Dear World: My Name Is Ghostbusters II. Did You Forget Me?
Hello there! My name is Ghostbusters II.
Do you remember me? Yes? No?
If the answer is “no,” well, here are some facts that might refresh your memory: First off, I am a movie! I came out in 1989, and I am 108 minutes long. My soundtrack has one very good Bobby Brown song and one so-so New Edition song. (Though I guess even the most “so-so” tune from the new jack swing era is gonna be pretty solid, just because that genre was built on deep harmonies, strong percussion, and factory-precision hooks, and even when only two of those three things show up, it’s still a catchy tune, right? I don’t know! I’m just a movie!!)
Oh, and while I’m at it, there’s one more important thing you should know about me—maybe the most important thing. And it is this: I am a huge, huge piece of shit.
Really, I am! Just a poop-stuffed pimento, me.
Don’t worry: It’s OK if you love me. We all love movies that are huge, huge pieces of shit, and for all sorts of reasons! Maybe your love for me is out of nostalgia for the summer of 1989, which was a lot of fun (Lethal Weapon 2! Batman! UHF!). Or perhaps it’s because you realize there were some cool little moments in me, like the Titanic ghost-ship or the Slimer-bus, and you can just be happy with that. Or maybe bustin’ makes you feel good. That’s all fine! I like me, too.
But to quote Paul Simon—who spent most of the Ghostbusters II premiere party in a royal snit, having been repeatedly confused for Peter MacNicol—I know what I know, and I know that I’m, at best, a deep-dish dingleberry coasting on the leftover good vibes of the original. I mean, come on: Have you watched me lately? Do you remember, for example, that all of the actors in me seem only barely aware that they’re in a movie—that they look as though they’re wondering if filming will finish in time for them to catch a 4:40 PM ferry to Fire Island, or thinking about who’s pitching for the Cubs that night? Did you forget about the attempted catchphrase “Two in the box, ready to go/we be fast, they be slow”? Have you completely blanked on the fact that my plot involves baby possession and collective-unconscious gestalt-slime, or something like that, and ends with a bunch of New Yorkers singing “Auld Lang Syne”?
Have you forgotten about Vigo, the Master of Evil?
I feel like maybe you have. Because, lately, I keep reading about the new Ghostbusters, and about how people are mad about it, because they think it’s unfair that they’re making a sequel to Ghostbusters without the original cast. And I hear this, and I want to raise my hand—movies have stumpy little hands, like dinosaur hands—and say, “Um, hello? They did make that sequel a quarter-century ago, and that the result was me, and I am just a turd-girdle of soldered-together plot-notions and non-liners! Why would you want to see that again, instead of something new?”
Granted, given my non-sentient but somehow omniscient state of being, this is just one of many questions I have about your material world. Like, what does pesto taste like? Are dolphins mean drunks?
These are all things I don’t know.
Mostly, though, I don’t know why some people get very, very angry about this new Ghostbusters movie. And trust me, they are so angry! Some of them say they won’t even see the new Ghostbusters movie because … they love Ghostbusters movies too much? That sounds like a Terror Dog-whistle to my nubby little movie-ears. I mean, do they really think that this new Ghostbusters—which will only need three good jokes, tops, to be better than me—will damage their memory of the original any more than I did back in 1989, when I was birthed into the world as a stiff, crapoplectic bore? I don’t see how that’s possible!
So, sure, love me all you want. Again, that’s fine—most people who love me are wonderful and sincere! But when others angrily invoke me, Ghostbusters II, as a reason to protect the sanctity of a franchise that’s really just one fun, shaggy 1984 movie—and maybe some OK spin-off cartoons, though I wouldn’t know, because we movies don’t like to acknowledge TV’s existence—I start to get suspicious. What’s really going on here? Could there be some other, unspoken reason why some fans (not all, just the really loud, penis-y ones) tend to over-cling to me, the way a young child clings to some soiled, coarsened security blanket from youth?
I don’t know. I’m only a movie!