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Dear fandom community, let’s take it easy

in DC, Entertainment, Marvel, Movies, Movies & TV, Star Wars, Television

ghostbusters-2016-ecto-1-paul-feig

If I could say one thing to the geek and fandom community right now, to quote the Big Lebowski, you are being very un-dude. By that, I mean everyone needs to chill out and take it easy.

Seems like in the past few years, passionate fans from everywhere, be it comic books, movies, video games or television shows not only get mad, but enraged when something happens we don’t like and we feel the need to let the entire world know about it.

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“The world shall know how I feel about them giving Spider-Man organic web shooters instead of mechanical web shooters. You haven’t heard the last of me, Sam Raimi!”- someone in 2001 before “Spider-Man” was released.

Not only does it make us geeks look bad (and psychotic in some cases) it also sours the relationship between the creators have with the fans. With the advent of social media, fans and screenwriters, movie directors, actors and actresses have never been connected closer. Instead of using that opportunity to get some creative insight to our favorite shows and movies, we use that opportunity to harass them.

Case in point: a few weeks ago Marvel Editor and Senior Vice President of Publishing Tom Brevoort received a death threat after Steve Rogers revealed himself to be a HYDRA Agent from an alleged former US Marine. The threatener said he based his code of ethics after Rogers, and now that Rogers is a HYDRA agent, his whole code of ethics is “meaningless.” The threatener went on to say he would “use every resource at my disposal, every avenue that I can to locate and track you down. I WILL find you eventually, and I WILL kill you in the most painful way possible that I can think of.”

The writer of the story Nick Spencer was also on the business end of death threats via Twitter.

This was all over a comic book character. Let that sink in.

 

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Ghostbusters director Paul Feig. Image via MovieWeb

The 2016 Ghostbusters movie has been a lightning rod of hate from fans. Granted, some fans might have valid reasons for not wanting to see it, but I am talking about people directly attacking director Paul Feig and the actresses involved in the movie. There is no need for that.

James Rolfe aka the Angry Video Game Nerd. via Cinemassacre.com
James Rolfe aka the Angry Video Game Nerd, via Cinemassacre.com

Not only is it the cast and crew of Ghostbusters getting venom spewed on them, but other fans as well. Angry Video Game Nerd James Rolfe posted a video last month saying he wasn’t going to see the movie for a variety of reasons, all valid in my opinion. But the very next day, Rolfe was labeled by some as sexist for not wanting to see the movie. As a long time fan of his, I took great umbrage to that. If any of the people calling him sexist even bothered to watch the video, which they CLEARLY didn’t, or watched any other video he has ever made, they’d know there is not a sexist bone in his body and the fact the main cast is primarily women had NOTHING to do with Rolfe not wanting to see Ghostbusters.

“You can breathe, you can blink, you can cry. Hell, you’re all gonna be doing that after this episode airs." Image via AMC
“You can breathe, you can blink, you can cry. Hell, you’re all gonna be doing that after this episode airs.”
Image via AMC

Even the Walking Dead isn’t immune to fan criticism. When the season six finale aired this year, fans were outraged when newcomer Negan (Jeffery Dean Morgan) killed someone off camera and viewers didn’t find out who became the latest casualty on the hit show. Keep in mind they were mad because the season ended on a cliffhanger, a story telling technique that has been around since movie serials in the 1920s. Why they felt so entitled to instantly find out who got the barbed baseball bat to the head when plenty of shows before TWD ended their seasons on cliffhangers, like Smallville, Breaking Bad, Friends, the Simpsons, Alias and most famously Dallas.

Image via Entertainment Weekly
Zack Snyder. Image via Entertainment Weekly

Another recent example is Batman V Superman and Justice League part 1 director Zack Snyder. After fans weren’t happy with BVS, fans started a petition on Change.org to have Snyder taken off both Justice League movies. So rather than use Change.org for actual problems, they decided to use the website to make a movie director lose his job. Sure the movie had its faults, but was the movie SO BAD that Snyder should’ve lost his job over it? No, not by a long shot.

Michael Bay. Image via Collider
Michael Bay. Image via Collider

Michael Bay is another battle tested veteran of fandom hate. I don’t know what he did that some movie fans despise him. It seems like no matter what he does, fans have been conditioned to hate him. Remember when it was announced Bay was producing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Across the Internet, fanboys were claiming Bay would “ruin their childhood” and were on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Well, the movie ended up being awesome and a second one is currently in theaters. I love Michael Bay’s movies. Transformers (a Bay directed franchise for those not in the know) was one of the best movie going experience I have ever had in my entire life. The crowd was in sync with each other and so into the movie. There’s a reason Bay is the second highest grossing movie director of all time.

Image courtesy of Gizmodo
Image courtesy of Gizmodo

And if there is a grand daddy of fandom hate, it is Star Wars director and creator George Lucas. When the Phantom Menace was released in theaters in the summer of 1999, you’d think he put a snuff film on screen by the way some fans reacted to it. After every other prequel hit theaters, fans online had that mind numbing argument saying Lucas “got Star Wars wrong.” First of all, that is a virtual impossibility. Lucas created Star Wars. He can’t get it wrong. There was even a documentary about how much some fans hate Lucas called the People Vs George Lucas. Same goes for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom Of the Crystal Skull. No matter how much you may have loathed that movie, Lucas didn’t “get the characters wrong.” He created them with Steven Spielberg.

As much as we’d like to claim ownership for the series and characters we have grown to love, the unfortunate truth is they were never “ours” to begin with. The characters belong to the creators. Every single television show, movie, video game, comic book or novel we consume is really the product of someone’s creativity — and they’re putting themselves out there for the world to see. Sure, the final product might now be a home run every time, but us as fans at the very least should show some common courtesy and be respectful to the people behind what we like.

I’m not saying fans can’t have an opinion on things. On the contrary. My dream isn’t for everyone to hold hands and sing “Everything Is Awesome.” If you like something that happens in a movie, TV show or not, that’s your prerogative. I’m just saying from now on, go on with your life. I didn’t like the Amazing Spider-Man 2, but I didn’t write a manifesto about how director Marc Webb and the cast completely ruined Spider-Man for me. I talked to a few of my friends about how much I didn’t like it, went home, cooked up a Hungry Man dinner and watched Family Guy. The very next day I was happy again!

I’m not trying to create a South Park-esque safe space for these people. What I’m saying is if you are going to criticize something, make sure it is the product: not the actual person behind it. Understand what I’m saying?

Just one more thing. Us geeks should be thankful that all this stuff is popular now. I remember back in the day just DREAMING of a movie like Batman V Superman or a new Star Trek movie. I’d talk about comic book in hush tones with some of my friends. The only people who knew what a Mjolnir was were me, my friends and comic shop owners. Geek culture may be cool now, but they’ll be stuffing us in lockers again before we know it.

9 Comments

  1. EricJ

    You attack “All-Caps Fanboys”, and then -use- them in the next three paragraphs? You attack fan dogma and then say “It made money, so there, and BvS WASN’T a bad film, so that proves it!”
    Yeah, what color would you say that kettle was, a sort of charcoal off-umber?

    And yes, the reasons for not seeing Ghostbusters are valid. Many of them having to do with making the creative decisions based on -other- movies and trends, rather than….the original movie. If I wanted to see Anything Else, I’d be interested, but I don’t.
    Here’s a big reason to fight creeping McCabe-ism off the site, with torches and pitchforks.

  2. Josh

    I’ve been waiting for someone to say this for a very long time! It is exactly how I’ve felt for years. I love the Dude reference. Well-written article, and I feel there is a silent majority out there who feel this way too! Transformers and the Star Wars prequels rock! I can’t really complain when there are either Jedis or awesome robots beating the crap out of each other. 😉

  3. Brian

    With me, its not that it is an all woman cast it why I do not think it will be good. The problem is I do not see a good chemistry with all of this woman from the trailers. The orignal cast just has a chemistry that will never be possible with this cast. The movie looks like it has very good special effects, but without a likable cast, it will fail.

  4. Duffy

    For me it’s all about the cast of Ghostbusters being womanized.
    I’m tired of my favorite characters being sacrificed at the altar of feminism. Women are fantastic actresses in their own right, but to change the gender of the main characters so as to appear oh so progressive is just irritating as hell to me.
    The way Hollywood takes Liberty with the fan’s appreciation of a characters personna is not cool.
    Build on the existing female Heros, or create new ones and stop feminizing long standing Heros because it’s the PC thing to do.
    Crike you’d think Starbuck was a women or that Captain America was going to come out of the closet or something after 70 years.

  5. Adam

    I don’t get the Ghostbusters hate. Sure the original movies were fun – especially the first one – but they’re not exactly timeless classics. I think most people would be hard pressed to name all 4 of the original Ghostbusters character names.

    But I do understand that if you encourage, incite and profit from people’s passion, you have to be ready for the flip side of that. You can’t just treat fans like a cash machine and not expect a reaction when you do something extreme like change a character’s mythology or create a product that doesn’t live up to the hype and promise that you’ve created to sell it.

    1. EricJ

      You would remember Venkman, Stantz, Spengler, Zeddemore, Tully and Melnitz if you watched the cartoon.
      (And remembering crazy Dan Aykroyd-scripted names is no mean feat.)

  6. Kitty

    So the exaggerated reaction of a few results in a lecture to millions.

    The problem I have with this “calm down everyone” stories is that it’s comes from the same p,ace as the negativity they are claiming to fight against. Sure, SOME people are overreacting negatively. But why does that result in MORE people over-compensating?

    If something looks bad then it looks bad. If the reason it looks bad is because of the all black costumes or the “dark tone” or the lazy sequelitis or the marketing of social agendas then what’s wrong with calling it like you see it.

  7. Tom

    All I see is the film using the original film as a template, you have the library ghost, you have a Stay Puft like monster, you have the four Ghostbusters . It’s not a reboot, it’s a remake that was never needed, and now I find it to be a shallow attempt just to push a PC message in the worst of ways. The characters appear to be based on the original characters since there’s three white and one black Ghostbuster, but they’re way different characters and not female versions of those original characters, so what’s the point of this film? Anyone can be Ghostbuster, and this film really fails at being diverse by just changing the sex of the characters. The cartoon Extreme Ghostbusters did a much better job at diversity. Also I find it ironic how Chris Hemsworth is the Jeanine in this film, if it was the other way around with a sexy actress that would be “sexist”, but it’s OK because it’s a guy, for the ladies. The comedy of this film looks like forced goofy slapstick with crappy one liners that only small children would enjoy, actually it carries a PG rating so I guess it’s for small kids since no one else will see it. And yeah, the original films had a PG rating, but the PG13 rating wasn’t introduced until a month later after the first film so you could get away with a lot in a PG film back then, also GB2 seemed to be toned down on the language. Now if I wanted to see what a all male version of this remake was like I would just watch Pixels, which I won’t. This is Feig’s version of Ghostbusters, it’s almost like what Joel Schumacher did to Batman, but at least he can admit his films were bad.

  8. Jeff

    This is a great article, the internet sadly has become mostly crazy people with nothing better to do. Sadly reading the comments here proves that point.

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