Man, am I tired of being right! Sure as night follows day, the trailer for the new, feminist-friendly, chick-laden Ghostbusters is tanking on YouTube. With nearly 750,000 dislikes, it is the most hated trailer in the site’s history.
You’d think it would be time for the movie’s defenders to face reality, and accept the ill-fated reboot for what it is: a feminist cash-in for angsty, blue-haired, Tumblr-obsessed, pronoun-bothering cat ladies.
But some are still trying to maintain the illusion that the movie is the best thing since Shawshank (even though no one has seen it yet) and that any dislike can only possibly stem from misogyny, rather than the film’s screechingly terrible trailer and promotional stills.
Progressive feminists, of course, remain the film’s foremost – and increasingly hysterical – defenders. After its trailer reached historic lows on YouTube, feminist hand-wringers went into meltdown.
A series of angry articles in the liberal media sought to blame the woes of what many fans are worried will be a cringeworthy reboot on “woman-hating,” “men’s rights activists” and even, yes, “GamerGate.”
We don’t know how the film will perform when it hits theatres, but it might be time to admit that its current unpopularity — almost unprecedented for a film that hasn’t been released yet — might be for reasons other than rampant misogyny.
“We aren’t disliking the video because of the women….we are disliking it because it looks like it’s going to fucking blow,” reads one comment, with over 100 likes, under the film’s official YouTube trailer. “I swear I thought this was an SNL skit at first,” says another.
Misogyny? Sure. It can’t just be that the film looks crap.
Scepticism and disappointment seem to be the attitude of mentally stable human beings who have seen the trailer. (Naturally, I had an intern watch it for me.) I wonder how long it’ll be before Sony does a Sarkeesian and switches off the comments altogether?
From the trailer, and from a series of leaks revealing Feig’s plans for the movie, it’s clear that the Ghostbusters remake has some serious problems. There’s a clichéd cast, clunky dialogue and the outlines of a woefully unimaginative story.
The visual effects are Scooby Doo-esque (and not in a good way), and it seems as though — at least from the footage we’ve seen so far — the Ghostbusters reboot will have none of the original’s carefree charm. Even if the cast wasn’t made up of unsexy lesbian janitors, there would be plenty for fans of the franchise to dislike.
At this point, everyone who isn’t a Women’s Studies major realises that Ghostbusters is probably going to be a terrible movie. But who’s responsible? To anyone familiar with incompetence in Hollywood, the answer should be obvious. It’s Amy Pascal, of course.
Pascal is the former chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment. She oversaw production of dozens of blockbuster titles over the years, until she was hoist on her own progressivism. A series of embarrassing emails in which she cracked some not-funny racial jokes about President Obama clashed with her public image as a good feminist progressive, and Pascal promptly exited the company.
“Should I ask him if he liked DJANGO?” asked Pascal in a leaked email to a colleague on the topic of meeting President Barack Obama at a then-upcoming fundraising event. Her colleague, producer Scott Rudin, replied simply with “12 YEARS”, referencing ’12 Years a Slave’: another slavery film.
The two then proceeded to jokingly list numerous films concerning African-Americans. It wasn’t funny, and, considering Pascal’s public image as a Hollywood feminist, it wasn’t clever either. It was this series of emails among others that resulted in Pascal’s forced resignation from Sony.
But cinema still isn’t safe: Pascal is taking a producer role in a handful of upcoming films, including Ghostbusters. Pascal, SJW-watchers will note, is the producer behind the mooted Zoe Quinn biopic Crash Override: How to Save the Internet from Itself, which I’m sure will be at least as successful as the all-female Ghostbusters. (By which I mean: an utter disaster.)
It’s obvious Pascal is trying to recover her progressive credentials. But her movies are visibly suffering as a result.
Despite her self-proclaimed feminist values, Pascal has proven hilariously bad at pandering to her own tribe. After allegations of a pay gap at Sony, Pascal was quick to offer a tone-deaf rebuttal.
“I run a business. People want to work for less money, I’ll pay them less money. I don’t call them up and go, can I give you some more?” said Pascal in an interview at the Women of the World event in San Francisco. Pascal said actresses should learn to “walk away” if they weren’t satisfied with their jobs. “People shouldn’t be so grateful for jobs,” she said.
In a final, desperate attempt to make herself likeable again, Pascal is now producing rancid films dressed up in social justice-friendly narratives. And it’s working! Progressives are rallying to her defence, crying “MISOGYNY” whenever moviegoers object to the garbage Pascal is trying to feed them.
The impending Ghostbusters disaster isn’t all about Pascal. Director Paul Feig deserves some credit too. He’s a comedy and feminist darling thanks to his work with Melissa McCarthy on Spy and Bridesmaids, but he apparently has little grasp of rebooting cult classics.
Leaked emails between him and Pascal reveal show him reluctant to acknowledge any events from the first movie, instead preferring to rebuild the cult Ghostbusters universe from scratch.
In other words, fans can kiss goodbye to the lightness of touch and the hilarity of the original franchise. This is not Ghostbusters: Revisited. This is not Ghostbusters 3. This is Social Justice Ghostbusters 1, and in this universe the originals, save for a few strong-armed cameos, do not exist.
Even if the script and acting were up to snuff, it’s clear from the trailer that the film shares little with the original Ghostbusters. No wonder old-school fans hate it, though of course any criticism of the dreadfulness of the trailer is immediately written off by the press as woman-hating.
Of course, if you’ve been monitoring Feig’s Twitter feed, you already know he cares as much about ideology as art, going as far as to recommend that his followers donate money to notoriously sloppy feminist critics.
— Paul Feig (@paulfeig) March 26, 2016
It’s not misogynistic, racist or homophobic to call out a bad film for being bad, or for butchering a remake of a beloved classic. Just because you stick a couple of leading women and a fat black lady in doesn’t give you the right to dismiss your critics as bigots.
The sad thing is that all of these women have been funny in other projects — some under the direction of Feig himself. But from the trailer, to the egomania of the reboot’s creators, to the hysterical reaction to criticism, it’s becoming clear that this ship will probably sink.
No doubt we can look forward to a documentary someday that explains what went wrong with the world’s most pointless remake. The hand-wringing articles blaming it all on misogynistic dudebros will come before that, obviously.
And, of course, the Twitter meltdowns. Paul Feig’s got off to a running start on both counts, blaming “haters” for his reboot’s misfortunes and engaging in angry slap-fights with random users.
And haters, attack me all you want but when you attack and insult my cast, you've crossed the line. Grow up and leave my cast alone.
— Paul Feig (@paulfeig) March 8, 2016
And since I'm on a roll, you, sir, are the biggest ass of them all. Seriously. You shit on all your former heroes. https://t.co/8BMi9YxZ5n
— Paul Feig (@paulfeig) September 23, 2015
Watch the trailer and remember: that’s their best material. The European trailer, a second attempt, is no better.
Something tells me the majority of people watching this in theatres will be the so-bad-it’s-good crowd who go to remakes and sequels to blog about how laughingly dreadful they are.
In any case, if Ghostbusters fails, it won’t be thanks to men — or women. It will be because the whole project feels so infused with awkward political posturing that audiences looked at it and thought: nah.
I suspect the film’s defenders are also aware that the movie is an impending disaster, which is why they’ve rushed to the web to brand its critics misogynists. There’s a lot on the line for them. If Ghostbusters flops, it will be yet further proof that feminism and social justice don’t sell.
But at the end of the day, you aren’t defending a movie, internet feminists — you’re defending an ideology.