Ghostbusters

Stop Worrying,Your Childhood is Fine!

This memorial day weekend, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn was compelled to defend himself after receiving several abusive messages on his Facebook page – ranging from being called a Nazi to threats to his cat. What were the reasons for this outpouring of anger?

In the cold embrace of the night, had Mr Gunn entered everybody’s home to leave something unsanitary in front of their fireplaces like a perverted Santa?

Perhaps the outpouring of such vitriol was decided as the best course of action because James Gunn, the director of Super, was in actuality a war criminal who slept upon the corpses of his enemies and used child slave labour.

Perhaps, on a lesser level, upon being asked for the time, Mr Gunn instinctively gave the wrong time ensuring hundreds, if not thousands of people were late for meetings, parties or trysts.

No, it was none these options. What happened, dear reader, was James Gunn had something to say about this whole Captain America business, wherein Marvel recently announced the 75-year-old superhero had been working for the bad guys all along.

hydra america

There are numerous opinion pieces out there about this, you don’t need me to hold your hand to find them. A lot of people are angry. That’s fine. Everyone is allowed to be angry about something. I myself feel the whole thing is a bit of a cheap gimmick. However, Gunn was suggesting that perhaps the histrionics were unnecessary.

‘If you’re a forty-year-old dude claiming a comics company ruined your childhood because of a plot twist,’ the director wrote. ‘You might consider that your childhood really wasn’t that great to begin with.’

And lo his call was heard across the globe and people decided they weren’t happy about being told to calm down. They cried, they hollered, they threatened to chop up his cat.

Meanwhile, Melissa McCarthy commented that those people who feel the new Ghostbusters was ruining their childhood were blowing things out of proportion. She was immediately put in her place by people one can only assume were keeping one eye on their GB Blu-ray lest it should burst into flames.

These are not isolated incidents and if you’re feeling brave enough, you could Google the response belched out into the world when Michael Bay announced the first Transformers film. The cries of ‘Michael Bay Raped My Childhood’ were both alarming and odious.

Now, let’s get some perspective here. Imagine the internet as a large lake. The fan vitriol regarding any franchise is the equivalent of a fish’s fart bubbling to the surface when stacked up against truly important matters. But for those people who dare to suggest that it’s anything other than that are being met with the intensity usually reserved for countries that commit genocide. Hell, people will use Change.org to create petitions to twist their childhood passion into something they alone want. See the one created earlier this year to get George Lucas back in the director’s chair because apparently the critically acclaimed Force Awakenswasn’t that good. Yeah, Force Awakens needs George ‘Revenge of the Sith’ Lucas to bring back some glory.

In 2013, The Guardian published an article, Rise of the New Geeks, that highlighted how things like comic books, superheroes and fantasy were now mainstream. Film companies were now interested in getting ‘geeks’ on their side as it meant more bums on seats. Shops from both ends of the financial spectrum offer goods emblazoned with Batman, Gandalf and Spider-man. Three years later and it’s hard to not think that ‘geeks’ rule the roost.

I remember the days before all that happened. When I was in high school, Doctor Who was still on permanent hiatus, I was laughed at for enjoyingThe Goon Show and the pinnacle of being cool was wearing Naf Naf jackets and watching Byker Grove. I love the fact that some of my favourite things are popular in the mainstream now, but the level of entitlement that has come with it is bordering on sickening.

Full disclosure, I hated the idea of Batman Vs Superman and the Evil Dead remake. However, I at least went out of my way to see both films and although I’ve changed my mind about one, I still think the other is a terrible idea. However, whilst I’m prone to a drunken argument with increasingly disinterested friends about the lack of virtues in that film, I would never dream of sending death threats to those who made it, or worst still those who loved it. The film didn’t work for me, but good on you for liking it.

However, a number of those who did like a certain film about an angry mummy’s boy fighting another mummy’s boy who could fly felt that they were entitled to lynch those who hated it. Namely: the critics. In what could only have a been a monumental act mental gymnastics, some felt that the film’s lukewarm reception was down to Disney paying for good reviews. Once that seed was planted, it spread across the internet and right now, you can go on social media and find numerous unsubstantiated ‘facts’ that Disney is bribing people to not like a film. Because, sure, that’s how big business works. My review ofBatman Vs Superman can be found here. If you ask nicely, I’ll show you pictures of my house in Malibu bought with my ill-gotten gains.

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And it doesn’t stop there. Look at the reviews for the new Ghostbusters toys on Amazon. One man is deliberately buying them so that he can give them one star reviews and cement his legacy as an utter self-opinionated idiot. When a nine-year-old child’s review for Age of Ultron ended up online, grown men tore him down, saying the film wasn’t made for him. That’s right, a film about adults in spandex punching robots wasn’t made with children in mind.

We have become so obsessed with our own childhoods, we are denying the right for anyone else to have their own unless it aligns with our expectations. Maybe in a sense, people are afraid of growing up, so cling desperately to their youthful obsessions because the world is a big and scary place. And in a way, that’s fine. I write as a 35-year-old man wearing Captain America pyjama pants. However, what I see happening time and time again, is this idea that childhood things should grow up with us. When the Doctor Whoepisode Let’s Kill Hitler was announced many moons ago, I stumbled across numerous requests from fans saying that Doctor Who was too childish and what was needed was an episode where The Doctor visits a concentration camp. Just let that settle in. How adult. How grown up. How paradoxically childish.

Our childhood is gone; it’s never coming back.It’s something we have to deal with. However, the spoilt entitlement we had as children appears to still be the main driving force behind the thinking of others. So what if Ghostbusters turns out to be a dud? So what if there’s four women in the lead? You know the worst thing that’s going to happen? A little girl is going to want to see a film that has characters she can relate to. They may even come out of the film that ‘ruined your childhood’ and want a proton pack, or – whisper it – may even want to watch YOUR Ghostbusters. Imagine that!

Your childhood isn’t being ruined. You’re doing fine. You will get through this. Now, get out of the  playhouse and let the other kids have a turn.

This articel was previously published on noonanjohnc.com.

Top 10 (Alternative) Movie Villains

Now there are 100s of these top 10 lists floating around the internet already we know. However, we’ve tried to be a little different in our selections. Most would agree that Alan Rickman’s Hans Gruber is pretty much as good as it gets in terms of a conventional ‘bad guy’ but what about William Atherton’s Richard Thornburg in the same film? He may not try to rob Nakatomi Plaza but he is no less a complete and utter bastard.

It’s these villains we’re concerned with in this list, the sleaze balls, the weasels the total S.O.B’s Picking 10 was almost impossible, the internal arguments were brutal but fair. There were some huge names that just missed out but here is the final list. This is just our opinion so please no hate mail. In descending order they are;

10. Jim Cunningham (Donnie Darko)

Patrick Swayze playing a paedophile self-help guru, surely not? Surely yes. A film we have loved for a long time and are still hugely frustrated that Richard Kelly seems to have been a one off, (Southland Tales, The Box, Domino….just stop).

We love that Swayze plays completely against type, the revelation that he is a monster is truly shocking and a real rug puller.

9. Cobra Kai Sensei (The Karate Kid)

Many would argue that Johnny is the villain but if Johnny had been trained by Myagi then who knows where he would have ended up.

A grown man who seems to delight in pain being inflicted on teenagers, and seems to have no problem in people knowing it. “Sweep the leg” is perfect proof of this, the look of joy on his face when Daniel San is getting beaten to a pulp by his protégé is just pure evil. He is the ‘win at any cost’ coach that has cropped up in cinema for years but very few others have done it as well.

8. Col Nathan Jessop (A Few Good Men)

“I’m gonna rip the eyes out of your head and piss in your dead skull, you fucked with the wrong Marine.”

As insults go, not a bad one. Jessup is a vile human being. He shows no remorse for the death of a kid who couldn’t protect himself and has the arrogance to still think it was the right decision even when it’s clear it wasn’t. Jack Nicholson knocks it out of the park in this film, over-acting up to 11. You can’t stand him from the moment you meet him and you are never in doubt who the bad guy is in the film.

7. The Printer  (Office Space)

This film could have made the list for Bill Lumbergh but we went with the inanimate object that makes those around it swell with rage. It consistently manages to whip up frenzy in all those who come into contact with it. Like all villains in Hollywood it gets its comeuppance at the hands of our heroes, Peter, Samir and Michael Bolton, (no not the singer and no he doesn’t like his music). Evil all the way to its component parts.

6. The Wicked Witch Of The West (The Wizard of Oz)

You could argue that she had every right to want to put an end to Dorothy; she did drop a house on her sister’s head after all. But her persecution of the munchkins? That’s just mean.

We did always wonder though, was the green skin actually just a fungal infection because she can’t take a bath?

5. Nurse Ratched (One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s nest)

Queen bitch. Nuff said.

4. Richard Vernon (The Breakfast Club)

There were two teachers that we were considering for this list. The other was Ed Rooney from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. However, we still think he was just doing his job and that Ferris was a bit of a douche bag.

Richard Vernon however revels in his role as disciplinarian to a bunch of misfit kids. There’s a barely concealed rage to him, (“You mess with the bull…. You get the horns.”), and you feel that he wanted to be a drill sergeant but never made the grade so he decided to pick on kids instead.

He has no interest in educating these kids, he just wants to intimidate and bully, this is his raison d’etre. There is no question to him that the breakfast club are just bad kids, he cares not for the reason they end up with him or any extenuating circumstances he just wants to punish. Sod.

3. Walter Peck (Ghostbusters)

We mentioned William Atherton in the introduction and just had to include him on this list. Cursed with a face that only his Mother could love, he may not be a terror of ‘biblical proportions’ but he’s a constant thorn in Venkman and Co’s side. Lest we forget it’s his fault all hell breaks loose in Downtown Manhattan.

Atherton plays a weasel better than any man should. We refuse to believe that in the real world he’s anything other than a complete bastard as nobody is that good an actor.  He’s only on-screen for a few minutes in total but the impact he has is undeniable.

We’ve all dealt with a Walter Peck at some point in our life, the un-wavering bureaucrat that suffers from little man syndrome. An unflinching belief that he is right and everyone else is wrong. To this day we still wish Venkman had punched his lights out.

2. Amon Goeth (Schindler’s List)

The absolute embodiment of the Third Reich’s evil will. Goeth is brilliantly brought to life by a rarely better Ralph Fiennes, the menace he brings is at times terrifying. If Oscar Schindler represents the ability to do good, and the strength of the human spirit then Goeth is the polar opposite. What a git.

There is complete apathy towards all of those around him and a sense of devotion to his job that makes him pant wettingly scary.

And Number 1 goes to…………

Carter Burke (Aliens)

What can we say about our number 1 choice? Paul Reiser did such a good job of playing the ultimate slimy company man who we still hate him to this day. Even after playing all round good guys on TV, (My Two Dads, Mad About You) I still want to strap a pulse rifle where the sun don’t shine and pull the trigger.

He is everything that a villain should be and he does it all without putting a gun to anyone’s head. He manipulates, lies and cheats and is prepared to let everyone be slaughtered at the retractable mouths of the xenomorhphs just to make a few dollars. We still stand up and cheer when he gets his comeuppance, and not a whisper, we mean a full on, fist pumping berserker cry. “TAKE THAT BURKE YOU SOD!”

So there it is. Agree? Disagree? Are there any glaring omissions? Feel free to share your thoughts with us.