We Need a Woman: Review of 2016 Ghostbusters and Ocean’s 8

We’ve skipped a period.

When I was a teenager, my buddies and I would hang out in the park on summer nights, down a bunch of brewskies, argue about sports and inevitably bellow something brainless like, “I need a woman.”

Period.

In recent years, however, that sentence has been extended, as in, “We need a woman…….. astronaut…… CEO…… secretary of state…… supreme court justice…… president.”

As if the genitalia would mean a significant improvement in..… whatever.

By that logic, 2016’s Ghostbusters: Answer the Call and this year’s Ocean’s 8 should have been better movies than the originals since, hey, women!

They weren’t.

Ghostbusters had a strong cast: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones. Here’s the déjà vu-esque plot: Paranormal researcher Abby Yates and physicist Erin Gilbert want, for some reason, to prove the existence of ghosts. Bizarre apparitions materialize over Manhattan. They tap engineer Jillian Holtzmann to help, adding Patty Tolan, a streetwise New Yorker, for good measure. On go the proton packs and supernatural battle ensues.

The gimmick failed to excite. A typical comment:

“This is a mediocre horror/comedy that deserves neither high praise nor disparagement.”

Another:

“After all the arguments… here’s the thing about the Ghostbusters movie: it is, without a doubt, average. All that argument? A waste of time.”

Ocean’s 8 boasted an all-star cast, headed by Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter and pop singer Rihanna.

Didn’t help. Here’s the plot: Debbie Ocean has been planning the biggest heist of her life while in jail for five years, eight months and 12 days. She figures it will take a dream team of feminine felons, which she wastes no time assembling: jeweler Amita, street con Constance, suburban mom Tammy, hacker Nine Ball, and fashion designer Rose. Their goal is a necklace worth over $150 million.

Sorry, girls. One reviewer said that it “isn’t quite as smooth as its predecessors, but still has enough cast chemistry and flair to enjoyably lift the price of a ticket from filmgoers up for an undemanding caper.”

Zzzzzzzzzz……………..…. Oh, sorry.

In 2016, the same year the estrogen-enhanced Ghostbusters appeared, Women’s Health magazine ran a story by Kristina Marusic titled 7 Reasons to Want a Woman as Your President, with the subhead, We’re not voting with our vaginas, but we’re definitely thinking about them. Among her reasons:

  • Our Democracy Would Be Stronger (uh, says who?)
  • Women Make the Best Leaders (sexist!)
  • Women Fight for Women’s Rights (men don’t?)
  • Women Work Together, Regardless of Politics (oh, really?)
  • She’d Make History (big whoops)
  • Actually, that last one has some merit. Hillary Clinton did, indeed, make history by becoming the first presidential nominee of a major party ever to run for office while being investigated by the FBI.

When, oh when do we finally internalize the understanding that people are people – no matter their gender, skin color, nationality, religion or anything else? That all of that stuff pales in insignificance compared to, as Dr. King phrased it, “the content of their character.”

Or of their movies.

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