A Simple Favor (2018)

Paul Feig is a strange animal. Freaks and Geeks is classic television, Bridesmaids is certainly popular even though I couldn’t quite get into it, and I’m probably one of the eight people in the world who saw Other Space, and I really, really enjoyed it (I’m still over here waiting for Karan Soni to really and truly break out). Never was Paul Feig’s eccentricity more clear to me than in the recent (all-too-brief) resurgence of The Soup under the Netflix banner as The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale. Feig, who was a producer of TJMSWJM, appeared in every single episode. There was a lot that was . . . off about TJMSWJM. The Soup‘s recurring characters appeared organically as part of sketches and happened to reappear only if there was a reason or they struck a chord with the audience, while TJMSWJM seemed to be forcing new characters onto the show without any rhyme or reason and segments like “That Happened,” while occasionally funny, were completely tone deaf about who the show’s demographic was and who they wanted to appeal to. If there was one element of The Soup that I would have forsaken when rebooting, it would have been the once-per-episode celebrity appearances; TJMSWJM actually compounded this problem, as each time Feig appeared on screen, the show ground to a halt (although I did get a kick out of him using the money gun in the finale). I like him, I think that he has a great sense of humor, and you’d be hard pressed to find a white man in the business who is so consistently and effectively using his privilege to promote women in the industry, but I also feel that he has the problem that some comedians I know personally have, which is an inability to recognize when something doesn’t quite work. In short, I’m not sure that Feig knows how to kill his darlings.

A Simple Favor is one of his least uneven films. There are still some comedic moments in it that feel very out of place; the worst offender in the film comes at the conclusion, when a comic bit of action happens and a very minor character reappears to say a terrible line, which is then followed by several much-better lines from our main characters. It stands out because, for the most part, the comic timing in the film is pretty perfect, but when it clunks, it clunks hard, in a way that is more noticeable than in some of his other work since this one is much more intricately plotted.

Widowed single mother Stephanie Smothers (Anna Kendrick) is a mommy vlogger whose son Miles befriends his classmate Nicky, which leads to Stephanie entering into an unequal friendship with Emily Nelson (Blake Lively, giving the best performance of her career). Emily is the PR manager for a fashion house that is run by your standard fashion mogul type, and her ultramodern home, huge income, hands-off parenting, hard drinking, and high fashion conflict with Stephanie’s tendency to commit to every school event, her recognition that her late husband’s insurance money will soon run out, and her felt-and-pompom arts and crafts aesthetic (although she does wear this cat study Anthropologie apron, which I recognized because don’t ask, so she’s more “Hollywood broke” than “real world poor”). Emily’s husband Sean (Crazy Rich Asians‘s Henry Golding) is a failed writer who teaches at a local institution, although Stephanie read his only novel as part of her book club years before. As their friendship grows (at least on Stephanie’s part), Emily elicits a dark secret from Stephanie under the guise of compassion and interest before asking her to pick up both boys one afternoon. Then Emily . . . disappears.

The police initially suspect Sean, but his alibi is solid. When evidence starts to point toward suicide, Stephanie refuses to believe it and launches into her own investigation, winding into and out of the lives of such disparate people as Sean’s T.A. (Melissa O’Neil, who I’ve been sorely missing since the unfortunate cancellation of Dark Matter), a painter who was once Emily’s lover (the ever-wonderful Linda Cardellini), and Emily’s dementia-afflicted mother (Jean Smart, always a pleasure). Her investigation leads her to the offices of fashion magnate Dennis Nylon, a Christian summer camp, a burned-out wing of a formerly glorious mansion, and even Emily’s gravesite. Emily–if that’s even her name–was not who she seemed to be. But then again, maybe Stephanie isn’t either . . .

Multiple reviews of A Simple Favor have drawn comparisons to the 2014 thriller Gone Girl, and with good reason, especially given that the film’s marketing seems to place it firmly in the largely humorless thriller genre (if there’s any way to describe Gone Girl, “humorless” is pretty high up there on the list). What appears to be taking audiences by surprise is A Simple Favor‘s comedic lightheartedness amidst all the sociopathy, implied and explicit violence, half-incest, debatable paternity, and arson. There’s a lot going on, but it’s never overwhelming, and if you’ve ever seen one of these movies before then there will be revelations that will lead you say, “Oh, I know where this is going,” and then the film promptly goes there. Regardless, there are still a few surprises buried in its bones, and the performances are strong enough to carry the film even when it seems to be simply following the outline of thrillers of this ilk. As noted above, this is probably the first film in which I’ve really been thrilled by a performance from Lively; I know that her shark movie was well received around these parts, but after Oliver Stone’s Savages I had no interest in another Lively vehicle. She’s really dynamic here, and it’s fantastic.

The only real problems in the film are the moments in which the comedy doesn’t land. Unfortunately, it’s the more ostentatious (and dare I say more Feigian) humor that thuds lifelessly on screen, and unfortunately those moments are more memorable than the praiseworthy subtle humor that’s woven throughout. Still, the actors and the French pop music lift the film when the plot starts to flail, and it would be a mistake to let this curiosity slip into obscurity without giving it a watch.

-Mark “Boomer” Redmond

Ghostbusters (2016)

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fourstar

Like most people my age (I was born in 1987), my first experience with the Ghostbusters came not in the form of the 1984 comedy classic; instead, my love for all things Ghostbusting was the result of watching the animated The Real Ghostbusters as a kid. In fact, watching the cartoon adventures of Egon, Venkman, Ray, Winston, and Janine on Saturday mornings, alongside Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Garfield and Friends, is one of my earliest memories; unlike TMNT, I can actually remember particular episodes and character types from Ghostbusters (I know that the Turtles theme song delineates each turtle’s individual personality, but that blew right past me as a kid and I couldn’t tell you which one was a “party dude” right now to save my life). I didn’t see the original film until I was a little older, and even then my clearest childhood memories of the movies actually comes from Ghostbusters II, where the pink slime that fills Sigourney Weaver’s bathtub made me terrified of the tub for a few months.

I was pretty excited to hear about the remake/reboot when it was first announced last year, but wasn’t confident that it would ever really been made and even less thrilled about how well it might turn out. I still remember hearing on the radio about a fourth Indiana Jones film as far back as 1997, when Joaquin Phoenix was in talks to play Indie’s younger brother; then, eleven years later, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull plopped into theatres on my birthday like the worst present of all time. I had mixed feelings about Paul Feig; he directed seven episodes of Arrested Development, sure, but one of those was “Ready, Aim, Marry Me,” which is probably the worst single episode of the original three season run. I was also not one of those people who was terribly impressed with Bridesmaids, although it might merely have been that I was in a terrible mood the first time I saw it. Still, Feig was heavily involved with Other Space, Yahoo’s sci-fi comedy that was released last year and which I enjoyed much more than anyone really has a right to (and which featured super cutie Karan Soni, who plays deliveryman Bennie in Ghostbusters, and Neil Casey, who plays villain Rowan North*). Still, when I saw a pic of the all-gal Ghostbusters squad all suited up and ready to bust last year, I was super on board. I retweeted the picture and expressed my excitement, even (and Feig favorited it!).

*According to the credits, fellow Other Space alums Milana Vayntrub and Eugene Cordero were also in the film, as Subway Rat Woman and Bass Guitarist, respectively, but I missed them, unfortunately.

There was (unfortunately, inevitably, and unfortunately inevitably) a backlash, mostly of the misogynistic variety, because of course there was. Of. Course. There. Was. Most of the criticism of the film had little to do with the fact that Ghostbusters is pretty much a perfect movie in a lot of ways (if inarguably a little dated in its kinda creepy sexual politics); after all, this is the primary objection that is usually voiced in response to remakes of any kind. “Why would you remake Total Recall/Robocop/King Kong/True Grit/The Manchurian Candidate/Poltergeist (etc.) when the original still holds up?” But that’s not why (a certain subset of) people were upset about Ghostbusters 2016 at all, even if they tried their best to couch their anti-woman bias in that language. Of course, the blanketing effect across the internet meant that people who were legitimately concerned about the potential artistic or financial failings of the film, especially after the not-very- good first trailer was released, were lumped in together with the rabid woman haters; as a result, those who were anxious that the film would simply fail ended up being on the side of the worst parts of the internet, meaning that there any real criticism was immediately swept away in a wave of meaningless manpain.

So, as someone whose childhood was very GB-influenced, how’s the new movie?

….

I loooooooved it. I loved it so much, y’all. Of course, it pales in comparison to the original, but that’s like saying that Canopus pales in comparison to Sirius: they’re still both pretty bright. It’s not a perfect movie, but it is a lot of fun, and I honestly can’t wait to see it again. There’s a perfect mix between nostalgia and novelty, a slew of cameos from the original cast, and a hell of a lot of laughs throughout.

The film opens with a tour of a supposedly haunted mansion that becomes a little too real for the tour guide (Zach Woods). Meanwhile, Dr. Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) is preparing for her final tenure defense at Columbia when a book about the paranormal she co-wrote many years before threatens to derail her career track. She tracks down the other author, Dr. Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) and asks her to stop pushing sales of the book long enough for her tenure to be accepted. Yates and her engineer officemate Dr. Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) agree, as long as Gilbert assists them in investigating the mansion. Following a genuine encounter with a ghostly entity, all three women find themselves rejected from academia. Meanwhile, MTA employee and amateur historian Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) has a strange encounter with commuter Rowan North (Neil Casey), then follows him down to a subway tunnel where he plants a device that summons a ghost from which Patty barely escapes. The three parascientists set up shop above a restaurant in Chinatown and hire hunky dingbat Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) as their receptionist, and Patty invites them to check out the ghost in the tunnels beneath the city. From there, the Ghostbusters become a legitimate team, and the story builds until the four of them face off against an entity that threatens to destroy New York.

First, the negatives: this film lacks a lot of the New York flavor that permeated the first Ghostbusters and its sequel, although I’d argue that this was inevitable given the overall Disneyfication and general enforced conformity that New York has undergone since the Giuliani administration (Sam Delaney’s Times Square Red, Times Square Blue is required reading on this subject, if you can find a copy). Still, it’s impossible to ignore how much that affects the overall tone of this film in comparison to the original. Further, the original Ghostbusters is a film that has a very dry wit, and although that same temperament is here, the comedy is a little more broad (no pun intended) and varied: there’s slapstick, improvisation, and your standard jokes tied in with the more sardonic wit that characterized the eighties flicks. Here, instead, the film runs the gamut from very dry (the mansion tour guide notes that the mansion that opens the film had the best contemporary security measures at the time of construction, including a fence specifically designed to keep out Irish immigrants) to the more over-the- top (Andy Garcia, as the mayor of New York, blows his lid when Dr. Gilbert compares him to the mayor from Jaws, in one of the film’s funniest moments).

There are other negatives. The music choices in the film are terrible, frankly, outside of the revisitations of the original GB theme and its derivations. There’s an extended sequence in which the team captures a ghost at a nü-metal concert, and the music playing throughout is utter garbage, but even that sounds like the music of the angels in comparison to the closing credits theme “Good Girls” by Elle King, which stands out as possibly the shittiest pop song of the new millennium. There’s also a slight editing problem in a few sequences where it is apparent that a scene has been cut. For instance, it seems like the big psychokinetic dance sequence that plays out over the end credits might once have been part of the film proper, but that’s not terribly distracting on the whole. There also may have been a cut subplot in which Gilbert leaves the team after one of their very public outings that ends with a fake arrest, but that’s also not a problem for me (honestly, the sooner someone takes the “team member rejects the group but then comes back in the end” third act subplot out into a field and puts it out of its misery, the better). I also didn’t love the “battle sequence” toward the end of the film, but that’s more a statement about the the state of modern film structure than a complaint that’s specific to this particular movie.

As far as other things that people have had negative criticism for, I don’t really agree. I’ve heard complaints that some of the improv jokes go on a little too long, but I’m not bothered by them. I’ve also seen much hay being made about Patty’s being a blue collar worker and not a scientist like the three other (white) women in the group, but I found her to be a delight and not at all the potentially troublesome stereotype that she was presented as in a few of the trailers. There are some people out there who are intent on finding something to hate in the film, especially anything that seems “man hating,” but there’s so little of it and it’s so toothless in comparison to the generally misogynistic tone of most media that it won’t bother you unless you go looking for it (for instance, the fact that one of the ghosts takes a crotch shot is something I’ve seen a great deal of discussion about, as if hits to the groin aren’t a staple of comedies with brows both high and low).

Overall, however, the film is great. There’s a lot of great parallelism between Gilbert and Rowan, and the way that each fights or assists supernatural evil with science and technology. There’s very overt humor throughout as well as more subtle moments, and there’s a lot to enjoy whether you’re a fan of old school Ghostbusters or not. None of the characters are direct one-to- one parallels with Egon and the gang (although Holtzmann has Egon’s cartoon hair, which I love), and the story feels fresh and new while retaining echoes of the past. One of the best visual gags in the original GB is when Egon activates Ray’s “unlicensed nuclear accelerator” in the hotel elevator, and then he and Venkman subtly move away from the proton pack, as if a few extra inches would really make a difference; there’s a similar scene in this film in which two of the Ghostbusters inch away from an activated device in the alley where they test their equipment. It’s subtle, but there’s a lot of love and respect for Ghostbusters as a franchise in this film, no matter what you’ve heard. Some of the more slapsticky moments went on a little long for me, but there’s too much fun to be had to stick your head in the sand and ignore this movie just because the ‘Busters aren’t the same ones that you grew up with. And, hey, if Dave Coulier replacing Lorenzo Music as the voice of Venkman in The Real Ghostbusters or the creation of the Slimer! shorts to pad out the Slimer and the Real Ghostbusters hour didn’t destroy the Ghostbusters legacy, this certainly won’t either.

-Mark “Boomer” Redmond

The Peanuts Movie (2015)

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three star

The ad campaign for The Peanuts Movie has been kind of a nightmare for me. I have a long history of being turned off by modern CG animation (yes, that includes most Pixar features; no, I’m not proud of that), so seeing a beloved property like Charles Shulz’s classic comic strip adapted to the format in the early teasers was jarring to say the least. The worst part of the conversion was that they interpreted the curl of hair on Charlie Brown’s forehead (which I’ve always seen as representative of at least a tuft) as a single, distinct pube. An endless barrage of awful-looking CG animated features like Angry Birds, Alvin & The Chipmunks IV: Road Chip, and the dismal-looking Rob Schneider Is A Polar Bear picture Norm of the North playing before the movie in the theater did little to ease my concerns. To get an idea of how horrified I was by this incarnation of The Peanuts, check out these nightmare images of Today Show anchors dressed up as characters from the the film. They’re barely made me more queasy than the film’s trailers did.

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It turns out, thankfully, that The Peanuts Movie isn’t quite as bad as the horrific shitshow I initially imagined. At best, the film feels like a decent compromise between the cynical corporate cash grab it could‘ve been & the loving tribute to an artistic institution it should‘ve been. The CG animation that initially bothered me so much was fairly easy to get used to, especially since it was accented by hand-drawn hearts, squiggles, and re-creations of the original black & white comic strip source material. For every cringe-inducing turn-off (horribly out-of-place pop music, new characters who don’t add much to the formula, over-long Snoopy-vs-the-Red-Baron asides, etc.) there’s a greatest-hits style throwback waiting to appease. Lucy’s 5¢ psychiatric help stand, Marcie’s eternal suffering at Peppermint Patty’s indifference, off-screen adults’ trumpet voices, Charlie’s kite-flying mishaps, plentiful utterances of “Good grief!” & “blockhead”, the gang’s iconic dance moves: it’s all here. And while the parents in the audience are chewing on the nostalgia, their kids are treated to a collection of timeless sight gags. Everyone wins . . . sort of.

The reason I came around to the idea of watching The Peanuts Movie in the first place was an interview in which producer Paul Feig (who I greatly respect) said he signed onto the project just to keep an eye on it, to make sure it wasn’t the cynical mess I expected. And that’s exactly how The Peanuts Movie came out as a finished product. It feels like a project that could’ve gone south at any minute, but was kept in check by a few voices of reason. There was certainly plenty of aspects of the film that I enjoyed. I was particularly relieved that the gang was allowed to remain true to themselves, just as gross & melancholy as ever. The voice acting work from the non-actor children cast was surprisingly true to past animated adaptations (Linus’ voice is eerily accurate, even) & it’s just as satisfying as ever to hear children fret over emotional crises like “coming down with a serious case of inadequacy” or having “the face of a failure, a classic failure face.” Even though “the little red haired girl” the film introduces is a largely wasted effort, I did appreciate that The Peanuts Movie stuck to a comic-strip-simple conflict in its Charlie-has-a-crush plot, detailing the embarrassment of falling in love instead of mucking up the formula with an origin story about how the gang all met or an out-of-place grand adventure. Still, I get the feeling that there will be very few people entirely won-over & in-love with what The Peanuts Movie delivers. At best, it feels like a disaster narrowly avoided, an acceptable compromise of the best & worst possible outcomes, which is something I’m actually grateful for, given my most fearful expectations.

-Brandon Ledet

Spy (2015)

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fourstar

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The absurdist genre-spoof comedy that hit its apex with cult classics like ZAZ’s Airplane & Top Secret has sadly become a dying art in recent years. Titles like Not Another Disaster Movie & Scary Movie 19 have tarnished the genre’s cultural cachet and more or less reduced its target audience to twelve year old boys who are emotionally stunted even for twelve year old boys. There have been a couple great exceptions in the past decade that give me hope for the genre’s future, though. The Judd Apatow comedy Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, while posed as a spoof of the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line, was a brilliant take-down of the entire biopic genre. Walk Hard somehow included every single biopic cliché & American genre of music into one silly, but intellectually extensive spoof. The Will Forte vehicle MacGruber did more or less the same thing with the violent action flick genre that saw its heyday in the 1980s. The difference is that instead of limiting itself to brilliant send-ups of films like Commando & Cobra, MacGruber went a step further and created one of the most vile, pathetic protagonists in all of cinema. Both Walk Hard & MacGruber breathed fresh air into the genre-spoof, but they’re just two titles in a sea of bad examples.

After a single viewing of Spy at the theater, I’m already confident enough to include it along with Walk Hard & MacGruber on the list of the best spoof movies of the past decade. Sure, the James Bond international spy genre has been spoofed before in movies like Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Casino Royale (1967), and Our Man Flint, but Spy distinguishes itself from its predecessors by feeling distinctly modern. There’s a self-aware, crass irreverence to the film that feels distinctly 2015. Although it’s riffing on an entirely different genre, Spy is very much in the vein of MacGruber more than it is in the very 90s Austin Powers. Besides the general crassness of its script & general improv-enhanced vibe of its sense of humor, Spy also continues MacGruber’s undermining of alpha male action movie types that turns the typical hero (this time as a frivolous side character hilariously played by Jason Statham as opposed to MacGruber’s central protagonist) into vile worms of the lowest order. As Statham’s misogynist prick brags to the main character that he is immune to 179 varieties of poison & can water-ski blindfolded, it’s easy to see how an exact MacGruber successor would’ve been born if he was the central character, but Spy is smart to leave him sidelined while the more morally-palatable, but just as crass Melissa McCarthy serves as a much more relatable audience surrogate.

McCarthy hit her creative peak for me last year with the goofy road trip comedy Tammy, which felt like a wonderful culmination of everything she’s been building towards since Paul Feig’s breakout comedy Bridesmaids. Feig, who also worked with McCarthy on the similarly crass buddy cop comedy The Heat, finds an entirely new kind of role for her to play in Spy. In Tammy, McCarthy was a complete mess, more raccoon than human in her thoughtless pursuit of laze-about surface pleasures. While I found that character incredibly charming, she was a far cry from the in-over-her-head every-woman McCarthy plays so well in Spy. There are flashes of Tammy’s feral nature in Spy, but they’re dialed back enough to allow McCarthy to shine though as a relatable human being. With Spy, Feig has not only created a modern classic in genre spoofery, but also helped to open a door for an incredibly talented comedic actress who’s more or less hit a typecasting wall she hasn’t been able to sidestep since her wonderful turn on Gilmore Girls nearly a decade ago. Let’s hope he can keep the productive streak going when he works with her on their fourth film in a row together, the all-female cast Ghostbusters reboot.

-Brandon Ledet

It’s Okay that Dan Aykroyd Isn’t Writing a Ghostbusters Sequel, Because He’s Already Living One

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The recent announcement of the cast for the upcoming Ghostbusters reboot was met with the usual flood of overblown internet outrage that accompanies nearly everything these days. Most of the objections seem to be centered on the idea that Hollywood shouldn’t have unearthed the franchise at all. Personally, I’ve resigned to compromising with what Hollywood productions are going to offer. Nostalgia is big money right now. In a time when it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get people to the cinema, producers will take the guaranteed, built-in audience every time. The best you can hope for is that somewhere in the process someone’s going to try to make these reboots interesting, because they aren’t going away. Paul Feig’s all-female approach to a Ghostbusters reboot is honestly just about the only one I could imagine that wouldn’t be completely pointless. The recent casting announcement make the idea even more promising, since it included four eccentric, boisterous personalities (Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon, and Melissa McCarthy) that have the potential to bring enough weird, idiosyncratic energy to the reboot to distance it from its source material in both style & tone. Feig’s Ghostbusters might just be the rare kind of reboot that can justify an existence on its own.

It at least beats the alternative. For years O.G. Ghostbuster Dan Aykroyd has been trying to get his own sequel to the franchise off the ground. Bill Murray’s resistance to reprising his role as Peter Venkman in Ghosbusters 3 was the long-time thorn in Aykroyd’s side, but Harold Ramis’ devastating passing last year was the final blow to the prospect. Admittedly, Aykroyd’s long-in-development script sounds like it had some promise. For instance, he dropped hints that the plot would somehow relate to recent advances in particle physics & the role he had written for Murray would’ve involved Venkman’s wisecracking ghost. The problem is more that Aykroyd cannot be trusted when left to his own devices. His sole director’s credit, Nothing But Trouble, which he also wrote & stars in, is one of the most bizarrely terrible movies I’ve ever seen. It’s a thoroughly unlikeable & unfathomable work that is the direct result of Aykroyd’s ego going unchecked. Similarly, his decision to write a Blues Brothers sequel more than a decade after costar John Belushi’s death was a total disaster and a detriment to the reputation of the original. Nothing But Trouble & Blues Brothers 2000 were the last two screenplays penned by Aykroyd, so it might be best that his version of a third Ghostbusters film never saw completion.

Aykroyd has publicly given his blessing to Feig’s Ghostbusters reboot and I hope that he’s sincere when he says he’s “delighted” by the casting. Ayroyd doesn’t need to write a Ghostbusters sequel because he is actually living one. In the press release where he gives his blessing to Feig’s cast he goes on to say “My great grandfather, Dr. Sam Aykroyd, the original Ghostbuster, was a man who empowered women in his day, and this is a beautiful development in the legacy of our family business.” Aykroyd’s real-life great grandfather was a dentist by trade, but he was also a spiritualist & a paranormal investigator. Ayrkoyd has claimed that his great grandfather would put on séances as a form of entertainment, which is not far from the spirit of the Ghostbusters franchise. Indeed, his family’s interest in the paranormal was passed down to him generationally & served as the basis of the original Ghostbuster’s film: to combine the “real” science of ghosts & spirits with old-fashioned ghost-themed comedies. With the first two installments of Ghostbusters, Aykroyd had achieved his goal of bringing his real-life obsession with the paranormal to the big screen. As he had continued his pursuit of infusing paranormal concepts into his work after the second film, a third installment seems redundant. He’s living Ghostbusters 3 on a daily basis.

The tactic Aykroyd employs to incorporate the paranormal in his professional life is an unlikely one, almost just as unlikely as a giant, city-destroying marshmallow or a painting come to life. He sells vodka. In an ancient (internet-wise) viral commercial for his Crystal Head Vodka, Aykroyd explains his interest in the paranormal while trying to sell you alcohol. He says things like “Since childhood I have been fascinated with the invisible world,” “There is more to life than mere material reality,” and “No one will show us the bodies from Roswell” in the same matter-of-fact tone that made him perfect for his roles in Coneheads & Dragnet. There are hours & hours of interview footage in which Aykroyd expounds upon his belief in the otherworldly like a particularly talkative caller on Coast to Coast AM, but the Crystal Head Vodka commercial is a perfect encapsulation of his worldview in an easily consumable 8min runtime. He’s so cheerful & confident in his explanations of the physical powers of positive thinking and the extraterrestrial origins of thirteen mysterious crystal heads that you can tell he really loves what he’s doing. He even encourages people who don’t share his beliefs to buy his product anyway, saying if nothing else it’s a “a luxury vodka in a cool bottle”. I can get behind that kind of honesty.

In one of his interviews about the possibility of a Ghostbusters 3, Aykroyd claimed “I’m about the future, not the past. I don’t reminisce.” Indeed, his idea of a particle physics themed Ghostbusters did sound like a somewhat fresh take on the franchise, but bringing back the old guard of actors & characters for the project doesn’t exactly sound like treading new ground. In a cinematic climate where reboots are inevitable and a new Ghostbusters will arrive in theaters, justified or not, I think Paul Feig’s approach is the best one possible for the franchise. The recent casting announcement gives the reboot a chance to stand out on its own as a unique work, even if it isn’t based on an original idea. Instead of Aykroyd giving the third installment the Ghost Brothers 2000 treatment, he gets to continue his great grandfather’s work by philosophically expounding on the existence of ghosts & extraterrestrials and filtering water through diamonds for a vodka pure in spirit. This way everyone wins.

-Brandon Ledet