Ghostbusters 2016: A Movie Review & How'd Leslie Do? #ghostbusters #LeslieJones
July 22, 2016
You've been sleeping a lot or just went off the grid if you haven't heard about the Ghostbusters dust-ups. First, many guys bashed the very idea that the new team is all female. Then Leslie Jones got seriously trolled on Twitter, and worse still Twitter folks took a long time to do anything about it. I don't need to waste more space on either, except to say how stupid that women can't be fictional characters who fight ghosts. Leslie Jones, and no one, should be subjected to such vile online attacks without swift consequences. I wish we had TrollBusters, folks with the skills of Anonymous who would out those who think they can toss crap and cackle while staying invisible.
Anyway, I went to see the movie because another dust-up was the way Leslie's character, Patty, was written. She's the only Ghostbuster team member who isn't a scientist. Instead she's a familiar stereotype that Hollywood and TV hold dear: a loud, sassy Black woman who wears huge earrings and spouts off at everybody. She works for the subway system. I saw a trailer and rolled my eyes. Yet to be fair, I wanted to see for myself. Plus honestly I'm against someone being dragged and bullied. I hadn't ever heard of Leslie, and don't watch Saturday Night Live. Some of the comments about Leslie's appearance by white and Black folks just pissed me off to be blunt. Even to the point of blasting a commercial she did for Allstate car insurance. Which I found funny, except for one small part that offended me (she flirts with a white guy, who looks horrified). When some started dragging her physical attributes, that was taking it too dang far. So I defended her on Facebook and tweeted support. That sealed it. I decided to see the movie.
First - Patty - the character isn't as offensive to me as I first thought seeing the trailer. Still, it is definitely a worn out stereotype. When Hollywood is full of imaginative, talented writers and directors, please don't tell me it's just one part and what's the big deal. The repeated bull chips excuses/explanations don't cut it. They're wedded to bigoted stereotypes and don't want to change. They're aware of the much deserved criticisms. So that means the continuation of characters like Patty (along with the "white savior" figure, the characters of color getting killed off quick, etc.) is deliberate. Making her different would have been smarter, more imaginative, more interesting. Wry humor, just one joke, about her being a PhD scientist who is always mistaken for someone uneducated would have been intelligent, nuanced humor (and hilarious). That's why I rolled my eyes when I realized they wouldn't surprise me. They instead took the path of least resistance. Sigh. Cue another eye roll. Leslie did what she could with the hand she was dealt. I know she's talented because her video review of the Battle of the Bastards episode of Game of Thrones is awesome!!!!
Finally, the movie as a whole is just as silly as the first Ghostbusters. The writing is passable, but barely. I could have written better dialogue, very predictable and in some places just plain bad. The story line is weak. But there are some genuinely funny moments. I give it 2 1/2 stars out of 4. Ghostbusters 2016 is a "wait for it to come on HBO or Netflix" caliber movie IMO. I suspected as much.
I hope Leslie Jones continues to have success. I'll also speak up if I think she's being criticized in ways that offend me (snide comments about her looks, etc.).