Gemma: I was quite startled by how much fun I had with this movie.
Rasha: I expected it to be fun, and I was really not disappointed. I have not been so gleefully anticipating blogging a film since we started this project. But it was even so much better than I thought it would be!
G: It really was! It was much more relaxed about itself than I anticipated. More so than Bridesmaids. Though I did once decide to resolve an argument you and I were having because I saw Bridesmaids.
R: It’s been so long since I’ve seen that, but I have fond memories. Also, I did see Spy finally, just recently, and liked it!
G: YES to Spy! Another one that exceeded my expectations.
R: What is it you mean by more relaxed about itself? I was surprised by how clear and layered an allegory the storyline was. They totally LEANED INTO the misogynist trolling and made that sh*t a natural and resonant and silly part of the plot! That surprised me. I loved that they went for it head-on.
G: They went for it head-on, and yet they had nothing to prove. It was that part that amazed me. They were telling a story, and it was a story that included sexism and misogynist trolling and weird creepy ghosts and a firehouse mere blocks away from my childhood home. McKinnon was, among the many other things she was that we’ll go into later, COMPLETELY original on every level. All of their leaning in was gracefully integrated with the plot, hilariously performed, and Chris Hemsworth was such a direct parallel to Sigourney Weaver in the original and with such a stunning sense of humor about himself as to cast the whole project as a response to the original more than a remake.
R: Thor is my favorite Hemsworth. I’m done pretending like I don’t have an opinion.
G: Actually, in appearance Liam is my favorite. But Chris is the better actor. He totes just proved that. Liam just does his Gale-brooding.
R: I did not enjoy the way Liam played Gale, it was Do Not Want from start to finish. But Chris got to be a bit funny in the Marvel movies, and then he was just an amazing Dada-ist fruitcake of delights in this film!
R: “A fish tank is a submarine for fish” seems like a line written by Kristen Wiig and it is hilarious coming from him.
G: Ferrealz. You stayed all the way thru the credits, yes?
R: OF COURSE I DID WHAT KIND OF CRETIN DO YOU TAKE ME FOR?!?!?!?!?
G: just checking.
R: SAFETY LIGHTS ARE FOR DUDEZ.
G: IT IS SO TRUE.
R: I need a stamp that says that.
G: I’m shocked you don’t have one already, tbh. Okay, I cannot keep my burning passion for Kate McKinnon silent a second longer. BECAUSE SERIOUSLY HOW IS THAT INCREDIBLE BIZARRENESS SO INORDINATELY HOT?
R: I am going to apologize again that I have not brought her Bieber to your attention sooner. Well, she is a very attractive person.
G: Well, sure, but that’s not the point. As we proved with the Hemsworths. The weird gaze with which she stares at her new ghost-conquering weapons … I want Holtzmann to use it to stare at ME.
R: And there’s a confidence that goes with being so wacky, and in such non-sexy ways. I find myself more wanting to BE McKinnon’s Holtzmannn than wanting to be with her. I would wear everything Jillian wears in the film. I will agree that McKinnon’s Bieber is hotter than actual Bieber.
G: I want to be with her, though I agree about the confidence. I have to admit that I am not all the way onto the McCarthy bandwagon–I think she’s good, but not the miracle in comedy that I keep being told she is. McKinnon–and Jones, and Wiig, both to slightly lesser degrees–see(s) something that’s genuinely singular. My Wiig fandom was cemented with Welcome to Me, a movie I thought extremely underrated.
R: I enjoyed her in the Rollerderby film with Page and Barrymore. And Bridesmaids. I confess, I could do with less of the SNL-style banter between McCarthy and Wiig–to me it just feels like a different texture and pacing of comedy than we might expect in an action comedy summer blockbuster. I do find McKinnon delightfully bonkers. I screamed and whooped and hollered through Holtzmannn’s fight scene. Ok, I gotta talk about Leslie Jones.
G: Go for it.
R: I really enjoy Leslie Jones, like she makes me want to go back and watch old episodes of SNL even though I don’t really like the show as a whole. Like her comedic persona of rapacious sexual confidence has me youtubing car insurance commercials. And I was bummed that the script did not respect her character at a few key junctures.
G: After the previews and the pre-media hoopla, I was actually pleasantly surprised at the level the script did respect her character. But I agree there were moments. What stood out to you?
R: Well, I’m not up in arms about the fact that Patty wasn’t a scientist–Jones herself wasn’t angry about it, and in the context of the script, Patty brings her own encyclopedic knowledge of New York history and working personal connections to get resources (not spoiling, but I LOVE HER UNCLE’S CAMEO!), but the script didn’t need to say ish like “We’re scientists…and Patty.” or in the rock metal concert when they’re trapping the ghost and Holtzmannn compliments Wiig’s and McCarthy’s characters but tells Patty that she needs to work harder. I was pissed.
G: OMG HER UNCLE’S CAMEO WAS THE BEST CAMEO.
R: I did also like the cab driver’s cameo.
G: Yes. And did you observe that the bust they saw was Harold Ramis? One of my viewing companions caught that.
R: Yes, and the dedication at the end was really sweet. I love how nearly all the living alumni (at least all those still acting) showed up to boost the reboot. It was a great example of how to reboot a franchise.
G: Yes, that was the joy of staying through the end credits. Getting our Sigourney Weaver on. But yeah, the “we’re scientists … and Patty” was pretty clear already. The rock metal concert moment didn’t bother me as much. I was a little bugged by the earrings moment, but it didn’t seem like a huge deal.
R: There were just so many petty lines like that, and they weren’t funny and they didn’t add anything.
R: So, this brings me to a question that lingers after the film, and is perhaps the one bitter note in what was otherwise a highly enjoyable film that had me dancing in my seat and laughing a lot. Are Holtzmannn and Patty, respectively, the Gay Best Friend and Magical Black character tropes? Abby and Erin come across as the central protagonists, and their friendship and friendship trials get a lot of air time in the film, along with backstory for each of their careers. Holtzmannn and Patty are, in my viewing, both way more fun characters and characters with way more potential to be even funnier, and upon reflection I’m a little bummed that they end up most often executing single gags. Am I being unfair? It may be my preferential love for Jones and McKinnon. Obvs. Wiig and McCarthy are bigger stars as of filming.
G: Don’t know if you’re being unfair, but I think you’re pushing it too far, especially given Holtzmannn’s spectrum-sincere speech at the end. I’d argue that the new friendship between Holtzmannn and Patty develops significantly over the course of the film, and that Abby and I cannot even remember Wiig’s character’s name’s friendship dilemma gets resolved pretty early on, making Holtzmannn and Patty’s somewhat more the journey. (Holtzmannn also isn’t technically canon-gay, though I agree, come on, we all get it.) Wiig is the textbook protagonist (you see what I did there?), but I don’t feel I know any more of Abby’s backstory than Patty’s. I agree that Wiig and McCarthy are the stars and get the Starring Roles, but I like Holtzmannn and Patty as show stealers, and the movie seemed to know that.
I was also just reading a diablog of NYTimes movie critics in which AO Scott pointed out that the lack of Backstory is one of the film’s strengths. There’s no romance, no families, nothing but fightin’ ghosts. And that is in some ways the most anti-sexist move in its arsenal.
R: Yeah, I don’t really need backstory in the sense of baggage. Maybe I’m just feeling sensitive to sequestering of Patty’s blackness rather than giving it context (I would really love her uncle and even family to show up more in the sequel, which is definitely coming!), and perhaps also to the ways in which Holtzmannn feels like queer-lady bait for the straight girls in some of the ways that Ruby Rose seems to be (which is not to say she isn’t also queer-lady bait for queer folks too!). I did really enjoy all the ghost fighting tech. I want that punching glove. That seems satisfying.
G: Every level of the tech seemed satisfying. Do ghosts just vomit ectoplasm onto you and then send you into the hell mouth? is there more to it than that? Holtzmannn didn’t read as queer lady-bait to me. I’m very interested in seeing the disability take on her, since to me the more potent aspect was her clear and joyful presence on the autism spectrum.
R: Hunh. I didn’t read it that way, but let me know if you find anyone talking about it.
G: I’m definitely keeping my eyes peeled.
R: I confess that I’m considering going to see this movie a second time. Possibly after a couple of glasses of wine. And being even louder.
G: Can we come up with a drinking game for it?
R: I have to use the bathroom so urgently that I can’t really think about drinking right now, but let me go and you can get us started!
G: Go ahead! I’d say every ectoplasm vomit requires a drink, but that might be too easy.
R: Oh sure, that’s just good Ghostbusting tradition.
G: Possibility: drink at each takedown of MRAs?
R: Take a drink everytime: Someone makes a casually disrespectful comment about Patty. Or you see a cameo or easter egg from the original movies.
G: (I never saw Ghostbusters II.)
R: (Check out the Honest Trailers for them!! They allege that GB2 was the film that ruined the franchise :)
G: (I mean, if 2 ruins the franchise, it’s a stretch to call it a franchise.)
R: Take a drink everytime Kevin is so ridiculous that it makes you forget how handsome Chris Hemsworth is.
G: Take a drink every time the Holtzmannn gaze sets you on fire. #allthedrinks
R: Take a drink everytime the Ghostbusters explode a ghost. Follow these instructions and you will have a 3 day hangover.
G: Clearly, that’s what we’re here for.
R: We didn’t even talk about the rendering of the big ghost at the end as the Mean Version of the GB LOGO!!! And how Kevin is both the villain and the damsel in distress!!! Ah, so much to love.
G: And the sheer glee of taking down the big ghost.
R: I did really enjoy the takedown of the Staypuft marshmallow balloon with a pocket knife. Every woman should have one. Truer words.
G: Tru. Dat.