Epic Movie (Re)Watch #222 - Ghostbusters (2016)
Have I seen it before: Yes
Did I like it then: Yes.
Do I remember it: Yes.
Did I see it in theaters: Yes.
Was it a movie I saw since August 22nd, 2009: Yes, #437.
Disclaimer: In a perfect world I would not have to write this, but the world is not perfect so here it goes. If anyone replies or adds a comment to this post (via reblog) that is hateful or misogynistic, you are getting blocked and reported. There’s a difference between NEGATIVE opinions (ie: “This movie isn’t funny.”) and HATEFUL opinions: (ie: “Women aren’t funny.”). Also, no racist comments about Leslie Jones either. Now that we’ve established that…
1) The prologue at Aldridge Mansion.
I have mixed feeling about the prologue. It is not the BEST representation of the film’s humor so in that aspect it is not the best foot forward to start on. However, it does establish the film’s spooky tone well. There is a genuine sense of macabre-ness to when the ghost-stuff starts happening, which is where the film excels. I think this movie is very funny, but just not in this scene.
2) Kristen Wiig as Erin Gilbert
I think Erin is the main character of this film. She’s the protagonist. Yes, the team of four Ghostbusters is great, but it is Erin who goes on a wonderful journal throughout the film. She starts out trying to keep an aspect of herself - the ghost focused aspect - down, but when her beliefs are confirmed later in the film she is just ecstatic. Erin as developed as a character as the film goes on and on, with important character details revealed throughout. Erin is also the character who strives most for recognition out of the team. Abby is more concerned about being able to do the work but it is Erin who is fighting for the recognition she and her team deserve.
Wiig is incredibly charming in the part. She makes Erin wonderfully dorky and plays the insecurity well against growing self worth. Each of the four Ghostbusters in this film are master comedians who blend acting chops with humor beautifully and Wiig is no exception.
3) I’m a guy. I benefit from male privilege. Having said that I like the number of scenes in this film which (as I interpret them) take shots at the bullshit sexism that plagues western society.
Harold Filmore: “Oh, and about your clothes?”
Erin: “Too sexy for academia?”
4) Even though Harold Ramis died before filming (even getting a dedication in the end credits), he still makes a cameo. Sort of.
5) I’m Benny.
6) Melissa McCarthy as Abby Yates.
What makes Abby so interesting is that her character (and the way McCarthy performs her means she) is dripping with conflict. And I mean that as a good thing, because conflict is interesting. She’s not going to take shit from anyone. She sticks to her guns and is proud of her work, even when others seek to shame her because of it. Clearly dedicated to her science, McCarthy is great in the role. Able to give a multifaceted performance through Abby’s brashness, passion, eagerness, and relationship with Erin. The fact she calls a ghost, “beautiful,” is incredibly telling of her character. McCarthy (and I’m going to start sounding like a broken record by the time this post is over) MAKES the character. Watching her rekindle an old friendship with Erin is incredibly fun to watch because they ARE working past their differences. It even leads to the film’s climax, but more on that later.
7) Kate McKinnon as Holtzmann.
Kate McKinnon is the ULTIMATE scene stealer of this movie. She plays Holtzmann in an exaggerated way, with a wonderful amount of sheer bizarreness and energy. Also an element I call Kate-McKinnon-ness, which is basically a not so fancy way to say only McKinnon could play the part this way. Especially because she doesn’t make Holtzmann a joke herself. Sure, she’s funny and leads to most of the best humor in the film, BUT you understand she’s as intelligent as any of her contemporaries. She’s just able to be freaking hysterical too (much like Bill Murray in the original film).
8) This film has some early pacing problems early on. It takes a little while to get going, but once it does it REALLY gets going. It’s just…did we need TWO training sequences to show off the technology? Especially when the first one is so brief and the second one is SO funny?
9) There are few characters I have so immediately related to other than Jillian Holtzmann. This line is why:
10) The encounter with the Aldridge Ghost.
It is from this point moving forward that the film gets a handle on most of its pacing problems. This is the threshold. The rules are established to a degree: ghosts are real! The scene is incredibly interesting to watch not only because the spookiness of the ghost is handled well, but the way each Ghostbuster reacts/is fascinated by her brings in the audience’s interest. It’s a brief but powerful moment of both tension and fun.
11) In reference to the disclaimer above about misogynistic comments, this is what counts as a misogynistic comment.
Erin [reading a YouTube comment on their video]: “Ain’t no bitches gonna hunt no ghosts.”
12) Leslie Jones as Patty.
Patty is way stronger as a character than she could have been, something I greatly appreciate. Upon our first meeting with her the audience understands she’s not the cliché “I hate my job worker” while getting a early sense of her curiosity. Because that curiosity is defining for the character of Patty. She’s the history buff, meaning that she is in many ways equally intelligent as the other three Ghostbusters. Her intelligence just isn’t in science, so she brings a unique skill set to the team.
Patty: “You guys know a lot about this science stuff, but I know New York.”
I know New York could’ve easily equalled some cliche street smarts, but Patty is more than that. She’s more than a cliche and Leslie Jones plays her as such. The actress freaking shines in the part, being able to make Patty unique of all her performances INCLUDING her work on SNL. She’s still doing what she does strong with occasional big humor, but she’s able to play Patty as a character and not a sketch. That’s not a skill all comedians are able to master, but Leslie Jones proves that there is not a weak leak in this quartet of heroes.
Ugh, a whiny fuckboi who thinks he’s better than everyone else because he got shit as a kid. What a perfectly hatable villain. They even observe later in the film that the four heroes, “get shit on pretty much all the time.” So yeah, it’s easy to root against that guy.
14) I like that the film puts the team in a Chinese restaurant instead of the firehouse right away.
The struggle these character have in getting recognized is much more important than the first film. Yes it was there, but the guys were more easily bale to shrug it off than these women can. The first team didn’t really care about being respected or treated well, they just did their shit. With this team it is a greater struggle because they know they DESERVE the recognition and won’t just get it handed to them for doing a good job. They have to fight for it. My personal interpretation of that its almost representative of how guys just get recognized because of male privilege but women have to fight for what they deserve more (but again, privileged white dude, I could just be mansplaining here).
15) Chris Hemsworth as Kevin.
Kevin is in this film for two reasons: to be in danger and to look pretty. You know, like most women throughout the history of big blockbuster movies. But the difference is the film KNOWS that. They’re making that joke on purpose, which means they’re able to make Kevin completely freaking hysterical. They juice him for every bit of humor he has and Chris Hemsworth absolutely DESTROYS it in terms of comedy. He’s in a film with four modern comedy heavyweights and is able to hold his own. And everyone’s surprised he’s so funny in the new Thor movie? Thor ain’t got nothing on Kevin.
16) It’s funny because it’s true.
Patty [after a ghost ends up on the subway]: “He’s going to be the third scariest thing on that train.”
17) Erin’s ghost story.
This is the freaking beating heart of the movie. Right here. Its pulse can be found int his one scene. Everything that motivates Erin’s character, that speaks to her study of ghosts, can be found in this heartbreaking childhood story. It is an intense human element which helps elevate the story above cash grab reboot, especially when all of Erin’s current friends reassure her that they believe her.
17.1) Wait…could the scene where Erin tells her friends about how no one believed her when a creepy person came into her room every night but her friends do now be representative of sexual harassment stories? Maybe it’s because of all the allegations coming forward now but, I wonder…
18) I try not to compare this film to the original Ghostbusters too much, but then you have the cover of the theme song by Fallout Boy & Missy Elliott. While the cover HAS grown on me, it doesn’t touch the original.
19) The Stonehurst Theater scene.
First of all, Patty is again awesome. I cannot tell you how long I waited for a character in a scary movie to just be like, “Yeah, no,” and walk away. But I digress.
There is a nice sense of tension throughout this scene (although it could benefit to slow down from the scene), upping the spooky factor greatly. The following concert scene is also crazy fun and perhaps has the greatest concentration of awesome Patty moments in the film. But it is this victory, this triumph where the Ghostbusters actually catches a ghost, is the moment when I fall in love with this team. I was rooting for them before, but now I’m REALLY rooting for them.
20) Bill Murray’s cameo.
Most of the cameos in this film are ones I like (except Dan Aykroyd’s, more on that later though), but Bill Murray is more than just a crammed in cameo. He is a new character. He’s a problem the team has to face. The representation of everyone who doubts them and wants to keep them “in their place”. He is INCREDIBLY different from Murray’s previous character Peter Venkmann, which in the end just makes everything better because we know this isn’t some version of Venkmann. This is a new character for a new film. Also, this fucking line.
Bill Murray (yes, I’m calling him Bill Murray): “Well I guess the graciousness has ran out.”
YOU BARGE IN ON THEIR PLACE OF WORK, CONSTANTLY CRITICIZE AND BELITTLE THEM, AND EXPECT GRATITUDE! This is the equivalent of, “People would like you more if you smiled, sweetheart.”
21) The Mayor’s Office.
I see The Mayor in this film as basically the system looking to discredit and keep the women down in this film. He says the Ghostbusters should step aside because, “These gentlemen are on it,” when they are very clearly NOT on it, before noting that they are, “drawing a lot of attention to yourselves,” just by telling the truth (again: sexual harassment metaphor?). Then later they call the Ghostbusters just doing the right thing and being competent a, “desperate attempt at fame.” It’s handled well but very purposefully irritates the audience.
22) Once ley lines come into play the film transcends fun comedy with spooky elements into much higher fantasy elements. The stakes rise considerably, adding a whole new dimension to the movie.
23) Hey, it’s Annie Potts!
24) The scene where Abby gets possessed is really great. There’s a nice tension and build up to it while McCarthy is able to play evil Abby as wonderfully creepy. It’s the most REAL danger the characters have had. It’s not ghosts, it’s their friend choking them out and bashing on shit. THAT is why it works.
25) I think casting Chris Hemsworth as Kevin was so he could fulfill two roles: cute dumbass and fun villain. When Rowan posses Kevin, Hemsworth acts as the film’s final act antagonist. And he does it REALLY well. Kinda charismatic actually, while still being an excellently punchable douche bag.
26) I love this line.
The Mayor: “Never compare me to the Jaws mayor. NEVER!”
27) Ugh, Dan Aykroyd’s cameo in this film is so forced in. Bill Murray, Annie Potts, Ernie Hudson, and Sigourney Weaver all fill natural roles either the story demands or the characters have. Dan Aykroyd? No. He’s just there. Ugh.
28) Obligatory Slimer cameo.
While it is fun and appreciated, this Slimer appearance, I kinda wish he was a practical effect and not CGI. Granted, that’s a note I have for this film in general. I’d appreciate a little less CGI.
29) I like the brief Stay Puft Marshmallow Man cameo in this film because it’s not exactly what you would expect. You wouldn’t think, “Parade Balloon,” cameo but it works.
30) The big ghost fight scene.
Let me address the little things I don’t love about this scene: the CGI is a little much.
- That’s it, now let me talk about what’s good here!
- An incredible amount of humor
- The action flows well between the four main Ghostbusters
- HOLTZMANN FUCKING LICKS HER GUNS! YAS QUEEN!
31) I really love this film, but I will say I hate this line.
Abby [insulting Rowan]: “Come and get your virginity out of the lost and found!”
Dude, you were doing so well. What’s wrong with being a virgin?
32) The giant CGI Rowan ghost is actually really interesting take on the film’s logo come to life. Not to mention the way he composed is interesting. His skin is very fabricy/baggy which is an interesting decision. I dig it.
33) ERIN JUMPS IN AFTER ABBY! OH MY GOD YES!
This is why I love their friendship. It’s so deep, so defining of both the characters and the film. It’s not even a question of IF Erin will go in after Abby it’s a question of HOW Erin will go in after Abby. And then you have the music and the…the…“I wasn’t going to leave you twice.”
Holtz [after Erin & Abby come out of the portal]: “It’s 2040, our president is a plant.”
A plant would be preferable at this point.
35) A friend of mine observed that - when Erin and Abby have their hair dyed - the hair colors of the four Ghostbusters kinda match the colors of the “Ghostbusters” cartoon from the 80s.
36) Holtz’s toast about family is surprisingly sweet and I love it.
(Quality of the video isn’t great here but still)
37) See, Ernie Hudson and Sigourney Weaver have REALLY nice cameos in this movie. I like it!
38) And the film ends in the most perfect way possible: the Ghostbusters get the recognition they deserve!
39) I. Want. A SEQUEL!
I freaking love the 2016 version of Ghostbusters. While the original is a classic, I am greatly appreciative of this film’s massive human heart and its story about recognition. The four women who lead this film are incredible on their own and together, with Chris Hemsworth being pretty damn funny too. It’s just wildly enjoyable and I get such a massive kick out of it. There are people who hate it, but I’m not one of them.