So I saw Barbie... and I was surprised
In the months leading up to the release of the Barbie movie, I had determined that I would not see it. For starters, it was a movie about Barbie, for Pete’s sake. Count me out. My entertainment filter is pretty lowbrow (I prefer aliens and explosions), but the Barbie movie didn’t meet that qualification.
I was self-righteously affirmed in that pre-decision and pre-judgment when numerous conservatives and Christians on Twitter/X bemoaned and belittled the movie as “woke” and “detrimental to women” and “a horrible influence on girls and unsuspecting families.” The cries became shrill. So much so that I began to wonder if people are overreacting and just being narrow-minded and curmudgeonly.
Then something crazy happened. It was a hit. People worldwide loved it.
The crazy thing about that is the public has vilified recent movies that are overtly woke in the past few years.1 So strangely enough, Barbie made the cut.
This weekend will send the blockbuster toy adaptation past $700 million, ensuring Barbie will soon top $1 billion in worldwide box office. At this rate, Barbie will soon be 2023’s best box office hit… Regardless of whether it takes a few more days to pocket one billion dollars, Barbie is now destined to become the biggest film of 2023. It needs just $1.35 billion to pass The Super Mario Brothers Movie, and shouldn’t have a hard time doing so. The real question is, just how high might Barbie climb before it’s all said and done?2
Enter the family vacation and beach trip
I was still pretty resolved not to see Barbie. It just wasn’t my thing. I remember as a kid playing with my sister’s huge Barbie camper… Barbie and her friends would be pushed down our stairs in the camper, and as it lay in wreckage, my Spiderman, Iron Man, Batman, and other hero action figures (not dolls) would swoop in and save the day.3
Then we went on family vacation to the Outer Banks. One day was a fishing expedition in the sound, and fishing is not my thing. My daughter-in-law decided that while everyone else was out catching supper that we’d go to the movies. We decided that whoever won mini-golf the night before would get to pick. If I lost, I’d be going to see Barbie. It was a harrowing game.
I won by one putt.
However, the next day, as we checked movie times, and knowing that she wanted to see it - and she’s pregnant with our first grandchild, I was surprisingly gracious. I agreed to go. And I still went - even when she got dressed up in a pink dress for it.
Two words: “aggravatingly profound”
I would have walked out after the first five minutes if she’d not been with me. The comedy and shtick was just too… silly. Vapid is a good word. Then, something shocked me. I started enjoying it. Yes. I admit it.
Then something even more shocking happened. I was moved by it. The monologue of the mom in the movie was aggravatingly profound.4 Before the movie was over, it had provoked some significant reflection in my mind about God-given identities, about the struggle between men and women’s roles, and the ultimate peace one finds when one accepts with humility the identity that she/he was created for and respects and embraces the role and identity of the opposite sex. It was absent of so many things that could have made it a bad movie. Instead, it winds up being a fun movie that has some really significant things to ponder.
All that and more from the Barbie movie. Yeah. I get it. I’m still stunned. It was aggravatingly profound. My daughter-in-law felt the same way, and she was thrilled by my demonstration of grace even after I beat her in mini-golf.
Go see it. Also, Ryan Gosling’s performance as Ken is hysterical.
For those of you still believing the shrill voices, I can’t help you. The same voices complained about the new Indiana Jones movie, and while it hasn’t done well at the box office, I really enjoyed it too.
Disney’s Lightyear was a colossal disappointment. It was followed by Strange World and then Elemental, all of them losers.
Disney lost over $300 million after two 'woke' kids movies were gigantic box office bombs, by George Simpson (Express: April, 17, 2023)
Some non-Disney flops were Bros, Amsterdam, and AOC’s documentary about climate change, To the End.
Go Woke, Go Broke? Liberal movies, books, TV that bombed in 2022, by Kristine Parks (Fox News: January 1, 2023)
‘Barbie’ Parties Toward $1 Billion Worldwide At The Box Office, by Mark Hughes (Forbes: July 28, 2023)
Back in the day, we didn't care about Marvel vs. DC. I had action figures from both universes, and they fought and partnered together indiscriminately.
You can read the speech here, but I’d encourage you to see movie and enjoy actress America Ferrera’s portrayal of it (which she said she practiced 30-50 times - it shows!)
Read the Powerful 'Barbie' Monologue About Being a Woman That America Ferrera Performed '30 to 50' Times, by Tommy McArdle (People: July 28, 2023)