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Ghost Bustiers

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Mark Suszko
Ghost Bustiers
on Jul 16, 2016 at 9:22:04 pm

Saw Ghostbusters yesterday. It was "all right", standing on its own merits, if you can keep from comparisons to the original. The chemistry between the 4 leads is actually very good. On its own merits, it's a solid B comedy-action piece, though not one that really needs a sequel. The younger crowd that saw this with me laughed a lot, but at the jokes I thought were the dumbest and cheapest. There are some nice callbacks to the old fire station location and the old surviving cast members make mercifully short cameo appearances. I give it a "B".

I think the biggest problem with the movie is that everything comes to a sudden stop any time Chris ( "Thor") Hemsworth comes on the scene, even for a short gag. In the climax of the movie, (spoiler but one that was already given away in the trailers) Hemsworth's body gets taken over by a spiritual force, giving him extraordinary telekinetic powers. In a confrontation with hundreds of cops and National Guardsmen, the possessed Hemsworth takes control of their bodies and starts to pose them into various disco dance poses, then leaves them frozen that way while the Ghost Busters confront him. Well, if you stay thru the credits, you'll figure out that originally, this scene with making the cops dance is actually like a very involved eight-minute musical sequence, very VERY close to the "Cuban Pete" sequence in "The Mask".

which would have completely killed all the momentum of the plot, had it not been cut out. But the cutting of the dance and putting it in the credits leaves an ungainly dead spot in the confrontation action sequence and plot. The entire movie would have been much sharper and better-paced, without Hemsworth in it. I'm going to guess his addition was a Sony suggestion, caused by a lack of confidence that the 4 female leads could pull off the movie without him.

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Tim Wilson
Re: Ghost Bustiers
on Jul 16, 2016 at 9:52:01 pm

[Mark Suszko] " The entire movie would have been much sharper and better-paced, without Hemsworth in it. I'm going to guess his addition was a Sony suggestion, caused by a lack of confidence that the 4 female leads could pull off the movie without him."

I doubt it. The only movie Hemsworth has ever made anyone is at Marvel, a Disney company. He's never done any comedy to speak of other than Thor (who can be pretty funny), so it would make no sense.

The fella who's made money for Sony, though, is Paul Feig, who I'm going to assume had a pretty free hand to do whatever his budget would allow. The last movie of his that I think really stuck the landing was Spy, where Jason Statham was a gem.

More generally, though, I think the idea was to have him fill the Annie Potts spot in the ecosystem, and wasn't prepared to go quite so far as to have a woman in that role too. Him combining Annie Potts with Stay Puft? Not so sure about that one....

...but I'm going to overall agree with your assessment that it was plenty good enough. Not going to be the tippy top entry on the resume of anyone involved, but I don't think anyone's going to be papering it over either. 74% at Rotten Tomatoes, average score of 6.5 out of 10, your score of B -- that all sounds about right to me.

What jumped out at me about the audience score of 51%, which lands as "Not Fresh" is that the average viewer score is 2.9 out of 5. Round it up to 3 out of 5 and it lands as Fresh....and again, three stars out of 5 feels about right.

Nothing wrong with that.

I suggest watching the original again sometime soon. I remember loving it at the time, but I now find two-thirds of it to be unwatchable. It happens that the other third is gold, but long stretches of it are not good at all. I was VERY surprised to discover that I felt this way....

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Mark Suszko
Re: Ghost Bustiers
on Jul 16, 2016 at 10:41:29 pm

We're forgetting the nebbishy accountant turned "Key-Master", Vinz Klortho, played by the incomparable Rick Moranis doesn't have an analog in the new movie unless you think the Chinese Food Delivery Guy is that. Hemsworth is supposed to cover that plus the ditzy yet capable Annie Potts receptionist, I guess. But I found the character just too distracting.

I would have preferred the receptionist performance more toned-down and less broadly played, I guess.

Kate McKinnon steals a lot of the scenes with her character, but she's the least-developed in terms of any kind of back story, so you don't know what to make of her motivations and choices.

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Tim Wilson
Re: Ghost Bustiers
on Jul 17, 2016 at 10:40:43 pm

[Mark Suszko] "Hemsworth is supposed to cover that plus the ditzy yet capable Annie Potts receptionist, I guess. But I found the character just too distracting.

I didn't mean to imply that I liked him here. My feeling was "meh". I really enjoy him when he plays Thor for laughs, but that's about it. They could easily have plugged other guys into that role and done fine.

Contrast this, again, with Jason Statham in Spy. Jude Law could have been swapped for someone else (speaking of Hemsworth, Hiddleston comes to mind), but nobody else was gonna do Statham. For that matter, I thought that Michael Rapaport in The Heat, and Ben Falcone and Jon Hamm in Bridesmaids. Those movies would have been lesser without those specific actors.

My only point about the presence Chris Hemsworth is that there's nothing in Feig's history to suggest pandering in his casting choices. Note that Hamm was a surprise cameo, absolutely not part of the marketing, or really, the story. He was a tasty condiment.

And again noting that, even if Sony had a stake in him (which they don't appear to; in addition to Marvel, Snow White & The Huntsman and Rush are both Universal) -- or to put it another way, it's ABC and NBC ganging up on CBS), Hemsworth himself hasn't yet proven to be a draw outside of Thor. Even though it wasn't pitched as a top-tier Marvel tentpole (or didn't appear to me to be marketed as such) Ant-Man outdrew the first Thor, and I bet that the Ant-Man sequel will outdraw Thor 2, which didn't beat A-M by all that much in the scheme of things.

It was theoretically fun to play Hemsworth against type, but Paul Rudd might have been a better choice than him. Heck so might have Michael Peña.

[Mark Suszko] "Vinz Klortho, played by the incomparable Rick Moranis"

That's all. Nothing to add. I just wanted to quote that.

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Scott Roberts
Re: Ghost Bustiers
on Jul 19, 2016 at 3:28:05 pm

FYI, I laughed pretty good at the title of this thread. Well done.

I saw this over the weekend as well, and here's my quick thoughts:

Things I liked:

-I think it might have been the very first joke in the entire movie, but the sentence, "And this is the room where P.T. Barnum decided he wanted to enslave elephants" is a legitimately great line, and you're wrong if you think otherwise.

-I definitely dug the whole beginning of the movie, before they were Ghostbusters, and the leads are just acting like Paul Feig characters. McCarthy and Wiig play to their strengths, and it works.

-Surprisingly to me, Leslie Jones actually gave a good performance. She's one of my least favorite SNL cast members, mostly because she does the same grating routine time and time again. But in 'Busters, she showed a little bit of range, and an ability to finally control the volume of her voice.

-I liked Chris Hemsworth as the dopey receptionist. I agree that he probably could have been played to the same level of comedy with any number of different beefcakes, but he did just fine. Maybe C-Tates would have been better, but who am I to say?

-Funny, not exhaustive use of the original cast in multiple cameos.

Things I didn't like:

-It's kind of a disjointed movie that only works in scenes. Kind of like The Heat, which is the worst Paul Feig project to date, in my opinion.

-Like all Paul Feig movies (and his buddy Judd Apatow, too), it's 15-30 minutes too long. Gotta cram in all those clearly improvised scenes in there, though!

-I thought a lot of the ghost character design was... not that great, maybe? Like, what are some of these things supposed to be? Is that a dragon ghost? A demon ghost? Is there a difference between a demon and a ghost? Should I really care in the context of this movie? Probably not. Lady Slimer was kind of a funny tribute to the end of Animal House. All in all, the special effects bonanza during the final action scene didn't really do much for me.

-And this is, what? The fifteenth movie in the last five years to have a portal destroying a city that the heroes must close? Want something real to complain about? How about the overuse of portals as a third act plot device.

-I'm probably in the minority here, but I thought Kate McKinnon was trying too hard. She was the kind of character who goes cross-eyed or waves her arms around for no reason whenever on camera, out of risk of potentially not being zany for a second or two, which is a shame because I really like her for the most part. But it seems like everyone else I talked to liked her in this movie, so my opinion doesn't really matter anyway.

-Mark, I'm totally with you on the dance sequence during the credits, which thankfully didn't make the final cut of the actual movie. It would have been a tremendous momentum killer at a time when everyone probably wanted the movie to start wrapping up. But the fact that it was shot at all is scarier than any of the ghosts.

-The remix/cover of the Ghostbuster theme was undeniably bad.

Overall, it's not really a movie worth creating a big stink over, nor is it going to be in anyone's top 10 of the year. I don't think that such a brutally average movie will ever cause this much of a huge divide ever again. It's chuckle filled enough to check out on cable one day, if the rest of America can manage to keep the monocles from falling off their faces.

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