Ghostbusters All-Female, ‘Scarier’ Reboot Clear Evidence Hollywood is Out of Ideas
One of the more unsettling news items to emerge from the Sony hack attack is director Paul Feig’s decision to go with an all-female cast for Ghostbusters 3. But before we begin, you’re invited to read my philosophy on sequels that occur at least a decade after an original (or in Godfather 3’s case, a sequel of the greatest sequel).
Of course, all never fail to greatly disappoint, as we’ve seen from the likes of the horrific Anchorman 2, Caddyshack 2 (nine years after the original, but we’ll let the decade-after-rule slide), Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Indiana Jones: Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and the impossibly-tedious Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. It’s as if everyone from Stone to Spielberg to Lucas all echoed Jay Gatsby‘s retort when told by Nick Carraway that he couldn’t repeat the past: “Can’t repeat the past?” Gatsby asked back to Nick incredulously, “Well of course you can.” We know all know how that eventually worked out for poor Jay…
So now it’s revealed that Ghostbusters 3–now 26 years beyond the mediocre-at-best Ghostbusters 2—will not feature the likes of Bill Murray or Dan Aykroyd or Sigourney Weaver or Rick Moranis or 80s resident douchebag William Atherton (Walter Peck, who basically played the same character as an attention-loving reporter in the first two Die Hards). Instead, we’ll likely get–speaking of playing the same character over and over–the one-trick pony that is Melissa McCarthy, the ubiquitous Rebel Wilson (enough already, please), and Kristen Wiig, who is proving to be a one-hit wonder on the movie front (no notable work since 2011’s Bridesmaids). Emma Stone and Jennifer Lawrence are also rumored to join the cast, but would be wise to keep their reputations intact and pass quickly on this one.
In the end, here’s the bottom line: Any Ghostbusters without Murray and Harold Ramis (who passed away too young last year) will fail spectacularly. Murray is particularly the key, as without him the original is likely just another run-of-the-mill, laregly-forgotten 80s comedy. Anyone who has seen the original Ghostbusters knows he absolutely carried that film…courtesy of Ramis providing him every great line in the same fashion he did in Stripes two years earlier. A personal favorite scene is Murray’s Peter Venkman–in an effort to convince the mayor of New York to send in the Ghostbusters to save the day instead of putting them in jail–offering up this perspective:
Dr. Peter Venkman: This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.
Mayor: What do you mean, “biblical”?
Dr. Raymond Stantz (Aykroyd): What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath-of-God type stuff. Fire and brimstone coming down from the sky! Rivers and seas boiling!
Dr. Egon Spengler (Ramis): Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes…
Winston Zeddmore (Ernie Hudson): The dead rising from the grave!
Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together – MASS HYSTERIA!
Mayor: Enough! I get the point! And what if you’re wrong?
Venkman: If we’re wrong, then nothing happens. We’ll go to jail. Peacefully. Quietly. We’ll enjoy it. But if we’re right, and we can stop this thing… Lenny… you will have saved the lives…of millions…of registered voters.
Classic Murray. So can director Paul Feig deliver the same kind of material? According to him, he’s only promising to make his Ghostbusters reboot “scarier,” which completely misses the point on why the original is a Top-10 movie of that decade: It wasn’t the special effects of ghosts flying around New York or the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man nearly conquering it that had Americans flocking to theaters in the summer of ’84, it was the perfect cast, the chemistry, the writing that made it a classic. It’s also why there should have been no attempt to duplicate the magic in ’88 (which felt mailed in for an easy paycheck) and why Part 3 will bomb critically and financially whenever it is released this year or next.
By the way, while we’re at it, why not do a reboot of the Charlie’s Angels reboot with an all-male cast? (Channing Tatum, Seth Rogen and Zac Efron should do the trick, with Christopher Walken as the voice of Charlie). We should also really look into a female Superman as well: pretty simple to pull off…just take the script from another 80s classic (OK, cult classic) Just One of the Guys (the poignant story of a high school female reporter posing as a guy to get a story). We’re also due for another Smokey and the Bandit reboot as well, but instead of Burt Reynolds, we throw in Gwyneth Paltrow into the Trans-Am instead. Billy Bob Thornton can play the Jackie Gleason Buford T. Justice role. See? It’s that easy.
As you may have heard, Hollywood is suffering through a horrific stretch at the box office (its worst since 1995). It’s as if they’ve either run out of ideas or don’t have the stomach to actually try something new.
An all-female cast for Ghostbusters? This is the overdue-sequel equivalent of the danger of crossing the streams.
Please… just let an iconic flick just rest in peace.
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