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Roeper: Critics Graded ‘Ghostbusters’ on a Curve

Roger Ebert's old sparring partner drops some truth bombs on his peers

Richard Roeper 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.

The former “Ebert & Roeper” host 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 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.

RELATED: How ‘Ghostbusters’ Exposed Blatant Media Bias

“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.

“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.

RELATED: ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ Embraces Fans, Reaps Box Office Rewards

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.”

Richard Roeper Reviews "Ghostbusters"

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.”

RELATED: Is Gender Card ‘Ghostbusters’ Last Hope?

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.


  1. I always liked Roeper since he first appeared as one of Roger Ebert’s guest hosts; it was pretty obvious even then that he would be Ebert’s new permanent sparring partner, as he was very smart and quick-witted and more importantly, seemed very comfortable in front of a camera.

  2. The fact that you “can’t express [an opinion on ‘Ghostbusters’] without being called sexist” *isn’t* a sexist comment.”—it’s a frickin’ TOTALITARIAN comment.

    The “progs” have gone Full Bull Goose Fascist, and this is how they roll!

    1. Embrace the healing power of ‘and’.
      It’s sexist and totalitarian.
      Femmunists (of any sex, including the box marked ‘none’) do that to everything they touch.

  3. If you cant review it, you can’t see it. Problem resolves itself. Every person that sees a movie will review it. Do they actually expect people to shut up about a bad movie? Maybe these SJW types should just have imaginary movies in their heads while the rest of the public see what they actually want. That’s why box office is down. Nothing good.

    1. Yes, they expect people to shut up about a bad movie. They expect people to be afraid for their jobs, for their children’s futures, for their social standing, and fear violence if they step out of line. And if I weren’t working on a startup in 2016 carefully crafted to be immune to their sort of pressure, I wouldn’t have posted this comment.

  4. Why GB didn’t get my money.
    No interest in seeing a reboot. Trailer didn’t change my mind.
    It may be hysterical, may be awful. Just no interest in seeing it regardless of the cast. Similar to my reaction to SW TFA, not interested, trailer didn’t provoke interest. Waited for word of mouth and when I found out the plot was basically the first SW movie. Nope, and I still haven’t seen it.
    Other reboots making me go …eh…
    ‘Death Wish’ with Bruce Willis (and I like Willis)
    ‘The Magnificent Seven’ with Denzell Washington, Chris Pratt and others– (who I like).
    ‘Ben Hur’ with…
    Sad thing about GB, is I would have been very interested in a sequel to the previous two–

    1. With you on the reboot sickness. Personally I think GB 2016 was just a badly planned and executed cash-grab. It wasn’t even a “reboot”, it was pretty much a “remake” of the first movie with slight changes.

      It’s like… sorry, but don’t just remake the first ghostbusters movie with less funny actors. They could have at least come up with a different premise or done a soft reboot with the original cast passing the torch or something…

      I dunno, my gut feel is that Paul Feig and Amy Pascal screwed this up from the start. A different movie, even with the same cast, probably could have done better and absolutely would have done better if they hadn’t tried to play the “you so sexist for not liking our crappy movie” card. That basically destroyed the built-in fanbase for the film.

  5. “Yet the film scored an impressive 73 percent “fresh” rating over at from film critics.”

    No, the 73% came from social justice warrior activism, not from critics. If you click on “Top Critics” you can filter out SJW activism, and you get a 59%, which is congruent with the 57% audience score, which is congruent with the 5.5 rating on, which is congruent with the Metacritic’s score of 60.

    Remember, activism should always be ignored, particularly when it comes to movie reviews.

    1. The only thing that matters for a movie like this is viewer butts in seats.

      It had a $144 million budget, and the lowest estimate that I saw was that it was going to have to take in $375 million to break even. Most people were saying $500 million to be considered a success.

      It’s almost completely out of theatres and has made only $210 million worldwide. That is a financial disaster for the studio (not quite as bad as Ben-Hur is shaping up to be, but a huge disaster).

      And it’s completely the director and studio’s fault. They made a bad movie, and when that utter train wreck of a trailer hit decided they wanted to go full in on OMG YOU SEXIST.

      Shocker of shockers, over half of your audience doesn’t like being insulted.

      1. “Most people were saying $500 million to be considered a success.”

        It was actually Paul Feig (the director) that made that claim. So it came in under half of what he thought it needed to be successful. To me, regardless of what it actually made, that makes it a flop.

  6. All they had to do was cast Kate Upton, Cynthia McKinney, Anna Farris, and maybe Rihanna or some other black babe and have them discover the mothballed proton packs and have to learn how to use them in a hurry to fight Bad Ghosts, and it would have worked.

    This, however, was never in the cards. They tried to make a comedy to underline Serious Points About Hollyweird Sexism, and the movie crashed and burned. The smoke is still rising from the wreckage.

    You don’t make comedies to make serious points, Hollyweird Big Shots; you make comedies to be funny and entertain people.

  7. I can’t comment on the movie because I haven’t seen it. I decided it was more coste effective to wait 20 years for the transgendered reboot.

  8. Film critics these days I’ve noticed tend to upvote movies that conform to their political views and downvote ones that don’t. Just look at the score for this movie vs London Has Fallen and Suicide Squad, both of the latter which got panned for wrongthink. I’m not saying either of them are great movies, but bringing all of your political baggage into a movie does not make for an accurate, honest review.

  9. A) Audience reaction, if fairly collected, is a far better measure of the entertainment value of a movie than the critical judgment. This is because critics have to see all of the movies whether they like the genre or not. Maybe some of them can set aside their prejudices if they hate horror movies personally and have to see “Saw 4,” but it’s not easy.

    Audiences have some idea that they might like the movie to pay their eight bucks (sorry Ropher, most of us don’t live in the big cities).

    B) The notion of a “female empowerment” Ghostbusters is really, really stupid, considering that “Spy” (with McCarthy and Feig) was a great example of a female empowerment movie that was also fucking hilarious. Of course, the movie also treated men and women as human beings, with all of their flaws and petty anger, so it’s not a good example of the “girls rool, boys drool” movie “Ghostbusters” was apparently supposed to represent. I guess treating us all as flawed and funny vessels is not righteous enough for the ideologically pure.

      1. 73 days. More than enough time to weed out and destroy the corruption and blight on America that is worshipped and adored by lefties.

  10. Who watches the watchers?

    Who rates the critics as to how well they are at their jobs? What exactly is their job? Are they simply stating their opinion on how well they like a movie or are they supposed to be a guide, referring people to something they will enjoy?

    Like a food critic, is their intent to point people looking for entertainment to something they believe will entertain them?

    I’d like there to be a rating of the critics ability to forecast what the audience likes.

    Something along the lines of, 90% of the films this critic like, I like. or She gave this movie a 5 star rating, but I only thought it deserved a 2 star.

    The critic who most accurately predicts how the audience likes a film on a consistent basis would be the best critic, and the one people would rely on most. They would also be more valuable to advertisers and distribution companies.

  11. Roeper is my hero. The only critic who knew bullshit when he saw it and didn’t mince words. Why in goodness name couldn’t we have critics like that?

    In a perfect world, a bunch of critics saw the movie for what it was– a half-assed POS cash-grab directed by a poor excuse of a director.

    If it were me, I’d have been honest on that podcast: “Feig, Sony, listen up. You want to make a movie empowering for women? Then stop sniffing your panties and get your heads out of your asses! IMPRESS me! Go make a movie about three women all becoming President. Stop mooching off of the 1980’s and do something original.”

  12. I’ve kinda wondered after all of the kerfuffle over this thing, did anybody even consider or suggest just taking the original Ramis-Ackroyd script, flipping the genders and calling it a day?
    Just a question off the top of my head.

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