Ghostbusters, Sexism, and Ghostbros - A Review Wrapped in a Rant

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            Buckle up – this review comes with a vent.
            By now, you’ve probably heard about Paul Feig’s summer Ghostbusters reboot, featuring the classic theme song, lots of pestering ghosts, and a quartet of newbie ghost hunters – oh yeah, did I mention that this time, the Ghostbusters are all ladies?
            Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon star as the Ghostbusters in this 2016 reboot of the 1984 classic. Three scientists and a street-smart subway worker team up to take down a man hell bent on releasing an army of ghosts all over NYC, all while proving their credibility amidst a sea of nonbelievers. Sounds awesome, right?

            Enter Ghostbros.

            What is a “Ghostbro?”

            When I spoke with my dad on the phone and told him I was going to see Ghostbusters, he responded with: “Well, I loved the original – but isn’t the new one getting really bad reviews?”


            Yes. It’s getting bad reviews online, by hundreds of manchildren men who have never even see the film, but are so angry that this reboot dared to cast women as the leads. They have spent hours of their time trying to sabotage this movie – because, women.
            Instead of, you know, just not going to see it – which is the rational response when an upcoming movie doesn’t interest you – these guys are set on flaming the film through scathing reviews, bad ratings, and yep, they’ve even threatened to protest. That’s right – in the middle of all the actual issues in this country, these men are boycotting a movie because the main characters have lady parts. It’s gotten so bad that the website Metacritic actually disabled user reviews for this movie.  

            Now, don’t get me wrong. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. But to purposely hurt the sales of the movie – as I can predict happening, seeing as people like my dad will see the bad reviews and not bother seeing the film – is just full-on jerk behavior.   

            So let’s talk about the actual movie.
            I’ve been looking forward to this film ever since I first heard of its existence. I loved the original Ghostbusters (we won’t talk about Ghostbusters II) and I couldn’t wait to see the reboot. And with ladies? Sign me up!
            Unfortunately, that kind of expectation also came with fear. As I sat down in the theater, I found myself thinking please don’t be bad…please don’t be bad… The thing is, when women are put in a traditionally male space, there comes an added pressure of “speaking for” all women. If a business hires its first female in a major position, and that person bombs the job, people will automatically apply that to incompetence of all women and say things like, "well, the last woman didn't work out, so..." when it comes time for future hires. If a woman is the only woman at her particular place of work (which happens frequently in male-dominated STEM fields), people will subconsciously hold her to impossible standards; she has to do twice as well to get as far as the men, and one screw-up is generalized to *all women* rather than just the one person. It's unfair, it's sexist, but unfortunately, it's the way the world is right now. The same ridiculous standard applies in movies. 
           If the movie (or book, or whatever) is decent, then people will just see it as decent. But if that particular movie (or book, or whatever) isn’t great, then people will extrapolate that to “movies starring women aren’t good / don’t sell.” Talk about pressure. 
            If the female-led Ghostbusters had been a trainwreck for any reason – plot, writing, budget, etc. – there would be people saying “see? That’s what happens when you cast women into traditionally male movies.” And then when filmmakers go to make another movie, they would have that message in the back of their minds – that women in sci-fi/ghost stories/action movies don’t sell.
            Think about superhero films. There hasn’t been a female-led Marvel or DC movie in years, and we are expected to be thrilled by the fact that the Avengers – with a core group of six – has one woman in it, when women make up 50% of the population (yet the action figure toy packs still only feature 5 Avengers, and I bet you can guess who’s excluded). When I’ve brought this up with people, I’ve heard more than one person counter me with, “yeah, but look how bad Catwoman did.” Okay. Yes. Catwoman wasn’t a great movie. But it wasn’t because it starred a woman. Halle Berry is fantastic is literally any role she plays; the movie bombed because of crappy writing and overall quality. Yet people still use that movie as an example for why female-led superhero films “don’t work.” (In a slightly related note, I’m so psyched that DC is filming a Wonder Woman movie and Marvel has committed to a Black Widow film!!!)

            So anyway, I was nervous about Ghostbusters. If the trolls weren’t bad enough already, I was cringing thinking about their inevitable garbage-fire “I told you so” posts if the movie bombed.

            BUT, I should have trusted Paul Feig. Ghostbusters was everything I wanted it to be, plus more. The ladies pulled off hilarious performances, and the whole theater was laughing. It was one of those movies where I didn’t want it to end because I was enjoying it so much. Is it perfect? No. But I loved it.

            Ghostbusters 2016 was very respectful to the original, by keeping with the same lighthearted and campy yet still spooky tone we all came to love. Plus, there are several cameos from the original cast, as well as reappearances of Slimer and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Not to mention the Ghostbusters song! In the early showing theater, there were plenty of die-hard fans in costumes and Ghostbusters t-shirts, and absolutely no one seemed disappointed. My husband and I are already planning to see it again. 
            When scientists Abby (Melissa McCarthy), Erin (Kristen Wiig), and Jillian (Kate McKinnon) lose their university jobs due to being believed frauds, they set out to clear their names and prove their research once and for all. They team up with local subway worker and city expert, Patty (Leslie Jones), ready to catch a real ghost and quiet their critics forever. At first, business is going well – they hire a hot, but stupid, secretary (Chris Hemsworth) (and can I just say that the fact that the non-intelligent eye-candy side character is a man is just amazing?) and build top-notch equipment for ghost-catching. But when they discover someone is trying to summon every ghost in the city to take over and wreak havoc, the women realize that the very future of New York is depending on them.

Not only are the Ghostbusters four ghost-hunting, butt-kicking, hilarious ladies who save New York, but they’re also super smart scientists who spend their days creating high-tech gadgets. Showing female role models doing cool work in STEM fields is so important, and great for inspiring girls to get into science.
            The special effects were really fun with the 3D glasses. I also enjoyed the throwback score, with a remix of the famous Ghostbusters theme. Stick around for the credits, because there are extra scenes.
            I’d say this movie is probably suitable for most ages, although some scenes might scare younger viewers. There is no sexual content, aside from Erin’s crush on Kevin, which never progresses. I only remember hearing a few minor curse words, although there is one scene in which Abby and Jillian’s boss repeatedly gives them the middle finger. Overall, it was pretty tame.
            Don’t go into Ghostbusters expecting a cinematic masterpiece; go into it expecting to have a good time.
            I just have one more thing I’d like to say. There’s a reason why girls and women of all ages get so excited about movies like The Force Awakens and the new Ghostbusters. I grew up loving action and sci-fi movies, but so rarely saw girls front and center, saving the day and kicking butt. The women were always the love interest, the damsel in distress, the secretary, or a pair of walking tits. I don’t always think men understand how important movies like this are for us. 

So, Ghostbros, if you’re reading this, please try to see our side. You’ve grown up seeing male heroes like Superman, Han Solo, James Bond, Batman, and the original Ghostbusters cast, among countless others – we haven’t. Calm down – no one’s taking away those movies, and they’ll still continue to be made. But there’s room for heroes of all shapes, sizes, colors, and genders. These movies are SO important.

In conclusion, I ain’t afraid of no Ghostbros. This movie is awesome. Go see it. 

5.0 / 5.0