MANDY SCREAMS AT GHOSTBUSTERS 2016

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If you haven’t heard by now, the world has gone mad, the streams have crossed—and yes—the Ghostbusters are girls.

This year’s intended summer blockbuster has had many an armchair critic, along with pros like my man, Deadwest, poised to be slimed in the face by derivative drivel unworthy of the cinematic classic that inspired it in 1984. Although DW was willing to use his pointed boots and his rude reviews to kick the reboot back to its own hell dimension, he had high hopes for a respectable revamp.

Let’s be clear, Scream Freaks, DW’s machismo should not be mistaken for misogyny. His reluctance to embrace the 2016 version of “Ghostbusters” had nothing to do with the potential mix of estrogen and ectoplasm. It was simply a matter of someone tampering with—and possibly besmirching the legacy of a franchise he cherishes. Truthfully, I was the one who went to the theater Friday night thinking the film would be a farcical, overly feminist, embarrassing homage to girl power.

With that said, DW was too worked up to wax sarcastic this week, so he had to make a call—who better than his ghostly girlfriend to discuss whether the reboot was a bust?

During our screening, viewer reactions ran the gamut. A few things overheard in the theater:

Little girl to thirty-something mom: That was super! Thank you for sharing the Ghostbusters with me. I loved it!
Mom: You’re welcome, sweetie. I thought it was great too.

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Thirty-something man to screen: “Why, Thor, Why?”

I could go over the history of the film’s storied path to the big screen—from Dan Aykroyd’s efforts to launch a third “Ghostbusters” movie in the nineties to Bill Murray’s reported requests to be a ghost of his own character—to the production that ultimately featured four female leads. Instead, I’ll reduce it to what a review is supposed to be—my overall opinion:

I liked it. Could it have been better? Sure, but I’m not making a special ghost appearance to debate the nuances. If you go to the theater bitter that no one can match Bill Murray, you’ll face disappointment of biblical proportion (Egon, ’84), but regardless of whether it’s a box office bonanza, “Ghostbusters” does what a reboot should. It takes you to a familiar, happy place and expands the world that you’ve loved revisiting so many times. Think of your favorite bedtime story as a child. As much as you loved it, at some point, you may have found yourself longing for more—to have that feeling of total immersion that you had when you first discovered an entrancing new world.

The film had protagonists who were a little down on their luck—people with dreams trying to do the right thing when the odds were against them. They were destined to become heroes, but in order to do that, they had to put aside the things humans do to offend one another and work as a team to defeat a common foe. Storytelling 101 combined with cartoony but captivating specters worthy of R.L. Stine . . . Add some apt cameos and a kickass soundtrack, and you’ve got an amalgam of awesome held together with the gooey and goofy richness of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

Okay, let’s go the traditional review route for just a minute. The much-maligned Melissa McCarthy anchors the film (no pun intended) as Abby, the researcher who never gave up on her theories, even when her best friend did. Kristen Wiig is surprisingly effective as the “straight man” in an ensemble comedy. Leslie Jones, as the potentially overpowering Patty, tones down the stereotypical role and endears herself as the only non-scientist who becomes an integral part of the team. The breakout was Kate McKinnon, who took time away from her Hillary Clinton impersonations on “Saturday Night Live” to deliver the best and most bizarre performance by a particle physicist since the Big Bang. Finally, we have to talk about Kevin—Chris Hemsworth transforms the dumb blonde persona, showing range and creating a multifaceted, though at times intellectually indifferent character, who compels viewers to care about more than his pretty face and pretty body and . . . you get the point . . . Even Neil Casey as villainous mastermind Rowan North gives us the spot-on classic combination of one-dimensional evil and a grown-up outcast who just wants to be loved. As a bonus, there were actors who seemed like parodies of people (think Rick Moranis from the original and now, Zach Woods-AKA Gabe from “The Office” in 2016) and delightfully stepped out of the pages of a children’s book for your entertainment.

All in all, the performances are solid, the plot points don’t hinge on gender, and the film is not “Bridesmaids” with proton packs. The stars of “Ghostbusters” 2016 charged the lines, created the vortex, and broke the barriers (Rowan North, ’16). I’m not speaking of the proverbial glass ceiling but of a barrier that’s much harder to push past—the skepticism of loyal fans who treasure a favorite film.

I realize that many of you will vehemently disagree. I’m okay with that—but if you really want to get an apparition angry, we can talk sometime about the ridiculous reboot of “Charlie’s Angels” someday.

For now, I’ll leave you with a sidebar on the soundtrack and a little tune I made up to express some of the angst we all may be feeling about a remake. Let me alleviate one concern—YES, the movie features the original tune, along with a few other touches from the original theme master, Ray Parker, Jr. The new version, with a raunchier rhythm, is provided by Fall Out Boy and Missy Elliott, but the runaway hit should be “Good Girls” performed by Elle King whose scratch-tastic voice is like a Brillo pad of brilliance with an oddly soothing effect. The only part that rubs me the wrong way is the line about “going to hell anyway,” as this serene spirit divides her time between the good place in the clouds and that little slice of heaven called the Howl Inn where my DW dishes up “Screaming Soup.”

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The lyrics below are set to the tune of “I Want a New Drug” (Huey Lewis and the News from the album “Sports,” 1984). If you don’t know why, Google Huey Lewis- Ghostbusters-Lawsuit.

I Want a Reboot

I want a reboot
One that won’t make me sick
One that won’t trash the first
With its four chicks and no d***

I want a reboot
One that won’t ride the name
One that channels Venkman and Ray
Not a lame version of the same

One that won’t make me nervous
Wondering, “What did they do?”
One that won’t make stand up, throw my popcorn, and say “Booooo!”

I want a reboot
One with the right cast
Cool special effects
With the vibe of the past

I want a reboot
Not something lackluster
One that makes me wanna put on put on a proton pack
And be a REAL GHOSTBUSTER

I want a reboot
One with the right song
One that’s not a lawsuit
If Huey Lewis gets done wrong

One that won’t make me nervous
Wondering, “What did they do?”
One that makes me feel like I feel when I’m with you . . . that’s you, Bill Murray

I want a reboot
One that might go away
One that won’t replace the classic
But makes me feel so good today

One that won’t make me nervous
Wondering, “What did they do?”
One that makes me feel like I feel when I’m with you
When I’m alone with you
Yeah, Yeah, when I’m alone with you . . .

-Mandy

Follow me on Twitter! @ScreamWithMandy!

screaming with mandy class next copy

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