Bouncing all over the interwebs today is news that Sony is moving forward on the Ghostbusters reboot. Or wait, is it a SEQUEL? According to Variety, it’s the next generation of Ghostbusters. Here is where things have gotten ugly; comments have been coming out of the digital woodwork along the lines of #notmyghostbusters and #womenarentfunny. Also, to put this out there, shut up about the hashtags, overuse is bad, but welcome to the twenty first century, grandma. I digress. REBOOTS IS THE THING. At the same time (likely by design), rumors of Chris Pratt being courted for the role of Indiana Jones by Disney have been flitting about. Let’s dive in, shall we?
First of all, let’s just make sure we cover that women aren’t funny. Absolutely not. Phyllis Diller, Joan Rivers, Lucille Ball, Tina Fey, Carol Burnett, Madeline Kahn, Margaret Cho, Wanda Sykes, Amy Poehler, Betty White, Bea Arthur, Whoopi Goldberg, Gilda Radner, Kristen Wiig, Jane Curtin, Sarah Silverman, Jane Lynch, Allison Janney (<3), you know what? I could seriously go on. And I will. Tracey Ullman, Maya Rudolph, Mindy Kaling, Maria Bamford, Ellen Degeneres, Julia Louise-Dreyfus, Tig Notaro, Kristen Schaal, Estelle Getty, Carrie Fisher, Chelsea Peretti and yes, Melissa McCarthy. All funnier than YOU. It’s a dumb argument, because if you want to list a bunch of male comedians, be my guest. It doesn’t negate the fact that every one of these women has made me laugh out loud plenty of times and most likely, most of you. I can’t speak for all of you, because some of you are humorless golems. Do I think a lot of the ire and/or objections come from misogyny, privilege or chauvinism? OF COURSE I DO. That doesn’t mean that the pendulum has to completely swing the other way. Do I think maybe that me, myself and I might be swayed by male privilege and feel weird about the Ghostbusters news because I am not used to the idea of women being the entire frontrunners for something that in my mind was COMPLETELY male dominated? If I’m being honest with myself, I bet that’s in there, too. But that’s not why I’m bending your eyes today (it sounded less weird in my head).
The Hollywood remake is not a new invention or even a new trend. As a matter of fact, one of the earliest Cecil B. Demille ventures, The Squaw Man, was remade four years later BY DEMILLE HIMSELF (take that Spiderman reboots) and then he did it AGAIN in 1931. So, what can we really complain about? Well, I’ll tell you. I’m not personally against the idea of remakes or reboots, I’m against the idea of a remake or reboot when the original material has already been brought to its potential. For instance, I love the original movie, Fright Night. Not because it was perfect, but because it spoke to me as a kid. I love vampire movies; especially over-the-top, cheesy ones. So when I heard a remake was being done of Fright Night, TOTALLY FINE. Not even an eyelash batted did I have, because there was plenty more to do with the original. It was a vampire movie that had all the typical elements of a good vampire flick, but sure, they could have done a things differently and, sure, the remake was entertaining enough for me. My first thought when I heard they wanted to do a sequel to Ghostbusters was before Harold Ramis died. I thought, “Ramis wouldn’t fuck it up, he’d make fun of the fact that they’re old and it’ll be great.” Then we lost him. And guess, what? That means Egon died. As sad as that is, you need to move FORWARD, not go BACK. Ghostbusters is an iconic movie because of the writing and the acting and the PURE ownership of that group to the characters. If this really is a sequel to Ghostbusters, I’m totally down. If it’s a reboot, it’s a cash grab to try to use the Ghostbusters name and here is where it gets real dicey. I read out in the wilds of Facebook that if it fails, the actors will be blamed. Here’s the flipside; if it succeeds, they’ll get NONE OF THE CREDIT BECAUSE IT’S NOT ORIGINAL. And the same goes for Chris Pratt as Indiana Jones. I really, really like Chris Pratt. I’m happy to see him get great roles and I enjoy watching his star rise, but rebooting Raiders or any of the Indiana Jones movies smells WAY too much like marketing and not moviemaking by Disney. It might be fun, but why not use his star power to make something NEW. Just for him. That way, in thirty years, someone can post on their telepathy box about how Hollywood was way better when Wiig and Pratt were superstars.
UPDATE 01/28/15: I’m willing to admit when I’ve jumped the gun. I feel a lot better about the Ghostbusters reboot now after reading THIS. This is a much better idea and while I’ll still say it’s just using the Ghostbusters name to get some buzz, it’s not anywhere near as bad as the idea I had in my head of making a new movie with a different cast, but an “UPDATED AND HIP” version of the original. This is trying to take an idea and make it fresh and original. I humbly now eat the rest of this crow.