Ghostbusters 2016: making grown men cry since ages ago
Does the fact that Ghostbusters: The Lady Edition is just absolutely delightful hurt more than that time you tried to buy a #meninist T-shirt, but couldn’t because shipping cost too much?
Does the fact that Ghostbusters: This Time It’s Personal Because They’re Women is funny and quirky and silly and has people whooping with joy, bite more than that time Reddit shut down /jailbait?
Does the fact that Ghostbusters: Your Childhood Was 30 Years Ago Get Over It has a brilliant cast and a solid blockbuster storyline pain you more than that time your mum made you pay your portion of the power bill, because you’d spent too much time in the shower?
Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters starring Melissa McCarthy and Saturday Night Live’s (frankly best) exports Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones is great fun and a real good time. I’m sorry. Diddums.
As I sat in the cinema just smugly enjoying this golden moment of comeuppance against Angry Men Who Hate Women And Have Internet Access, I was distracted by how many kids were watching the film. Based on all the hysterical comments I’d seen online, I’d assumed the original was a psychological thriller aimed exclusively at dudebros. Some Jason Bourne-type shit for men without six-packs.
The original Ghostbusters came out a year before I was born. I was four when the second film came out. I went into this film with little idea of what the premise is (although the title gives a good hint). I went in not really knowing that it’s actually a film for kids…
I had decided the day before that I’d like to go simply to contribute money to a film that has this many men upset (I’m basically a philanthropist).
But sitting in the cinema my eyes kept wandering from the big screen to three pre-teen girls in the audience. The girls leaned forward entranced throughout the whole movie. They bounced with excitement every time the Ghostbusters lined up to take aim at ghouls. At one point, one of the girls clasped the arm of the other and they exchanged joyous nods.
I could almost see the rest of their afternoon – arguing over who would get to be Kate McKinnon’s Holtzmann (let’s face it – we all want to be Holtzmann) as they blasted ghosts and saved their city.
I tried to think of a film I’d seen at that age that showed women kicking ass. Girls rarely get this. How can anyone want to deny them?
I tried to think of a film I’d seen at that age that showed women kicking ass and taking names. I tried to think of an action movie I’d seen ever where women weren’t sexualised or brutalised in some way, even if it’s just briefly.
Drawing a blank, I couldn’t help but smile as they smiled. Girls rarely get this. How can anyone look at the way that representation makes these kids feel and want to deny them that?
Ghostbusters 2016 is a delightful film. I can’t think of a better word to describe it. That’s all. It’s as silly and dumb as any other blockbuster. But the difference is, little girls everywhere finally get to have their own heroes.
And big girls like me, having wine at 11am, get to relax into a movie that doesn’t once drop a casual rape joke or belittle women as a group.
Ghostbusters 2016 is basically women releasing the tension in their shoulders: The Movie. Never once, at all, does it revert to the male gaze. It has a lovely gentle message about women friendships. A subtle-as-a-brick nod to the ridiculousness of “reverse sexism” as a concept, with the addition of Chris “White T-Shirt Is Compulsory” Hemsworth. And a heap of rollicking good-fun action shots of badass women getting shit done.
And Kate McKinnon. Dear lord, we have done something right in the world to exist at the same time as Kate McKinnon. She is just fantastic – she steals every, single scene. Some may say that the internet is a cesspit of garbage but the internet immediately created a gif of her winking. And for that we can all be glad.
I could watch her action scenes for hours. She needs to be in everything.
I loved it. Everyone in the cinema I was in seemed to love it, including a teenage boy who clapped with delight at Leslie Jones’ “I’m a Ghostbuster” line (please don’t ever expose him to Twitter).
There is one point in the movie where they’re talking about being on the brink of something momentous, that this could change everything. As a 30-something mum, I gotta say I hope this movie does change something.
I hope it makes the powers that be realise that you can make movies that don’t sexualise or abuse women. You can make movies that have all-women casts. They can be popular. They can be just good old-fashioned delightful fun.
Frankly, I think we can now all agree that the idea Ghostbusters 2016 might ruin anyone’s childhood is about as believable as paranormal activity…