For a certain subset of people out there, Ghostbusters 2016 may be the ultimate example of being careful what you wish for.
For as long as I can remember on these here internets, there have been people with their fingers crossed that the day would come when a new Ghostbusters film arrived in theaters. They followed every rumbling that it might happen and read every rumor on the subject. A third Ghostbusters movie seemed like a license to print money.
This year we get that third Ghostbusters movie, and because the Internet is what it is, some people are real excited about it, some people are real skeptical about it for reasons that make sense and some people are big, whiny babies.
I have no dog in the fight. I like Ghostbusters. I’m part of the minority that really likes Ghostbusters 2. But, like Star Wars, Final Fantasy and Seinfeld, it’s just not a property that I can bring myself to really care about all that much. A new Ghostbusters movie, even a bad one – which, based on the first trailer, is a distinct possibility – isn’t going to ruin the few feelings I have on the originals.
I cannot, however, bring myself to understand why there are those folks out there upset about the gender-swapping of the main cast. I mean, I get it, in the same way that I get people who are upset about gender parity at GenCon or people who think social justice is the ruin of all things good, but it just seems like such a silly thing to be upset about in 2016.
The reality is that a Ghostbusters movie was always going to be made eventually, and its quality was never going to be related to the genitals of the people on screen. Hell, a second sequel to the original may very well have been garbage, too; there’s a reason that in all this fury no one is sticking up for Ghostbusters 2, after all.
But if you are going to unnecessarily reboot a franchise, gender-swapping the leads sounds like a much better alternative than just doing a straight remake. I know, I know, you just want to turn off your brain when you go to the movies, and that’s fine: There will be a new Transformers movie before too long. Enjoy another Ninja Turtles sequel — you’ve earned it.
But for the rest of us, those who have trouble turning our brains off, even when we want to, taking a look at a familiar story through a different gender lens might lead to some really interesting discoveries, or at least a few good post-film debates. And since Hollywood just can’t leave well enough alone, here are five pitches that could be really fun.
Film history is full of movies featuring dudes with guns throwing out silly one-liners. Predator may very well be the best of the bunch, given just how insanely quotable it is. It’s a movie that in no way, shape or form needs to be redone, but since Hollywood is bent on trying to make it a thing again, shake things up by having a group of tough, smart women take down the creature.
4. Real Genius
While I would much rather Hollywood just make a movie about awesome scientists who happen to be women that isn’t tied into an old franchise, if you’re going to do it, go with something that's a little more under the radar than Ghostbusters. Yeah, Short Circuit and Revenge of the Nerds are decent candidates, but in our post-9/11, increased-security world, a remake of Real Genius would be bonkers. A female-lead fish-out-of-water comedy meets anti-weapons conspiracy thriller? Sounds boss.
3. The Gate
Can you summon demons by playing mp3s backwards? I have no idea. Maybe that’s the rub: Two teen hipsters accidentally unlock an ancient evil after a night of crap beer and going through their parents’ record collection. Heck, there’s even a nifty science tie-in with using a model rocket to score the win in the end. The world needs more “children are tougher than you think” films anyway. Kids need more "children are tougher thank you think" films.
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2. The Goonies
After Ghostbusters, there is probably no film franchise that folks have clamored for an unnecessary sequel to more than The Goonies. What more do you want, people? They saved the Goon Docks in the first movie! Do you really want another Ghostbusters 2? So fine, do The Goonies: the Next Generation, let Frodo be the exasperated parent chasing his adventure-loving daughters and their friends. Oh, you think I’m trolling now, don’t you? Fine, if you can’t get behind this Goonies remake…
1. Monster Squad
Hear me out. First, the word “squad” is already in the name, so yes, I can absolutely buy a group of Taylor Swift-loving monster hunters naming themselves that. Two, there are a lot of girls out there who dig modern monsters. So, rather than have the new Monster Squad fight the holy 5 of Universal monsters, have them take on the modern myths, like Slenderman and the Five Nights at Freddy’s crew. Don’t try and fight it: You know you would watch that movie.