Let me tell you a little story about the Ghostbusters and me.
When I was seven years old, my Aunt Jaye took me to see Ghostbusters II in the theater. Before the movie, we went to a fancy restaurant for dinner and ate hamburgers and fries and talked about all the kinds of things seven-year-old girls and their cool, Federal-Express-paralegal aunts talk about. It was wonderful. A few years earlier, she had taken me to see Earnest Goes to Jail because even though I was a little kid, Jaye got me on a level that no one else quite could. Everyone should have a person in their life like Jaye.
After dinner, we went to see the movie. The original Ghostbusters had come out when I was too young to see it, so this was my first brush with Egon, Ray, Winston, and the incomparable Peter Venkman. Like a whole generation of adults and kids alike, I was obsessed with the movie.
It was funny but it was scary.It was gross and hilarious, often at the same time. It showed me how you can always count on someone to help you when your bathtub tries to eat you and your baby. It had culture. I mean, Vigo the Carpathian lived in a painting, for Pete’s sake. How classy can you get? Above all, it showed me a band of brothers who were eccentric at best and insane at worst, but knew that they needed each other to save a city from itself. I loved that movie at seven, and I love it at thirty-three. So when I heard rumblings a few years ago that a remake/sequel/addition to the franchise was very probable, I was excited. I’ve heard bits and pieces about the movie since then, and last week by the miracle of the Facebook feed, I happened upon a picture of the new cast – a cast that includes Kristin Wiig and Melissa McCarthy.
Look at them. Clearly, bustin’ makes ’em feel good:Now, after a little visit to IMDB I realized that the general populace has known of the new cast since it was revealed in, like, January, but I’m a working mom and I’m a little slow on the uptake sometimes
So I see Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones and Melissa McCarthy. I get freaking excited, and yeah, I’ll admit that part of my excitement was due in part to the fact that they are all women. I mean, freakin’ go us.* But my excitement was primarily rooted in the fact that these women are extremely funny, talented people who have been selected as the newest Ghostbusters, and therefore the odds that the movie they are currently making will also be funny and awesome are good. Logic.
*But guess what: I would have also been excited if Seth Rogen and the crowd that runs with him had been cast as Ghostbusters. Turns out you can be proud of your gender without being smug.
And then in my naivete I hopped into the comments to say YAY NEW GHOSTBUSTERS LET’S ALL HAVE A HAPPY PARTY TOGEEEEEETHER and I was met with a lot of people who did not share my sentiment. Whatever. Totally get it. There are people who hate The Royal Tenenbaums for reasons that I still cannot fully comprehend, but I’ve learned to coexist with them and to still have faith in humanity. The fact that we don’t all think the same things are awesome is what makes the world go ’round. Kumbaya and all that. I would rather have my teeth drilled than watch football, but football makes a lot of people really, really happy so who am I to judge?But then the plot thickened and my blood began to boil. You see, a disturbingly high number of “fans” credited their ill opinion of this movie – a movie whose trailer hasn’t even been released yet – to the gender of the actors.
“There’s just no effing way a Ghostbuster can be a girl.”
They said that their childhoods were ruined because Melissa McCarthy is now a Ghostbuster. (Apparently your past life can be retroactively ruined by the casting of a movie. If this is true then my fond memories of that Easter egg hunt we had when I was five will be obliterated if George Lopez is cast in the new Bladerunner.)
They made funnies: Ghostbusters? More like ballbusters AMIRITE.
They did the classic Sexist But. It’s when you say, I’m not a sexist, but this movie is going to totally blow chunks because the girls made us let them play, too. Waaaaaaaaaah.
Some said that the casting of women in roles that have been played by men in the past was totally unrealistic.
Yes. Unrealistic. In a franchise wherein a giant Marshmallow Man walks through the streets of New York.My personal favorite were the people who are actually saying that if they were going to have all-female Ghostbusters, “they could have at least picked pretty ones.” Because, you know, the Ghostbusters of my childhood really left me hot and bothered. I mean, that Egon. Daaaaaaayum.
The comment thread for any post about the upcoming Ghostbusters is seriously one of the most sexist forums I have encountered in a long time, and it makes me sad that anyone who could love these movies as much as I do would think that their only integrity resides in the maleness of the original cast. Seriously, I’m pretty sure that if you walked up to Bill Murray and were like, “Dude, remember that time you were a man in those Ghostbusters movies? Yeah, you were awesome, but the whole entire time I was thinking that if you had been a chick, you would have sucked.”
It makes me sad that there are people who still believe that women are not capable of being funny. (Yes, this is an actual thing.) Have Tina Fey and Amy Poehler taught us nothing?
It makes me angry to know that if the filmmakers had dressed the actors in skin-tight jumpsuits with their breasts on display, there wouldn’t have been as much of an outcry. I mean, how dare they hide in baggy khaki the hips that were meant to bear children? Women belong in the kitchen makin’ me a sandwich, not out in the streets busting ghosts and making me laugh.
Will the movie be good? I certainly think it will be, but I really won’t know until I see it. But even if it’s not, it will have nothing to do with the gender of the actors. There are lots and lots of things that have to be done just so to make a movie fail or work (if you need proof, just see the triumphantly glorious failure that is Troll 2), so one single contributing factor can’t do it.
So, sorry, sexist jerkwads. Your unwillingness to get past the genders of a few people is preventing you from enjoying a potentially awesome movie.
But don’t worry; I don’t mind eating your share of the popcorn.