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BATTLE: 'Ghostbusters' Spoiler Discussion

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Considering that Brandy and I both gave Paul Feig's Ghostbusters an A-, I don't think there's going to be too much on which we disagree, but there are plenty of spoilers we wanted to dive into. One thing the advertising for this film did well was keep a lot of major plot points under wraps, and we feel that you should discover them for yourself in the film proper, but once you do, join us in dissecting this spectacular new comedy!

The Cameos

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STEVE: I was worried about the various cameos from the original cast members being distracting, but they clearly put a lot of thought into how to work them all in. From the Harold Ramis bust to Ernie Hudson as Patty's uncle, there wasn't a single one of these cameos that didn't put a smile on my face. Seeing Bill Murray thrown out a window by a ghost was beautiful, especially considering the fact that he only wanted to do Ghostbusters 3 if he was a ghost. The best thing about it is that they didn't have to do this, but it proved how reverential they were being while blazing their own trail. With as much of a crush as you have on Holtzmann, Brandy, I can only imagine how much you liked seeing her and Sigourney together at the end...

BRANDY: Yeah, that was pretty thrilling for me. Dana was my favorite character in Ghostbusters, so that was a pretty pivotal moment. And Janine was perfect!  I missed the Ramis bust, though- I'll have to look for it when I see it again this weekend. I think my favorite was definitely Murray. He was so slimy. It was satisfying to see him chucked out the window.  By a DRAGON ghost. Which brings us to...

The Ghosts

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BRANDY: Special effects have come a long way since the 80s, huh?  These ghosts were just a little more scary, while being simultaneously entertaining.  Also, can we talk about how cool the dragon ghost was?  This makes the most sense to me.  If you come back as a ghost, and you can theoretically take the shape of anything, why would you want to be anything other than a giant dragon monster?  I know I wouldn't.  Steve?

STEVE: Totally! I also liked that there was a femininity to the dragon's design as well. It's subtle, but I noticed, and I tip my cap to you special effects wizards.

 

The End Credits

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STEVE: Virtually every time I see a film in 3D, the 3D ends the minute the film does. This one kept the 3D going throughout the credits, which also featured a deleted dance number. Honestly, the credits were as much fun as the rest of the film, especially seeing the dancing actors moving the credits with their sweet moves. I wish the Thriller-esque number had stayed in the film, but I was very, very happy to see them find a way to incorporate them without dragging the movie to a halt. As someone who stays to watch the credits for virtually every movie, I was so happy to see that they made a concerted effort to make the credits fun to watch. Brandy?

BRANDY: Oh hell yes. Those credits were amazing! Who knew Chris Hemsworth could MOVE like that? Damn. The creators of this film literally put love into the movie from beginning to end. 

 

The Awesome Feminist Statements This Film Makes

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BRANDY: No doubt about it, this is a feminist film. All the protagonists are female, and the villain is exactly the type of guy who would be complaining about this film or telling the internet he won't go see it, not to mention the dumb but pretty male secretary that throws sexism on its head. I also loved the little tip of the hat to haters with the youtube comments bit: "Ain't no bitches gonna bust no ghosts!" and the disgusted reaction to that was perfect.

But more than that, there's a subtle nuance to how the lady busters acted versus how the original Ghostbusters did when faced with adversity. There was a definite dichotomy that reflects how women are socialized versus how men are socialized—in the original Ghostbusters, they didn't take crap from anyone, and in this version, they decide to kowtow to the mayor's request that they pretend to be frauds. For all you guys out there, this is what it's like to be a woman. We are taught not to take up space, to minimize ourselves, lest we risk being unfeminine or bitchy. I loved how that got turned on its head by the end of the film and these ghostbusters were allowed their own place in society, with a budget, no less. It made me feel hopeful for the future of feminism. Steve?

STEVE: I absolutely loved this aspect of the film, in particular how they just sort of lined up behind the male mayor's request. Even more than that, though, I loved how they essentially objectified Chris Hemsworth, turning him into a fairly useless himbo that only serves to help the villain further his plan. It was a nice bit of gender reversal that played incredibly well.

 

The Only Substantial Plot Hole 

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STEVE: So the film isn't perfect, and the one substantial plot hole that really bothered me seems like it was caused by deleting a scene. After Rowan electrocutes himself and the Ghostbusters are arrested, Erin goes back to her apartment and the other three return to the Chinese restaurant. Erin then figures out that Rowan's death was part of his plan and desperately tries to alert the mayor before rejoining her teammates who have already descended on Times Square. When she returns, the others look genuinely surprised to see her, and then Erin says, "I won't leave you again" at the end when she goes to rescue Abby in the portal. I know that this was likely a reference to their original falling out, but it felt like there was a scene missing where Erin quit the team or something to that effect. It stuck out like a sore thumb in an otherwise coherent narrative, and while it wasn't a dealbreaker for me, it was extremely odd. What do you think, Brandy? Am I overreacting?

BRANDY: I didn't notice that, actually. But now that you mention it, retrospectively it does seem like something was cut out there. Guess we'll have to wait for the Blu-Ray/digital release to see if we were right. The only thing that bothered me was...

The Running Chinese Food Joke

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BRANDY: This was the only part of the film that didn't sell it for me in the least.  The wonton soup joke was a cute little throwaway joke that maybe deserved one callback—not as many as the joke got. They Will Ferrelled the joke- which is to say, they took a mediocre joke and beat it absolutely to death.  By the end of it, I was getting really sick of that deliveryman's face. Also, a joke about Chinese food takeout? Is this Seinfeld? Can we not? In an otherwise hilarious film, this joke just fell absolutely flat for me. Steve?

STEVE: I will admit that this joke got old, but then at the end when he brought the soup full of wontons, that got a chuckle out of me. It did indeed feel like a Family Guy gag, but the punchline worked for me, though it didn't need quite so much setup. 

 

The Reason the Trailers Sucked

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STEVE: There's a law to marketing comedy: Give away a few good jokes, but save the best ones for the people paying their money to see the film. One of the big reasons people hated the first trailer so much is that they didn't really give away any of the good jokes. This is both savvy and dumb at the same time, however. While I was glad that none of the film's biggest laughs—the bit about the "Anti-Irish Security System" or Holtzmann channeling Glinda while hunting Rowan, to name but two—I do wish they had shown a bit more of the comedy in the trailers. The entire debacle surrounding this film's marketing could have been solved had they let at least one of those big laughs into the trailer. I'm of two minds on this one, as I didn't hate the trailers, but understand why people thought they were bad. They were kinda bad, and not at all representative of the film itself. While that will fade with time, I do wish they had sold this film on how fucking funny it was. Brandy?

BRANDY: I'm with you 100%. Plus, the trailers made Leslie Jones out to be the "street-wise uneducated sassy black woman" trope, which came off as extremely problematic and it was the only legitimate criticism about the trailers I found. Why not cast a black woman as one of the scientists? In the film, thank god, she has a much bigger part to play than what the trailers indicated, she's an expert on the history of New York City, and that expertise proves to be very valuable throughout the duration of the film. Whomever made the film's trailers should be given a good sliming. But I'm nitpicking. Overall, it was an incredible movie, and I'm going back to see it this weekend—dressed like Holtzmann.

There you have it, folks! Anything we missed? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below!


Steve attanasie

Steve Attanasie

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