Nov 8, 2013


Dear Mr. Aykroyd:

First off, I love you. I really do. I can only thank you for having given the world my top-two favorite comedies: The Blues Brothers, and Ghostbusters. No matter what you do in the rest of your career, and no matter how many Yogi Bears you make, it doesn’t matter. It’s because of you that I can’t drive by a strip mall, look to my passenger, and in the flattest voice possible, point at said strip mall and say, “Pier One Imports.” If my passenger is worth a damn, the inevitable response will be, “This place has got everything.”

The trend for the last fifteen years or so has been remakes. And the trend from the last ten has been resurrecting old and established properties for sequels that no one asked for, and the movie-going populace didn’t need. Lord Beard himself proved that you can’t go home again with the abysmal Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Ridley Scott parted audiences like Moses at the Red Sea with his bizarre prequel/not-prequel to Alien with the cinematic oddity Prometheus. Perpetual sourpuss Bruce Willis is willing to turn John McClane into some bald, quiet, bored-looking dude who seriously, in this photo, looks exactly like my father:

His most recent turn in A Good Day to Die Hard resulted in – no hyperbole – one of the worst films I’ve ever seen – and it’s tremendously depressing, seeing as how I also cite the original Die Hard as one of my favorite all-timers.

So, let me just get right to the point: I think Ghostbusters 3 is kind of a bad idea. That’s first thing. Is it possible that it could be as good – or better – than the first film? Of course it’s possible. But is it likely? No. It’s really not. Magic happens with films like that. Cast and crew click. Audiences are at the right place, time, age, mind frame, etc. Ghostbusters plays as well as it ever did, but it couldn’t be done again with the same kind of humor and cast that made it work – not today. Modern audiences today don’t like jokes about Twinkies and weird, weird lines like “dogs and cats living together – MASS HYSTERIA!” They can’t understand the genius absurdity about commands like “If someone asks you if you’re a god, you say YES.” Because audiences today are very dumb. They need cheap and easy jokes about celebrities and Twitter. They need stunt-casting cameos and references to Red Bull. They need “comedies” that spoof other, better comedies. To cater a script to that sensibility is to change everything about the first film that worked and made it special. And this is where we go from "kind of" a bad idea to "emphatically and without question" a terrible idea.

I’ll break it down in the simplest of terms:

You want to make a Ghostbusters 3 that captures the spirit of the original while also attracting younger "hipper" audiences.

The spirit of the original includes the presence of Rick Moranis, Annie Potts, and William Atherton, for starters.

Now, you tell me: can you think, honestly, of any 12-16 year old that has any fucking idea who any of those people are? If you stopped any one of them at the box office as they purchased their tickets for this proposed Ghostbusters 3 and requested they give you their favorite Walter Peck quote, would they have any idea what you were talking about?

No – so why are you trying, dude?

Though I can understand this new "skew everything younger!" approach, I think this idea that these kinds of films need to stick “new blood” and “a younger cast” into the proceedings in order to appeal to the younger demographic (and the majority of your ticket buyers) is kind of piteous and sad. I know film audiences have changed since the 1980s. They’ve gotten younger, more tech savvy, and apparently much easier to please. This can be the only explanation as to why those Epic Movie guys still have any clout whatsoever. Let’s just call it for what it is: “younger” audiences have shitty shitty taste.

I read with interest/disinterest a casting rumor that Emma Stone and Jonah Hill may be joining the long-gestating Ghostbusters 3 in unspecified roles. In theory, I’ve got no qualm with either of these actors. Emma Stone is that rare good actress who actually understands comedy, ironically proven by her spot-on Janine Melnitz impression in the Ghostbusters scene of Zombieland. Plus, she’s a cutie patootie. As for Hill, I’ll admit, even though I wanted to strangle him every moment he was on screen in Super Bad, he’s quite hilarious when he tones it down, and his recent dramatic turns in Money Ball and The Wolf of Wall Street proves he’s got chops.

But whatever potential for laughs and quality I see in these names is quickly eclipsed by one simple realization: I love the Ghostbusters and its admittedly inferior but still solid sequel, because of YOU, and Murray, and Ramis, and Ernie Fucking Hudson. All four of you shared tremendous on-screen chemistry, and all of your different approaches to comedy meshed well and created a rock-solid team. Granted, Bill Murray has since become some sort of demigod for his eccentric behavior and his unwillingness to conform to any kind of standard (plus that really amusing “and no one will ever believe you” urban legend), so you could argue that if audiences had only one reason to be interested in a Ghostbusters 3, it would be because of him. And that’s not to diminish the value that you other three gents would bring to the project, but we have to be realistic. He is the draw. A third film would suck without any one of the four original 'Busters, but it would really suck without Murray. And from what I understand, he seems to have no interest in slipping on that Proton pack for one more go-around.

A nasty rumor circulated a year or so ago that suggested Murray had sent you the proposed Ghostbusters 3 script shredded to bits with a note that said no one wanted to see fat old men chasing ghosts. You told us not to believe he’d do such a thing, so I won’t believe it. A curmudgeon he may be, I don’t see him being that vicious. Besides, he’s kind of wrong. (Just kind of.)

The cynic in me says not to be at all interested in Ghostbusters 3 so long as this “young cast” angle is explored. But, if tomorrow, a new announcement was released saying that all four original ‘Busters were confirmed, and the “young cast” angle was being tossed in favor of a new approach that leaves the focus on the original guys, then the child in me could not help but be excited.

Simply put: Ghostbusters 3 is a risk, but I’d be open to it...if it’s the four original guys – yes, with the inevitable fat and bald and sore-back jokes. That’s fine, I’ll take it. You’ve at least got me interested.

But Ghostbusters 3 with a hipper, younger cast? So during the film one of them can reference Instagram and Egon can say “Insta-what?” and stupid audiences can laugh because OLD?

That’s not something I’m interested in seeing. Not in the least. And don't even get me started on the whole "passing of the torch" thing you've mentioned before, which implies that the Ghostbusters franchise will continue on past Part 3 to feature a bunch of kids in the starring roles, while you original guys take a backseat to them to play the old dudes behind the counter at Ray's Occult or something. Can I just say, right now, fuck that so hard?

Now, who am I to even think I have any say at all? Allow me to dispel any grand illusion I have of myself: I'm a big fucking steaming pile of nobody. I'm some dude who owns the movies on DVD and somewhere has an original poster for the first film. That's...really it. I'm just a fan. Overly protective and perhaps pompous, but, a fan I remain.

I'm just concerned, is all.

Listen, I can understand the temptation right now. Tough love stipulates I say this, and I’m sorry to sound callous: It’s not the '80s anymore. Things aren’t as golden as they used to be. The most high-profile gig you’ve had for a while now has been voicing a CGI bear, plus you’ve got your vodka and aliens. Ramis directs from time to time, and Ernie Hudson, well…he really really needs this. You all need this – I get it. The money, oh I know, it’s just sitting right there in the devil’s briefcase, open and glowing and waiting to be plucked like a virgin on prom night.

And Ghostbusters is that one property that’s all yours, that still has an audience of devouts who care for it and are irrationally thinking any kind of Ghostbusters 3 is a good idea without putting actual thought into what the might be getting. That kind of irrational hope comes bundled with nostalgia and tied with a ribbon of ignorance. "Ghostbusters 3 is a great idea since the first one is awesome and I love it." But the world doesn't work that way. For instance (sorry), Blues Brothers 2000 is a piece of shit. You put a kid in there to mix things up and it sucked hardcore.

Now you want to use multiple kids.

Please don’t do it.

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