metaphortunate: (Default)
metaphortunate son ([personal profile] metaphortunate) wrote2016-07-16 12:52 pm

who you gonna call?

Ghostbusters 2016: go see it, but don’t wear mascara. I cried with laughter. Like, I remember the first movie started with kind of a slow build? The first scene is a ghost scaring someone in a library, and then we cut to Bill Murray’s Peter Venkman creeping on an undergrad? :/ The remake opens on a tour of a haunted house. Fifteen seconds in, the docent explains that this was the most elegant house in New York City of its time, with every modern convenience, including a face bidet and an anti-Irish security fence. So began the theme of the next two hours, which was me wishing that we could all laugh more quietly because I’m pretty sure I missed like a third of the jokes because I was still laughing from the previous ones.
 
It is not a beat-by-beat remake, which thank God, because what even is the point. It retains the basic plot of the most American movie ever, but why would you want to see the same thing done exactly the same way? You’re here to see the movie you loved done bigger and badder - check - and funnier - I know this is sacrilege but honestly, maybe, check? - and sexier - hella check - and cameos by all the original actors, which the whole theatre applauds when check. And delightfully retro special effects. And plenty of ectoplasm.
 
The casting of the Ghostbusters as women is more than a simple one-to-one switch. E pointed out that the new Ghostbusters are more everything than the originals: more successful, more sincere, more intelligent and committed and amped-up. And that’s part of the bigger and badder remake effect; but there’s another aspect. Venkman can be a fraud and a loser for his whole life and we still believe that he can take a breakthrough and ride it to success. But women don’t fail up like that. Venkman’s counterpart, Erin Gilbert, is an MIT grad physicist at Columbia who begins the movie by realizing with horror that despite all that, her name on a book taking ghosts seriously can scuttle her reputation and her chance at tenure in a snap. The scene where she mourns “I worked so hard! I kissed so many kinds of asses!” - Gilbert has to work more than twice as hard as Venkman to be just as much of a loser, and it feels so real.
 
God, I don’t want to spoil you, but it’s a movie that is extremely aware of the nerdboy hate it faces and having so much fun with it. That said: it was directed by Paul Feig, written by Paul Feig and Katie Dippold, and produced by Ivan Reitman, Amy Pascal, and Dan Ackroyd.  What I am trying to say here is, it was not created by the founders of the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. Chris Hemworth’s receptionist role is much bigger and funnier than anything the 1984 Ghostbusters let Annie Potts do. Like, he seriously walks away with every goddamn scene he’s in. Also, I feel the need to note that before the movie started, we watched four previews in a row:
  1. A movie about a boy who discovers that he belongs at a school for kids with magic powers, featuring a pretty girl who tells him that he is the one who has the special power to save them all
  2. A movie about a young man who comes home traumatized from the war in Iraq, featuring a pretty girl who tells him how strong and amazing he is
  3. A movie about the man who put the airplane down in the Hudson River, featuring a woman who tells him how amazing and brave he was to save all those people
  4. A movie about the smartest professor in the world, featuring a pretty younger woman who is there to tell him that he is the only one who can solve the puzzle and avert the apocalypse
  5. A movie about a traumatized boy who discovers the ability to summon a monster, featuring a pretty young woman who tells him he is important and deserves to break things if he wants to break them (no, seriously)
  6. Also, to be fair, Bridget Jones’ Baby, which looked cute
At no point did Hemsworth’s Kevin, or any other dude, ever tell our female Ghostbusters how special and important they were, so let me be clear that this movie is in no way a straight Hollywood role reversal.
 
I do want to tell you that somehow, in almost two hours of straight jokes, they managed to avoid making even a single fat joke about Melissa McCarthy. Amazing, but true. Also, prior to seeing the movie, I heard criticism that Leslie Jones, who is black, had to play the non-scientist streetwise character; but I did not realize that in this case “streetwise” meant “New York City history buff, with an encyclopedic knowledge of the history of the actual streets.” 
 
I feel like I’ve just told you all the ways in which the movie doesn’t suck and I haven’t managed to explain how purely joyous Holtzmann is, and how funny McCarthy makes her Abby Yates, and how much I howled when I realized that instead of climbing a tower for the final battle, they had to dive into a basement. Seriously, the theme carries through. And I’m not even going to spoil the best bit for you. Go see the thing.
 

ruthi: a photograph of a dormouse eating a berry (Default)

[personal profile] ruthi 2016-07-16 08:09 pm (UTC)(link)
That is a joyous review! I want to go see thing.
jae: (Default)

[personal profile] jae 2016-07-16 09:17 pm (UTC)(link)
I do want to tell you that somehow, in almost two hours of straight jokes, they managed to avoid making even a single fat joke about Melissa McCarthy.

Even better than this is the fact that they actually let her look pretty. So many of her recent movies go to great lengths to make this absolutely gorgeous fat woman ugly, and this movie--even though her appearance isn't the point--just lets her look like she looks, which is pretty, most of the time.

-J
laurashapiro: a woman sits at a kitchen table reading a book, cup of tea in hand. Table has a sliced apple and teapot. A cat looks on. (Default)

[personal profile] laurashapiro 2016-07-16 10:43 pm (UTC)(link)
I know it's not your thing, but did you see Spy? She is gorgeous in it.
jae: (filmgecko)

[personal profile] jae 2016-07-16 10:44 pm (UTC)(link)
I did not and will not, but I appreciate looking at stills of her in it. :)

-J
laurashapiro: a woman sits at a kitchen table reading a book, cup of tea in hand. Table has a sliced apple and teapot. A cat looks on. (Default)

[personal profile] laurashapiro 2016-07-16 10:45 pm (UTC)(link)
She has this entrance in a black gown and she looks amazing. I swooned.
wild_irises: (Default)

[personal profile] wild_irises 2016-07-16 09:50 pm (UTC)(link)
Yes, I lost it at face bidet also, though I didn't have that constantly-laugh-out-loud response that you did overall.

I'm trying to remember the trailers we saw:

1) An animated feature about a magical boy having adventures and protecting his mother
2) A movie about a diverse improv theater troupe and their lives, not especially boy-focused
3) A straight-up horror movie trailer, which I didn't track gender on, because I (and the people behind us) were just irritated that we had to see it

I think there was one more.

One outside-of-movie thing I'm curious about is why there was so much press about Leslie Jones' trouble getting a gown for the premiere, and none about Melissa McCarthy's similar trouble: does she just already have gowns? Or a designer?

Anyway, it was fun and I'm glad I saw it.
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[personal profile] ironed_orchid 2016-07-17 02:42 am (UTC)(link)
One outside-of-movie thing I'm curious about is why there was so much press about Leslie Jones' trouble getting a gown for the premiere, and none about Melissa McCarthy's similar trouble: does she just already have gowns? Or a designer?

Melissa McCarthy launched a fashion label last year after struggling to find good clothes that fit. It doesn't do red carpet gowns, but clearly she knows and works with designers. I remember press from when she switched from tv to movies about her having to dress for red carpet events, so presumably it is both old news and she's found a solution.
laurashapiro: a woman sits at a kitchen table reading a book, cup of tea in hand. Table has a sliced apple and teapot. A cat looks on. (Default)

[personal profile] laurashapiro 2016-07-16 10:43 pm (UTC)(link)
I am SO GLAD you were there!

I'm going again tomorrow (matinee). You up?
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[personal profile] laurashapiro 2016-07-18 01:12 am (UTC)(link)
I ended up taking a nap instead, so it works out. I do want to go again, though! I'll let you know when.
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[personal profile] cofax7 2016-07-17 01:21 am (UTC)(link)
I really appreciate the point you & E made about women not being able to fail up. It caused one of my few minor nits about the movie, which is that there's not much character development in it. You know? Erin & Abby & Holtz & Patty all are basically the same people at the end as at the beginning, really. Erin gets a tiny bit of development, but nobody else really moves at all. And yeah it's a Hollywood blockbuster, but usually there's a moment where the hero GROWS. Maybe the bit where Erin takes the dive for Abby? I guess that would be it.

I dunno. But yes! SO MUCH FUN. And yet still less funny, IMO, than Spy or The Heat, where McCarthy got let off the leash. They really had her dial it down for this one, probably because it's an ensemble. I liked it a lot, but I didn't laugh as much as you did.
jedusaur: (glow cloud)

[personal profile] jedusaur 2016-07-17 01:45 am (UTC)(link)
IT'S SO GREAT. SO GREAT. I also need to see it again to catch the jokes I missed because I was laughing too hard. I had the same progression of feelings about the black character being the streetwise character too (though I'd definitely like to read some meta about that from POC). And I noticed and appreciated the lack of fat jokes--I feel like McCarthy's characters have been getting better and better about that over time? Like, I haven't seen Mike & Molly but I hear it's all about the fat jokes, and then Bridesmaids and Identity Theft were pretty gross, but The Heat only had a couple cringey moments, and then Spy got all meta about it, and now Ghostbusters just doesn't even make it a thing. I hope that trend holds.

What did you think was the best bit?
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[personal profile] jedusaur 2016-07-18 06:36 am (UTC)(link)
Hands down without a doubt "well, now we know how THAT man feels." I am going to be quoting that line until the end of eternity.

(heh. thirsty for him. because beverage. >.>)
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[personal profile] azurelunatic 2016-07-17 02:11 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, this sounds like I would enjoy it!
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[personal profile] giandujakiss 2016-07-17 02:22 am (UTC)(link)
I love your point about Erin having to be a great success.

I saw most of those previews too, and ugh. But got some other ones mixed in that I was happy about. The Meryl Streep vehicle with Hugh Grant looks lovely. Also some movie I never heard of called Nerve that kind of looks pretty by the numbers except that it's got a woman POV character in a story that ordinarily you'd expect a male POV character, so now I have to see that.
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[personal profile] kore 2016-07-17 02:39 am (UTC)(link)
I'm gonna see this in the theatre!
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[personal profile] ithiliana 2016-07-17 03:45 am (UTC)(link)
I loved it and I love your review. Most when not on phone in bed. Plus I must make icons. I hope there is fic 😉
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[personal profile] rmc28 2016-07-17 08:16 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you for sharing this; I was planning to see it at some point, now I just want to bring that to "as soon as possible" :-)
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[personal profile] snippy 2016-07-17 04:46 pm (UTC)(link)
I agree with your review! I saw it last night with my soon-to-be-ex-husband and my younger son. Husband didn't much like it, didn't think it was funny at all; younger son thought it was about half as funny as I did. Like you, I laughed so hard I cried a couple of times, and since laughter is my main asthma trigger, had to use my inhaler mid-movie.

I did think the Hemsworth character was just chaotically inserted into scenes in ways that didn't made sense. I'm glad they put one particular scene under the end credits instead of in the movie-it would have really unbalanced the film. I liked the cameos and some call-backs.
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[personal profile] cereta 2016-07-17 07:18 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm so glad you liked it. The small fanperson and I adored it. I loved the characters, and their relationships. I loved that the movie didn't ignore that the characters were women, even as they managed to make Ghostbusters, not Ghostbusters With Girls. I loved all four main characters. I love the final battle. I loved how Holtmann started off annoying and transitioned to AWESOME.

I just really had a good time, and the sfp was enthralled.
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[personal profile] cereta 2016-07-17 08:13 pm (UTC)(link)
Her very, very first interactions with Erin pushed some buttons for me, but once Erin joined the team, I loved Holtzmann.