Sunday, July 17, 2016

'Ghostbusters': Our Boys Embrace a New Movie for Their Generation

Ghost blog

The boys had been looking forward to this weekend all summer. “Ghostbusters” has become as important to them as it was to me 32 years ago.

The 11-year-old and his buddies own “Ghostbusters” costumes – ordered off the internet – and have used iPhones to shoot their own homages to the franchise. The 6-year-old fell in love with the original movie when he was still a toddler (questionable parenting, yes), and helped me build a Lego set re-creating the Ecto-1. Along with “Back to the Future,” “Star Wars” and “The Simpsons,” it’s a joy to see their childhoods influenced by the same titles that influenced my childhood.

Saturday afternoon, after catching the brand-new “Ghostbusters” at the Burbank Town Center, I asked for their honest reviews.

The pint-size verdict from my mini-reviewers: The new movie is “funnier” and “more modern” than the OG, says the 11-year-old. The 6-year-old loves ‘em both. Equally.

Lost in all this talk of grown-ups accusing Paul Feig of robbing their childhood: Actual moviegoers in the middle of their actual childhood. For my boys, this is their “Ghostbusters.” The technology, the setting, the cars, the dialogue, the music — it’s theirs.

The fact that the new “Ghostbusters” are women? That’s also theirs. When my 11-year-old says the new movie is “more modern,” he’s not making a statement on feminism. He doesn’t have to. But that’s because he grew up in an age where there’s no question the “Ghostbusters” could be women.

The boys, after all, have just spent the last six months watching and re-watching “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” starring Daisy Ridley. Their favorite TV shows include Disney Channel’s “K.C. Undercover,” starring Zendaya as a kick-ass spy. Some of their favorite recent animated movies, “Zootopia” and “Finding Dory,” were led by female characters. And of course, they only remember a world where an African-American man is president, and a woman is a major party’s candidate to succeed him. These are kids who would be a bit baffled by the debate being held in some circles of social media. Can’t anyone be a Ghostbuster?

Lorne Michaels is fond of saying that your favorite “Saturday Night Live” cast is the group that starred when you were in your teens – which is why the Dana Carvey/Phil Hartman/Jan Hooks/Mike Myers/etc. group will always be my crew. And yes, I will always be partial to the 1984 “Ghostbusters,” because that movie came out when I was 11.

But now it’s my son who is 11, and he has his own “Ghostbusters.” That doesn’t negate my “Ghostbusters,” of course. And hey, what’s more exciting is I now get TWO “Ghostbusters”: The one that the pre-teen me adored, and now one that the fortysomething me enjoyed. (My one quibble: Not enough ghostbusting!)

The new "Ghostbusters" is an enjoyable ride, and one I look forward to visiting again. We'll see you at the sequel!

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