Sometimes, what’s considered controversial these days depresses me to no end. Case in point: the “Ghostbusters” reboot.
For those who haven’t been paying attention to the nonsense that has surfaced because of this film, it appears that people – mainly men – aren’t happy with the upcoming remake of the 1984 hit mostly because it features an all-female cast.
Although the female foursome stepping into the roles last occupied by Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson and the late, great Harold Ramis are four of the funniest ladies around (Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy and current “Saturday Night Live” cast members Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon), folks are still not too keen on this feminine update. When the teaser trailer dropped earlier this year on YouTube, it became the most disliked trailer in the site’s history. People have also been making public declarations that they’re not going to see it when it comes out. (One guy, known as the Angry Video Game Nerd, spent a 6 1/2-minute video reiterating that he’s not seeing it because the trailer looks bad and not because he’s a He-Man Woman Hater.) Even Paul Feig, the reboot’s director, told Variety that some of the hatred that has been spewed on social media over the film is: “Some of the most vile, misogynistic [expletive] I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Taking iconic, male-driven, cinematic works and even pondering putting female leads in them will always drive the social-media stratosphere batty. With Daniel Craig stating he’d rather “slit his wrists” than star in another James Bond movie, there’s been speculation on which actor will fill his dapper shoes. But there’s also been talk that maybe James Bond should be Jane Bond, with actresses Emilia Clarke, Gillian Anderson and Priyanka Chopra all publicly admitting they would rather be 007 than just another Bond girl. (I’m certain that the diehards who said black actor Idris Elba was “too street” to play Bond also seethed with rage when hearing that.) And it’s also been rumored that Cate Blanchett will join the cast of the all-female “Ocean’s Eleven,” with Sandra Bullock already attached to play the lead. So, you can just imagine how folks online responded to these developments.
Yes, it seems guys don’t like it when you take something from their childhood, throw some ladies into the mix and make it brand-new. Listen, I grew up watching and enjoying “Ghostbusters” like every other child of the ’80s. (When news of the reboot hit a year-and-a-half ago, I joked on Twitter that I would say Hollywood is ruining my childhood, but since my childhood was a disaster, never mind.) But with movies from your youth and mine getting remade all the time (isn’t there a new “Space Jam” starring LeBron James in the works?), how can you possibly get upset when one more comes down the pike? In Hollywood, everything old is always new again.
Now, thanks to outrage from both rabid fans of the original as well as supporters of the reboot, buying a ticket to “Ghostbusters” has turned into a fight-the-power, political act. In a Los Angeles Times op-ed piece, Andi Zeisler said feminists are now obligated to see the movie when it comes out next month. “This isn’t just about box office numbers, but about optics,” Zeisler wrote. “When a big budget movie starring men does poorly, it’s just another dud that’s shrugged off. When one made by or starring women doesn’t live up to the hype, it becomes a referendum on women as artists and filmgoers.”
Sadly, that’s what it all comes down to. Even when it’s been proved time and time again that women – behind and in front of the camera – can churn out successful pictures, it’s still a struggle for them, especially when trolls on social media beat on their chests and condemn them for daring to appear in remakes of sacred movies. If anything, the new “Ghostbusters” is another opportunity for women to show that they can bring in audiences (which they most likely will, especially after all this mess!), so that more original, female-driven movies will hopefully pop off in the future.
You know what the crazy part is? A movie about all-female ghostbusters is not that far-fetched. The Guardian recently reported on female paranormal investigators who are chasing down ghosts alongside the guys – and they’re also psyched about the reboot. Morgan Maguire of the Gettysburg Ghost Gals said, “The original ‘Ghostbusters,’ as amazing and awesome as it is, is four dudes.… Now, girls of any age can realize, ‘Hey, I can do that!’ ”
That’s definitely not a depressing thought.