What to Do With a Problem Like “Ghostbusters”Posted: July 29, 2016 Filed under: culture, film, writing | Tags: 1984 ghostbusters, 2016 ghostbusters, Culture, Film, Gender, ghostbusters, marketing, sony, writing 1 Comment
I was one of those chaps born in 1989, there are a few of us, and being one of those chaps I was perhaps too young to appreciate Ghostbuster when it came out in 1984.
Years later, when I was essentially an adult, I watched it again and found it to be…not that great.
The humour was a little meagre for my tastes, and the nerd/slacker focus was a tad uninspiring too. However, I found the creativity of the film, in ripping open the subject matter of nerds/slackers meet ghosts/history/NYC/paying the rent was tremendous; and this is the essence of the original Ghostbusters that the remake should have harnessed, rather than a mere brand name.
The film has received nastiness, nastiness inspired by revenge.
People are angry, but why so angry? Crappy films and crappier re-makes have been made and re-made before.
What’s the issue here?
Here’s the issue here.
Hurting Those Who Gave the Original Film the Prestige Sony’s Cashing in On
If you fuck with a cult film, you’re going to hurt people on an individual level if you don’t have the best intentions.
For a cult film to become so, like Ghostbusters, it requires that audience member to put a degree of themselves into their passion for it, in the same way anyone comes to love any project of theirs. So when someone (Sony) takes it and twists it, not for the better, you’re taking and warping a degree of that individual and in many cases it is their childhood or loner-hood.
Films can go from neglected to beloved by the power of the many individuals who come to love it and espouse its qualities and worth; best example being “The Big Lebowski” (my favourite).
The women and men currently in their 30s, those for whom “Ghostbusters” holds nostalgic and personal value, are smarting from not only the poor quality of the film but more so because now Sony has done it to them.
Want to know why they’re pissed off? Google “Ghostbusters” – see what comes up.
The Gender Issue
It wasn’t an issue.
It was an issue for one group only.
The audience didn’t care that it starred women, only the studio did. You can’t take a beloved film and have 1 new addition, otherwise it is simply cashing in on the former’s reputation.
“Ghostbusters…This Time With Women!” didn’t need to be made. The studio’s highlighting that this time it’s got women as stars is not a selling point – it shouldn’t matter if it is men or women starring; gender of the cast should not be a selling point.
Doing this only goes to offend the nostalgia fans, the feminist movement and the audience at large because it’s meagre and a pointless transformation.
Gender should not be a selling point and the studio have insisted to the contrary.
By all means, make a film starring solely women, but don’t try to make that the reason we should go and see it. That’s shoddy marketing and an insult to us all.
The best intentions for a film like this should be that you wish to go by the old mantra: similar but different.
You’ll want to modernise the film in terms of what will gain 21st century audience attention span along with 21C humour, whilst also keeping the essence of the original.
In this case study, Sony did not have the best intentions and sought only to cash in on the brand name’s prestige and inject minimal creative additions: gender (ir)relevance and crappy 21C fad humour.
Awkwardness is not funny, as the abysmal yet sadly typical trailer demonstrates.
Just look at the work of the great comic Sasha Baron Cohen, who’s “Borat” and “Bruno” exemplified tremendously that awkwardness is an eventuality – not an objective – of comedy. If it doesn’t come from a funny premise, it is merely awkward and that’s not worth anyone’s time. Cohen’s characters always came from a humorous premise and this is why the films were funny, whilst their hallmarks of awkwardness were an eventuality – not the objective and not the selling point.
Something to be born in mind here are those involved who are not to blame for Sony’s actions.
A good cast of actors, each with a promising future and dedication to their craft have been hoodwinked into believing this is going to be a quality product and have likely given this project their all, as have all those many names in the final credits of the production.
You can only do what you can do with a shitty script, poor direction and production, especially with an awful overseer in Sony.
They don’t deserve hate.
Given better projects, they’ll likely shine and we should wish them all well.
They will have learnt this bitter lesson.
Sony will probably do this again, as will other studios.
What to Do Now
Well, if you liked the original Ghostbusters, watch it again, laugh and remember, alone or with buddies.
The original film, or rather the “Good Ghostbusters” hasn’t gone anywhere.
It’s still there in all its 1984 glory.
So be sure your kids see that one first, and perhaps see what you can do to get the “Good Ghostbusters” higher in the Google rankings.
Go see the next Melissa McCarthy film, the next Paul Feig picture and even the next Sony release.
The might be good, might be horrendous, might be great. You’ll never know unless you go see it and give it a chance. If it’s rubbish; go home and watch the “Good Ghostbusters” again.
Let it fade into obscurity, just as this film shall, and relax.
Jeez, I don’t like either of them anyway.
Everyone Likes a ListPosted: July 19, 2015 Filed under: culture, film, lists, The Greatest Human to Ever Live, writing | Tags: dialogue, Django Unchained, Film, funny, Humour, lists, movies, Notting Hill, The Greatest Human to Ever Live, Wayne's World 2, writing Leave a comment
Everyone likes a list.
Lists were extremely popular in the mid-noughties when Channel 4 went about compiling Top 50’s concerning varying aspects of pop-culture.
Then they stopped. Not a negative. It was just one of those things Channel 4 did for a while.
And now we have Buzzfeed, a website of contributors with a seemingly limitless number of lists regarding that which I “Won’t Believe”, typically telling of celebrities and how they’re imperfect.
Judging from this thus-far five paragraph spiel you might think I’ve not one of those that I myself have listed in the category of “Everyone” liking a list.
But I do.
I like them a lot.
Typically on my own, though I find a list is also enjoyable when shared with a friend or colleague.
And it is in this state that the topic of the list becomes something I feel really rather passionate about.
Such as the following.
My Top Three Favourite Lines from Films.
Just three; so relax.
This isn’t going to take up your day or deteriorate your mentality to any worthwhile degree. For me anyway, if I could literally make you less intelligent just by your reading this then I’d indulge profusely.
Because I don’t like competition. And I don’t share well; particularly planets. Hintitty hint hint.
Spoken by Jamie Foxx as Django in *Django Unchained*.
“I like the way you die boy”.
The vengeful meal being devoured there by the protagonist is, though not being served cold, being immensely tucked into whilst still as hot as the sun beating down on them in the cotton field. Like a bullwhip of devastating victory bearing down upon you; he says that line. And then…
One shot. Killed thoroughly.
Vengeance taken by the fire-breathing former victim, a gun and then a whip, but nothing means as much as the throat-cutting line of “I like the way you die boy”.
For Django, in this scene, he is victorious in body and mind, whilst the slave driver dies hearing a return to his grotesque insult of “I like the way you beg boy” being upped and forgotten. And then he dies.
Victory total and vengeance absolute.
I sit here and tingle in a way I’d never tell my family about, though I’d express to you here because this is a list, and everyone likes a list.
Django could have fucked the offender’s mother, but he said this instead.
And it’s tremendous.
And it’s the better choice.
I have my reservations about a woman who raises a slave driver.
Spoken twice, once second better than the former, by Julia Roberts and then Hugh Grant in *Notting Hill*.
Bear with me comrades.
“I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her”.
Just allow that remarkable sentence to envelope you and to blossom open those most intimate memory cells from through your life.
Ubiquitous and familiar, entirely personal and perhaps the most important of moments within the many moments of our lives; we are all aware of it.
It certainly matters.
A shining example, laid down here by Richard Curtis, of heart-rending honesty to bring down all walls of ego so as to give you an unexpected rendezvous with the memory you have hidden away in your most sacred chambers of the mind.
That feeling you think of every day in either joy or melancholy.
Painfully one, and with the other of such heights you would never yield it to forgotten lore. It means all what you are.
Not in so many words does this occur (“asking him to love her”) but the situation spoken in the line is ubiquitous and it is so much of a familiarity that when Julia Roberts first speaks it we are struck by the fact that this is a reality shared by us all.
Despite all the poetry written, you thought you felt this with no other to recognise the feeling?
Via Richard Curtis; you are apparently not.
For a man to a woman, a woman to a man, charming and wooing with the intent of the best part of our time together or, as spoken, quite explicitly asking someone to love you; we are familiar and we feel it then as we hear the line spoken – just as though another has reached into our very souls and knocked; just to let us know that there is someone else who knows. And feels.
This reality of the situation, the fact that it is known and kept by us all (perhaps following a certain general age), is forwarded further by Curtis who then repeats the sentiment, though now with an audience of variety for the speaker (this time Hugh Grant’s character: Will Thacker).
In this scene, as Will retells the tale of what occurred previously in his travel book shop with the girl he loves, Curtis slowly pans the shot across the group of friends, showing their expression and their own private familiarity of love being plainly reached out for by one who feels it so they cannot contain nor can they express.
“Just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her”.
Of course there are connotations to the phrasing of this line in particular owing to the girl being the asking. It is from this we conjure the idea of a very young women, perhaps inexperienced in love but feeling it no less that a regular combatant, stating plainly her love for a boy and asking him to love her back. Because we love and need love back, and sometimes we have to ask (in a manner of speaking).
If not directly to ask, then to woo (if we can), though to ask directly is certainly unusual and it is undoubtedly a method far braver than any I have dared.
I’m a wooer.
The camera pans across the faces of the friends of Will and shows their shock at the shared and personal beauty of the sentiment and how it echoes in their own lives.
Will states the line, the situation, and the camera cuts from him to the friends whilst he is still speaking and it is in this moment that, via this wonderful line, that Will becomes the narrator of the tale timeless and the entirety of the film itself.
If a woman were to be saying it, I would imagine her to being saying it in a blue dress with bobby socks on. Carrying books. Erroneously ashamed of her spectacles.
Because it is innocent and pure, no matter whatever has come before.
The emotion emitted in this one line is the equivalent of what can be the most special moment of our lives being spoken in word form.
And it is wonderful.
So much so they said it twice.
Good for them.
*Wayne’s World 2* (a just title. Attempt to deny it isn’t as such. Try it).
Del, the world tour-worn roadie intended to represent the living tales of the heydays of rock and roll, is playing the part of the old war horse, with a gang of young faces and eagerly listening and admiring ears at his hand whilst he nonchalantly lights another cigarette.
And then he tells his story.
What turns out to potentially be his only story, about the tiger, the M&Ms, the little sweet shop and the shop keep and his son.
I’ll write nothing explicitly of what he says, save to say that when I would attempt, being all teenage and in awe, to repeat this tale within my group of friends I would fail most sweetly as I inevitably went about cackling in built up reaction to such a hilarious piece of dialogue.
It can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_7kg5ZzDZo
A real beauty by Mike Myers there.
And that’s my list for now.
That will do.
I know I was meant to write my next piece about my being the greatest human to ever live, but I did this instead.
Plus I’m not entirely sure what you’re going to do about it since I’m the greatest human to ever live and you’re sitting down.
Yeah. Accomplish something and make me. You chair user.
But, wait a momentous moment there pally, for what if I were to write reasons for my being the greatest human to ever live in list form?!
By gosh I’d bet you’d stand up and accomplish something then. Feel free to make me once in list form, sugar.
So to it; intention number 1: begin list series regarding reasons for my being the greatest human to ever live, number 2: write the first reason, number 3: write this regarding the essential reality of my superb ego and why it’s better than yours, number 4 (and finally): continue the series without concern for the months approaching and soon to be passing and just get it typed.
Thanks for reading.
I liked the *Notting Hill* part best.
The Evolution of the Vampire in Culture.Posted: January 2, 2013 Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Culture, Film, Humour, Literature, Opinion, Twilight, Vampires Leave a comment
Before we look at Vampires in culture, we have to realise that literature is not inspired only by other literature, for in the culture of our time- a book can be inspired by a film, and a film can be inspired by the preceding culture. Nothing wrong with that. That’s how things have always been, essentially. Stephenie Meyer (‘Twilight’ author) herself states that she wrote the series whilst seeing it in her head as though it was a movie.
However, the first vampire of the screen, and perhaps one of the more horrific, was the ultimate and grotesque ‘Nosferatu’- a terrifying and silent presence that was the immediate benchmark for scaring the good grief out of people in the audiences around the globe. This was Vampirism’s, and indeed Horror’s, most remembered early film pieces.
But let’s go right back to the beginning of vampires in literature. Not so far back as to take note that they were born from the mythology of a people telling tales of unholy beast-like things, but I guess I’ve just done that, so we’ll carry on into literature.
This is important, owing to where the genre of vampire fiction has ended up, particularly considering Twilight. Lord Byron, of literature, mythology and the side of a can of ‘Relentless’, is considered to have been the inspiration for the original vampire of literature- ‘The Vampyre’ specifically, making the nocturnal neck biters an utter ink-incarnation of romanticism. Unbearably beautiful, withdrawn and brooding, moonlight-pale (ironically owing to ‘cure’ of blood-letting), the panache vampire was short-lived in popular culture, till something similar rose from the pit in the form of that iconic identity; and it had a cape.
This is the vision of a vampire indulged in by the Halloween-ers each October, the standard of Vampirism: slick hair, cape, fangs and, of course, pale. This is all thanks to the hugely popular cultural offering of Bram Stoker. And so from there, Vampires have become an aspect present as a character or metaphor in mass culture, rather than mere mythology.
Here, the evolution to ‘Twilight’ becomes clearer in its roots, but it is still a great leap from the evil and emotionless character drawing blood from the throat of a (typically) white-dressed virgin on a cold night in an alleyway, all the way to the high-school setting being the transformed castle of a misfit that no-one can possibly understand and isn’t good at sports.
By this, I am referring to the manner in which the teen-drama has penetrated the genre like nothing else has ever been, even to the extent of spawning near-identical television series such as ‘True-Blood’ and ‘Vampire Diaries’. Though all these share the same teen-focus that fuels them, and makes the box-office intake immense. It is the latter point that is most important here, as its box-office success is of such substance owing to the inspiration it received from movies.
Take, for example, ‘Lost Boys’, in which pretty boys go through the trials of teenage life, avoiding social situations and stakes. Modernised. Appealing to the young. A perfect breeding ground for what would follow a few decades later.
But why teenagers? Thinking led me to the revelation that the link between the vampire and teenagers is what might be the most blatant aspect of them both. Nothing can ‘brood’ quite like a teenager. The need to stand out/away from the crowd of people being ‘pathetically’ happy is in abundance with the teenage population of every population. The premise of the idea is that most teenagers actually have no reason to be outside of the norm- they are very average owing to being essentially still children and therefore rather dull- the opportunity to escape from the awkward reality of adolescence and for an hour and half just pretend that there is a good reason to be moody is…bliss.
And this, noticed by the regrettably talented people that write and produce these new vampire stories, is only too easy to achieve, particularly when this idea is twinned with another of being able to have a beautiful cottage for absolutely no reason (see the latest ‘Twilight’ movie.
But ultimately, I must note that the reason that Vampire literature and films are the way they are is owing to very simple key business equation. Find the audience that is similar, or make the product similar. And now here we are. But it’s not a bad thing- as the culture is simply extending, though more for profitable reasons that artistic, but then the greatest films and books of all time wouldn’t have been made if they hadn’t had an invested interest.
So now we have Twilight, enjoyed by millions, but as well as this we have another aspect added to the culture. We now have something to mock, hate, and hold as a standard of what we don’t appreciate in culture. If it weren’t for this we wouldn’t have a low-point to keep ourselves from.
I’m not going to watch it again though; no matter how much she wants to.