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  • Listening to: The hum of cars outside my window
  • Eating: Whimsy
  • Drinking: Exhaustion
Can I really hate the new Ghostbusters film? Oh, it sucks for sure! But like anything that's the product of incest and drugs and poor decisions, it can't help how it is. It can't help that Paul Feig only specializes in Bro Shows, and that Sony is famished for its own Marvel Universe franchise, and that it stars Melissa McCarthy! It is in no way cognizant as to how bad it has it! So again, can I really hate something that never really had a chance?

Well, when it takes a shit in my shoe and expects me to walk home with a smile, then yes, I can absolutely hate it.

Ghostbusters (hereafter referred to as Nu-Busters, because I'm clever) is the story of four women who can't decide who's supposed to be the funny one, whose antics are occasionally distracted by plot – essentially, Always Sunny in Philadelphia with none of the charm and a PG rating. Between the wooden improv and Melissa McCarthy being the fusion of Kevin James and a crash test dummy, they gawk at CG that's just shy of Video Game Cut Scene quality and place products shamelessly. Despite catching all of one ghost before the climax, and despite all of the ghost sightings being completely isolated, they warrant enough scrutiny that the Mayor and Homeland Security see fit to gag them lest they incite a panic. They also discover that this entire plot is being caused by a terrorist mad scientist geek with a Rage Against the Muggles motivation, who's using technology to bomb down the barrier between this world and the other.

I repeat: a dude who's famously derided for his creepiness is planting bombs in broad daylight in modern-day New York City. I can suspend disbelief that this is a world where ghosts and spiritual possessions and Kristen Wiig being taken seriously can happen, but THIS? In the nesting ground of Homeland Security?! Despite every other person being either a jabbering idiot or a psychopathic caricature, this movie should've been resolved before the opening credits with a literal bullet!
But like so many other things, Neil Casey's success as a cartoon villain happens because the film needs it to happen. Just like the film needs the ghosts to go from legitimate threat to one-off mooks that our main characters can easily toss aside in a three-minute action scene, and just like the group needs to be simultaneously adored and vilified despite both being completely unfounded. Their recognition never really elevates much beyond the status of Viral Video Famous, and at their greatest triumph, there are no witnesses save to the aftermath; and maybe if there had been any sort of progression of time or some sort of logical escalation towards the climax, we could believe that they'd earned their notoriety.

But no, the whole film happens in a three-week time frame, and is a hop-scotching race to all of the main plot points with ceaselessly useless dialogue to fill the gaps. And I do mean useless! Between Kristen Wiig's so-tragic-that-it-deserves-a-sad-violin-to-let-you-know-how-tragic-it-is back story of being haunted by her dead neighbor for a year (a point which was so excessive, I was positive her neighbor's ghost would show up at some point – otherwise, why make it so excessively melodramatic?) and Kate McKinnon's awkwardly forced sexy-cyberpunk-mad-scientist-pixie, I don't think the characters said anything of character-building relevance. (And no, Leslie Jones explaining the events as they happen doesn't count as dialogue, though it is just as useless.)

The story plays as some guy's interpretation of a movie he's heard his friends talk about constantly but has never actually seen – bullshitting through the vaguer aspects until it got to the parts it knew, which he proceeded to bullshit as well. Which works if you just want something on in the background while you're folding laundry, but when you're sitting in a giant auditorium with a bunch of other people? When you've turned off your cell phone and broke off all human contact, and dedicated two hours of your life because you were promised distraction enough to warrant paying full price plus the cost of snacks?

And when you're expected to walk home with that giant turd working further between your toes and around your heel?

And when you're expected to smile?

The saddest thing is, there are elements to Nu-Busters right there on the surface that could have made this at least an INTERESTING film! Taking the scenic route to the development of the team – testing and improving their equipment; starting out in a dump before getting to their ideal headquarters ; ending the team better off than where they started but leaving plenty of room for upward momentum – is a solid idea, especially if want to tell an organic story! But Feig's talents lie in sitting his camera down and having his actors improvise that they're idiots who think they're interesting, so their implementation is ancillary at best. Everything is done not because it's good story-telling, but because it's necessary if you want a franchise (as if the sequel hook tacked on at the last minute wasn't an obvious give-away) and need to sell merchandise (coughcoughGhostShreddercoughcough!)

Fifteen minutes of plot; an hour-plus of fill. There's a running gag where Melissa McCarthy's character keeps ordering soup, but it's all broth with almost no substance. Kind of poetic that the film would find a way to sum itself up so perfectly.

Shame it couldn’t put any effort into anything else.

Final Score:
Rating: 5.8/10
XOWIE Scale: -2
Half-Life: 4 months

Tom Upside
- So Macy's Day Parade floats have souls? And at some point, there were dragon goats? And there once existed giant Uncle Sam monsters? No offense, Paul Feig, but from now on, just stick to fart and vomit jokes.
  • Listening to: Christmas Music
  • Eating: Cheez-Its
  • Drinking: 3 Floyds Gumball Head

Tarantino is one of those writer-slash-directors who, love him or hate him, knows how to make a film – both in the stylistic auteur sense and in the popcorn-pushing carnival-barker cynical perspective. The man doesn't just make films that he'd want to see; he tries to create films that he saw that made him WANT to become a director. Even his worst films are still impressive pieces of cinema. In short, the man knows his craft.

But I have not come to praise Caesar, but to bury him, and hope inter with him his sins so that they do not live on. So, with grave dug and shovel in hand, I toss down into its coffin and bury The Hateful Eight as Tarantino's worst film to date.

At its core, The Hateful Eight is a Suspense Western: where someone isn't who they seem and nobody can truly trust anyone, but you can totally expect people to start shooting each other's faces off at any second – the kind of film Hitchcock would've made had he been into Westerns and gratuitous violence. The Hateful Eight is the story of bounty hunter John Ruth (Kurt Russel), transporting his latest catch, Daisy (Jennifer Jason Leigh), to be tried and hung in the city of Red Rock. Along the way, they pick up Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson), former Union solider turned bounty hunter, on his way to Red Rock with a pair of dead bounties. They also pick up a man named Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins), who claims to be going to Red Rock to be its new sheriff – a claim that both men find dubious, given his history as a Confederate.

When they get to their next stop – Minnie's Haberdashery – they find Minnie and her people mysteriously gone, and four other occupants lingering around: Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth), a hangman going to Red Rock; General Smithers (Bruce Dern), a former Confederate officer looking for his missing son; Joe Gage (Michael Madsen), a writer on his way to see his mother in Red Rock; and Bob (Demian Bircher), a stable-hand hired by Minnie to mind the shop while she's away.

Oh, and there's also the stagecoach driver, Jackson (James Dirch) – the only person that John Ruth "sorta trusts" – with trust being the one thing John has nothing of for anyone, as Daisy is worth $10,000, dead or alive. With so many people with so many coincidental reasons for going to the same place, he is more than certain that, just as any one of them could want to take her for the bounty, any one of them could also be there to save her.

Cue ominous music.

Gone is the sweeping opera of Inglourious Basterds and Kill Bill; gone is the stylistic whimsy of Death Proof. Here, Tarantino returns to an early, more personal style of storytelling – more in tune with Reservoir Dogs than, say, Django Unchained. Here, he's opted to film everything like a dinner-party murder mystery or a cabin-in-the-woods horror to give the film a proper sense of paranoia (though Minnie's is often too spacious and the characters too spread out to keep things as effectively claustrophobic as he'd probably intended.) The panoramic views of the stark, barren winter wilderness early on serve less as scenery porn and more to help the viewers appreciate just how alone these people are, and just how hopeless things are going to get when everything starts going wrong.


And go wrong, things do! Because if there are two things Tarantino knows best, it's dialogue and gratuitous violence – two things that The Hateful Eight has in spades. But what also goes wrong is the narrative flow. Tarantino's always known how to keep a film going from point-A to point-D, even when he's had it go to point-C first, then up to point-D and around to point-B with a stop at point-F along the way. For as much of a dialogue-driven storyteller as he is, he's always known what to show his audience and when, rather than tell.

With The Hateful Eight, though, he doesn't just "tell" his audience what's going on in the figurative sense, he literally tells them – throwing in narration to explain scenes and events in order to artificially maintain cohesion. And I'm not just talking the narration of a character or some omniscient story-teller; I’m talking the voice of Quentin Tarantino himself comes in and directly explains a character's reasoning and such, like some mandatory Director's Commentary. Sometimes he even explains things because he thinks his audience is too dumb to get it. There's even one point where he EXPLAINS the title of one of his chapters – as if the viewers couldn't have figured it out by watching the scene itself.

It's not that the narration is used that often. Hell, it's scarcely used all that much at all. But it's used in such an arbitrary, lazy fashion! One gets the impression that, when the movie was screened before a test audience, rather than go back and re-edit or re-cut the sequences that didn't flow or make sense, he just went in and recorded some bullshit lines and told them all to go fuck themselves. It's not narration as a framing device; it's narration as a half-assed effort to just get the shit done.


It 's also used to speed past illogical behavior, especially when it comes to Samuel Jackson's character. I know that the urge to make Samuel Jackson the most bad-ass character in the room is impossible to resist, but there is no WAY he would have done HALF of what he did in a room full of professional killers and suspected assassins, no matter WHAT kind of beef he had with anyone. Nor would THEY have ever let his character waltz around with the wanton, violent abandon the way he does, in the setting they're in. Best-case scenario, they'd take his guns away; worse-case scenario, they'd put him down like a wild dog. No, that's not something "good guys" would do, but NONE of these characters could be mistaken for good, especially not the ones holding the guns.

Tarantino doesn't make any effort to fix broken parts like these, though. He duct tapes the weak points with narration so the movie can make it to the end. It's a laziness that heralds a trend of sloppiness that picks up around the same time. As the violence begins to ramp up, it starts to lose its focus as a tense suspense drama. But rather than reign it in, the gore is allowed to get so cartoonishly over-the-top that Bugs Bunny could've walked passed at any time and nobody would've thought him out of place. While being hilariously satisfying, it jerks the wheel hard to the right and drives the film away from suspenseful drama and right into slapstick comedy, and no real efforts are made to make it right. It becomes Murder-Revenge Porn from that point, and any pretense of tension and suspense goes right over the cliff.

Not that The Hateful Eight doesn't try to keep the tension going -- and it does try. But poor directorial choices near the end to FORCE dramatic tension, which does nothing to rebut any claims of laziness. Despite better intentions, hackneyed slow-motion of Samuel Jackson tearfully pleading does not dramatic tension enhance, especially since everything other character reaction and dialogue goes at normal pace. It does keep the comedic atmosphere of the Blood Bath Wack-a-Mole from earlier going though – but definitely not on purpose this time.

And because it loses its cohesion near the end, it never leads to any real satisfying conclusion. Sure, it was the right sort of ending for a film like this, but with all of the unevenness in tone leading into the finale, what we were presented with was only . . . meh. Not good. Not bad. Not even all that satisfying. There's no denouement; no final touch. It's a sentence without a period. It just sort of . . . ends.


That sort of ending is usually perfectly fine. After all, The Hateful Eight is supposed to be a smaller-scale film. It's not supposed to have any sort of grand finale. It's supposed to be nasty and brutish. Again, it's a return to the Reservoir Dog days, so it's the closest thing to a "happy ending" that a world as cruel as that can give. And for a better film, it'd be perfect. The Hateful Eight is not that better film though. When the film is on, it's beautiful! When it's off, it's so distractingly off that you want to just speed through or skip to the good parts! You want to watch that other better film! The Hateful Eight we got isn't the final product; it's the third draft. It's so close to being complete that you can see what it could've been, had the creator given it one final go. Which makes its flaws just all that more glaring, and makes that ending all that more anticlimactic.

Nobody can say that The Hateful Eight isn't immensely enjoyable, especially if you're already a Tarantino fan. As I said before, Tarantino knows how to make an entertaining film. But here, entertaining was all that it was. It commits the dual sins of both lazy and sloppy storytelling; and in such short order that the movie can only coast to the finish – carried over by the sheer momentum of a strong start and not much else. From a new director, that could almost be forgiven. But not here. Not from this one. Not by me.

 

Final Score

Rating: 6/10
XOWIE: 11
Half-Life: Five years

 

Tom Upside
– Nobody in the theater understood my reaction when the joke was made about the fireplace. A shame, too. I hate when dark humor goes to waste.

  • Listening to: Rush - 2112
  • Watching: Cannibal -- The Musical
  • Eating: Cap'n Crunch
  • Drinking: hot cocoa

So there's this film franchise that's been going around. Star Wars. You might have heard of it. It's kind of a big deal. There have been six film so far – seven if you include a made-for-television special. Arguably, only two-and-a-half have been "good ones." You might have heard that there's a new one out now. They're calling it The Force Awakens. A lot of promises have been made about it. A lot of hype made. Some people have seen it. Some people haven't. As someone who's seen it, I'm here to speak to those who haven't:

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is not a good film.

It's not a bad film, but it's not a good film.

It's not un-enjoyable, but it's not what they promised. And they have promised, many, MANY things.

That should be enough, right? "Go watch the film if you want, but don't get your hopes up," right? But this isn't a world of analogue. This is a world of binary. Saying Star Wars: The Force Awakens isn't good? Apparently it's the same thing as saying it's bad. No, not just bad. Horrible. Shit. The scrapings from the hamster tray. The worst thing since Cosmopolis.

If that's the way it has to be, then so be it! I shall stand as the Prosecuting Attorney, and hold it accountable for its crimes! And yes, there will be spoilers, because you can't go into something like this without presenting EVIDENCE! You can't just go in saying "Take my word for it," because words are bullshit without something solid! The people have a right to know what they're getting into. They deserve the truth!

For those who are unfamiliar, The Force Awakens is the story of a desert orphan with mysterious but powerful parentage, pulled into a galactic conflict – where noble underdogs must stand defiant against an overwhelming force of evil! And through that struggle, they glimpse a power far greater than they could have imaged, and seize upon their destiny.

If that sounds familiar, then congratulations, you've seen A New Hope and The Phantom Menace.

And there’s a primary frustration right there: They finally had a chance to take the series into a new direction – to give them some new threats to fight; new villains to encounter; to build upon the galaxy far away! Even though they're no longer cannon, they could have borrowed from the Timothy Zahn Heir to the Empire series or lifted from the Yuuzhan Vang books. But what do they do instead? They rehash everything. Death Star. Empire. Rebellion. Skywalker. Darth. Tarkin. Emperor. It’s the Star Trek Into Darkness approach: mash up some of the classic stories, throw in some new twists, but keep it the same old song and dance, and hope nobody’s the wiser. Arguing that The Force Awakens is nothing like A New Hope requires the same suspension of common sense as saying that Ice Ice Baby sounds nothing like Under Pressure.

Firstly, the lead protagonist is an orphan from a desert planet that's not Tatooine but is similar to Tatooine. And they go to a tropical planet that's not Yavin 4 but is similar to Yavin 4 – proceeding to a den of thieves that's not Mos Eisley but is similar to Mos Eisley. Eventually they join up with a group that is not the Rebellion but is similar to the Rebellion; to fight against a group that is not the Empire but is similar to the Empire. And there is a last-minute battle against an evil super weapon that is not the Death Star but is similar to the Death Star. In fact, the new super weapon – the Star Killer – is even MORE dangerous and badass. We know this because one of the characters ACTUALLY does a SIDE-BY-SIDE COMPARISON between the two to illustrate the point – in a scene so ham-fisted that, had a character from Team America walked in and shouted "IT'S 9/11 TIMES 1,000!" it wouldn't have seemed out of place. But of course, it has one gigantic and exploitable weakness, because why not! This is Star Wars! Every gigantic super weapon has to have a gigantic exploitable weakness! Star Wars seems to mean doing the same thing over and over again, only expecting different results.

Thankfully we had the lovable traipses down memory lane to take our minds off the similar! Every time they unveiled – sometimes literally – one of the Original Trilogy alumni or props, a giant "PUT ON YOUR NOSTALGIA GOGGLES NOW" should've popped up. “Oh look everyone! It's the Millennium Falcon! You remember that? And hey, it's R2D2! Wasn't he the coolest back in the day? Let's remember all of those good memories and try not to think about how they got there or why they're only pointing them out now.”

Not that the film can really keep track of everything that's going on anyways. Half of the time it isn't sure who it's supposed to follow. Is it Rey? Is it Finn? Is it Kylo Ren? Could it possibly be Han Solo and Chewbacca – the darlings from the Original Trilogy? Or is it Poe Dameron – ace pilot and candidate for the title of New Han Solo – and his plucky droid companion BB8? We never really figure out, because just when we're getting used to one person or group, the story sets them aside with a casual assurance that "Oh, we'll come back to them later." In many ways, some of these characters, especially Poe and his X-Wing fighters, felt like they were only getting attention because there was anticipation of using them in spin-offs – think Jinx Johnson from Die Another Day, only more so. Same with villains like Phasma, who were spared so they could be the villains in those spin-offs and television show episodes. They're not characters so much as intellectual place-holders.

Which brings me to Kylo Ren and Rey: two of the worst written characters in the Star Wars universe since Anakin Skywalker and the pig and walrus crime duo from Mos Eisley in A New Hope.


I'll start with Kylo Ren. Kylo – fucking – Ren. Diet Caffeine Free Darth Vader is more like it. No, seriously, there is NO flavor to this Sith! He has NO motivation! He has NO rationalization for being evil! He wasn't an orphan! He's not scarred! He didn't have a rough life! He had two parents who loved him, a family that cared for him, a face and limbs that are ALL intact, the best life imaginable, and training from one of the BEST and MOST FORGIVING Jedi in the galaxy. He's an emo fuckboy who listened to one Black Flags album and decided he was going to be hardcore. His sole reason for being evil is because he WANTS to be! He prays to the skull of Darth Vader to make him be the best bad guy that he can be – I'm not even fucking exaggerating! One gets the impression that when they were writing his back-story, in the section for "Reason Why Evil," someone wrote down "Because" until they could think of something to fill in later and completely forgot. And so, now, “because” is his reason for doing everything.

Which brings me to Rey! No last name. Just Rey. I used to D&D with people who would do that – who would make a character with no last name, in order to make them extra-super mysterious. It didn’t work then; it doesn’t work now.

Honestly, I couldn't quite put my finger on why this character gave me such a bad taste at first. I mean, there was nothing about her that I *shouldn't* have liked! She was a lonely orphan abandoned in a terrible wasteland, making her way on her pluck and guile but never being bothered by it. A scavenger alone in the wastelands, she could out-fight *groups* of people twice her size. She was an amazing mechanic and an instant crack-shot. She had a mysterious past. She could speak Wookie AND Droid (yes, that's right, she could speak to Droids without a translator.) Everybody loved her and wanted her to be part of their side, including Kylo Ren. She knew how to pilot the Millennium Falcon better than Han Solo himself – arguably the most popular character in the Star Wars universe – who was so impressed that he immediately offered her a job as his co-pilot. Not only that, but she's a Force user with a mysterious bond to Anakin Skywalker's light saber (don't ask me HOW they managed to dig it out of the wreckage of Cloud City.) Without a single day of training, she was able to figure out how to do Jedi tricks that not even Luke was able to do without Yoda's training. And despite this handicap, she was able to go toe-to-toe with a Sith who had trained for YEARS with MASTERS – a Sith who was able to stop laser blasts in mid-fucking-air – and absolutely fuck his shit!

And then it hit me: Of *course* she's the only one worthy of wielding Anakin Skywalker's original light saber! Of COURSE she's the only one worthy of piloting the Millennium Falcon other than Han Solo or Lando Calrissian! Of COURSE she's the only one who could possibly find Luke Skywalker. She was always MEANT to do those things! Rey is a Mary Sue! Her only characterization is her blinding awesomeness! Her only purpose is wish fulfillment! She is everything the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode Superstar made fun of, only not in the least bit ironic!

At this point, it should become clear that they gave so much attention to making the film LOOK like a Star Wars film that nobody bothered to give any thought to the story! The actions proceed not because they logically should, but because they have to. Kylo Ren doesn't kill who he kills or acts how he asks in any logical way. He acts evil because he *has* to act evil. The Star Killer sabotage team was able to breach the planetary defense shields like they did not because it made any sense, but because they HAD to. Kylo and Rey have a rivalry because they have to. The Millennium Falcon was on Jakku because it HAD to be on Jakku for Rey and Finn to find for their escape. R2 had a map of the galaxy that nobody else had, and woke up precisely when he did, because he had to. People behaved as they did because that's what the story demanded. Heavy-handed flashbacks and outright statements replaced narrative revelation. Everything happened for a reason, and that reason was simply to keep the story going – even if it removed all tension; even if it didn't make any sense. When the story dictates the action and not the other way around, that's Lazy Writing!

Because of the laziness in the narrative, there's a grandness missing from The Force Awakens. The Original Trilogy was the story of a young man's journey of discovery against the backdrop of a galactic civil war. Like in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, what we were seeing was a small portion inside a story that was bigger than everyone else – and we, the audience, were invited to join along. But with The Force Awakens, the Skywalker struggle was the fulcrum, and every event – the whole war between The Resistance and The First Order – hinged on that story. The MacGuffin that everyone was after wasn't the plans for the new Star Killer, but was a map to Luke Skywalker. Destroying the Star Killer was the distraction from the main story. Hell, the First Order only used it because they couldn't find the map to Skywalker. It was a waste of a weapon, a waste of tension, and a waste of time – and it was our time that it was designed to waste.

And the final crime, for which this film cannot be forgiven: While the Prilogy was designed to set up all the events for the Original Trilogy, The Force Awakens undoes ALL of its accomplishments! The defeat of the Empire at Endor; the death of The Emperor; the romance between Han and Leia; the liberation of the Galaxy; even the redemption of Darth Vader – they were all for nothing! The galaxy is in the exact same shape that it was thirty-plus years ago, for the sole purpose of providing the audience with something familiar. For that symphony of nostalgia. Only now, everyone's older; only now, everyone's a little more tired. It used to feel like they were fighting with a purpose. Now it just feels like fighting for a purpose.

If I have to credit The Force Awakens for one thing, it does one thing that surprised me. It reminded everyone of something brought up in A New Hope but long forgotten: that Han Solo might have been an amazing pilot, but he was one LOUSY smuggler!


For a lot of people, that might be the greatest crime of all.

The Prosecution rests.


Final Score
Rating: 6/10
XOWIE: 3
Half-Life: Seven years

 

Tom Upside
- Also, the unmasking of Kylo Ren is the most anti-climactic thing since the opening of Al Capone's vault.

deviantID

The-Chosen-Millenium
The Chosen One
Artist
United States
Current Residence: Gem City, OH
Favorite genre of music: Anything and everything...EXCEPT country. *blech!*
Favorite style of art: Surreal, psychedelic
Operating System: Windows 7, Linux
MP3 player of choice: Winamp
Shell of choice: Peanut
Wallpaper of choice: Radiance
Skin of choice: Mine. *laughs at his own wittiness* ^_^
Favourite cartoon character: Griff (Red vs Blue)
Personal Quote: "If all else fails, just don't pick up the soap."
Interests
  • Listening to: The hum of cars outside my window
  • Eating: Whimsy
  • Drinking: Exhaustion
Can I really hate the new Ghostbusters film? Oh, it sucks for sure! But like anything that's the product of incest and drugs and poor decisions, it can't help how it is. It can't help that Paul Feig only specializes in Bro Shows, and that Sony is famished for its own Marvel Universe franchise, and that it stars Melissa McCarthy! It is in no way cognizant as to how bad it has it! So again, can I really hate something that never really had a chance?

Well, when it takes a shit in my shoe and expects me to walk home with a smile, then yes, I can absolutely hate it.

Ghostbusters (hereafter referred to as Nu-Busters, because I'm clever) is the story of four women who can't decide who's supposed to be the funny one, whose antics are occasionally distracted by plot – essentially, Always Sunny in Philadelphia with none of the charm and a PG rating. Between the wooden improv and Melissa McCarthy being the fusion of Kevin James and a crash test dummy, they gawk at CG that's just shy of Video Game Cut Scene quality and place products shamelessly. Despite catching all of one ghost before the climax, and despite all of the ghost sightings being completely isolated, they warrant enough scrutiny that the Mayor and Homeland Security see fit to gag them lest they incite a panic. They also discover that this entire plot is being caused by a terrorist mad scientist geek with a Rage Against the Muggles motivation, who's using technology to bomb down the barrier between this world and the other.

I repeat: a dude who's famously derided for his creepiness is planting bombs in broad daylight in modern-day New York City. I can suspend disbelief that this is a world where ghosts and spiritual possessions and Kristen Wiig being taken seriously can happen, but THIS? In the nesting ground of Homeland Security?! Despite every other person being either a jabbering idiot or a psychopathic caricature, this movie should've been resolved before the opening credits with a literal bullet!
But like so many other things, Neil Casey's success as a cartoon villain happens because the film needs it to happen. Just like the film needs the ghosts to go from legitimate threat to one-off mooks that our main characters can easily toss aside in a three-minute action scene, and just like the group needs to be simultaneously adored and vilified despite both being completely unfounded. Their recognition never really elevates much beyond the status of Viral Video Famous, and at their greatest triumph, there are no witnesses save to the aftermath; and maybe if there had been any sort of progression of time or some sort of logical escalation towards the climax, we could believe that they'd earned their notoriety.

But no, the whole film happens in a three-week time frame, and is a hop-scotching race to all of the main plot points with ceaselessly useless dialogue to fill the gaps. And I do mean useless! Between Kristen Wiig's so-tragic-that-it-deserves-a-sad-violin-to-let-you-know-how-tragic-it-is back story of being haunted by her dead neighbor for a year (a point which was so excessive, I was positive her neighbor's ghost would show up at some point – otherwise, why make it so excessively melodramatic?) and Kate McKinnon's awkwardly forced sexy-cyberpunk-mad-scientist-pixie, I don't think the characters said anything of character-building relevance. (And no, Leslie Jones explaining the events as they happen doesn't count as dialogue, though it is just as useless.)

The story plays as some guy's interpretation of a movie he's heard his friends talk about constantly but has never actually seen – bullshitting through the vaguer aspects until it got to the parts it knew, which he proceeded to bullshit as well. Which works if you just want something on in the background while you're folding laundry, but when you're sitting in a giant auditorium with a bunch of other people? When you've turned off your cell phone and broke off all human contact, and dedicated two hours of your life because you were promised distraction enough to warrant paying full price plus the cost of snacks?

And when you're expected to walk home with that giant turd working further between your toes and around your heel?

And when you're expected to smile?

The saddest thing is, there are elements to Nu-Busters right there on the surface that could have made this at least an INTERESTING film! Taking the scenic route to the development of the team – testing and improving their equipment; starting out in a dump before getting to their ideal headquarters ; ending the team better off than where they started but leaving plenty of room for upward momentum – is a solid idea, especially if want to tell an organic story! But Feig's talents lie in sitting his camera down and having his actors improvise that they're idiots who think they're interesting, so their implementation is ancillary at best. Everything is done not because it's good story-telling, but because it's necessary if you want a franchise (as if the sequel hook tacked on at the last minute wasn't an obvious give-away) and need to sell merchandise (coughcoughGhostShreddercoughcough!)

Fifteen minutes of plot; an hour-plus of fill. There's a running gag where Melissa McCarthy's character keeps ordering soup, but it's all broth with almost no substance. Kind of poetic that the film would find a way to sum itself up so perfectly.

Shame it couldn’t put any effort into anything else.

Final Score:
Rating: 5.8/10
XOWIE Scale: -2
Half-Life: 4 months

Tom Upside
- So Macy's Day Parade floats have souls? And at some point, there were dragon goats? And there once existed giant Uncle Sam monsters? No offense, Paul Feig, but from now on, just stick to fart and vomit jokes.

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:iconrabguy:
RABguy Featured By Owner 23 hours ago  Hobbyist Writer
Glad you enjoyed my Monochrome Photos, TCM!

I'm planning on more outings with that baby soon, both stills and video :D
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:iconbewitchedrune:
Bewitchedrune Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2014  Student General Artist
Thank you for adding my Mary Poppins cosplay! Hexentanz 
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:iconthe-chosen-millenium:
The-Chosen-Millenium Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2014
Of course! It's an amazing costume!
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:iconchocko:
chocko Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013
Thank you fave!
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:iconthe-chosen-millenium:
Any time. 
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:iconnaomigower:
NaomiGower Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much for the fave!
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:iconthe-chosen-millenium:
Anytime. ^_^
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:iconnaomigower:
NaomiGower Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:D
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:iconmarsh96:
Marsh96 Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Thanks for the fav! ^^
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:iconthe-chosen-millenium:
No problemo. ^_^
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