I should have been a Ghostbusters kid. I adored everything horror related from the time that I could remember and a comedy that featured green ectoplasm spewing spirits should have been right up my alley. But, I actually never even saw it until I was an adult. I should have been a Ghostbusters kid. But I wasn’t.
Lately, with the reboot so prominently fixated in film fans’ minds, I was wondering a bit about this and I think I’ve finally figured out why. It was too straight. Not that the ‘80s slashers films weren’t. But, at least with them, there was room for speculation among its chiseled final guys and athletic, half clothed male victims. But the comics (and comic actors) of that era – Eddie Murphy, Robin Williams, Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Richard Pryor, Gene Wilder, Steve Martin – all seemed so relentless heterosexual to me. In fact, as an awkward gay kid growing up in a small town, their humor didn’t seem designed for me at all. And, secretly, I wondered if it wasn’t even pointed at me, on occasion. Of course, Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, the leads of the original Ghostbusters, pretty much fell in with that crowd. Thus, the film never even buzzed around the corner lines of my interest until much, much later.
So, while I still puzzle over the appeal of such films as Stripes – as much as I want to, I really don’t get them – I have come to enjoy Ghostbusters. Not as much as those who grew up marching to its puffy white rhythms, but I have become much more enthusiastic about it as I age. I also have come to realize, especially in the wake of the rampant dismay about the female driven remake, that while the film, itself, wasn’t necessarily too straight for me, maybe some (or a whole lot, as the case may be) of its fans are.
How else do you explain the avalanche of false, negative ratings placed on sites about the film by people who hadn’t even seen it? How else do you reconcile the hatred lobbed at Leslie Jones, its black actress, on Twitter? How do else do you calculate the dismay expressed by some when its suggested that they go see the film just to guarantee that other action films starring women will have a chance at getting green lit? Isn’t that a more worthy reason to see a film than simply because Ryan Gosling (or Kate Winslet or Ryan Reynolds) is in it and you never miss one of his movies?
In fact, it’s an especially valid reason to see the film because, as a whole, this Paul Feig reboot is solid entertainment. Granted, there is something a bit commercial and cookie cutter about it, following the original’s plotline as closely as it does. But Jones and (particularly) her co-star Kate McKinnon, as the madcap (vaguely lesbian) inventor of the bunch, are able to break out of the molds prescribed to them and do some amazingly fun and inventive work.
And anyone who doesn’t thrill to watching women save the day while still finding ways to support each other, despite their differences, has to be a little heartless…and unconcerned about the future of America. That may be a bold statement. But, to not acknowledge the victories this film can claim for young girls, who are so desperately in need of super heroines that fit an ordinary mold, is wrong…and totally, totally straight.
Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!