The insane levels of hatred levelled at the 2016 Ghostbusters remake was seriously disturbing. With its all-female cast and outspoken progressive credentials, the film landed smack dab in the middle of a culture war that’s still being viciously fought to this day.
The 1984 original was one of my favorite movies as a kid and I loved The Real Ghostbusters cartoon – and prior to release I was even busily arguing that there was no reason an all-female Ghostbusters wouldn’t work. In case you couldn’t tell, I really, really wanted the reboot to be good. But, sadly for its would-be defenders, it sucked big time.
Now, with Ocean’s 8 carrying the gender-flipped movies baton in 2018, star Sandra Bullock has weighed in on why the reception to the Ghostbusters reboot infuriated her so much:
That was unfair on a level that I can’t even not be mad about talking about. They literally walked into a firing squad. You had five of the most gifted comedian actresses on the planet — I’m just gonna leave it at that. And it doesn’t just take five people to make a movie. It takes about 300, so, you know what? Let’s back off the meanness. Let’s have a year of kindness. The women are here — we’re not going anywhere. But this isn’t about just women. We like sitting at the table with men. We just want to be invited to their table as well because we like them at our table.
Well, fair enough. I don’t blame Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon or Leslie Jones for Ghostbusters sucking. After all, they’ve all been great in other projects. Instead, I blame an inept, unfocused script, a clumsy narrative and a general misunderstanding of the original movie’s qualities. And I lay most of that at the door of Paul Feig, who…ah crap, okay, Bullock says we’re supposed to be backing off the meanness, so I’ll leave it at that.
I should add though that Ocean’s 8 isn’t exactly setting the world on fire critically, currently clocking in at a middling 68% on the Tomatometer and being described as an “underwritten,” “slapdash” and “undemanding,” hardly language that’s going to make me rush out to cinemas.
The problem with these films aren’t the genders of the cast, it’s that they’re simply not very good. If Hollywood wants to play the progressive card and bust open that female-ensemble blockbuster glass ceiling, they need to focus on making great movies rather than trying to skate by on feel-good political vibes, like they did with Ghostbusters.