Positive Cynicism – I can’t even write this essay about Ghostbusters 3

Aaron Davis

Aaron R. Davis

Every time I think we’ve settled this question and Ghostbusters 3 isn’t going to happen, someone else brings it up.

It seems like I’ve been writing the same thing over and over again on various platforms since 2008, but to reiterate my feelings: I don’t want Ghostbusters 3. I don’t want it. Ghostbusters 2 was bad. Bill Murray doesn’t want to do it. Harold Ramis has passed away. Ivan Reitman is a lousy, overrated director. The guys who were writing it for years inflicted Year Zero on us. No one wants to see a bunch of guys in their sixties trying to recapture their glory days. The video game was great enough. And it’s actually offensive that everyone keeps asking whether or not Rick Moranis is going to be in it (he isn’t), but no one gives a shit if Sigourney Weaver is interested.

But Dan Aykroyd just won’t let this thing die, talking every few months or so about how, don’t worry, Ghostbusters 3 is right around the corner. And Sony Pictures, who is cashing in on the continued love for the film — and let’s be clear, it’s one of the greatest films of all time — with a limited 30th anniversary re-release this year, brings up this possibility constantly; they even took the untimely passing of Harold Ramis earlier this year as an opportunity to reassure people that they still want to make Ghostbusters 3, because movie studios are about as tactless as it gets.

In this age of soulless, overserious cash-ins of every TV show, cartoon, toy line and food product I loved as a child, I have wanted with every fiber of my being for Ghostbusters 3 NOT to happen.

Not with younger comic actors like Jonah Hill taking the torch from Bill Murray. Not with the now-grown version of Oscar from Ghostbusters 3 saving New York from yet another giant thing. Not in any way.

And then they started tossing that word around. That word that Hollywood has decided is a massive reset button that they can press until it cracks and money drops out.

“Reboot.”

God damn the marketing asshole who taught Hollywood this word. Hollywood has used this whole concept so irresponsibly that after rebooting Batman in 2005, they let the series end in 2012 and are already rebooting Batman again within the sequel to their Superman reboot because, what the hell, let’s just have constant reboots instead of anything with any impact because holy Christ I can’t even see the carpet anymore because of all the money on the floor.

Roger Ebert used to joke that the definition of “sequel” was “a filmed deal.” Reboots are starting to feel like getting mugged by someone who’s really impatient.

So now we all have to talk about the impending Ghostbusters reboot that Paul Feig will probably direct with a cast of women Ghostbusters.

And, just like Ghostbusters 3, I don’t want this to happen.

But, unlike Ghostbusters 3, if I don’t want this one to happen, it carries social connotations.

And this is where this essay gets really, really hard to write.

See, I don’t like this attitude we have now where everything has to become a media property with loads of supplemental material and an expanded universe. I read an article recently demanding that JK Rowling let other authors start writing Harry Potter books, and I was so offended by the concept. Just because people want to spend more time in that fictional universe doesn’t mean we need to start the line of officially sanctioned fan fiction and start making more and more product, does it?

Well, just because people really love Ghostbusters and it had a whole cartoon and toy line and sequel and there are comics and video games … does that mean we need to keep cheapening the whole thing by endlessly perpetuating it instead of, maybe, doing something new?

I’m trying to pick my words carefully on this one, because I’m seeing a lot of whining on this subject, so let me start with this: I don’t want to see a Ghostbusters reboot. Any reboot of any kind. No more Ghostbusters.

I have to specify this, because if you look at social media, the outpouring of hatred towards this idea has been absolutely, appallingly misogynistic.

As usual, men have ruined everything. By going full-on sexism to the news of a female-led Ghostbusters, they’ve turned this into a big deal. Rather than protesting the idea of a reboot itself, they’ve gone crazy falling all over themselves to make period jokes, undermine the idea that women are capable of being heroic or just dive right into truly vile comments about political correctness and, as always, rape. The fact that I even have to use that word in a column about Ghostbusters is an indication of just how hard some men fail at basic levels of humanity.

So now, if I complain about the Ghostbusters reboot, it sounds like sexism. And I don’t mean it that way. But I’m not sure if I’m actually being sexist, anyway.

Let me say this: I don’t care for Paul Feig’s films. I thought Bridesmaids was okay. I thought The Heat was okay. I think if either of those movies starred men instead of women, they probably would have been ignored, because they’re so okay, they’re average. Putting women in the lead roles in The Heat doesn’t feel daring, it feels gimmicky.

But: I also recognize that I have the privilege, as a man, of dismissing these films, because I’m more or less represented in everything. I’m okay admitting that I’m probably engaging in some level of sexism with that last paragraph that I may not altogether capable of understanding, and I welcome discussion on that, because I want to learn and, as a guy, my opinion on those movies probably isn’t what you should be listening to.

So when I say I don’t want a Ghostbusters reboot, I’m not saying it for sexist reasons. I’m saying it because I don’t want a Ghostbusters reboot.

And that said, after seeing the truly disgusting, misogynistic response to even the idea, I really, really hope it happens, because fuck male privilege. This reboot isn’t a boy’s club. And if knowing that turns you into a scared, quivering, crying mess and makes you get on Facebook and make rape jokes, you are a terrible person who doesn’t deserve more Ghostbusters, anyway.

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Aaron R. Davis lives in a cave at the bottom of the ocean with his eyes shut tight and his fingers in his ears. You can contact him at samuraifrog@yahoo.com

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