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We’re fighting about “Ghostbusters” again because it’s 2016 forever

Jason Reitman made some comments on a podcast about his planned “Ghostbusters” sequel, and touched off the next battle of a very familiar war.

We’re fighting about “Ghostbusters” again because it’s 2016 forever
[Photo: Al Freni/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images]

Yesterday, Bernie Sanders launched his presidential campaign and now the internet is fighting about a new Ghostbusters movie. It’s official: 2016 is purgatory and we will all be stuck here for the duration.

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Last time there was a Ghostbusters fracas online, it was because Paul Feig was directing a gender-flipped reboot of the film with an incredible cast of women: Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, and Kristen Wiig. A certain subset of men decided that the only way to view this news was through the lens of persecution, and thus Lady Ghostbusters was seen as a threat. “What’s going on?” then-candidate Donald Trump asked, in a typically aggrieved Instagram video. There was talk of another, separate new Ghostbusters movie starring Channing Tatum and Chris Pratt, but it always seemed like kind of a put-on and never came to fruition. Then the actual movie came out. Some women didn’t enjoy feeling compelled to like a movie, just out of solidarity, and some men insisted they hated the movie not because of any ingrained bias but because it was just bad. The Ghostbusters of 2016 made a decent chunk of change ($230M worldwide) but didn’t exactly set the world on fire. Feig put his sequel plans on ice and the franchise itself became a ghost. At least it did for a while.

In the middle of January, Jason Reitman (the son of original Ghostbusters director Ivan) announced that he would be taking over the series with the intention of restoring it to its former glory. The new film would be a direct sequel to the original films, conveniently wallpapering over the fact that the 2016 reboot ever happened. Perhaps because America was mired in Government Shutdown drama, few people got all that worked up about the announcement. Not anymore, though.

During a visit to Bill Burr’s podcast, Reitman talked about his admiration for the original film and his goal of replicating the look and tone of that film. “I’m not making the Juno of Ghostbusters movies,” the director said, referencing his Oscar-winning collaboration with Diablo Cody from 2008.

He goes on later in the interview to declare, “We are, in every way, trying to go back to the original technique and hand the movie back to the fans,” which suggests that Paul Feig and Melissa McCarthy had snatched the 1984 original out of fans hands and made it so they couldn’t watch it any more.

And to which people did Feig and McCarthy hand the franchise? Monsters like these:

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Anyway, Reitman’s comments soon hit Twitter, inspiring a backlash that will surely stay in proportion to the problem and not trigger the next level of backlash from those who are looking forward to seeing the franchise returned to “the fans.”

It’s a whole mess.

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If Reitman had wanted to make a Ghostbusters movie so bad, he should have done so before the reboot. Now, no matter how good his movie ends up being, it will still have to carry a heavy load of cultural baggage more cumbersome than proton packs on men in their late-60s. But if this new sequel misses the mark, he’ll probably have the opportunity to try again. After all, it’s 2016 forever now.

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