Thursday, July 14, 2016

A Non-Review: Ghostbuster's 2016

Ramblings Post #317
I had a bad feeling about this. Maybe I'm right, maybe I'm wrong but I'll never know, but this will explain why I was all weirded about this. Those special memories I was talking about. Now, I'm fairly certain those who only read the title and the first few lines will be outraged by this. But then those with short attention spans really don't read me anyway. I could post Beyonce's private phone number and nobody would notice. Not that I have it. But I'm just saying, I'm an acquired taste. 

I don't intend to go see Ghostbusters 2016. No interest at all. I'll explain a little later.

First, I don't think this film will be initially rated on it's merits or it's faults. Not for years. The detractors view it as an abomination, a reboot of something that should have been left alone. To them it's like remaking Citizen Kane or Star Wars. To the film's champions it is a glass ceiling breaking and paradigm shifting call of truth to power. It's funny dammit, and you better like it. Maybe ten years from now we'll all be able to watch it after all the attached dross has been shorn away and look at it for what it is...a comedy about people chasing ghosts. It might even be good.

What I have found curious, and more than slightly disturbing, is the glee in which those who champion the film have taken in bashing those who oppose the very idea of the film. Those who disagree with the idea are often categorized as not wanting to give women a chance or clinging to the past (the term man-baby is just weird) and alternatively must just be wildly misogynist. Not a little, a lot. I'm certain their are some small penis jokes floating about too. And maybe some are misogynistic, but I bet most aren't, but the righteousness embodied in some of the insults feels downright Freudian. Damn, tell us how you really feel. I realize that we are in an age where wholly demonizing your opponent is the norm, but this feels more personal, angrier, what should be rational discussions get clouded with belittling terms and ceaseless name calling. From the women. I mean jeez, men have feelings too. 

Now, let me tell you why I'm not going to see Ghostbusters 2016:

When I was growing up, the neighborhood I lived in didn't have many kids in it. Really not any kids. My parents were busy providing us with a living, and this was in the days before play-dates and the internet, so you just sucked it up an watched a lot of television. On the other hand the people I went to school with, in the age of cluster education, all lived together. Like right around the corner, use the backdoor close. So I daily would hear about their after-school adventures, of which I was not a part of for reasons beyond my control. I know, such FUN. I did however, get to go to summer camps. Sleepaway summer camps. At camp I was just one of the guys, I felt like I belonged and wasn't the guy who didn't know what happened that time that so was funny. And it was during one of those summers, where I was just one of the guys, we saw Ghostbusters. That bus ride back to camp where we shouted movie lines at each and laughed....

So, this particular piece of intellectual property holds a special meaning for me. I'd like to keep that great childhood feeling, that memory. I am allowed that, aren't I?

I understand that Hollywood doesn't give a damn about my feelings. To them intellectual property is property, and goodwill is infinitely transferable. With the advent of the internet and alternate access points for entertainment, the slow development of property is a thing of the past - it's a blockbuster or it's garbage. Filmmakers can't afford to experimental, and are reduced to trying to graft the goodwill from the old to the new and double up. Economics, well, the desired economics, cause Hollywood to alternate between being the creators of dreams, tellers of great stories, builders of soul-moving myths, and greedy self-serving assholes.

I want to see women succeed. We need more female heroes. But this particular piece of intellectual property is special, okay? I mean jeez, I can name three or four female oriented pieces of fiction ripe for revival or raising to the next level of public awareness without trying hard. Where is the Honor Harrington movie? Or the re-reboot of Modesty Blaise? Or Dakota North? Someone can go back and try to get Tank Girl to make sense. Or a try a Nightwing Restorations series? There is is the story I read that I thought would have been perfect for a (when they were all alive) Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan, Betty White reunion that involved a island community in the 40's, a scavenger hunt, motorcycles with sidecars and a bank robbery. If I find that, can we do that now? Where is that Lumberjanes adaptation? Reboot Laura Croft? This list took like 30 seconds.

I know why Hollywood doesn't care, they've imagined themselves as desperate. I didn't expect the same from society. Maybe we need to sit down and talk more than we know. As one of my coworkers put after some conversation about this: There is so much out there that female characters need not usurp the identities of male characters to be validated. They can be their own people. I thought she had a point.

I hope the film does well, and that we can put this all behind us.

Barkeep. A drink for the ladies! What? Buying a woman a drink is sexist? Well, I guess this one worked out for me then....

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