I watched Ghostbusters on TV as a kid–Friday nights, right? I wasn’t particularly attached to it, but I did like their ghost-fighting guns, that thing they stepped on that captures ghosts, their vehicle’s siren and /slimer/. But I wasn’t particularly attached to /the crew/–sure, four ghost-fighting guys. Younger me wasn’t impressed, because younger me didn’t really care, as younger me = a girl.
When they said they were going to reboot the Ghostbusters franchise with an all-female cast, I thought it was a meme. Or a joke. A very cruel one, at that, but one that excited me anyhow. Frankly, I would watch /anything/ that had women as leads, if only to help disprove that notion that Movies With Women, For Women do not generate money.
But really, it wasn’t really until we were sitting inside the cinema that it dawned on me, with absolute certainty: This was really happening.
Spoilers under cut.
In case it still needed saying: I loved it. Featuring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones as the new Ghostbusters, the movie is basically two hours of women kicking ass /unapologetically/–they were smart, driven, brave, loyal, and have I mentioned–hella smart? It was two hours of women talking about things they were passionate about, pursuing dreams they’ve been ridiculed for, and making their own solutions to things /despite/ society’s condescension.
The cinema was packed when we watched on Sunday afternoon–many of them were parents with young daughters in tow. Some were groups of young girls–maybe in high school or late grade school? They were so excited, and we were excited for them, too, because hell I would have loved to watch something like this when I was younger. I mean, yes, I did see a handful of female-led movies back in my day as a teen, but here are a few key takeaways from Ghostbusters 2016 that I am thankful the girls in the cinema with us got to see:
1) Smart is sexy. You had four girls wearing non-body-fitting /jumpsuits/–none of those sexified superhero costumes–saving New York City from malevolent spirits using solutions they crafted themselves. Nothing is sexier than a woman who knows a) What the Problem Is and b) How to Solve it. And sexier even: c) Goes Ahead and Fixes it Herself. d) With like-minded friends.
2) We don’t have to be mean to each other to achieve. A disappointing movie element for me (albeit I admit, so very compelling) is the Mean Girl. I mean, it’s so common, and it’s easy to sell, but there’s none of that here, and the movie did just /fine/. E pwede naman pala. I half-expected Kristen Wiig’s character to be a mean girl of some sort, but what does her argument with Melissa McCarthy eventually turn out to be? ACADEMIC IN NATURE. I am screaming.
3) Girls putting their heads together and bringing their own strengths to the table. I loved how each character had her own forte–loved especially Leslie Jones’ character, whose mastery of New York (hola historical information! so sexy) and well, access to resources, was integral and not out-of-place in a predominantly science-driven group. Nobody looked down on her for not being a science person–I don’t even think this was articulated in the movie AT ALL–the group simply recognized her strengths and valued it.
4) Passion is /not/ weird. One of the hardest things about growing up a girl–fitting in. I remember how difficult it was, maneuvering through the /landscape/ and, well, trying so hard to not be labeled as That Weird Girl. And more often than not, the Weird Girls that are singled out are the ones who dared to show how devoted they are to their interests. This movie celebrated just that–letting your freak flag fly, so to speak, and not being ashamed of showing that you are passionate about something. I mean, check out Jillian Holtzmann and her /toys/. And Jillian Holtzmann IN GENERAL–she doesn’t care what anyone thinks, she likes putting dangerous things together, what’s not to love?
5) Loyalty to friends. The dynamic in the group–uplifting, supportive, collaborative. This is the attitude that produces beautiful things and solutions that work.
I suppose I missed out on a ton of other takeaways from this movie, but in summar/tl;dr – Loved it, loved it so much, go take all your daughters/nieces/younger sisters/girl cousins/girl friends/wives etc to watch it.
PS Kate McKinnon marry me.