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Gerwig's Barbie


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Finally saw Barbie with the wife tonight. We are both full of feels. That was a fucking magnificent movie from start to finish, that completely floored us from its production design, art, music, sound, acting, the goddamn SPECTACULAR dance numbers, intermingled themes, humor, sense of fun, meta-commentary, goddamn on-point needle drops, subdued and at times elegaic score...the whole thing was from start to finish just utterly spectacular.

Edited by IlyaP
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Can’t believe this movie made over a billion dollars…all hail the marketing overlords!

below is an excerpt from a Pauline Kael review of raiders of the lost ark which is totally applicable to barbie:

The marketing executives are the new high priests of the movie business. It’s natural. They’re handling important sums of money. And they dispense the money dramatically, in big campaigns that flood out over the country. It’s not unusual for more to be spent on marketing a picture than on making it, and this could become commonplace. (Everybody takes it for granted that more is spent selling soap than manufacturing it.) Right now, the easier a project looks to market, the easier it is to finance. And the scope of what these priests think they can sell becomes narrower all the time. Except for the occasional prestige picture that offers middle class group therapy(Ordinary People, The Four Seasons), it’s all fantasy. There isn’t a human being on the screen. Having lost the habitual moviegoers, the studio heads have no confidence that if they approve projects they like, an audience will be attracted; they’re trapped by empirical evidence to the contrary’. And so they listen to the marketing men, with their priestly jargon—”normatives,” “skewed,” “bimodal audience.” The mysterious phrases are soothing to the worried studio heads. And when the new geniuses are given what they want—comic strip pulp or slobby horror— they swing into action heroically. Daggers menace us in TV commercials, magazines, and newspapers, and sometimes the slob movies do become hits. But if you boil out the feathers what it comes down to is: When there’s a flop, the marketing men cluck their tongues and say. “Well, boys, the picture just didn’t have it.” When there’s a hit, the marketing men pound their chests like King Kong and say, “Boy, did we know how to sell it!”

These marketing divisions are a relatively new development. (In earlier years, there were two much smaller departments—advertising and sales.) Their growing power isn’t in any special effectiveness in selling pictures; it’s in their ability to keep pictures that don’t lend themselves to an eve popping thirty-second commercial from being made or. if they’re made, from being heard of. In the new Hollywood wisdom, anything to do with people’s lives belongs on TV. (As a result, television now makes contact with us in ways that movies no longer do.)

Like poor relations, the print media are the residual legatees of the huge marketing campaigns for pictures. The thinking is that anything associated with a big new hit will become a hot ticket. So magazine editors, ever eager to increase their newsstand sales, prepare their cover stories. Alan Alda, publicizing The Four Seasons, is the perfect cover boy for the women’s magazines; if his film makes money, the writers and editors will feel they guessed right. I can’t think of a single occasion when a small movie that really needed help got a slick-magazine cover, no matter how much the in-house critic liked it. The magazines try to ride on a hit picture’s tail wind.

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On 8/3/2023 at 6:54 PM, Deadlines? What Deadlines? said:

Moar! MOAR! Sweet merciful Jesus, yes! Justify my love, fuckers.

Oh, and spoilers probably. 

I don’t actually disagree with this on the whole, there has been a lot of outrage by certain channels about the movie, that just seems to basically misunderstand what is happening and what it’s trying to say. They think that the movie is telling us that Barbieland is the goal, when it’s a comment on reality, and the vision Barbie the brand has been projecting of perfection, and is a critique of that. 

Having said that, the movie itself doesn’t really have a coherent vision or message so it’s not entirely fair to blame people for not getting it.

Even then, if you are not a complete wokey, there is still some odd presumptions about the world the movie makes and it certainly comes from a perspective that some people wouldn’t recognise, and if you are conservative then it’s gonna annoy you a bit. 

Like, the movie has nothing good to say about men and masculinity, literally nothing. Sure it’s a Barbie movie so why would it, but it has stuff to say about men seemingly. It’s really not clear if the movie recognises how close actual life is to Barbieland currently, or does it actually think we live in mirror world to that?
Does it for instance not notice that women are doing better in all forms of education than men, that men are dropping out of society at record numbers and turning to the sort of vapid empty shallow existence that exists for Ken’s in Barbieland? Or does it actually think that the cruel version of ‘THE PATRIARCHY!!’ that it depicts in real world actually exists and is the state of the world right now.

It’s really not clear, the messaging is a mess. It depicts a patriarchy in reality where actually men have to work hard and do well to be able to get a proper job and don’t in fact have things handed to them on a plate. That’s in contrast to all male CEO teams at Mattel, so which is it? Did Will Ferrel get there cos he has a dick or because he worked hard?

The main big speech about women’s woes seems to want to blame their troubles on the patriarchy,  but basically everything that is bothering them ‘can’t be too thin, can’t be too fat’ has nothing to do with the patriarchy, that’s other women, men don’t care about that shit. 

So the movie has ‘the patriarchy’ as some big bad, but can’t seem to define what it is, other than a tiny number of hard working men getting good job cos they worked hard, attractive women who dress in skimpy outfits are desired by men in a creepy way, and other women are mean and judgemental. It also depicts the cartoon version of the patriarchy that Ken brings back as being really great for the Kens! If you were a Ken you wouldn’t want to give that up, it sounds awesome! But that isn’t reality either. 


To add to this, I’ve seen critiques of the movie that this is a commentary on feminism. That the original Barbie world with perfect Barbie and shallow Ken are the feminist vision , but it doesn’t work for anyone, so Ken comes to the real world, finds the patriarchy and thinks it’s great and brings it back in an extreme form without understanding it.. a bit like the manosphere. But that doesn’t work for either sex either. So the solution is to just give up on any defining system and let everyone be who ever they are and just get on with it. Total individualism.

I can see that, but the movie doesn’t really cohere to that message, which is why I think it’s so messed up. The matriarchy and the patriarchy both seem pretty good for one sex, better than nothing. It still thinks we live in the cartoon patriarchy world, and above all it’s a movie that deeply believes in big inherent differences between the sexes, this isn’t some blank state feminism it is promoting. So even if it’s final message is about everyone doing their own thing, it still thinks men and women are very different from each other, and probably can never really get along because their needs conflict. 

Edited by Heartofice
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3 hours ago, Deadlines? What Deadlines? said:

Maybe I’ll go see it

It's so wonderfully zany. Ryan Gosling is an absolute delight. As is Kate McKinnon, who as always is a goddamn scene-stealer. 

There's also a cameo by a comic actor that I'd heard might happen, but knew nothihg more than that. It's a blink and you miss it thing, but it's...::chef's kiss::. Wonderfully surreal.

And the score by Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt is scrumptious. Highly recommended for the sonic dishes alone. 

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On 8/15/2023 at 10:43 AM, Deadlines? What Deadlines? said:

This movie has given me so, so much and I haven’t even seen it yet. Is it weird that I’m both amused and incredibly aroused by this? I mean, I can only get so erect, people.

Just go watch the damn movie already! Stop tormenting yourself! 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Saw this yesterday with my 23-year-old daughter. Great film.

It should be getting serious numbers of awards, but it probably won't, because a, it's a comedy and they never do, and b, it's Barbie. But it's a Barbie film that's a weird existential comedy that grapples with the problematic aspects of Barbie as a concept, that starts with a 2001 pastiche and ends with Barbie choosing mortality, that deals with themes of identity and empowerment. And yes, patriarchy, because you can't make a Barbie movie and not talk about patriarchy, whether intentionally or not. It'd be like making a Batman movie and not talking about vigilantism. So you might as well take the subject on directly.

But the film ends with Barbie encouraging Ken to become more than an accessory to her, and has Barbie's creator (acting as the closest thing to God) declaring that patriarchy is just another thing humans invent to avoid dealing with existential angst. And Barbie chooses to live in the real world, even though she's experienced first hand the impact of patriarchy in that world. So the film is about a lot more than patriarchy = bad. (Although patriarchy is bad, of course.)

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20 hours ago, mormont said:

But the film ends with Barbie encouraging Ken to become more than an accessory to her

One of the things I like was Gosling's Ken admitting that he wasn't actually interested in any of the trappings of masculinity he brought back with him from the real world (except horses), that he was just acting how he thought he was supposed to. Speaking to how men definitely have certain advantages and power over women, but that these roles can be just as restrictive, and that expectations of what a man is "supposed" to be are not particularly conducive to happiness or freedom for men.

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