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Shut up and give them money

Just buy a ticket and send Hollywood a message


July 26, 2016

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    I don't think I've ever seen as much hate leveled at a film as I have against the Ghostbusters reboot. 
    And to be fair, I don't have as much childhood reverence invested in this movie as I do in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle films (which I love even as I cringe at their overwhelming cheesiness). As a child of the '90s whose parents used to scratch out the swear words in her Harry Potter books, I wasn't even allowed to watch the original Ghostbusters until I was 10, and I probably didn't take the initiative to track down the movie until a few years later as an early teen. 
    So my reasons for liking or disliking the new Ghostbusters are not at all personal, and my reasons for going to see it — and for telling other people to go see it — are entirely political.
    Because yes, people, I'm telling you that you should go see Ghostbusters.
    I cannot remember another movie in recent memory that had more than one, let alone four, combat-ready female characters leading its ensemble and who go an entire film without any romantic subplots. Without even getting into feminist ideas and arguments in the script, casting four women as action leads automatically makes Ghostbusters one of the more progressive cinematic offerings this year. And that alone — regardless of the quality, regardless of how you feel about this reboot — is why you should at the very least buy a ticket for Ghostbusters.
    Without question, there is a real demand for better onscreen representation: For women, for LGBTQ people, for people of color, for people with disabilities, critics and audience members alike are demanding that the playing field be evened and that screens be more diverse. And the pushback against an all-female cast — and the particular online targeting of the only black actress in the quartet (Leslie Jones, who endured a ton of harassment last week by online trolls responding to the movie)  — shows that there are still a lot of audience members resistant to the idea. 
    This is partly why the movie is sucking so badly in the box office standings, where it is struggling to break even with its production costs. The message Hollywood is receiving right now is clear: Audiences don't want to see atypical female narratives, especially not in spaces society has decided are for boys only.
    And of course, that isn't the right message at all, because tons of moviegoers (or at least the ones who are vocal online) want very much to see those narratives. Plenty of people, I'm sure, are avoiding the movie because we are sick of having our nostalgic heartstrings jerked with reboots and unnecessary sequels. But that isn't the message Hollywood is going to receive. The reboot machine isn't going to stop anytime soon, with Power Rangers, Baywatch, Men in Black and another Planet of the Apes all slotted for releases in 2017 because, despite our groaning and lamentation, we keep paying for these stupid movies. The only message Hollywood receives loud and clear is one that comes after a dollar sign. (This is why, even though we can all agree the Transformers movies are irredeemably awful, the franchise is scheduled for four more films. FOUR. MORE. FILMS.)
    I'm not saying Ghostbusters is good. I feel about the movie the same way I feel about the Fallout Boy cover of the theme song: that it was wholly unnecessary. But a movie doesn't have to be good to be enjoyable, or be a paragon of excellence to make a step in the right direction. And if throwing money at Ghostbusters ­— even if we were to buy tickets and then never actually use them — communicates that it's about damn time we had good female characters, then I'll consider it money well spent.

Brittani Howell is the editor of Connect Statesboro. If you'd like to reach out, shoot a message to editor@connectstatesboro.com!w

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