Film critic Richard Roeper didn't mince words about the Ghostbusters reboot. He hated it.
The former co-host of Ebert & Roeper also knows film criticism is subjective. So he’s not one to rail against those who don’t see movies exactly the same way he does.
He did just that, though, during a recent appearance on The Adam Carolla Show podcast. And Carolla had his back.
Roeper officially dubbed the Ghostbusters reboot a “horrifying mess.” Yet the film scored an impressive 73 percent “fresh” rating over at RottenTomatoes.com from film critics.
That, plus the fact that audiences gave it a much lower 57 percent score on the site, made both the veteran film critic and Carolla suspicious.
“I feel like I have pretty conclusive evidence that the people who do the [film] reviews lean a certain way politically, and that’s fine,” Carolla said. “They tend to be more liberal.”
Ghostbusters isn’t remotely political on the surface. It quickly became a new front in the culture wars all the same. The press deemed the project a corrective to the industry’s sexist practices. Suddenly, the movie’s success became more important than your typical summer blockbuster.
“When they take a movie like Ghostbusters and they put the all-female cast in there, I think they lean a little toward it. ‘Hey, this is empowering,’ even if the movie itself wasn’t as good as they would have liked,” Carolla said. “They tend to give it a nod because they feel like it’s a step in the right direction, or this is progress, or I wanna be on the happy side of history.”
“I think you’re absolutely right, whether subconsciously or not,” said Roeper, who was attacked as sexist in some quarters because he failed to praise the movie.
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“I find it hard to believe that after having sat through that dreck, that three quarters of the critics out there really saw that as a fine example of a reboot of a pretty classic, legendary motion picture. It was just bad,” Roeper said.
Roeper doesn’t lean to the right like Carolla often does. The critic once blasted the religious right as opposing interracial marriage and tolerance. He also is brutal on GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump via his Twitter account, although he certainly has company on that front from many conservatives.
The famed critic insists he puts politics aside when sitting at his computer.
“I gotta review the movie for the movie, for people spending $12 to $15 bucks to see [it],” he added.
Carolla wasn’t done attacking those who dared attack Roeper for expressing an opinion.
“What kinda droves me nuts, to take a turn toward the political for a second — the accusation that you’re being sexist, misogynistic or racist when you’re reviewing something is a misogynistic, sexist statement,” Carolla argued. “The fact that you can’t express [an opinion on Ghostbusters] without being called sexist is a sexist comment.”
Roeper returned fire, blasting his critics as doing feminism more harm than good.
“If anybody in their review says, ‘it has good intentions,’ and ‘this is progress,’ … how condescending is that to the filmmakers?” Roeper said. “That’s a sexist, condescending review.”
He also savaged those who claimed he wasn’t the right person to review it. Some argued that, because he’s a man, he wasn’t film’s target audience.
“Great, then we should have five-year-olds reviewing Finding Dory,” Roeper cracked.
More from Christian Toto on Ghostbusters:
[Cross-posted from Hollywood in Toto.]