On Ghostbusters, Getting Hit On & Fat-Shaming (or lack thereof)

Tuesday, the two youngest Tibbles and I went out to lunch and to see “Ghostbusters”. Since my teenage nephews are dabbling in sexism and misogyny (please, please let this be a rebellious phase, please), they were not included in the outing. They think it’s because they didn’t want to go, but fact is, I didn’t want them to go. It breaks my damn heart.

Before I tell you about the movie, I have to tell you this: for lunch we went to Liam’s favorite restaurant, a hotdog joint in Shakopee we call Speedy Dog. The kid loves this place and the entire time we wait for our food he gives a running commentary about how great the place is. It’s adorable.

Anyway the dude working the counter on Tuesday was amazed by my incredible height. “You are the tallest woman I’ve ever seen,” he said. As we ordered he asked me one million questions about my height, and I answered politely because he was nice. After lunch the Tibbles bolted for Ruby because we wanted to rush to make the 1:30 movie instead of waiting for the 3:15. Since I am slow I was lagging behind. As I was heading for the door, counterman asked me if I ever made it up to Minneapolis and if I did he said I should come to the bar where he works and we could have drinks. I was all “yes, of course, if I ever make it up there.”

When I plopped into the truck I turned to The Tibbles, “That guy in there asked me out.”
“What?” Nolan asked.
“Like on a date?” Liam asked.
“Yep,” I said with a pursed-lip, smug head tilt.
“I can’t believe that is a thing that actually happened,” Nolan said as we backed out of the parking spot. “A guy asked you out.”
“THAT’S BECAUSE I STILL GOT IT!” I shouted.

We spent the entirety of the five-minute drive from the hotdog joint to the movie theater talking about how much they couldn’t believe that the dude asked me out. Mostly them in disbelief and me being smug. It was great.

Once we got to the theater they quickly abandoned me for the back row where the cool kids sit. I sat where the long-legged kids sit, in the front row behind the railing, because I enjoy not having my knees smooshed into the seat in front of me. Oh the joys of being a giant in a normal-person’s world.

By the time the previews were over, The Tibbs were seated next to me and then we sat back and enjoyed the shit out of that movie. I’m not even kidding when I say I started smiling the minute it started and I didn’t stop the entire movie.

jillianholtzman

I had more than a little trepidation going into this movie. Not because of all the boo-hooing of babymen crying over ruined childhoods and all their misogynistic bullshit.

No, I frequently have issues with Melissa McCarthy. Not her specifically, I think she’s delightful, but often her roles are nothing more than extended fat jokes, which I find hurtful and offensive. I understand that fat people are the last group of people you can hate with unmitigated glee and make cruel jokes about without rebuke, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

Fat jokes are the reason I will never see “Pitch Perfect” and why I won’t read A.S. King’s books anymore. I don’t find it funny and humor that is intended to make me feel bad about myself is not my thing.

So yeah, I wasn’t looking forward to the fat jokes I was sure would be all over “Ghostbusters.” Lucky for me, I had just been asked out by a man, which made my self-esteem regarding my appearance at a peak. This doesn’t happen often. So at least I had that to help guard against the onslaught of fat shame.

Instead I was treated to a movie about four women who didn’t body snark each other at all, and only gently ribbed each other about their fashion choices ala “Where did you find that world’s tiniest bow tie?” Bah! I was so happy.

The movie is about female friendships and women fighting to be recognized for their contributions, and it is hilarious at every turn. It’s a sort of critique of dudebro culture without being overbearing. There’s tons of nods to the original movie and a bunch of great cameos, and it’s exactly the kind of movie you want to see in the middle of a heatwave when everything feels awful and you want to die from sweating.

Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones kind of steal the show, which is nice because we already have plenty of Melissa McCarthy & Kristen Wiig in our lives. At one point Kate McKinnon as Jillian Holtzmann dances around with some blow torches, and a maybe eight-year-old girl sitting behind us said in a breathless voice to her dad, “She’s my favorite.”

I teared up in my seat because I was so happy that little girl gets to grow up in a world with female Ghostbusters. She doesn’t have to do the mental yoga so many of us have had to do to picture ourselves in roles so often played by men. Representation matters! It’s been my mantra for the past six months or so.

And another thing? Barely any stupid romance. I say barely because Erin (Kristen Wiig) has a huge crush on Kevin, but it’s just a small running gag and not the whole point. None of the women fight over a man. The goal is never to win over a man, which is god-damn refreshing. Because, shockingly, most of our lives do not revolve around an eternal quest for love.

And another thing? Every time I leaned down to tell Nolan that something was from the original movie he’d be all “yeah, I know.”

And another thing? I think I might actually go see this one again, because I enjoyed it that much.

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