Ghostbusters: Why Sony’s ‘Slime the Critics’ strategy is important


Ghostbusters as a film is mostly forgettable, but the politics that have surrounded Sony’s project for months are something that should stay at the forefront of fans’ minds for a long time. Paul Feig and those connected with the project determined that a “Slime the Critics” strategy would pay off when it was clear that a $150 million investment was in big trouble — and it paid off. Reviewers were clearly afraid of being labeled sexists, and evidence of that is available on Rotten Tomatoes, YouTube, and across the internet.

Although I reviewed the movie opening weekend, my newest YouTube video discusses Sony’s small victory in terms of securing good reviews from political allies and moving the need in its direction with nice guys who have no desire to wade into gender politics.

Ghostbusters: Kate McKinnon and crew can’t save Paul Feig’s shoddy screenplay

Erin Gilbert

The new Ghostbusters is finally in theaters, and the good news is that its first trailer (the most hated YouTube video of all time) was not an accurate predictor of the movie’s overall quality. The bad news is that Ghostbusters, like Batman v Superman, is a film that is done in by a shoddy screenplay. The cast does the best it can with writer-director Paul Fieg’s story (co-written by Katie Dippold), but no amount of improvisation can lift the product above “mildly amusing” status.

Ghostbusters Holtzmann

First off, anyone who has seen the original Ghostbusters will know how the story goes:

  • Female versions of Dr. Peter Venkman, Dr. Raymond Stantz,
    Dr. Egon Spengler, Winston Zeddmore form a band of misfit do-gooders who believe the city faces a spiritual threat of gargantuan proportions.
  • City officials treat them like second-class citizens.
  • The Ghostbusters piece together a mystery and stop a paranormal apocalypse by closing a portal to the netherworld.

Bill Murray Ghostbusters

With that being said, I think it is important to review Mr. Fieg’s movie by pretending the original film never existed. If the world were never introduced to Bill Murray’s Dr. Peter Venkman, then how would critics rate this movie?

They would say the following:

  • Kate McKinnon is a firecracker. Whether one likes or dislikes her weird tics throughout the movie, there is an energy and “it” factor to “Holtzmann” that a franchise can be built on.
  • The villain, Rowan (played by Neil Casey), is hardly defined — and that is putting it nicely. His motivations are not shown — viewers are told he was “bullied” when he was younger — and his actions during the movie’s climax make no sense. He literally controls a sea of cops and military personnel, but then chooses not to do the same to the four people who clearly pose a threat to his plans.
  • Chris Hemsworth’s character, Kevin, is so stupid that he is borderline retarded. Even if he is a parody of the “bimbo secretary,” I cannot remember a single female in similar roles who came across as Dumb and Dumber-stupid. Even desperate employers would not hire the man, no matter how handsome he may be.
  • There was obviously a Michael Jackson-inspired “Thriller” scene planned for the film that was cut from the finished product and wedged into the end credits. The problem is that aspects of the scene do show up in the film, which makes the audience go, “Huh? Why are the cops and the soldiers frozen in ‘Thriller’ poses? What the heck?”
  • Tension does not exist in this film because at no point does anyone feel as though the Ghostbusters might be in real danger. They become masters of new and experimental technology fairly quickly, and the one time they appear to be in trouble the camera angle shows them with the kind of smashed faces one might see in a Ghostbusters cartoon.

Ghostbusters Abby Patty

Ghostbusters is a movie that is worth checking out on Netflix if there is nothing else to do on a Friday night, but it is not worth full price at the movie theater. It is a movie that fails not because its cast is filled with women, but because its screenplay is sloppy.

Finally, it must be mentioned that Bill Murray’s cameo will be painful to watch for anyone who enjoyed the original films. It is hard to believe the man agreed to the part unless he has serious issues with Ivan Reitman. If Mr. Fieg or anyone else associated with this re-imagining thinks they were giving the 1984 Ghostbusters a respectful tip of the hat with Mr. Murray’s cameo, then the property is in worse hands than previously thought.

If you have a little kid who really wants to see ghosts busted, then you probably should buy a cheap ticket on an early Sunday. If you don’t have kids, then my suggestion is to wait until you can check it out for little to no cost. That isn’t an “I have a thing against women” thing, it’s an “I have a thing against paying full price for muddled writing” thing.

Did you see Ghostbusters this weekend? Did you refuse to see it? Either way, let me know what you think of Sony’s tentpole film in the comments section below.

Update: Here is my latest YouTube video on Ghostbusters and why the “Slime the Critics” strategy is important.

The Federal Government: Your Personal Stay Puft Marshmellow Man. Stick with The Private Sector.

Recently I was watching Bill O’Reilly discuss insurance companies, and how they “profit off the sick” with John Stossel. Normally I only like watching The No

Which is more dangerous: A government like Stay Puft...or Geraldo Rivera?

Spin Zone when Neil Cavuto gives him an economic beat down, but I think I can grow fond of Stossel picking up the old Irish guy and giving him an intellectual suplex. However, it mildly frustrated me when John had an opportunity to deal Bill a devastating blow, but opted to pull back instead. The idea that anyone who “profits off the sick” should somehow provide their service for free (or a severely-reduced charge) is silly, emotional, and endemic of the kind of appeals liberals make for their Federal Government Stay Puft Marshmellow Man Dreams. If Bill wasn’t 90 feet tall I’d slap him across the head and tell him to read a book or two by Thomas Sowell.

Here’s an example. Years ago I worked as a substitute teacher in a high school just outside Chicago. Before I became permanently assigned to one school, my workload for the week fluctuated with how many teachers were sick, on vacation, or taking a personal day. However, the bulk of the time I was making money off the stuffy noses, sore throats, and hospital stays of full-time educators! Every week I was pulling in enough money to pay my bills, support a few hobbies, and still save money for a rainy day. But, according to Bill’s logic (who admits the insurance industry’s profit margins are rather tame compared to others), I should somehow feel dirty for providing a much-needed service to those who required it.

Are insurance companies perfect? No. I’m sure there are areas of reform both conservatives and liberals can agree on. However, my problem with Bill is that he’s made the decision to pander to “the folks” the kind of pap John “Two Americas:“The One Where I’m Faithful and the One Where I’m Not” Edwards did on the campaign trail. Why? Because he still maintains he’s “Independent.” Okay, Bill… Give me a break.

If you’re “independent,” then Geraldo Rivera didn’t just get side-swiped by a giant wave. Or give away our troops’ position. Take your pick.

Liberalism: The World’s Rick Moranis

If you’ve read this blog you know I’m a pop-culture junkie, which means that Allahpundit over at hotair has left me no choice but to wrap my arms around his blog post like Steven Guttenberg would a little baby.

Anyone wondering why liberal Hollywood would remake Police Academy should also wonder why liberal Hollywood always goes back to the proven public policy box office bombs peddled by progressives throughout history.

Personally, the majority of the time I look at liberalism as an ideology modeled on the life work of Rick Moranis. Sure, liberals always portray themselves as cool (and they’ve done a good job marketing it, I’ll admit that), but it can be delegitimized if we get a few astute observers pointing out that often times their social experiments shrink things (i.e., the economy), blow things up (i.e., federal deficits), or become monsters with a life of their own (i.e., endless entitlement programs). And sometimes…they befriend the world’s Gozer clones (e.g., Sean Penn’s man-crush on Hugo Chavez).

Allah then goes on to mention another important point in a recent thread, which will carry this blog post home:

“The government is no more evil than are big corporations, Wall Street bankers, university professors, media barons, Pentagon generals or anybody else. I am sick of the way our government leaders and our financial titans behave, and I think they do not have the best interest of the country at heart. But to declare them as an entire class ‘evil’ is not only to be unserious about the challenges facing us, but it’s also to run the risk of a kind of utopian thinking that can destroy lives and whole societies.”

Just because the Ideology of Rick Moranis sometimes cuddles up with creatures from another dimension that could bring about hell on earth, it’s still dangerous to start sliming people as “evil” with whom we disagree. That’s why I stick to things like Barack Obama: America’s Orko. Because when you start demonizing your critics, you turn into Janeane Garafalo and Rosie O’Donnell.