For whatever reason, Ghostbusters wasn't a movie that played a major role in my childhood.
Actually, Peter Venkman, Egon Spengler and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man are still in my Netflix queue waiting to be discovered.
So when there were rumblings of a reboot, there was no skin off my nose. When it was announced the new team would be all women, it sparked some mild curiosity, especially when Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig were confirmed to be on board, reunited with Bridesmaids director Paul Feig.
Many, many others, however, took this as a personal affront. A phalanx, primarily comprised of men (well, dude-bros), felt itches in their fingertips and satisfied them by making the first Ghostbusters trailer the most down-voted movie preview in YouTube history.
One reviewer, James Rolfe a.k.a. the Angry Video Game Nerd, has flat-out refused to see the new film when it debuts July 15. An unabashed fan of the original franchise, Rolfe explained in a Cinemassacre video that his reasons have more to do with how the new characters, regardless of whichever bits they possess, will be integrated into the series. He pointed to the recent Star Wars and Star Trek continuations as examples of how to transition from one generation of Jedis and Spocks to the next.
Those were cool, to be sure, but Adam West didn't hand off his shark-repellant bat spray to Michael Keaton, and he didn't ceremonially pass off the keys to the Batmobile to Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale or Ben Affleck.
Per IMDb.com, Bill Murray will make a cameo, which Rolfe protested as an insult. And because he refuses to see the movie, he doesn't even know if the cameos will be the hand-offs he requested. Wonderful.
Some of the other criticisms weren't untrue, but are general plagues in Hollywood. Of course it's a cash grab. So is every other blockbuster.
He only touched on the fact all the Ghostbusters are women in passing, but considering the flick is getting higher-than-usual attention because of its casting choices, the boycott is at the very least a bad look and quite possibly a thinly veiled tantrum.
Comedian Patton Oswalt called out Rolfe on Twitter for his essentially pre-conceived review and was deluged with insults related to his wife's recent passing from a bunch of furious e-bros.
Oswalt is more than familiar with beloved franchises of his youth being ruined. One of his most famous and hilarious bits is about his disappointment with the Star Wars prequels. Unlike many whiners nowadays, he didn't charge that the director, producers and studio executives have gone back in time and spat on, shat on or brutally murdered his childhood. He just jokes about preventing George Lucas from being able to make the prequels because they wasted his time as an adult. And, hey, if the worst part of being a kid comes when you're 35, you're probably doing OK.
A recent FiveThirtyEight.com article analyzed how men were more likely to tank the IMDb ratings of shows aimed at women.
Not only do men voice their opinions on shows aimed at them (several shows had 97 per cent of their ratings from men while the highest on the women's list was 88 per cent women), they also gave out the lowest rating for a show courting women twice as often as did women for a show appealing more to men. In general, though, men were only slightly more likely to assign a "1" than women.
Author Walt Hickey found the Top 100 shows appealing to men scored nearly a full point higher than the Top 100 shows appealing to women. As well, he found women, on average, ranked only two shows a full point or more lower than men, on average, just making the cutoff.
Men, however, ranked 50 shows a full point or more below women's ratings. America's Next Top Model and Keeping Up With the Kardashians (both of which I'm sure are available at any local library) bore the brunt of it, with differences of 2.6 and 2.5 points, respectively, but a strong, smart sitcom in The Mindy Project was also dragged down, seeing a gap of 1.6 points between women and men.
I'm not taking the "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" tack by any stretch. But not everything is for you. If you were forced to sit through The Notebook and didn't care for it, well, maybe you weren't supposed to.
Maybe it is just a silly IMDb rating. And in Hollywood, certainly, money talks louder than even the most respected critics. But in a crowded entertainment marketplace, if potential viewers pass up a show they might enjoy because of low ratings, it doesn't bode well for shows like it in the future.
It may leave us with plenty of ghosts and no one to bust them.
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