Everyone needs to chill out about pop culture

This morning I logged onto my favorite movie forum and clicked on the thread for the upcoming Ghostbusters remake/reboot. Ever since the female leads were announced in early 2015, the discussion has largely been about how this film was basically spitting on the childhood of any male born in the 1970s.

The thread has been locked and restarted multiple times. People in favor of and against the movie have been suspended from the forum for insulting each other.

Last night comedian Patton Oswalt tweeted that he had seen the movie, and that he enjoyed it:

Pretty controversial, right? Luckily, vile people were ready to put him in his place for daring to enjoy the film.

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In case you don’t recognize the poorly photoshopped Slimer, that’s Oswalt’s wife, Michelle McNamara, who passed away in her sleep in April.

Let’s go out on a limb and say that maybe Ghostbusters is the worst movie ever made. Let’s just off that limb and imagine that the remake makes Hitler the leader of the Ghostbusters and he and his team of dictators are seeking to bust the ghosts of Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi and David Bowie.

So what?

No piece of pop culture is made to piss you off, but if it does piss you off, you don’t have to watch it. I can’t imagine why someone would want to watch The Big Bang Theory, but my life is exactly the same as if I loved the show.

Ghostbashers are quick to say the Ghostbusters remake is a “gimmick,” since it stars four women instead of four men. Newsflash: all remakes are gimmicks. Studios are hoping to cash in on an established property’s name and fans. If this film was being remade with Bill Hader, Jonah Hill, Andy Samberg and Michael B. Jordan, it would still be a gimmick. At least the gender swap gives us something a little different.

And you can’t write something off just because it’s a remake. The Fly and the 1970’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers were both better than the original films. Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal TV series was better than any of the Hannibal Lecter films that weren’t called Silence of the Lambs. All were “gimmicks,” using established properties as a jumping off point to something incredible.

I think the new Ghostbusters upsets some fans because it seems to close the door on the possibility of the 1984 film getting a continuation. But Harold Ramis’s death in 2014 was probably the final nail in that coffin. Bill Murray was unlikely to suit up again, leaving Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson as the only actors likely to appear. At that point we’re getting into Blues Brothers 2000 territory. If the streams were going to cross again, a new cast was pretty much the only way to move forward.

And maybe you don’t like that idea, but you have a good option: watch the 1984 film. If you’re like the Angry Video Game Nerd, maybe you can’t get past the fact that this new movie has the same name as the 1984 film. Of course, I don’t remember 80s fans taking the feelings of fans of the original 70s Ghost Busters series into account.

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“Four men? What a gimmick. If it doesn’t have a gorilla, it’s not my Ghostbusters!”

But back to the personal attack on Patton Oswalt, it seems to be part of an ongoing trend of people taking their pop culture way too seriously. Last month Captain America writer Nick Spencer got death threats for a story where Captain America was hinted to be a Hydra agent. The creation of a half-black/half-Latino Spider-Man, Miles Morales, prompted non-comic readers to briefly get pissed off, despite the fact that Morales existed in the Ultimate Universe, and that he was replacing an alternate reality Peter Parker who had only existed for about a decade.

Within an issue, it was revealed that Captain America’s Hydra allegiance was the result of an altered reality, but I’m sure the death threat-makers probably felt it was a last minute change because of their completely reasonable actions.

If you’re upset about Ghostbusters with boobs, evil Captain Americas or minority Spider-Men, I’ll let you in on a secret: none of it matters. Within a short period of time the status quo will return, Peter Parker will be wearing his costume again, or at the very least the books on your long boxes and the Ghostbusters DVDs on your shelf still exist, unaltered. You don’t have to like the changes to pop culture, but you also don’t have to consume it.

Be happy that Ecto Cooler is back on shelves, relax, and realize that your life is no better or worse because of a movie being remade.

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2 thoughts on “Everyone needs to chill out about pop culture

  1. So, so agree. I’m not going to say I’ve never gotten angry about a pop culture thing (I was pretty irked at the Cap-as-Hydra reveal), but I’ve never even thought about making death threats or mocking someone’s personal grief. It’s just not that big a deal.

    Like

  2. To borrow a line from the advertising campaign for a ’70s horror flick, “Just keep telling yourself — it’s only a movie. It’s only a movie. It’s only a movie …”

    Like

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