Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones got this in "Ghostb|Hopper Stone1/2
Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones got this in "Ghostb|Hopper Stone
We can’t have nice things, and as usual men are to blame. The new “Ghostbusters” was supposed to be a godsend. We were supposed to be excited for it. Instead we’ve spent two miserable years held hostage by a tiny band of stupid, angry boys, who’ve done their damndest to tarnish its good name, all because it starred women. If an alien species came down to earth, could you even explain this to them?
Even if the film was a mess (and it isn’t), the all-girl “Ghostbusters” was a capital idea. Here’s why the haters were always wrong:
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Everyone involved is talented
Of the main four, two are major movie stars who aren’t typical movie stars. The others are currently the two best people on “Saturday Night Live.” They are all of them very funny, and very funny in very different ways. Kristen Wiig does shy and awkward. Melissa McCarthy is confident yet foolish. Leslie Jones is brash. Kate McKinnon might be insane. (Also Chris Hemsworth, as their pretty secretary, might be a secret comedic genius.) And they’re all being directed by Paul Feig, who — with “Bridesmaids,” “The Heat” and “Spy” — has not only shown he can get the best out of talented people, but has basically been the only director who makes a point of making big movies starring women. Plus he has a killer fashion sense and a collection of rare canes.
'Ghostbusters' is a great idea
It’s honestly pretty weird “Ghostbusters” hasn’t been sequelized to death. Ghosts and comics are two great things that, unlike nuts and gum or Donald Trump and elected office, really do go great together. But it’s hard to get the mix right. The original wasn’t the first movie to combine big special effects and big comedy — there was, for instance, Steven Spielberg’s atypically joyless bloat-a-thon “1941” — but it was the first to find the balance between thrills and yuks. It’s an ideal worth trying to nail again, even if that means bringing in completely different stars and filmmakers. In fact, it might atone for our next item:
The second one isn’t very good
When “Ghostbros” talk about the tarnishing of a beloved franchise, perhaps they’re forgetting the series has a 50 percent batting average. Maybe they’ve mentally blocked “Ghostbusters 2,” which came out five years after the first and revealed that the magic was already gone. Everyone, not the least Bill Murray, phones it in. There’s failed catchphrases. There’s a dancing toaster. There’s a flying baby. There’s a villain who’s a painting (although that he’s played by a notorious real-life sociopath does make it spooky). And it has the nerve to leave us with the message that New Yorkers should try being nice for a change. To which we say: Up yours and stop manspreading on the subway.
Third verse isn’t the same as the first
Oh, sure, like the first one, the new “Ghostbusters” features three disgraced scientists and a plebe building a small business from the ground floor, battling bureaucracies and saving the city. But those are just rough plot points; it’s a completely different story with its own, very different sense of humor. In an age when a new “Star Wars” is pretty much the original “Star Wars,” this “Ghostbusters” doesn’t just re-feed us leftovers. And that our heroes are women isn’t the only thing worth celebrating. In the original only Bill Murray was really allowed to cut it loose. This one has an all-star team where everyone gets to let their freak flag fly.
To support women and disprove stupid sexist bros
Did you know the only other big movie this summer starring only women is “Bad Moms”? We need more variety in our blockbusters, including our blockbusters that exhume old favorites. And of course, if we don’t turn “Ghostbusters” into a monster hit, that means nervous studio execs, who are always looking for a reason to not make movies about women, won’t make movies about women. Seeing it is a practical, even a political act. And it will feel good, too, when the tiny militia of MRA freaks who assumed they had the power to torpedo a promising movie are shown to have no power — and probably tiny penises.
Follow Matt Prigge on Twitter @mattprigge