Have you heard the one about the guys who are trying to take down a movie simply because it stars four women as supernatural wranglers whom originated as four dudes 32 years ago? It’s not a very funny joke, but the Internet has been flooded with nasty threads attacking the Ghostbusters reboot because it stars Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones instead of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson and Harold Ramis (R.I.P.). These lamestains have used their utmost power to lower the movie’s IMDb score to 4.1 before the movie even opened (they came, they didn’t see it, they kicked it’s ass!). So Complex invited a couple of lame dudes of a different stroke, Brian Formo of Collider and Erik Abriss of sunny Los Angeles, to discuss their excitement to see the new comedy and/or their excitement to not have to defend it anymore.
Erik Abriss: Before we kick this off I gotta hang up my proton pack and pray to my Egon Spengler poster beforehand (R.I.P. Harold Ramis). I know that you’ve seen the new one and I’ve not, so let’s gauge our love for the original, and I wanna hear what you think of Paul Feig's Ghostbusters reboot. Were you as big of Ivan Reitman's 1984 original as I was (see: borderline fanboy)?
Brian Formo: I was two years old when Ghostbusters came out, so my first actual Ghostbusters experience was the sequel. I was seven when Ghostbusters II came out and I remember being scared of all the ghosts.
So no, I wasn't a fanboy. I did of course eventually see 1984's Ghostbusters and I liked it, sure, but it didn't come to form some piece of myself. And let me confess this, the 'busters themselves didn't make that movie for me. It was the possessed, i.e. Rick Moranis and Sigourney Weaver, who did. The quest for the Keymaster and the keeper of Zuul in the fridge are my faves, and they have the most fun, too! So I have no real allegiance to Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis (R.I.P.) or Ernie Hudson and neither should these sniveling children of men who are crying for the 2016 version to fail. Why? Because that quadrant let a third film sit on the shelf for 27 years not wanting to do another one (really that was just Murray, though). Why not hand off the proton packs? Also, newsflash, knuckle-draggers across keyboards, the '84 film ain't erased from existence, you can still push play on that fucker any time you want. And your childhood and man-childhood will remain the same.
As for 2016's film. I think it's fine. It's weird to have to defend a film that's so broad and basic. But hey, Kate McKinnon should get 900 times more movie offers and Leslie Jones should get her own damn movie, too. And if both of those things happen because Ghostbusters is a success, awesome (plus if trolls go back into their caves and lose internet access, that's a bonus bingo)! But if the movie fails, it doesn't matter. These women are still funny and this shouldn't be a litmus test for funny women or even sequels, since Independence Day and Johnny Depp's Alice Through the Looking Glass already shit the bed beforehand.
But what about you? You already outed yourself as a fanboy—can you feel your childhood withering away?
Erik: I wasn't born yet when the Reitman original came out but I already had the blood of Spengler coursing through my veins when I arrived in 1986. And no, I'm not inferring that Harold Ramis had sex with my mother. I'm just saying that Ghostbusters was the first film I remember seeing that revealed to me the magic that movies could be. I showed up to my first day of Kindergarten at Baylake Pines in Virginia Beach with a proton-pack backpack. I introduced myself to teachers as Egon instead of Erik. I may or may not have experienced my first feelings of confusing sexual terror after laying eyes on Gozer. All of this is to say: Ghostbusters and my childhood shared a symbiotic relationship.
Which is exactly why, for the life of me, I do not understanding why these mouth-breathing grown men cry over Paul Feig's 2016 reboot. Swapping out funny guys Ramis, Hudson, Aykroyd and Murray for funny gals Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon literally takes away nothing from the original. We have to stop acting like this 32-year-old supernatural comedy is sacred, unassailable canon. Dan Aykroyd gets a ghost blowjob, for Christ's sake. It's broad and silly and scary and stupid—a perfectly serviceable summer movie for little boys to cheer and shout for. Why not let little girls watching movies in 2016 experience the same sense of wonderment that we boys got back in the early 90s watching this for the first time? These hate-nerds and Internet bottom feeders who have reduced the all-women Ghostbusters to a weightless gimmick are missing the very core point of its existence: gender-swapping isn't a gimmick, but a normal necessity.
I am so stoked to see Wiig (possibly the funniest human person alive), McCarthy (an undeniable powerhouse performer), Jones (who is long overdue for a breakout role) and McKinnon (who is just a maelstrom of magic that I never knew one person could possess) carry on the tradition.
Brian: Your 'bustin passion is about a million times stronger than mine. My class disruptions at that age were questions about Desert Storm and trying to steer the conversation to events I was seeing on TV. I didn't become obsessed with movies until I was 13 or 14. Which leads me to a question that we'll have no data for: How many of these extremely vocal detractors actually had a lifelong commitment to Ghostbusters and how many are just latching on to a topic that's being reported on ad nauseum for some stupid movement? I am disgusted by these man children, but they've also grown in numbers the more that we the media write about the vocal minority. As a film journalist we've been talking about these snivelers for a year and a half—it gets a site clicks and shares, sure, but it also allows them to flood the comments with sewage and then the cycle repeats itself.
Then comes the box office numbers and one side will trumpet victory for a while and more think pieces will come about audience reaction and what that means. This movie won't really become a movie outside of this narrative for at least another year or two or three. And that's bizarre. There's a movie coming out this weekend that won't even be judged outside of this gender prism for at least one calendar flip. That's what is exhausting to me. Because at the end of those 365 days it's just a comedy about five misfit nerds (the villain included)—and the beefcake Hemsworth—exploring the supernatural in New York City and impressing its mayor, Andy Garcia.
Erik: You're right. Just because these infantile, dusty "woe is my childhood!" keyboard crybabies have tried to reduce the new Ghostbusters into a gender gimmick doesn't mean we need to play into their hand. I'm excited to see Paul Feig's vision. He tends to bring the best out of his comedic players (especially McCarthy. Spy is all the proof one needs) and I can't wait to experience his fully-realized theater of the absurd, complete with weird science and Hemsworth abs. His career has been defined by the poignantly sweet (Freaks and Geeks) and the broad, comedy-of-errors variety (The Heat, Spy). I'm excited to see him weave his touching comic sensibilities with some sci-fi fun. Also, and I can't express this enough, it's Kate McKinnon's time to shine. Seeing her and Leslie Jones graduate from the small stage in Studio 8H to the silver screen is worth the price of admission alone.
Fandango just announced that Ghostbusters is the top pre-selling live-action comedy of this year, lapping the bro-centric vehicles Central Intelligence and Ride Along 2 (Sorry, Kevin Hart). Men lie, comment sections lie, but ticket sales don't.
Brian: Everything you're saying is on-the-nose. Remember when Snakes on a Plane went into heavy reshoots due to what the comment sections wanted? Yeah, that movie tanked. I hope that comment sections are no longer listened to by Hollywood because they’re likely full of folks who wouldn't plunk down money on it no matter what you did (plus, as we've already determined, comment sections are a nose cavern).
In that regard this Ghostbusters maybe subtweets the haters too frequently (it kinda becomes a wink-wink obsession), but I'm just glad this is being released so that I don't have to defend its existence anymore (you were more valiant; I think my spirit is worn down to a sad ghost hanky). Now I can get back to defending Kristen Stewart, Sofia Coppola, and that it's okay to still enjoy the NFL right now despite concussion effects— as long as you're following a winning team (Go Seahawks!).
Erik: Glad we fixed the Internet together, Brian. Ghostbusters forever, y'all.