Ghostbusters Doesn’t Belong to You

One of the biggest stories in social media for the last couple of days[1] is the “news” that the trailer for the new Ghostbusters is the most disliked video in YouTube history. This is the least historically useful piece of news I have ever heard. And I used to watch a shitload of baseball.[2]

Here’s the trailer for the new Ghostbusters:

As a point of comparison, here’s the trailer to the original Ghostbusters:

Based entirely on trailers I can say that the original Ghostbusters looks terrible. Like, just awful. But, of course, it’s a bit handicapped. Here, let’s take a look at the trailer for The Blues Brothers. Or how about Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Movie trailers before the ‘90s sucked is what I’m saying. At least for comedies. Things got better during the golden age of SNL movies and SNL alum movies. But that’s neither here nor there.

The internet hates the new Ghostbusters. It hates it with a passion. The reason why is pretty obvious to anyone with half a brain: it’s because the movie was made with four women in the starring role. There is no other explanation.

Internet assholes would have you believe something else. They’ll tell you that Ghostbusters is somehow sacred. It’s somehow this untouchable historical artifact that we had better not mess with. Yet I do not recall seeing news stories about how the universally-reviled-on-the-internet Michael Bay TMNT movie or the eventually-universally-reviled-on-the-internet Michael Bay Transformers had the most disliked trailers in YouTube history. I’m pretty sure that if you total up Michael Bay’s YouTube dislikes they don’t equal the dislikes that the new Ghostbusters got on its first weekend.

There are also going to be people who aren’t big on Leslie Jones’ character. I absolutely get that. You’ve got three white women who are smart and accomplished and their streetwise, sassy black friend. Their sassy black friend also appears to be excessively yell-y and religious. So that checks all the boxes for racially profiled writing and casting choices.

But the thing is that if we take the reflexive Michael Bay haters and the people who have a genuine beef about racial stereotyping and the statistical percentage of people who weren’t going to like it just because there are always people who don’t like things we still don’t get to the, “ZOMG! Most Hated Evar!” status. So here’s the part where I have to tell asshole misogynists on the Internet to shut the fuck up. Because that’s what’s at the core of pushing this movie into historically-hated-before-it-comes-out territory.

Here’s the thing: who the fuck cares? Really. Is Melissa McCarthy going to travel the country, stepping on all DVDs of the original Ghostbusters? Is Kristen Wiig going to go to your house and shit on your copy of Ghostbusters? Is Leslie Jones going to go to Netflix and Hulu and Amazon Prime and force them at gunpoint to sign a contract that says they’ll never stream the original? No. That’s not how it works. If Michael Bay can’t do it then neither can anyone involved in Ghostbusters. Because Michael Bay has people. And a huge stockpile of pyrotechnic charges.

So does the new movie infringe, in any way, shape, or form on your ability to enjoy the original? No. No it does not.

As such, the new movie is forced to stand or fall on its own merits. So let’s draw another comparison. Anchorman 2 was a not-at-all-anticipated, super late to the game sequel to one of the best comedies of the last decade. No one asked for it. No one wanted it. The original response to it from pretty much everyone was, “Why? No, really, why?” The trailer to Anchorman 2 currently has a bit under ten million views and a bit under two thousand dislikes. So I’m calling this the baseline.

Let’s say that the new Ghostbusters starred Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Jesse Eisenberg, and Hannibal Burress. I’m just going to assume that it would be in Anchorman 2 territory. Everyone would be asking, “So, um, why is this a thing?” and then just going on with their lives.

In order to get to the level where something is the most disliked stupid comedy ever it has to be perceived as somehow destroying something important. Ghostbusters in and of itself can’t be that important, in the grand scheme of things.[4] I’ve already pointed out situations where the supposed destruction of a beloved cultural artifact didn’t result in historically low approval ratings.

As such the only thing that can possibly be driving the historically mentionable hatred of the new Ghostbusters is because the internet is filled with misogynistic assholes. There is no other explanation. So just shut the fuck up and don’t watch the movie.

However, this does then get back to a larger issue. I brought up a lot of Michael Bay movies earlier. He seems to keep remaking movies based on properties from my childhood.[5] I mostly manage to not care. I am apparently a rare breed.

Every time some random thing from the ‘80s or ‘90s is rebooted there’s an internet constituency that comes out of the woodwork to make sure we all know how much of an injustice it is that we’re being subjected to it. This week it’s Ghostbusters. Not so long ago it was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Next week it will be Voltron or something. Because to some people the very act of making this new reboot is, to use the vernacular of internet dipshits, “raping their childhood.”

First of all, stop. Just fucking stop. A new Transformers movie isn’t raping you. Comparing someone you’ve never met making a new movie based on a piece of intellectual property created by someone you’ve never met to rape is deeply offensive to people who have actually been raped. It’s also fuck stupid and selfish and self-absorbed.

Second, if your entire childhood memory bank is based on cartoons made in the last thirty years then I am sad for you. Because every single one of those cartoons was created with one and only one goal in mind: to convince you to go beg your parents to take you to Toys R Us to buy toys based on that cartoon. That’s it. I had a shitload of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys growing up. I look back on that now and realize that I was a goddamn sucker, played for a fool by a bunch of suits in marketing.

So the primary difference between me and you, dear reader who is bitching about how your childhood is being stolen, is that I’m better and smarter than you. I’m better than you because I’ve moved on. I’m smarter than you because I’ve seen the strings and realized what they are.

Ghostbusters doesn’t belong to you. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles doesn’t belong to you. Transformers doesn’t belong to you. They belong to a bunch of suits in a boardroom somewhere. Those suits bring out new content from time to time. Whenever they do it’s not because of nostalgia. It’s not because they love you. It’s because they’ve come to the conclusion that putting out new content will make them money.[6] They’ll sell tickets. They’ll sell ad time. They’ll sell toys. They don’t care. It’s all debits in the cash revenue column. It’s all yacht money.

So shut the fuck up because it doesn’t matter. Ghostbusters doesn’t belong to you.

————————

[1]This is based on the fact that it just keeps fucking popping up on my Facebook as a news story. This is the least scientific survey of important news stories this side of Glenn Beck telling us that everyone is talking about how Barack Obama is really a space mutant based on articles he read over at Breitbart and cross referenced with the National Enquirer. And my apologies to the National Enquirer, as it does not deserve to be mentioned alongside such obvious non-news entities as Glenn Beck and Breitbart.

[2]There is a ton of dead air during baseball games. So the color guy needs to do a lot of work to fill the viewers’ ear holes while the pitcher is scratching his nuts and trying to figure out which stitch he put his index finger on last time he faced the guy at the plate because he got a K last time and the guy at the plate is the current best hitter in the league. So baseball announcers end up spending a lot of time talking about the historic implications of something that happened. The vast majority of the time there is absolutely nothing worthwhile in those lessons.

Now, there are plenty of historical things worth mentioning in baseball. There are things like perfect games and no-hitters. There are hitting streaks. There are historically important winning or losing records. Those are all genuinely historically relevant. Those also only come along every once in a while, which is why they’re historically worthwhile in nature.

There are also plenty of things worth mentioning in the silly trivia category. This is stuff like, “This is the first time in history twin brothers hit back-to-back home runs,” or, “This is the first time that pitchers who each won two games in the World Series the previous year faced off against each other on Opening Day the following season.” Like, that sort of shit is crazy or fun or crazy and fun.

But then there’s the stuff that usually comes up. That’s stuff like, “He’s the first guy to strike out five switch hitters in the month of May since Fred McJackerson did it in 2003.” First of all, striking out five switch hitters is not something anyone cares about. Second, 2003 isn’t really that long ago. Third, unless you’re Fred McJackerson or his mother you’re probably going to have to look him up. Then when you do you’ll likely find out that poor Fred lost all of the games he pitched in May of 2003 before getting sent back down to the minors by a Kansas City Royals squad that only won 73 games that year. In short, there is absolutely nothing of historical significance about this historically significant event the color commentator is bringing up. He’s only doing it because most of his audience is drunk, asleep, or doing something else while pretending to watch the game.

[4]It would be like if they did a remake of Black Sheep or Tommy Boy with Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig. Or Sarah Silverman. I bet Sarah Silverman would be an awesome female David Spade. Those are undeniably awesome movies, but no one is talking about them right now because why would they? Much like no one was really talking about Ghostbusters at this time last year because oh my god, thirty year-old movie.

[5]I can’t entirely hate Michael Bay right now, though. He’s an Executive Producer of both Black Sails and The Last Ship. Black Sails is, hands down, the best thing on TV right now. The Last Ship is a pretty good show, too.

[6]I am a lifelong Star Trek fan. I despise the JJ Abrams Star Trek movies. Paramount keeps making them because it makes them money. My response to this is to occasionally make fun of the JJverse while mostly ignoring it in favor of focusing on the things that made me love Star Trek in the first place. It’s not rocket surgery here.

One thought on “Ghostbusters Doesn’t Belong to You

  1. We hang out in different places, clearly. The main reaction I’m seeing is pretty much my own: meh, looks like a generic stereotyped girls behaving badly comedy, maybe it’ll have a spark of genius to make it into a classic but probably not, but at least it’s not just another stereotyped guys behaving badly comedy because goodness knows we have no shortage of them.

    I don’t do Facebook.

    There are two reasons I tend to dislike remakes and reimaginings. One is that they pollute the general conversation: you can’t talk about the Lord of the Rings now without having to deal with people who think elf-dwarf romance was always part of the story. But the main one is that I don’t think the originals have such amazing content that they need to be updated for a new audience that doesn’t like the originals; I’d rather see new stories. We don’t have a shortage of them, either, they’re just not getting made.

    So what I really want to do is burn down Hollywood and subsidise filmmakers to go with their original ideas and a bunch of new actors, rather than Yet Another Franchise Picture and Known Bankable Names.

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