I have almost always been of the opinion that one should actual see a movie before offering a critique of said movie. Seems simple, right? You can’t participate in the class discussion if you haven’t done the required reading. Dan Aykroyd has seen the new Ghostbusters reboot and stated on twitter that he found it “brilliant.” And that lead a lot of people who hadn’t seen the film yet to disagree with him. And worse, because this is the internet.
Aykroyd, who created the concept of working-class joes whose job it is to catch pesky poltergeists when he co-wrote and co-starred in the original 1984 comedy classic, took to social media over the weekend with this pronouncement –
"As originator of the original: Saw test screening of new movie. Apart from brilliant, genuine performances from the…
Now I will grant that as a producer on the film, Aykroyd does have a financial stake in the film. But no more so than any other person who goes out on the promotional circuit, hawking their latest project on social media and making the talk show rounds. Sometimes the enthusiasm they show for their latest work is perhaps fueled a bit more by contractual obligation than it is by pride, but never has anyone been greeted with the vitriol that has been heaped upon by Aykroyd by alleged fans of the Ghostbusters franchise.
Needless to say, as with all things Ghostbusters-reboot related on the internet, the backlash was sudden, hate-filled and ridiculously out of proportion. To quote from some of the tweets that blasted back Aykroyd’s way –
- “May I respectfully say: Royalties Whore!”
- “I’d rather eat shit.x,”
- “They raped your baby and you’re thanking them”
- “the girl one? Government propaganda. Destroy Men!!!!! Shame on men and white men mostly!!!!!!!!!”
- “how do we know you aren’t just saying what you’re contractually obligated to say? Heard they they threatened to sue you and the other original cast members if you guys didn’t cameo.”
As you can see, not the most logical or well thought out of rebuttals. Crazy screaming, offensive hyperbole and conspiracy theories, yes. Well done, certain sector of Ghostbusters fandom. You have successfully out-crazied those loonies who insist that Disney has somehow been paying off film critics to disparage Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice while over-hyping Marvel Studios’ output. (Not that this makes those guys look any saner, mind you. They’re still just as crazy.)
Now granted, there are some legitimate criticisms to be made about what little we’ve seen from the film so far. There are some who complain that the trailers don’t look all that funny to them, and that’s fine. Humor is indeed subjective. The original trailer for Ghostbusters back in 1984 was not wall-to-wall yucks either and even director Paul Feig has stated that he finds it hard to cut trailers for his films as his comedy comes more out of characterization than in just punchlines. Some have complained that they don’t like how the visual effects look, and I suppose that could be an esthetic choice, though I don’t see any problem with them. But the abuse being hurled at Aykroyd by people who allegedly love the thing he created goes so far beyond the pale.
We’ve seen the dark, ugly underbelly of fandom all the time. In the past year we’ve seen the aforementioned Marvel Studios conspiracy theories and the misogynistic outcry over female leads in the current line up of Star Wars films. But the vitriol that has been unleashed towards this movie ever since it was announced seems without precedence. Some of defended their screeds by saying that they’re just tired of remake-after-remake from Hollywood. But why is this film their line in the sand? I think some of the above quoted tweets certainly go a far way in explain what is wrong with these people.
I could spend probably a thousand words or so dissecting and critiquing all the knuckledragging lunacy. I could spend a number of paragraphs pointing out to all those self-aggrandizing idiots who feel that they have to take an oh so brave stance and announce to the world that they aren’t going to see the film that that’s fine, but that also means that they have to shut the hell up because by not seeing the film, their uninformed opinion means less than nothing. But it wouldn’t matter. They’re going to behave the way they are, and the rest of us are going to continue acting like adults.
Personally, if these assholes are staying home, I think that’s as good a reason as any to head out to the theater on July 15, when Ghostbusters makes its debut. At least at the theaters you won’t have to deal with these cretins.