HALLIE EPHRON: And I thought nothing could ever get me back into a real movie theater. At 10 to 15 bucks a pop? Five more for yellow popcorn?
Turns out all it took was a sh-t storm over remaking one of my favorite movies with an all-female cast.
As anyone who isn’t living under a rock knows, the Internet has been awash in nastiness from outraged (mostly anonymous) fans of the original GHOSTBUSTERS who turned thumbs-down long before the remake was even filmed, never mind released. What did they expect? After all, if you name a movie after an iconic portable vacuum cleaner, the ladies are bound to jump in and take over.
Zoot alors, a young female "film critic" blogger decried of the remake: “This isn’t about feminism. This is about greed.” Uh, so what’s yer point? Welcome to Hollywood.
As someone who loved the original GHOSTBUSTERS (GHOSTBUSTERS II not so much) and who’s a huge fan of Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones, if I could’ve bought my ticket six months ago I would have. I went to see it at one in the afternoon on day-two of its run at my local AMC theatre. Only seats left were in the front, but we grabbed them.
Maybe I was seduced by the theater (when did they convert to stadium seating with red leather recliners). Or the A/C (it was 92 degrees out).
It certainly was not the 20 (really, 20) minutes of coming attractions for 10 (really 10) movies followed by an ad for Coca Cola that ran AFTER the supposed movie start time. And it certainly wasn’t the great sound system that was so loud I had to stuff tissues in my ears.
Whatever it was, I loved it, beginning to… hmmm, maybe three-quarters through when, as my friend Michael Courtemanche pointed out, it tipped over into too much SFX and too little funny. Plus, watching villainous creatures rampaging through New York feels a little too close to watching the news.
But then, the final credits are sublime!! An unexpected bonus after the mayhem.
And the cameos! My favorite: Annie Potts! She played the receptionist ("Whaddaya want?") in the original (one of the guys says to her: “Janine, someone with your qualification would have no trouble finding a top-flight job in either the food service or housekeeping industries” ) turns up as a clerk in a haunted hotel.
Confess. When’s the last time you went to a real movie theater, laughed yourself silly, and what other iconic bro-bonding movies would you like to see rebooted with a female cast?
LUCY BURDETTE: Hmmm, not sure I'd be running out to see this movie, but we love seeing movies at the Tropic Cinema in Key West. We walk to the theater--a huge bonus--and if you're a member, you get reduced prices. We saw SPOTLIGHT (loved it), the animated Oscar shorts (not so much), Helen Mirren in the English version of THE AUDIENCE (heaven), BROOKLYN (good), and I saw ROOM (tough but amazing.) So nothing laugh-out-loud, but lots of good movies in a real theater!
HALLIE: Hmm. Not too many belly laughs in those.
RHYS BOWEN: How about Twelve Just Women? I have to remind myself sometimes that it's only recently that women were allowed to sit on a jury.
Most iconic male movies would feel awkward with a female cast--that the object of the movie was to prove a point. And I don't know if I'll see Ghostbusters in the theater. As Hallie said it's just too loud and overpowering. The last movie I saw was Love and Friendship. More my style and quite funny.
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I went to see GHOSTBUSTERS Sunday after it opened with Ross and two Smithies (mine and her friend.) We all enjoyed the movie, although I'll agree with you, Hallie, that I was just waiting for the SFX bonanza in the climactic fight to get over so the flock could get back to the good stuff - the interactions between characters.
I was explaining to Ross afterwards how wonderful it is to see a movie with women front and center where the sex of the main characters ISN'T the point. In so many, many films today, actresses play The Woman: the mother, the wife, the gf, the damsel in distress. The fact the character is female is the main point and feature of the character: "Look, our hero regrets breaking up with his wife!" "Look, our here's daughter is in danger!" "Look, our hero is an ordinary schlub who winds up with a babe 5X hotter than he is!"
In GHOSTBUSTERS, as in Paul Feig's BRIDESMAIDS, THE HEAT and SPY, the stories could easily be told around a group of guys. Really - picture Jonah Hill in the Melissa McCarthy roles and Vince Vaugn as Kristin Wiig or Sandra Bullock. The fact that they're filled with women instead of men is..revelatory, like the first time I saw a female Episcopal priest. "You mean women can do that?"
SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: We'll be seeing Ghostbusters this week and taking Kiddo, of course! So excited to see a movie that would pass the Bechdel test — where "The Bechdel test (/ˈbɛkdəl/ bek-dəl) asks whether a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. The requirement that the two women must be named is sometimes added."
If you're looking for another movie (for the young (or young-at-heart) with strong female leads, I'd recommend Pixar's Academy Award-winning Inside Out, with Amy Pohler and Mindy Kaling.
HALLIE: I loved Inside Out. And it might actually be the last movie I saw in a movie theater before Ghostbusters. (Before that: UP (in 3D)
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Hmm. Not sure I'll go to Ghostbusters. You are so right about Bechdel, Susan! And it's such an amazing filter. Anyway, I'm intrigued by the question "when was the last time you went to a movie and laughed yourself silly?" I am really having to think about that. Sadly, it might have been -oh, gosh, I am spacing the title. But it had animals, and they sang Polka Dot Afro. Does watching The Court Jester at home count? I did cheer all the way through Working Girl, and then cried, but that's different.
And sadly, and anti-all of this, I really laughed at The Wedding Crashers. But they could easily make that with women. Wait. Now, really mulling this over, if they did, it would be SUCH a completely different movie, and the women would be reviled as "everything a woman is not supposed to be." Whereas for Vince Vaughn and what's his name, they are hilarious.
Which is, I guess, the point of this.
DEBORAH CROMBIE: Honestly, I am so out of it that I didn't realize until a week ago that the remake of GHOSTBUSTERS had become this big cultural deal. I thought, oh, okay, well, that might be fun. I liked the original, so why not? And then I find out people are incensed because the characters are played by WOMEN? Is this the dark ages, or what??? (No, don't answer that...)
I'm sure we'll see it, but probably when it's available streaming. We are so spoiled to our very fancy movie theater with reclining seats (and pillows and blankets, I kid you not) and dinner and drinks service. But it's expensive--although not more than dinner out somewhere and then a movie at a regular theater. Still, we only go every couple of months, and we usually save those outings for "must see on big screen" movies. This summer it will probably be STAR TREK, and then JASON BOURNE at the end of August. (I have confessed before that I'm an action movie junkie...)
The movie I think of right off the bat that makes me laugh until I cry is so politically incorrect that I'm not going to admit to it:-)
HALLIE: What guy flicks do you think they should remake with gender roles reversed?
Monty Python and the Holy Grail