imagine you guys flipping out over Pitch Perfect 2. One of the characters asks the Amy character to sleep with him and she says no but follows it up with a wink. This happens a couple of times. That is way more uncomfortable then two consensual drunk adults fucking.

  25. It’s really not hard at all to build a “case for consent” in a scene where the women is clearly enthusiastically consenting. In fact, the enthusiasm and the bluntness of the consent, in comparison to the slyer innuendo-filled James Bond scenes that the scene is clearly meant to parallel — that’s the joke. The Spy tag actually leaves room to be interpreted as a “rape joke” even if that’s not the author’s intention. The Kingsman joke doesn’t.

  26. Sternshein and JTS, it would be cool if you said whom you’re answering…

  27. I watched the SPY ending again, this time in english, and I stand by my observation, while also admitting that you can interpret McCarthy’s reaction to waking up next to Statham as “Oh shit, what have I done” and not necessarily “What happened? What is he doing in my bed?”

    Still, Statham’s “Stop screaming, you loved it” (actual quote this time) is what makes the scene uncomfortable, since this is, sorry, a typical rapist excuse. (She “liked it”, so it wasn’t rape.) If he had said something else or nothing at all, there would be no question that this was a “two people got drunk and had sex” moment, but the way the scene plays out, that he apparently had more control about his actions the night before than she had and shuts her up with a harsh “Stop screaming, you loved it”, is just creepy.

    And remember that this comes from the guy, who holds the view that most of the time a cigar is just a cigar and people are often trying to create controversy for the sake of controversy.

  28. But CJ, aren’t you literally trying to start controversy by bringing up something that you said should’ve been controversial instead of the other stuff that is controversial that you don’t think should be controversial?

    From what I can remember, to me the joke was a good reversal because normally Hollywood would have McCarthy playing the character who Ryan Reynolds or someone wakes up in bed with and she’s all lusty and talking about how great it was and he’s screaming. In this case it’s Statham, who started his career as a model, and it’s gross not because of his appearance but because he’s a moron. That’s why Feig didn’t have his Super-Feminism plaque confiscated.

    There is a different Statham movie where I consider there to be a sleazy rape scene that most people here defended at the time but I won’t get into that.

  29. I know! That’s the weird part about it and I’m fully aware of the irony that this time I’m the guy who cries “Misogyni! Rape Culture! Controversy!” And believe me, ever since I brought this up, I felt horrible, because I hate to derail this websight into such territories. But please don’t view it as me, trying to find a reason to talk shit about a guy, simply because he is the biggest male feminist posterchild who hasn’t directed a Marvel movie yet. Although admittedly the fact, the he is viewed as that, made this moment a lot harder to ignore for me. He should know better.

  30. I dunno, I think it’s worth talking about these things, not in a censorial “they shouldn’t be allowed to put this on screen!” kind of way, but because it’s a very useful and positive thing to interrogate fictional movies and use them as a safe way to ask difficult questions about the real world. I haven’t seen SPY but I found the “rape” joke from KINGSMEN pretty low on the list of moral problems with that movie, but I’m glad people discussed it anyway, because yeah, these are issues which we need to be talking about and trying to find some common ground on. I mean, isn’t that, at least in part, the whole point of art? That we’re meant to be confronted by these stories, and try to glean some personal meaning?

    Unfortunately we’ve gotten so polarized even about art that these conversations can become regrettably contentious even though we’re talking about cartoonish exaggerations of reality. Too often thing end up in a heated argument over whether the artist should or should not be allowed to put anti-social behavior in art, which is, in my view, missing the point entirely. I’m very much in favor of movies with dubious morals, because it gives us a chance to confront these messy moral lines in a more abstract (and therefore hopefully less defensive) way, and even, perhaps, explore our own darker inclinations in a safe way. This sort of thing ought to inspire challenging, elucidating conversations, but unfortunately these things tend to devolve online very quickly into tribalism and shouting.

  31. And maybe one day we can discuss why it’s perfectly okay for us to watch 3 million horrific murders each year on film, but a couple of bad sex jokes is just too much for us.

  32. Sorry to interrupt the argument about sex jokes in non-GHOSTBUSTERS movies by making some observations about the GHOSTBUSTERS movies, but here goes:

    Vern: “by using a basic story and set of mythology that we’ve already seen it is by definition not fresh like the first time we saw it”

    I think a more basic difference is that in the original GHOSTBUSTERS we are expected to regard these concepts as completely absurd. The Einsteinian-sounding description of why crossing the streams is dangerous, the heavy-metal-album-cover style backstory about how Gozer manifested as a Torg and then as a giant Slor, etc. … all this stuff was meant to sound bizarre and ridiculous and over-the-top (thus inviting Bill Murray to undercut it with a sarcastic comment).

    By contrast, the new film treats ghostbusting as a thing that we understand and accept, simply because it was established in another film. When Aykroyd boasts about capturing a “class 5 free-roaming vapor” we’re supposed to be amused by the technobabble. When Wiig or McCarthy talk that way we are assumed to accept that there is some actual logic and world-building going on here, that this is a classifcation system that actually makes sense even if the audience isn’t fully told about it.

    In today’s nerd era it’s forbidden to allow sci-fi/fantasy concepts to seem silly, and that’s one thing that maybe holds this new GHOSTBUSTERS back a little from capturing the tone of the original movie. The dialogue in the new one is funny, but in the original film the ideas and situations were also funny.

    Mr. Majestyk: “Bring on Tina Fey as Gozer, I say.”

    I’m now picturing Tina Fey with red eyes, punk hair/makeup, and a cotton-candy-strategically-glued-to-a-nude-leotard. But I doubt it’ll happen. Alas.

  33. (the opening sentence of my last comment was meant as a Bill Murray wisecrack, not an actual insult against anyone here. In reality I dig the tangents that occur here.)

  34. Just home from the cinema, and right now I love this movie to bits! It’s funny, suspensefull and packed with really cool action. And, man, the girls – I think I’m in love with all four of them! And Hemsworth. Tomorrow I have to have a real good think about wether I like it better than the first one…

  35. Unlike a lot of people, I was willing to give this movie a chance from the start. I have seen this movie twice now. The first time was at a special screening and I received a ticket for two, so I had my brother-in-law go with me. I ended up enjoying it. I saw this movie again today, though I had to pay this time. I wrote a review for this film for my online column. I gave it a positive review, but I will also point out that my main gripe with this film are the effects for the ghosts. I am not against CGI like a lot of people are, but some of the ghosts in this film have this glow about them that it almost felt like a light show.

  36. Went into this one wanting to love it or at least really like it but came away thinking it was okay at best. When it was funny, I thought it was a really funny but felt more often than not, the jokes fell flat. Easily and disappointingly the worst Paul Feig joint.

    Now I’m stuck in the middle of two annoying bases, asshole chauvinistic fanboys who refuse to share their childhood toys and well-meaning feminists who are holding this thing up on a giant pedestal when it is an average summer blockbuster and nothing more (again the assholes are the ones who turned this thing into a martyr).

    As mentioned by others here, I feel you could fix a good third of this movie’s problems with removing almost all the call backs to the original. The only one that worked for me was them not being able to afford the firehouse from the original because of gentrification. I was hoping for more of a Zack Snyder Dawn of the Dead situation where they took the concept and did their own very different thing with it with minimal-to-no call-backs.

    That said, I’m not opposed to a sequel. I really liked the characters and shockingly Holtzman and Patty ended up being my (non-Hemsworth) favorites when I thought I wasn’t going to care for their parts/comedy. Hopefully they figure out cooler/better stuff for them to next time and get better editing/less studio notes.

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