Tag Archives: Ghostbusters (2016)

A little more on Suicide Squad and DC movies musings…

Looking over the news today, I found this tidbit at box-office mojo regarding last week’s movie take up to August 21:

Suicide Squad Threepeats at #1 while Ben-Hur becomes latest big budget flop

This summer has been an interesting one when it comes to expectations and internet fueled opinions.  Batman v Superman was the first film to face the internet firing squad well before it was actually released.  After its release, opinions appeared to be divided between those who hated the film and searched far and wide for any little or big reason to justify their hatred and those like me who defended the movie and felt it was…gasp…quite good.  Great even.

I’ve stated before (to the point where I’m in danger of beating a dead horse) that BvS, especially in its director’s cut version, is a far better film than the critics and some internet posters made it out to be.  In time (what the hell, I will beat that dead horse) I believe the film will rise in people’s estimations and may become viewed as one of the better superhero films ever made.

Once BvS played itself out, the sometimes red-hot internet hatred found its next victim in Ghostbusters.  Much of the venom, sad to say, came from people who claimed the film was “sexist” because the leads in the film were female.  To those I say: Please look up the term “projection”.  The only sexism in Ghostbusters was the one coming from those who accused the movie of it.

Nonetheless, the film didn’t do all that well at the box-office.  While I enjoyed it and recommended it, I was nonetheless not too surprised to find it underperformed.  While I still believe the movie was good, even I’ll admit it never reached that next gear of hilarity that really great comedies hit.

As the summer died out, one of the last “big” films to be released was Suicide Squad (you knew I’d get there eventually, right?!).  As I’d written before, I was curious why this film would be the next big DC tent pole versus so many other properties out there they have.

Despite that feeling, the first few trailers of the film blew me away and had me hoping for a genuinely entertaining work.  Sadly, the film, to me, proved to be a mess, storywise.  Despite that, I nonetheless enjoyed the bulk of it after its very rocky start.  Perhaps it was the performances or the giddy vibe it sustained but I didn’t feel like I’d just wasted my time and hated myself for spending my time and money on it.  On the other hand and unlike BvS and Ghostbusters, there was no way I could recommend the film to anyone.

Nonetheless, Suicide Squad is, as the article above points out, doing quite well at the box-office.  Now in its third week of release, it is still #1.

Which makes me wonder…

The critics hated BvS, liked Ghostbusters, and hated Suicide Squad.  Yet of the three, the ones that made money were BvS and Suicide Squad.  Clearly there’s a disconnect here and I wonder what it is.

BvS, as stated, had plenty of negativity from critics and many on the internet but, as I stated above, there was stuff in the film that even the harshest critics would agree was good.  Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne/Batman, for instance.  Or Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman.  The cinematography (even the film’s harshest critics can’t deny the film at times looks gorgeous, even if its palette is dark).  But moving past all that, there is a solid story, IMHO, here.  One that is far deeper than many are willing to admit and/or recognize.

Which is something I can’t say about Suicide Squad.  Despite this, the film is drawing tremendous amounts of cash.

Which leads me to wonder why the DC films made as much as they did given all the flack they got.

I’m just guessing here, but I think part of the reason is that fans are starved/primed to see big budget versions of DC comic heroes.

Marvel, for better or worse, has dominated the movie landscape these past few years but after so many films, there may be a sense of fatigue starting to appear regarding the “Marvel style” hero movies.  The fact is that all the Marvel Universe films thus far have displayed certain tendencies.  This is not surprising given the fact that the same people who run the Marvel show have been behind it since its inception.

When one gets a new toy, its shiny and beautiful and you play with it to your heart’s content.  But after a while, that shiny new toy no longer entertains you as much as it once did.  With the Marvel Universe films, they were shiny and new and intriguing but I’m wondering if audiences are starting to see through the “magic” and that shiny new toy may become just a little bit dull.

While Captain America: Civil War made a tremendous amount of money (more than BvS) over its run, I find it fascinating how little people talk about the film now.  Those who do are just as likely to disparage it, noting its plot was weak and the film, overall, was underwhelming.  That’s not to say everyone who writes about the movie does this, but it is curious how even now BvS can inflame passions and create a commentary hurricane while CA:CW engenders far less enthusiasm.

So, is it possible people are starting to tire of the Marvel movies to some degree yet remain thirsty for superhero films?  This might explain why Suicide Squad, despite its many deficiencies, manages to hold on to the box office pole position.  Despite its many weaknesses, one thing you can say about Suicide Squad is that other than having a cast of super-beings, it is nothing like a Marvel film and so too was the case with BvS.

Sometimes, variety can indeed be the spice of life.

A little more on Ghostbusters, and specifically Leslie Jones

Yesterday I reviewed the new Ghostbusters film and found it a solid, enjoyable comedy that did not, in my opinion, reflect the extreme negative comments people made on the internet regarding it.

Today, I find this article on CNN.com, written by Sandra Gonzalez:

Leslie Jones busts Twitter haters, gets love in return

All I have to say about this is the people who are going out of their way to insult Ms. Jones are nothing more than cowards and bullies.

I suspect the people insulting her are among those who claim Ms. Jones’ portrayal in the Ghostbusters movie was nothing but a “loud, annoying, street-smart stereotype”, as I mentioned yesterday.

First, those who have seen the film should know her character is not presented this way.  Secondly, her character proves very useful because her “street-smarts” involve knowledge of New York’s HISTORY.  She is the one who knows what happened in certain parts of the city, knowledge that eventually helps the others understand what is going on.

I will repeat what I wrote yesterday regarding those slamming Ghostbusters from way before its release: If you don’t like something, why focus so much on it?

Couldn’t you spend that energy doing something more productive?

Ghostbusters (2016) a (for the most part) right on time review

With the Ghostbusters remake, one need look no farther than Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to see another example of a movie being completely taken in by pure, unadulterated craziness.

Look, I completely get it: We’re human, aren’t we?  We’re just as capable of loving one thing and hating another.  God knows, I was never a fan of Star Wars and to this day cannot understand why people love it so much.

However, I don’t go out of my way to point fingers and yell from the rafters as to why Star Wars is crap.  Frankly, I’m happy people found something they like and enjoy the hell out of it.  Especially those people my age who experienced it first, in 1977, as a child.

When BvS was first announced, there seemed to almost immediately appear a group absolutely convinced the movie would be terrible…even when it was a year or more away from release.  Some of their opinions I can’t debate: If you have experienced all of the Zach Snyder directed films and found they weren’t your cup of tea, it was logical to assume you would probably not be pleased you with his latest film.

Having seen only one Zach Snyder directed film in its entirety before BvS (for the record, it was Dawn of the Dead), I came into that film a near “virgin” with regard to the works of Mr. Snyder.  I also tried, despite the very negative critical reactions, to see it with as neutral a mindset as I could.

I liked the film.  I really liked the film.

And I now hate it because the Ultimate Cut of the film is so much better than the theatrical cut!

Similar negative vibes moved to the Ghostbusters remake.  People primed themselves to hate it many months before the film was released and, surprise surprise, many of the things they were so-damn-certain they would hate they wound up finding -and hating- in the film.

A self-fulfilling prophecy if there ever was one.

Over at the IMDB listing for the movie you have a featured 1 star review wherein the author, Girlycard, goes over everything s/he felt was wrong with the film.

Here’s the first of their complaints: This movie was stolen. Everything in this movie was stolen from the first two. All they did was literally take the first movie, and remove the action parts and the horror parts.

I don’t get it.  The movie is a remake.  If you hear they’re remaking Ghostbusters and the movie comes out and turns out to be a romantic film set in the 1800’s British highlands involving the upper and lower casts, wouldn’t people have been scratching their heads and wondering what the hell did this have to do with the original Ghostbuster films?

Then there’s this: The sexism. This movie is probably the most sexist movie since Doomsday Machine. They replaced the entire main cast with only women to appeal to the radical Feminists. When your ideology discriminates against who you can cast in a role, that is called Fascism, and it’s not a good thing.

Hoo boy.

I just didn’t see it.  If anything, the film slyly inverts some standard movie sexism jokes.  In the Mel Brooks comedy The Producers, you have a sexy (female, natch) secretary who is a complete bimbo and does absolutely nothing but get oogled over by the men.

In Ghostbusters, you have Chris Hemsworth play Kevin, the male iteration of this stereotypical female role.  He’s quite literally this very same “dumb blonde” secretary who the female staff (actually, mostly Kristen Wiig’s Erin Gilbert) oogles over and makes an ass out of herself doing so.

So, in The Producers using the dumb blonde female secretary is ok but if we invert this trope in Ghostbusters we’re being…sexist?!

Worse, fascist?!?!?

Complete bullshit and the purest of exaggerated hyperbole.

Also, the male characters in this films are not all portrayed as idiots.  Apart from Kevin, they seem reasonably “normal” characters (male AND female) for a slapstick comedy.  It’s like focusing on Rick Moranis’ Louis Tully playing a nerdy/horny fool in the original Ghostbusters and thinking that’s anti-male sexism.

Allow me one more thing pointed out by Girlycard: The racism. The only black character was turned into a loud, annoying, street-smart stereotype.

In this case, I have to admit when I saw the first trailers for the film, I feared there might be a possibility of this being the case.  Not the “racism” (more bullshit hyperbole) but rather that the “only” (by the way, she isn’t) black character was turned into a “loud, annoying, street-smart stereotype.”

Instead I was delighted to find Leslie Jones’ Patty Tolan far from just “loud” and “annoying”.  She was presented as “street smart”, but this was done in a positive way.  For you see, her “street smarts” involved knowing about historical aspects regarding New York the other Ghostbusters did not and proved herself to be very much a helpful character in their mission.  And she does this while not yelling!  Imagine that!

Not to get too far afield, but if you compare her character with that of Ernie Hudson’s in the original film, she comes out better.  Remember that Mr. Hudson himself stated in interviews he views his participation in the original Ghostbusters with great ambivalence.  He was brought into the film thinking he would have a meatier role but once the cameras started rolling his character’s participation in the film was trimmed to almost nothing but the token “African-American” guy by the end.

My point here is this: I can totally understand people really, really loving the original Ghostbusters and not stomaching a remake that does not involve Dan Ackroyd, Bill Murray, et al.

I get it.

But you know what?  You can do as I do with films I don’t care all that much about:  You can simply ignore them.  Why expend so much energy hating on something you probably aren’t interested in seeing in the first place?  Seriously, you don’t have to do it.

The Ghostbusters remake, for those willing to give it a shot, is a funny, engaging film that, while far from perfect, promises a good time…if you can overlook some of the movie’s faults.  At times there is a certain choppiness to the story and there was at least one major plot element that was clearly cut from the theatrical version…though perhaps it was just as well.  Finally, not all the jokes land, but –shocker– that’s not unusual for a comedy.  As long as you do laugh several times during the film’s run, it’s done its job.

The movie, like the original Ghostbusters, concerns a group of people (yes, women are people, too) who are drawn together because mysterious things are a’happenin’ in New York.  As already mentioned, Kristen Wiig plays Erin Gilbert, nerdy scientist who is desperately seeking tenure at a prestigious university.  Melissa McCarthy is Abby Yates, her childhood friend who, along with Erin, were once a duo determined to prove ghosts exist.  Erin left that behind but is drawn back and meets up with Abby at her university.  There, Erin meets Abby’s right hand woman, the bizarre Jillian Holtzmann (a very funny turn by Kate McKinnon) and they go investigate a potential spiritual apparition.

This investigation winds up squelching any chance for Erin to get her tenure so the trio decides to form their own “ghost hunting” business.  Soon, they are hired to take on a job by the not-always-yelling Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), who later joins the group, while also hiring the absolutely clueless Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) as their secretary.

As it turns out, there is a menace brewing which may lead to an apocalypse.  The Ghostbusters not only fight this menace but, in an amusing turn, they also have to deal with the Mayor of New York who…ah, I won’t give it away but will say the Mayor proves a funny twist on the “typical” higher-up reaction to something fantastic.

Getting back to something I noted a little before: The one major plot element which seems to have been trimmed from the film involves Erin leaving the Ghostbusters.  This sequence is never shown and when Erin does get back to the group in the movie’s climax Abby happily states “You’re back!” yet we never saw her leave in the first place.  Why they didn’t remove or change that line I don’t know.

Again, nothing terribly big but it does point out the film had sequences which were eventually discarded (they also got rid of the very funny joke about the selfie picture in the heavy metal concert.  I thought its presentation in the trailer was funnier than the truncated version in the film proper).

As for the cameo appearances by the original cast…I hate to say it but they were largely not all that great.  There are those who stated Bill Murray’s cameo was the best but, frankly, I thought it was only ok.  It was, however, the longest of the cameos and involved two sequences.  My favorite was probably Sigorney Weaver’s but even that one could have been funnier, IMHO, if instead of having her they had Dan Ackroyd in that particular scene instead of Ms. Weaver.  It just “fit” Ackroyd’s character in the original movie a little better.

Anyway, I’ve rambled on enough.  If you can put aside your emotions and nostalgic fondness regarding the original Ghostbusters and give this new version a shot, you’re in for some fun.  This film may not be the best comedy evah, but it will have you laugh plenty of times.