Busting Ghostbusters

“Aw c’mon. The trailer was bad, but worse than Fantastic Four?”

As a rule, I’m not the target audience for remakes.  The Magnificent Seven?  Saw it already.   Ben Hur?  Saw it already.  Ghostbusters?  Saw it already and don’t need to see it again.  There’s already enough reboots and sequels and relaunches already.   Doesn’t anyone want to make a few original movies to break up the monotony?

Ghostbusters 2016 is first out of the chute with an-all female cast led by Melissa McCarthy and some Saturday Night Live escapees.  Good luck when you’re redoing a favorite of many (not me)but they’re off to a bad start because the first trailer was atrocious.   Every joke fell flat and none of the actresses did anything to make you forget the original crew.

The negativity was so harsh it sparked a backlash where the counter-charge became the movie was getting so much hate due to four women replacing the four men in the original.   Sexism and even a little racism has to considered contributing factors,  and maybe it didn’t deserve all the hatred it got, but when you’re remaking an all-time favorite like Ghostbusters, you gotta come strong and that trailer was weak.   How weak?  It set a record as the most disliked trailer ever on You Tube.

A lousy movie trailer is not necessarily an indicator the movie is going to blow, but the purpose is to generate interest, not memes.   A trailer is supposed to do one thing: generate interest in an upcoming film and on every level the Ghostbusters trailer fails.  I did not laugh, did not crack a smile and if I had little interest before I have none now and  it’s not sexist to say the new Ghostbusters just doesn’t look funny.   It’s certainly possible misogyny is the reason behind all the scorn, but so is not delivering any laughs.

Director Kevin Smith put the blame right where it belonged:

Whoever cut this trailer needs to be sat down, and I’m not going to call for their job to be taken away from them but they need to be scolded. It could’ve been all men with the same jokes, and it still would have sucked. The trailer’s not strong, and that doesn’t mean the movie’s gonna blow, like again the fucking pedigree of this movie is undeniable. There’s no way all these people involved don’t make a fucking funny, at least watchable fun movie.

The true is  the original Ghostbusters was an occasionally funny, but mostly dry comedy when Bill Murray wasn’t saying something sardonic. It’s not a classic.  Blazing Saddles is a classic and I don’t remember anything about Ghostbusters 2.

“I see stereotyped people…”

The studios tried for years to get Murray to do Ghostbusters 3. He wouldn’t do it. Murray had fallen out hard with Harold Ramis, his one-time collaborator and friend during the making of Groundhog Day and they didn’t speak for 21 years though Murray reconciled with Ramis before his death. Dan Aykroyd and director Ivan Reitman tried to talk Murray into doing Ghostbusters 3, but he steadfastly refused any and all offers. There was talk of making the movie without Murray but they realized that made about as much sense as a Led Zeppelin reunion without Robert Plant.

So why do an all-female Ghostbusters? Maybe because Melissa McCarthy is the biggest name in movie comedies today and she wants to do it and is safe to say she wanted Leslie Jones for the ordinary Joe character Ernie Hudson played.  Nobody suffered worse than Jones as she depicted as the Big Loud Scary Black Lady You Don’t Want Yelling At You.  They could have made her one of the scientists, but that was a leap in logic too far for the screenwriters to make.   If Zoe Saldana were the official Person of Color maybe she gets to be a scientist.   Sisters who look like Jones get to be Big Loud Scary Black Lady.  That’s a role Hollywood is comfortable giving Black  actresses.

The new trailer was designed to take some of the stank off of its predecessor. Now not having a rooting interest for or against the new Ghostbusters means I don’t care if it’s a hit or a flop. I’m not a fan of  McCarthy as she seems to specialize in playing variations of the same character; the overweight woman who curses, does gross stuff, screeches, and falls down a lot.   It’s a little familiar.

Hollywood like Leslie Jones to be Loud, not Smart.

You can say a lot about Hollywood, but you can’t say they don’t know who they make their movies for.  This is a Ghostbusters that never was made with me in mind.   You can’t build a 2016 franchise on a 1984 audience.   You don’t make stacks of cash depending on old dogs who may see your remake once.  You want young pups who’ll go back to see it multiple times.

Which means instead of casting James Franco, Seth Rogan, Joshua Hill and whatever Black guy you want to whistle up, you do a 180 turn and turn the ghostbustin’ guys into ghostbustin’ gals.  Maybe the movie transcends that rotten trailer.  Maybe it turns out to be good and Jones goes on to rival McCarthy as a star (doubtful, but not impossible).   Maybe I’ll buy a ticket and find out.

Now which of those “maybe’s” is the least likely?

Victoria Jackson: I’m Even Crazier than Clint Eastwood

What a fool believes no wise man has the power to reason away.

Turns out Clint Eastwood wasn’t the only crazy person at last week’s Republican National Convention.   Far, far further on the talent scale (as in not having any),  former Saturday Night Live bit player, Victoria Jackson, who has evolved into a far-Right, Tea Party slurping bubblehead,  trolled the convention floor  hoping someone might notice her craziness in a sea of crazy people and put a microphone in front of her.

Unfortunately, someone did, and the ukelele-playing, ditz blurted out her opinion on Rep. Todd Akin’s brain fart about “legitimate rape.”   To the shock of absolutely no one , Jackson. a stupider and chubbier version of Sarah Palin, didn’t see what was the fuss over Akin’s remarks.

“The Todd Akin thing was so blown out of proportion — it’s a joke,” Jackson said.  “How many times do people get pregnant from rape? It’s point zero zero one percent. It’s a joke. I read lots of articles. I know people, because I’m 53. I’ve known a lot of people, and I’ve actually never known anyone who got pregnant from being raped.”

“And guess what?” she continued. “If I got raped, I would have the baby. And if I didn’t want to keep it because I had these [mocking tone] horrible nightmares, I would adopt it out. But I think that God can turn a bad thing into a good thing. And that, if I got raped and a beautiful baby who was innocent was born out of it, that would be a blessing. The DNA of a baby is individual. It’s not the mother’s DNA. It’s not the father’s DNA. And that’s why I believe abortion is murder, because it’s not the woman’s body. It has it’s own DNA. If there’s a boy baby inside of me, he has a penis. That’s not my body.”

Jackson is another entry in the list of  has-beens like Jon Voight, Ted Nugent, Chuck Norris and Hank Williams, Jr., who have gone public with their dislike of President  Obama, but at least Voight, Nugent, Norris and Williams had a career at one time to be has-beens now.    Jackson has always been a small-timer who had her chances in television and movies to make it big.   It never happened for  her because she lacked the one thing necessary to take that next big step:  a shred of talent.

I wonder if Victoria Jackson would still have the baby if she were raped by and impregnated by “the Communist in the White House?”

Making statements that are provocative, off-putting, uninformed and just plain off the wall is a growth industry on the Far Right and that is Jackson’s claim to fame. There have been many Not Ready For Prime Time Players on Saturday Night Live and for every Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Chris Rock or Adam Sandler that used the show to  go on to greater success, there are the Victoria Jacksons who go right back to the obscurity they were plucked from.

Jackson was the subject of a profile in the Miami New Times chronicling her evolution from bit player on SNL to right-wing dingbat.

Sorry, Miss Jackson.

…when she flew to New York in 1986 to audition for SNL, executive producer Lorne Michaels curled his lower lip and lamented her lack of comedic characters. So the next time she was on Carson’s show, she continued the audition by doing impressions of Diana Ross and Edith Bunker and inventing a character: a glum boss interviewing Carson for a job. She joined the SNL cast that season. With a fire-eater and new baby in tow, she bought a four-bedroom Colonial in Weston, Connecticut; hired a nanny; and commuted to Manhattan by train.

But Michaels’s trepidation had been spot-on. Victoria’s cast was a comedic murderer’s row — including Chris Farley, Phil Hartman, Adam Sandler, Mike Myers, and Dana Carvey — and she couldn’t keep up. “I lived on pure adrenaline,” she says. “You always think you’re going to get fired. You’re always competing with your cast members for air time.”

Coming up with characters and premises for skits was a supreme struggle. She confesses that one of her funnier sketches — “Victoria’s Secrets,” in which she wore lingerie and throatily fumbled at being sexy — was a product of begging castmate Jon Lovitz and writer Conan O’Brien for ideas as they walked down an office hallway.

Her nasal voice nixed nuanced impressions. Besides doing backbends and reading poetry on the “Weekend Update” news desk, impressions of Roseanne Barr and Zsa Zsa Gabor were her only recurring gags.

Critics and former castmates haven’t been kind. Nerve.com recently ranked her dead last of 92 all-time cast members and wrote that her “cute-ditsy-idiot act got pretty thin, [and] it turns out it wasn’t an act.” And in the 2002 book Live From New York, an oral history of the show, castmate Jan Hooks sniped, “I just have a particular repulsion to grown women who talk like little girls. It’s like, ‘You’re a grown woman! Use your lower register!'” (Victoria, by the way, claims her weird voice is the result of a medical defect: a “congenital palatal insufficiency.” )

Jackson on SNL: more hair, less poundage.

Look, I’m not qualified for this, Victoria recalls thinking. Maybe this is my mission field. I’m supposed to tell my cast members about Jesus!

But Hartman didn’t want to talk about the Son of God. And Lovitz asked how Jesus, “a grown man,” could have fit in his mother’s womb to be born again. When Victoria left audiocassette box sets of the Bible in each castmate’s mail slot for Christmas, they were angrily returned.

Writer and performer Al Franken, now a Democratic U.S. senator for Minnesota, cornered her once, Victoria says. He said he was “offended” by her “ditsy” act. “Maybe I’m overcompensating,” she retorted, “because everybody here is dying and going to Hell, and I’m supposed to tell them about Jesus.”

Franken went white, she says. “He never talked to me again.”

I can’t imagine why the Jewish Franken wouldn’t want to talk to a proselytizing idiot who mails Bibles to other cast members telling them they’re going to hell.

I give Jackson for taking her minimal talents and getting maximum mileage out of them, but the woman is a fool and nothing but foolishness spills out of her stupid mouth.   But getting mad about what a crazy person says makes no sense.  Not this sad little loser or old guys that talk to chairs.

Victoria Jackson saying stupid stuff  is like the pigeon that sits in a tree and shits all over your just washed car. It just gonna do what it does.    It has been speculated may Jackson is  trying to pull off a bizarre bit of Sasha Baron Cohen performance where he plays a role to the max  like Bruno, Ali G., and Borat,  but I doubt it.  She doesn’t seem to have Cohen’s mad genius for occupying a character in a believable way.    Jackson is content to be a Tea Party princess happily bubbling away with her insipid observations about people she doesn’t know and issues she doesn’t understand.
Even Tito Jackson is more relevant than Victoria Jackson.