Putting the “bust” in “Ghostbusters” (Interlude: 992)

Day 57. 181 pages, 88,660 words. I’m saying no change here because I have had a nutty week and my timetable is a mess.

This is probably an old joke by now but who cares? The new Ghostbusters trailer is out. I’m going to start from a position of cynicism (into which, to be fair, I put the “cis”), and move on through to starry-eyed optimism, open-mindedness and hippy-dippy peace and tolerance.

Apologies in advance.

First, here’s the trailer:

No, wait, sorry, that’s Police Chief O’Mannahan from Futurama. Sorry, but the first thing I thought when I saw they’d rebooted[1] Ghostbusters with all women was “you’re gonna get your boobs scuffed.”

[1] Reboot but also sequel? How does that work? It’s meant to be 30 years after it happened the last time so this is a world that already knows ghosts are a thing and the technology already exists to trap them. I guess we’ll have to wait and see how that is all explained.

Seriously though, it’s awesome. Here’s the trailer, for realsies.

Hey. It actually … doesn’t look horrible.

Okay, it’s a reboot of a classic and that’s always going to make people unhappy. Did they need to remake the movie? Probably not. But could they make a new movie where ghosts are real and there’s a scientific way to influence them – without it being Ghostbusters? I don’t think so.

It’s got lots of BSTs and humour and it looks like fun. And let’s try to remember that Ghostbusters got a sequel, and it was also silly and fun but anyone who thinks this is a hallowed franchise that must not be touched is deluding themselves.

And anyone who even cares that the main characters are all women in this case? Sexist. I don’t care. There’s no other real objection to make here. If you’re pissed because of that, you’re sexist.

And … go.

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31 Responses to Putting the “bust” in “Ghostbusters” (Interlude: 992)

  1. aaronthepatriot says:

    *runs up quickly, out of breath*

    If it was sexist that they were all men before, isn’t it also sexist that they’re all women this time?[1]

    *runs back away out of blast radius*

    [1] I know you didn’t claim the original was sexist but that aspect certainly was a factor for decision-makers of this movie making this quartet all women[2]

    [2] I mean, couldn’t there be one pathetic guy as comic relief? Throw me a bone! Gimme a break. Please clap.[3]

    [3] Now I have seriously stretched the credulity of me saying all this in a drive-by[4]

    [4] *run-by. Shit.

    (honestly I don’t give a shit, this one isn’t sacred anyway and I tend to not watch this sort of movie anymore)

    • I mean, couldn’t there be one pathetic guy as comic relief
      No, no, they have something better! There’s a hunky assistant for eye candy purposes. Compare with… 80% (?) of entertainment industry, just flip male-female ratio.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        “just flip male-female ratio.”

        I know you were largely joking, and I was largely joking, but I do have to ask if we really think the correction to an injustice (real or perceived, major or minor, and damn I bet you can guess where I land on both of those) is to flip the tables in the other direction? I know, you can play the averages game and say it’d take a LOT of female action movies to do that, but there’s the micro and the macro angle to consider IMO.

        But let’s see the box office sales. In the end, this is a business, and if a business succeeds, it is by definition doing the right thing. Right? I’m looking at you, Oil industry XD

      • Well, in my opinion, the whole question of gender representation in a Ghostbusters film should invoke no special opinion in anybody, seeing as it’s a no-brainer that there’s no real reason why males should be dominating the action (or any) genre, just as there is no reason why females should be dominating the romance (or any) genre.

        The discussion does bring to mind this one comment I saw floating about the internet regarding Jessica Jones, though.

      • stchucky says:

        Hee hee, so true.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        “Well, in my opinion, the whole question of gender representation in a Ghostbusters film should invoke no special opinion in anybody, seeing as it’s a no-brainer that there’s no real reason why males should be dominating the action (or any) genre, just as there is no reason why females should be dominating the romance (or any) genre.”

        Well I’ll try not to be insulted by the “no-brainer” bit because I’m sure you didn’t mean to say “anyone who thinks men and women tend to have genetic differences thanks to evolution and natural selection have no brain”. Suffice it to say, I don’t think it’s a no-brainer, I think it makes a lot of sense and seems realistic and logical when movies mirror society and natural tendencies. And, in the past at least, it was that way in movies because that’s what most people wanted to see.

        I’m sure someone twitched when I said “realistic” when talking about a movie. Well, calm down, twitchboy. Think about it: there’s always got to be SOMETHING realistic in a movie or it would be completely untranslatable to our frame of reference. I’m simply explaining why this has appealed to the majority for all this time. When you introduce aspects that don’t seem to fit the reality one knows, there’s a chance it will cause one to lose interest. Which is really all I’m saying: let’s see how the movie does.

        I’m just explaining why I even think there might be a problem in the movie’s performance.

        “so that’s what that feels like” LOL

        Well, touche, however I for one never have a problem with a man being the bad guy. Nor does anyone who wants to redress this gender injustice, if you know what I mean. I’m used to men being the bad guy…bad person. And it seems it’s good I’m used to it, these days. ;P

      • I did not try to insult by my choice of words. Apologies if it came across that way. I do think, however, that it’s obvious that “evolution evolves”, meaning that no social construct that the humankind builds lasts forever. What was once a realistic representation of the surrounding world may look quite alien ten, fifty, hundred (and so on) years from any given point. Take slavery in America for another example of an obsolete world that feels alien nowadays but would have seemed perfectly normal back in the day. Everything changes, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. So, from that perspective, no, there is no real reason for men or women to dominate specific types of film. It’s a matter of what sort of a future people choose, not a matter of genetic programming that compels them to behave in a certain way. But starting THAT discussion would be veering from the subject.

        I won’t touch the topic of whether or not this film will do well or poorly. Personally, I don’t think its success or failure is going to prove anything one way or the other about any Important Social Justice Issue, nor should it. Many things influence the way a film is received by audiences, especially when it comes to this franchise. A lot of people thought that it should have ended with the first film, so why make a THIRD?

        …well, actually, come to think of it, the new one probably stands a better chance of succeeding because it’s breaking the pattern by choosing an all-female main cast — and not just all-female, but non-supermodel female cast. It’ll probably attract a lot of people who normally would pass on “yet another mainstream funny dude flick”.

        Having said that, I do admire the courage of the creators of the film. For all the reasons you listed, it takes a lot of brave to bring this sort of film on the big screen.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        OK well those are very good points, Cat, and I certainly don’t want to get into a deeper argument, so it’s time to lighten this up! And also, Hatboy, no worries I’m not mad at your challenging tone and I think it was fine, and this isn’t a huge issue, you’re completely right. I’m actually trying to be helpful to the cause of feminism, if you’ll give me the benefit of the doubt, and I’ll explain that in a second.

        “It’s a matter of what sort of a future people choose, not a matter of genetic programming that compels them to behave in a certain way. But starting THAT discussion would be veering from the subject.”

        Well, I totally agree as a liberal we need to make positive change and choose a better future! I’m just not sure the ratio of men and women killing each other in movie roles is in that category, my friend! I think we can, as Hatboy indicates, perhaps choose the better future in more important ways than this! And that’s as serious as I’m going to get on this topic from here on.

        Allow me now to do, for better or worse, but hopefully for better, what SargonofAkkad was doing when he was trying to tell liberals how to attack Trump and how not to (Drumpf). See, I think it’s a great goal to try and shift the mindset of the average knuckledragger to see that women can be very tough and aggressive just as men can be, and men can be soft and romantic as women can be. But you have to be subtle about it at first! You can’t just do a full gender swap and expect it to change minds…you need to catch the flies with honey. I’ve seen a lot of mistakes along these lines so I’m now, for the first time and in rough format, introducing:

        Aaron Sanders’ Subversion Hierarchy of Over-casting Ladies Expertly!

        Uhh, still working on the acronym, it’s a bit problematic right now.

        The main rule of being an ASSHOLE! is you need to understand cultural expectations towards movie roles and try, as best you can, to have your agenda not be a hard slap in the face. So, in order of preferred tactics:

        1. Start a new role in an awesome movie with a woman in that role. That way, there’s no history fighting against you, no canon, and no expectations beyond cultural inertia (which is a given and is what you are trying to overcome). A perfect example of this is Trinity from “The Matrix.” She’s so overpowering and awesome as a character that when I think of the movie, often I think of her first scene before anything else.

        2. If you want to leverage an existing franchise, instead of making a new superheroine as in 1, then do it from the boot. I call it the “boot” instead of the “reboot” to indicate the start of the role in film. The problem here is canon, in addition to cultural inertia. You want to do the best you can to choose an existing character who doesn’t have anything canonical that forces the gender to be male. I don’t have a perfect example of this one because I don’t think it’s been tried. But for example, what if they started “Deadpool” as a woman? (You’re welcome, Hatboy!) It wouldn’t have been too difficult to swap the gender at the start for Deadpool, since his gender isn’t a huge part of his identity. Further helping you out, he wasn’t really very popular or well written to this point (feel the Bern, Hatboy!), so you can easily subver–I mean, improve, him. Her. You know what I mean. Damnit this is confusing.

        3. You can, instead of options 1 or 2, choose an existing character that has some canonical conflicts with a gender swap, say having the word “Man” in the name. For example: Batman, Superman, Spider-man, Invisible wo-MAN. LOL. Also at this level you may be choosing a character that has been in film before. I may split this option up, but this is a draft. Anyway, this will start to face more obvious resistance (talk about no-brainers!), and should only be used because the character brand is so strong that you feel it can deliver your agenda to a wider audience, where the benefits outweigh the downsides. There are two methods here: the complete swap, and the spin-off, and neither works as well as options 1 or 2, typically. The swap would be like female Thor or female Bat…whatever. Batwoman? I mean, there’s already Catwoman why can’t she be enoug–oops, no sidetracking! The spinoff is like Supergirl, etc. Again, I think this technique is more risky and I would suggest options 1 or 2, but the spinoff is probably safer as it can avoid canonical objections. The spin-off takes advantages from option 1 but tries to leverage the franchise of option 3, which is why I selected it as the superior option.

        4. And, in the hardest case to sell, you can choose a character whose gender (or other inborn trait) is fundamental to their history, their canonical actions, etc., tied in every way to the identity as the character was created. This is especially challenging with a beloved character like Hermione or Roland of Gilead, but again can draw in the fanboys if you do it right (I should probably stop poking the Hatbear, right?). I don’t recommend this method, I think your efforts will flop, but I can’t force you to take the subtle approach. And who knows, it might work!

        If you keep this order in mind, these easy-to-understand rules, then you too can be an ASSHOLE! like me.

        And with that, I’m calling it a day. I sincerely hope the only things triggered here were smiles and giggles.

      • Yes, no worries, you haven’t triggered any untoward feelings. 🙂 I rarely intend anything negative myself, and certainly rarely anything personal, but on occasion, my commentary can appear to be on the sharp (snark?) side when I try to be funny. 😀 I agree with your sentiment that you can’t force change, and I too don’t see much point in slapping-on-an-agenda approach in storytelling. It usually ends up coming across false one way or another, with the added bonus of provoking the people who resist change.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        No worries, you didn’t upset me either, I just wanted to clarify what I think is far more complex than just a he-for-she approach will fix.

        And now that I’ve put my ASSHOLE! out there I just want you all to be clear, take a good look and if you don’t like what you see, I’m open (hur hur) to any improvements I can make to my ASSHOLE! It’s a work of art, true, but it’s also very much a work in progress and sometimes it can be ugly.

        I could go on, but it’s not fair for me to take all the many, many puns available.

      • stchucky says:

        Take it from someone who knows, sometimes the best thing to do when an ASSHOLE! is clearly not working is to completely reverse it so it comes out the front instead of the back. Reverse those roles. It could save your life.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        “Take it from someone who knows, sometimes the best thing to do when an ASSHOLE! is clearly not working is to completely reverse it so it comes out the front instead of the back. Reverse those roles. It could save your life.”

        I’m disappointed, actually. I really thought I’d get more mileage out of my ASSHOLE!

        I suppose you had similar thoughts….

      • stchucky says:

        Magnificent.

        I agree with everybody.

        Of course, one might argue that the ASSHOLE! approach has been working slowly but surely since the silent era, as the role of women in society gradually evolves and this is reflected in movies.

        This violently big-step approach to Ghostbusters is super interesting and I doubt it’s going to prove much either way, but it’s going to be fun to see.

        And yes, any gender-related blowback is sexism kicking and screaming as it is given the face-slapping it richly deserves. So there’s that.

    • dreameling says:

      [2] I mean, couldn’t there be one pathetic guy as comic relief? Throw me a bone! Gimme a break. Please clap.

      Well, there’s Chris Hemsworth as Kevin, the receptionist.

      Talk about pathetic.

    • stchucky says:

      No, it’s not sexist. I’d argue that it wasn’t sexist before, either – it was just a fact of life. Total male dominance in the action genre. Now it’s balancing out in this tiny, tiny, tiny way – so no. It’s not sexist.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Well I’m perfectly happy for women to try to dominate the action genre…it’s Hollywood’s gambit and money, not mine!

      • stchucky says:

        I don’t think women are trying to dominate the action genre. Except if you take this single movie completely distinct and free of context. They might be dominating it in this movie. Which is cool.

        They’re still not even dominating within the Ghostbusters franchise. So, you know, no argument based on the film stars’ genders is going to work here. You’re going to lose.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        “You’re going to lose.”

        Sir, I thought that was never the point of a discussion. According to you, I believe.

        I’m explaining my opinion, you yours, both of which are shared pretty widely. Isn’t that the point, to converse about our opinions?

        “So, you know, no argument based on the film stars’ genders is going to work here. ”

        Yeah not HERE. LOL

      • stchucky says:

        Not never. I never said “never”. And in this case, don’t kid yourself. If you’re objecting to the casting of this movie on the basis of gender, I consider that pointlessly sexist and we’re not going to come to an agreement on that. I’m not going to compromise and although I will always listen to your points, my original point from the blog post will stand.

        So yes. In this case, according to your standards, you can’t win this. I chose my words based on the fact that it was you making the argument.

      • stchucky says:

        And I do regret the challenging tone of my original point, but I am really sick of this being a thing people consider worth complaining about, specifically. You’ve illustrated to me better than most pundits that there are real injustices being pushed through the social justice agenda that are actually worth complaining about or laughing at. This, in comparison, is a non-issue and complaining about it is diluting your message.

        There’s a time and a place to cry reverse sexism. This is not one of them, and if you try, you’re going to find yourself on the side of the debate where the shitty people are standing.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Hatboy: no worries, mate. I’m not crying anything, I’m just tossing around ideas.

      • stchucky says:

        I think this is perfect:

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        LOL “you’re not wrong, you’re just an asshole.”

        That…he…well…I’ll take it. Sold.

      • stchucky says:

        In my experience, you can’t go wrong with a Big Lebowski quote.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Also, I totally feel like you’re the guy on the right. I’m not going to say I’m the guy on the left, because he makes better points, but watching the guy on the right was “like deja vu all over again” LOL

      • stchucky says:

        Oh, I was absolutely going to say the same. I’m definitely black-shirt, although he’s a bit over-optimistic.

        I’ll allow the slightly-too-flattering comparison between you and Discount King of the Lab.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        OK I actually said I was not going to say I’m the guy on the left. Although in person if you get me rolling[1], I think I pull off that much wit on good days.

        When I’m pissed off and trolling the intarwebs, I guess not.

        [1] NOT trolling…

      • stchucky says:

        Yeah, fair enough. It’s also important to note that neither black-shirt nor Hodgins mentioned the elephant in the room, ie. the gender reversal in the casting.

        Not that they’re elephants! Ahh shit, now I’m a fat-shaming MRA.

  2. aaronthepatriot says:

    Holy crap this movie doesn’t come out until mid-July? That’s like…4 months away! I left this discussion with some nagging questions I was nursing, and thinking how to pose (and where to pose) to you…but that’s just WAY too far in the future and I can’t be bothered. Sweet Jesus did they even hype The Avengers Age of Ultron this far before it came out? Seems crazy!

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