Saturday, March 5, 2016

I got a bad feeling about this...

Ramblings Post #311
I miss my youth. When I used to watch movies and just enjoy the story, or in some cases, the special effects because the story sucked, or yelling at the screen because yes, I was one those people. Now, when I watch a movie I'm concerned with representation, stereotypes, cultural slights, and how I would have done it. All that and the popcorn is like $12. Which may explain why I don't go to the movies like I used anymore. Well, there are other reasons too, but all that right there.

Ghostbusters Classic
I watched the Ghostbusters trailer, and... it wasn't funny.

Or, maybe I'm just not getting the jokes.

As I've written before, I was skeptical about this whole project from the start, but since I think Melissa McCartney and Kristen Wiig are funny, I was willing to give it shot. Said offer of said shot has since been rescinded. Maybe it hurt that the film trailer makes it sound like a sequel, while the actions on the screen make it feel like a remake. Or that right this moment it looks like the people behind it didn't understand the original movie. Or that I heard that the original actors making cameos had them shot as both the original characters AND as random strangers. Which means they don't know what film they were making or marketing. That does not bode well.

And I said explicitly that really hoped the Black woman character wouldn't be for all intents and purposes a "Wanda Zedmore." By that I meant the fourth wheel addition of the non-scientist character. In the original, the black character is just a guy who from his first line of dialogue clearly indicates he's in it for the pay, but he isn't portrayed with any of the stereotypical attributes one might expect. He's just a guy.  He contributes, he has a few good lines... it's almost an every-man character.  Well, the black female isn't Wanda Zedmore, as then she would have had more dignity. This character is a blatant Hollywood stereotype, the classic loud black female "with a dip of sass" comedy character that I really thought we were past since shows like Black-ish exist now. In the trailer alone she hits the Stereotype Trifecta- "from the streets," Cadillac, and Jesus. To say that character just looks bad is an understatement. Shouldn't the idea of good roles for women extend to women of all races? Why couldn't she be a scientist and one of the other characters have been the NY native?

Or maybe, maybe it's just that I'm missing the jokes. That "hat or wig" snippet was just...odd, and the few other attempts at comedy I saw seemed forced. But it is truly possible the jokes weren't meant for me. I've watched comics who were women do routines that had half the audience rolling on the floor - the female half.  There are jokes that men find funny, and jokes that women find funny. It happens. Or New Yorkers find funny but no one else. Or Jewish people find funny and no one else. So the idea that I'm not getting the jokes as a very real possibility.  But, and this is a very large but, if you're making a film, based upon the idea of appealing to the nostalgia of its original, mostly male audience, to ensure its financial viability, while also trying to bring in a new female demographic to assure its profits, shouldn't the humor be more universal? At least in the trailer?

Or is the idea that this New Ghostbusters, which apparently has made a point of showing women on both sides of the camera, just not intended for men? Do women turn out for sci-fi comedy? Bad sci-fi comdey? Considering the the standing ethos of the Modern School of Thought on Trailer Editing, the idea that the film has better jokes so you really have to go see it is a bit far fetched. Women deserve their own good film roles and lead opportunities, but um, what happens if the comedy isn't funny? And in today's political environment, how sexist will I be for having that opinion?

Barkeep. I need a MAN drink. So make it pretty, and fruity, and with one of them little umbrellas. And put some powdered sugar on the rim. 

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