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Self-Described “Film Chauvinist” Complains About Possible Female-Led Ghostbusters

I'm not interested in your opinion, just shut it off.

walter peck

Today in really annoying sexism news, a writer for Deadline is using Ghostbusters for evil. Specifically, he doesn’t think a recently-rumored all-female Paul Feig-directed Ghostbusters 3 should ever see the light of day, because how dare women be in a thing that men were in one time!

In his piece entitled “Film Chauvinist Asks: Do We Want An Estrogen-Powered ‘Ghostbusters?’” (even though everyone knows the Ghostbusters are powered not by testosterone or estrogen but by positron colliders, so this point is completely moot), Mike Fleming Jr. is not happy about Paul Feig as a possible choice for director, because female actors cannot, categorically, be Bill Murray.

Signing Feig would be great news for Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy, and maybe Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne and Rebel Wilson, but what about the rest of us? The ones who feel a level of ownership of the classic 1984 guy comedy Ghostbusters, the ones who endured a disappointing sequel and waited years for Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) to finally say he was not going to answer the call for a third film so we could get to this point? I feel slimed.

Aw, that’s so cute how you feel such a strong level of ownership for a thing you don’t actually own and have no say in. Bless your slime-covered heart.

He also acknowledges that “women will come to the movies if there is something for them” and cites Divergent, The Hunger Games, Lucy , and Marvel’s new Thor for some reason even though it’s not actually a movie—but then admits that he is a “knuckle-dragging Neanderthal” who will throw a hissy fit if his favorite film isn’t rebooted exactly the way he likes it. No really. Those are his exact words.

But does that give them the right to take Ghostbusters from knuckle-dragging Neanderthals like me who have little else going for us but our all-time top 10 or 20 favorite guy movies, and the prospect of a revamp that feels like the original guy version of one of the films on that list? What’s next, a Goodfellas redo with female mobsters pulling off the Lufthansa heist? A Raging Bull redo with Rhonda Rousey? Brian’s Song, set in in the WNBA? Animal House at a sorority?

Okay, so let’s break this down:

1. No one is taking Ghosbusters away from anyone, no more than any terrible film adaptations of your favorite kids’ shows actually “ruins” your childhood. They can’t. They might ruin your day, for sure, but no one can take away the fond memories you have of growing up with the original, which you’ll always be able to return to whenever you choose.

2. Who would not want to see all those movies? Are you kidding me right now? An all-lady heist? I have been waiting for that film my entire life and didn’t know it until this magical moment in time. Someone begin casting it immediately. My top picks are Tilda Swinton and Lorraine Toussaint but I am open to suggestions.

3. I’m sorry you don’t have more going on in your life other than a bunch of movies some people you will never meet made a long time ago. Maybe that might be your problem right now. You know what’s a really good hobby to pick up? Knitting. Calms you right down, and at the end you have a hat. I feel like you could do with a hat.

Unfortunately, Fleming Jr. isn’t the only Deadline writer who feels this way. In a different piece, Jeremy Gerard also helpfully points out that one time someone staged an all-female production of The Odd Couple in the ’80s and it didn’t work, so women should never be allowed to do anything he likes ever again:

Yeah, yeah, women have played Hamlet, Brutus, Prospero and Peter Pan. Fine. But watch it, pal, when you’re dealing with a real classic and keep your damned hands off of Oscar, Felix … and Dr. Peter Venkman.

Yes, because performing one of the most difficult and complicated parts in the entire English language is fine and dandy, but call somebody “dickless” with the wrong intonation and you have destroyed the craft of acting for everyone with your terrible lady powers! God has given you one face and you make yourselves another,  but it’s never going to be as awesome as Bill Murray’s face so what is even the point. 

Thankfully not everyone at Deadline has succumbed to the horrific psychomagnotheric slime that is film industry sexism. Anita Busch specifically challenged Fleming’s in her own editorial, where she brings up the argument that Marvel just released an almost $100 million-earning movie with a talking raccoon and a tree and are we really still having this conversation about women in film right now, guys?

“I feel like Dolly Parton working with Dabney Coleman in 9 to 5,” she writes. Oh, sorry, that was a widely successful female-led movie that came out four years before Ghostbusters. But yeah, I guess sexist, egotistical, lying hypocritical bigots are too busy crossing their own streams to take those kinds of films seriously.

Previously in Ghostbusters

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