Why are the Daily Beast, The Atlantic, Salon and various other outlets writing 2,000-word pieces tearing apart a YouTube film reviewer?
James Rolfe of Cinemassacre (also known as the Angry Video Game Nerd) committed a fairly frivolous crime. He made a video calmly telling his fans why he will not be reviewing the next Ghostbusters.
Normally no one would bat an eye when a YouTube critic passes on a film, even one as widely-consumed as Rolfe (his channel has 2 million subscribers and his show is ranked 117 on IMDB’s Top 250 TV Shows, two behind The Colbert Report).
But Ghostbusters is unlike any other film: It has an all-female main cast, therefore anyone who criticizes the movie is clearly a misogynist.
I really wanted to hate this Cinemassacre GHOSTBUSTERS review but I'm such a fan of noisy, thick-saliva swallowing it won my heart.
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) May 17, 2016
i might see ghostbusters like three or four times just to drink all the male tears when it's a success
— Bill Hanstock (@sundownmotel) May 18, 2016
totally chill MRA reviews new Ghostbusters: "at least Harold Ramis didn’t live to see this shit" https://t.co/wkJx8ooYF5
— Marisa Kabas (@MarisaKabas) May 17, 2016
Look at this limp dick loser. pic.twitter.com/GH032ngIJL
— devin faraci (@devincf) May 17, 2016
A group of journalists even went so far as bashing Rolfe’s wife.
So many verified tags, so much childish bullying.
And the articles on Rolfe were almost as bad.
“His reasoning dances around the simple fact that has set this innocuous-seeming movie apart from its fellow blockbusters this summer—that it’s a tentpole genre film starring women,” The Atlantic said.
And from the Daily Beast, “If angry video game nerds can’t see that ugliness in their undue animosity toward a female-fronted movie that doesn’t directly impact their actual real lives, then we all have a lot more to be afraid of than ghosts.”
Fivethirtyeight calls Rolfe’s show, “a misogynistic web show whose sycophantic Wikipedia entry made me pine for hemlock in my coffee.”
From watching Rolfe’s video he makes three main points – and strangely none of them have to do with women.
The best argument he makes — and the one he spends by far the most time on — is that there is no tie-in to the original franchise, despite cameos of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Ernie Hudson, and Annie Potts
Essentially, they got almost the entire old cast to appear in the film but they won’t be playing their former characters. The original trailer only added to the confusion by starting with “30 years ago, four scientists saved New York.”
“I know it’s weird that they say ’30 years ago,’ but in this movie it’s like the first one didn’t happen,” Melissa McCarthy said in an interview.
Rolfe wanted to see a pass-the-torch moment that we got to see in the Star Wars and Star Trek reboots, not just pointless cameos.
He also mentions that the trailer looks terrible, a point with which plenty of YouTubers agree. The first trailer is the most disliked movie trailer on YouTube with more than 800,000 dislikes. But it doesn’t even come close to the amount of hate the new Call of Duty trailer received. Call of Duty: Infinite War received over 2 million dislikes, and it has nothing to do with misogyny. It turns out that geeks just don’t like crappy trailers.
Rolfe also makes some points about the new Ghostbusters using the same name as the original, making the distinction between the two confusing and appearing to be a shameless gaming of search engine optimization.
Whatever Rolfe’s intentions are for not seeing the film, either a desire to avoid watching his beloved childhood franchise butchered before his eyes — or his seething hatred of women that has only boiled to the surface now after a decade on camera — he will almost certainly be on the right side of history.
That’s because the new Ghostbusters will in all probability be a heaping pile of garbage.
The following section contains leaked spoilers from the new Ghostbusters
A second trailer came out yesterday (56,000 dislikes and growing), and the new scenes all but confirmed the authenticity of a leaked account of the film on reddit/r/ghostbusters originally posted two months ago. To a T, the leaks confirm the worst of Rolfe’s suspicions.
The leaker starts out his post with a disclaimer:
I work in post production and saw an early version of the movie. I am an old ghostbusters fan (As a kid in the 80s I thought Gozer scared the hell out of me) I didn’t know much about the NEW movie before watching it and I was totally for a new female cast.
And concludes with:
The jokes are very lame and this movie is a complete joke. There’s really nothing serious happening and nothing is scary. The dialogue is horrible, cheesy, and loaded with slapstick and side comments that ruin any tension in the film. I wanted this movie to be good cause I’m a big GB fan, but this is a fiasco.
Remember the cameos that Rolfe was so concerned with? Turns out they’re pretty bad, too.
Bill Murray = a Skeptic. His lines arent good and he’s kinda stiff “WHY ARE YOU PRETENDING TO CATCH GHOSTS??!! THATA GIRL!!!” he gets killed when pushed out a window by the rock concert dragon ghost.
Dan Aykroyd = Cab driver who refuses to drive them when NYC is in havoc “I aint ‘fraid of no ghosts” he says in a hard NY accent.
Ernie Hudson = Jone’s uncle who owns a hearse company. When he finds out that they lost the ghostbusters car, Jones wants another one. Hudson says “I got four funerals this weekend. I can’t do it with one hearse. Jone’s says “Cant you do two at a time?” Hudson replies “Im not stackin em like flapjacks!”
Harold Ramis = ROLLING IN HIS GRAVE
Probably the most egregiously terrible part of the film is expected to come at the pivotal scene where the evil ghost makes the Ghostbusters choose which form the giant monster will take. In the 1984 version, the Ghostbusters try their hardest not to think any thoughts until Aykroyd cracks and thinks up the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Classic, hilarious scene.
In the 2016 version Leslie Jones just blurts out, “Oh I think that spray painted ghost from the subway was cute!”
I encourage you to read the full synopsis to induce peak nerd rage.
Sure, this leak may not be 100 percent accurate. There are sure to be some changes made in the editing process.
But whether or not the new Ghostbusters set out to make a feminist statement, that characterization may end up shielding it from the criticism it rightly deserves. And eventually the movie will have to answer for its shortcomings if it is indeed as bad as it looks.
The fact that adult journalists and public figures have taken to Twitter to childishly bully a YouTube film reviewer is a sign of the troubling outrage culture in which we live. Luckily for Rolfe, he has no employer they can pressure to fire him and a loyal fan base that will stick with him past this episode.
So who will be on the right side of history here? The film critic who predicts a terrible movie — or the horde of Twitter bullies trying to ruin the man’s life?