We sure are victims of nostalgia, aren’t we? When we flip through channels and stumble upon a film, television series, or cartoon from our youth, don’t we instantly fall into a mangled state of euphoria? Instantly remembering hanging out with your best friend, lying your head on your mom’s lap, or making grandpa’s famous popcorn while enjoying whatever you’re watching ‘back in the day’. It’s an intoxicating feeling like no other. Sheer, unadulterated joy.
It really makes you wonder: If it brings forth this many smiles, why do so many people get so damn mad about it?
Nostalgia is almost as toxic as race or sexuality issues these days, causing grown ass men and women to act like Satan has shown up on their doorsteps and demanded their first born. Sounds ridiculous, right? One is an issue of outright hatred because someone does not look or act how you think they should, while the other is an issue that something you love doesn’t look or act like you think it should. Waiiiiiiiit a second…never mind, they are essentially the same thing.
What’s the matter? Don’t think it’s fair to compare movie nostalgia to racist or homophobic sentiment? That’s too harsh, makes you a little uncomfortable? How do you think screaming through your Twitter account about all these chicks carrying proton packs makes other people feel? Do you think the little girl who finally sees a Ghostbuster uniform on a woman for the first time in her life, after years of mom and dad going on about all of those dudes in the Ecto-1, does she understand why it’s wrong to be a female hunter of the supernatural? I sure don’t think she does.
Now, if you watched the trailer and just don’t like what you see – for whatever your personal artistic reasons are – if you take the film on its own merits, I’m not talking to you. You’re golden. If you are upset that something you loved from your childhood is being remade for a new generation, if you make ludicrous claims like ‘they’re destroying my childhood’ and feel it’s your duty to pounce on every single fan who finds the new film exciting, then I am definitely talking to you and I have to know – What makes you any better than those other malicious groups I mentioned above? If the answer is you’re not oppressing people, well I disagree. I’m sorry that you cannot stand four females taking on the role previously held by four guys in your precious ‘Ghostbusters’ reboot, but the truth of the matter is this: It will not tarnish your memory one iota, not a single lick.
So if you happen to be one of those internet warriors who feel as though it’s your mission to ruin every fan of the new film’s enjoyment by hopping on every social media platform you can find – guess what? You are hindering their joy. You are stomping on their memories. YOU are oppressing their entertainment.
Sure, it’s not quite as severe as making a group of people drink from a dirty fountain around back, but it’s still insanely narcissistic and vile behavior regardless. This new ‘Ghostbusters’ will do nothing to affect your memories of the original, it simply drops in a new chapter. Maybe you’ll love it, maybe you’ll hate it, maybe you won’t even see it. But if ‘Ghostbusters 2’ didn’t break you, I highly doubt Melissa McCarthy’s exorcism is going to put a dent in your psyche.
If you are claiming this reimagining is sexist or stunt casting, please explain how? Because it cast four women in the leads? You mean, similar to how the original cast four men? It’s not like director Paul Feig gathered up Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara and plugged in random actresses to fill a quota, he cast the film with four of the strongest female comics of our time. You might not like them, but Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones have more than a few million fans between them who find them fairly hysterical (raises hand). If you don’t count yourself in that camp, grab that 4K blu-ray and relive your childhood with the original team. Stay Puft is there waiting for you.
This nostalgia bias has gone on long enough, hasn’t it? Letting our hate spew forth, because filmmakers want to reinvent established franchises for modern audiences, is starting to ruin the enjoyment for those of us who want to see version 2.0 for ourselves BEFORE we rush to blind judgments. Were you this upset about the ‘Mad Max’ reboot? Why not? It had a whole new cast, even a completely new Mad Max? Some might even argue that Max was replaced by a female lead, where was that outrage? I’m already losing track of what the rules are for this furor.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand where the convulsive rage comes from. Passion is what fuels all of us as fans, but we need to keep our overreactions in check. I never want Hollywood to reinvent my most precious icon, Indiana Jones, but they will. Oh, they will. When that inevitability happens, will the new monstrosity spit in the face of all of those childhood memories when I would re-watch ‘Temple of Doom’ over and over and over again? Nope. Not even a little. Those Mola Ram scenes are all mine, and there is not a studio hack alive that is powerful enough to spoil those moments of absolute splendor.
All of that above is to simply say this: It’s time to collectively let it go. This new version of ‘Ghostbusters’ is not the cinematic equivalent to crossing the streams. Nothing Hollywood can do, no amount of bastardization or blasphemy they produce that is based off those films of your childhood, will carry one ounce of weight in destroying those childhood memories. They are forever yours. You can, however, crush the joy new fans might have in these upcoming films. Glaring negativity and a constant barrage of hateful comments can move mountains in turning people away from the same gleeful moments we were allowed to experience for ourselves. Their entertainment with these newer versions might even lead them to discover those original treasures you hold so dear. Do you really want to be the reason they turned away from movie bliss?
Nostalgia is a blessing and a curse. We are blessed with reminders of simpler times, and even family or friends we’ve lost. We are also cursed to find ourselves in the position to valiantly defend those memories from any possibility of tainted influence. Let’s not also allow this curse to destroy the experience for those not yet initiated.
It’s time to let a new generation have these reimagined works of our childhood. It’s time for us to remember that we have already played with our toys, so maybe we need to let the other kids play, or even put them back in the box. We’re all collectors now, it’s time to sit back and watch the values of our childhood continue to rise.
It’s time to show this nostalgic bitch how we do things downtown.
Editor’s note: Aaron Peterson is a film critic and host for The Hollywood Outsider, and the opinions shared here are strictly his own.