Film review: Ghostbusters 2016 plus an extra

ghostbusters-2016-cast-proton-packs-imagesI wasn’t terribly interested in a bastardization of a classic, especially for the seemingly vacuous purpose of promoting “diversity”. But I didn’t have anything else going for me this weekend, so I decided to break down and see the new “Ghostbusters 2016” with the four women.

Some of the critics have not been kind to this re-do of the stellar classic from 1984. That original is considered by many to be perfection and should not be altered any more than a Mozart concerto. To quote Antonio Salieri: “Displace one note and there would be diminishment. Displace one phrase and the structure would fall. It seemed to me that I was hearing the voice of God”. Extremely reliable review “Rotten Tomatoes” audience ratings were pretty bad (49%).

It wasn’t awful but it wasn’t good either. It was just mediocre. The plot is hokey. The characters are developed as thinly retreaded caricatures of the 1984 film.  The four women compete with each other for the camera, especially Kate McKinnon (Steve McQueen was famous for this in his films). The endless CGI computer effects get tedious at the end. The director didn’t know when to quit.

I see this film as contentiously political as the current presidential race. The film industry is producing anything now that can be termed “diverse”and they’re stretching. The point of this film seems to be that there should be more women in film, then going back to feed on the past rather than moving into the future. They also appear to be trying to reverse some of the perceived sexist stereotypes of the original 1984 film, replacing the secretary with hunky Chris Hemsworth, making him the butt of reverse-sexist jokes, but it falls flat.

There are a few of the original cast in cameo roles. A half-hearted cameo from Bill Murray goes nowhere. The Ghostbusters uniform makes them look more like garbage collectors. Each gimmick is almost crafted to wait for a canned laughter.

Ghostbusters 2016 does nothing to innovate on what came 32 years before. It resembles a Saturday Night Live gimmick that went too long (and everyone knows SNL hasn’t been funny since 1973). I went home, clicked on the original 1984 Ghostbusters and marveled at the creativity and innovation that the 2016 version simply forged.

I give it 2 of 5 High Heels sticking to the floor. It’s marginally funny. Slightly better than a Scooby Doo episode.


A weekend EXTRA: Not a lot on TV these days now that most of the really good ones, including Game of Thrones (nominated for 23 Emmys) are on hiatus.

The one cable show that stands out is “The Night Of”, Sunday nights (HBO) at 9 pm. This one really, really promises to be a world-class winner. It’s set in New York City where a naïve kid of Pakistani heritage innocently drifts into a situation of increasing danger to him. Each step of the way offers very subtle clues to where this is going and it’s spellbinding. You get a scary sense of foreboding but you can’t quite put your finger on why.

The jaded, streetwise cops doing their job to perfection, the detective asking exactly the right questions that no one should ever answer without counsel, the street cameras detailing everything along the way, The truly frightening environment, the series of events that rush toward easy conclusions. And what will be best of all, the jaded lawyer casually passing by, looking with curiosity that slowly dawns to “what’s wrong with this picture”. John Turturro will be absolutely magnificent in this series.

It’s going to be truly great.

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