One of the more curious things about the past week in film was the reaction to the first Ghostbusters trailer to come out. The usual sorts were out, of course, It came to a head with this article, which is the height of stupidity, and there were two main narratives to come out of it. They’re very important to look because one is going to be the focus on which film critics, writers on film and other wannabe film intelligentsia are going to be focusing on this summer when it gets released. This is the calm before the storm, when the agenda is set, after all, and focusing on what the story should be (and what it will) is the more interesting story.
The interesting thing I found was that Leslie Jones wasn’t given much than the stereotypical role that a lot of black actors find themselves in. Coming off an Oscars ceremony that focused on racism from the get go this is was rather disappointing, especially considering that Melissa McCarthy could’ve been much more interesting in the role. She seems be in the Aykroyd role and letting her be the big, loud abrasive personality that isn’t a scientist as well could’ve been fun. I’m not the only one who thought that, too.
The other issue that came up was the “girl power” angle, which manifested itself in 2015 with the Mad Max: Fury Road feminism controversy. It really wasn’t much of a controversy, or at least I thought, but the way the internet works is that when one person is about 10% more of a turd than they should be the rest of the world pushes back about 50% harder than necessary.
The trailer was disappointing because I went in to the trailer hoping for something great … and it’s like they remade the original but without any of the comedy. To me that’s the big story; for all the greatness that this film could have (and the jury is still out because the film hasn’t been released yet) the best they could do is that trailer. If that’s supposed to sell us on the film then it’s more sizzle than steak at this point. So far it’s gotten some push because it’s easy to call anyone sexist who doesn’t blindly support projects with female leads in them.
That’ll be the key once the film gets closer to release. Who’s the first idiot to say something that gets that 50% harder push back. Because ultimately that’s when what I call the “Miss Ellen” test will wind up coming out.
The “Miss Ellen” reference is an old South Park reference, for those who don’t get it right away, and the key to it is easy. Miss Ellen was a substitute teacher for the boys and they all had a crush on her, including Chef. She declined them, as she was a Lesbian, and it devolved into the boys doing all sorts of things like eating cardboard boxes and licking Cartman’s carpet so they could be Lesbians too.
It sounds like a bad skit gone wrong in a 90s fraternity competition, of course, and would cause all sorts of outrage if it aired new on Comedy Central, but the key is that a lot of cinematic intelligentsia types all follow And when the push back against the “sexist” backlash against the Ghostbusters remake starts it’ll be a mad rush to determine who’s the biggest feminist of them all.
As for me … I’ll be here, as always, resisting the urge to call this “Fatty falls down, this time she’s a Ghostbuster” in the headline.
Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz brings his trademarked irreverence and offensive hilarity to Twitter in 140 characters or less. Follow him @ScottSawitz .