Recently I went to see a re-release of 1984’s Ghostbusters at my local theater. I was so excited, not only to see the comedy classic, but also to see a little sneak peek at the end of Paul Feig’s all female reboot. Like most people out there I was a big fan of Bridesmaids, but last year’s Spy really caught me off guard. Feig masterfully took a traditionally male dominated genre, the spy movie, and successfully took Melissa McCarthy from Moneypenny to Bond. Spy made me go back and watch The Heat, which similarly casts Sandra Bullock and McCarthy as Riggs and Murtaugh. There are few directors out there celebrating women, specifically funny women, like Paul Feig. So the idea of a Feig helmed Ghostbusters starring four of the funniest women on the planet, has been exciting to me from word one.
Not everyone agreed with me however. Despite The huge success of Bridesmaids and the smaller successes of The Heat and Spy, films which never, to my knowledge anyway, drew the outrage of the male gender, the female Ghostbusters reboot ignited a fire storm of hate. The trailer for the film quickly became the most disliked trailer on YouTube. Anger among fans is not necessarily uncommon when it comes to reboots of popular movies and Ghostbusters is undoubtedly one of the most beloved movies of all time. The tenor of the hate however was alarming. Comments were especially abusive and decidedly misogynistic. When I sat in the theater after watching the ’84 original, as Paul Feig came on the screen to introduce the sneak peek at his film, someone yelled “I hate you!” Worse things have been said, sure. But when was the last time you were in the theater and someone yelled an insult at the screen?
I have never understood the anger over reboots and reimaginings of nostalgic properties. As a 90s kid who grew up knowing “You never pay full price for late pizza”, I can’t stand what Michael Bay has done to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But, I’m not going to lose my mind over it. I’m certainly not going to troll every article, Instagram post, and YouTube video about it and tell the people involved and the people who like it to go kill themselves. I can always go watch the cartoon or the original movies. They don’t get destroyed when the reboot hits theaters. I just don’t go watch Bay’s films. People lament that they should “leave Ghostbusters alone,” like it’s a kid getting bullied on the playground. Ghostbusters is the high school quarterback of films. Not only that, it’s like the quarterback that’s actually nice to the nerds and dorks who normally get bullied by jocks. Ghostbusters is fine; it doesn’t need anyone sticking up for it. And I’m sure Ghostbusters would be really disappointed in you for all the abhorrent and sexist things you’ve said about Feig and Co.
So what is it that has people men so extra wound up about ladies bustin’ for themselves? Has an all female Ghostbusters somehow awoken the darkest, most misogynistic Gozer worshipers the internet has to offer? Probably. I personally don’t believe it goes any deeper than plan old sexism. Honestly, it’s so silly and inconsequential I lament the thousands and thousands of words, my own included, that have been dedicated to addressing it. Regardless, the film’s stars, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones refuse to let anyone see them sweat it. And why should they? They have Bill Murray on their side. Murray has been legendarily gun-shy about having anything to do with another Ghostbusters film. He doesn’t spend his time doing a damn thing he doesn’t want to do. And yet, he filmed a cameo for the reboot and has helped promote the movie. Rumor has it Murray himself was the one who first mentioned the idea of doing an all female version. So if these trolls are going to persist despite Dr. Venkman himself, well, nothing is going to stop their blind fury. Ghostbusters opens this Friday whether bros like it or not and somehow, I have a feeling that its existence will not bring about forty years of darkness. Earthquakes, volcanoes…or even the mass hysteria of dogs and cats living together.