7/21 Movie Trip

7/21 Movie Trip

7/21 Movie Trip

It’s everything “Barbie” today and it’s no different with our movie critic, Paul McGuire Grimes! Like everyone else, he has been anticipating the release of the new Barbie movie.

BARBIE (in theaters)

Writer/director Greta Gerwig has created an exciting and fresh take on how we view the character who’s played here by Margot Robbie. She’s referred to as stereotypical Barbie. Every day Barbie wakes up, gets ready for the day, and greets all the other Barbies in Barbieland who are played by Issa Rae, Dua Lipa, Hari Nef, and others. They run Barbieland and everything is better with the women in charge. Then there’s Ryan Gosling’s Ken who needs Barbie’s attention to feel seen and acknowledged. And naturally he feels very competitive around the other Kens who are played by Simu Liu, Scott Evans, Kingsley Ben-Adir and others. One day Barbie wakes up and feels off. She meets with Kate McKinnon’s Weird Barbie and learns that she’s malfunctioning and needs to head to the Real World for all the answers she needs.

-A Barbie movie needed an incredibly smart director with a very distinct vision to pull this off into something that wasn’t just a shticky nostalgia trip for anyone who played with Barbie growing up.

-Most kids will not get the deep cut references nor will understand the deeper context of this film. They’ll enjoy the characters and fun of the movie, but it’s geared more toward adults.

-Gerwig’s production team deliver eye-popping looks as Barbieland is a plastic looking set with pinks and neons against on painted backdrop with 2D transitions that juxtapose against the Real World of Malibu streets perfectly. The attention to detail in making it look like Barbie’s dream house, car, and outfits is spot on.

-The smiles and positivity of living in Barbieland with the repeated “Hi, Barbie” line is infectious. It’s hard not to smile and laugh with this incredibly funny movie that celebrates diversity and inclusion within Barbieland.

-That stereotypical image of Barbie and what it means to women, body issues, sexism is up for discussion in the film and leads Barbie and Ken on this existential crisis. This satire clearly drills home the gender disparities between Barbieland and the Real World which feels incredibly potent in 2023.

-Ryan Gosling is perfectly over the top as Ken. His commitment to the character is what makes him so funny. It’s a flashy, larger than life role that only someone like Ryan could play.

-Margot Robbie proves again what a dynamic movie star and actress she is with the nuance and physicality she brings to Barbie.

Barbie the movie is poignant, touching, and will have you in awe by the end thanks to its commentary, the design, and the brilliant performances. It should be showered with Oscar nominations across the board as it’s not your usual Oscar-style movie, yet everyone deserves the recognition for their work.


THE TOYS THAT MADE US – Season 1 Episode 2 (Netflix)

The Toys That Made Us is a docuseries on Netflix that spends each episode diving into the toys of our childhood and how they have retained their legacy. Season 1 Episode 2 is devoted to the history of Mattel’s Barbie.

-Roughly 45 minutes which is a quick watch for context going into the movie or provides a fun deep dive afterward.

-Barbie was created by Ruth Handler who was an employee at Mattel and looking to create a toy for her daughter, Barbara. Her son, Ken, had so many toys to play with, yet there was nothing on the market outside paper cut out dolls and Betsy Wetsy dolls.

-Handler created an adult doll with female body parts because she thought it was import for girls to have dreams of growing up. It let girls feel like adults.

-The episode dives into the inception of Barbie, the making of the doll, and its many iterations over the years as it sought out different looks and clothes inspiring girls to be doctors, teachers, etc…when they grow up.

-There are interviews with many high-profile female exes from Mattel who tell their story of the influence they had on Barbie.

-He-Man, G.I. Joe, Transformers, Legos are also explored in other episodes


Toy Story 3

Barbie and Ken pop up in Toy Story 3 and are voiced by Jodi Benson and Michael Keaton. This was a very stereotypical and traditional take on their identities. Barbie, Woody, and the gang are given as donations to Sunnyside daycare. Barbie is decked out in exercise gear when Ken spots her for the first time. He’s lives in Ken’s dream house and is revealed to be one of Lotso’s henchmen.

“Barbie Girl” by Aqua

Aqua as a Danish-Norwegian dance-pop group that gained worldwide fame for the ultra-catchy song “Barbie Girl” It was released in April 1997. Oddly enough it only reached #7 on the U.S. Billboard Top 100 despite how popular it was at the time. Mattel would later sue MCA record label stating it violated their trademark and turned Barbie into a sex object and “blonde bimbo.” The case was dismissed in the lower courts and was rejected by the Supreme Court.

While the song itself is not used in the movie, it is sampled in the new song “Barbie World” by Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice.