Authors, Film & TV

Published on September 3rd, 2023 | by Jameelah "Just Jay" Wilkerson


The Beanie Bubble is a Must-Watch

The collectible toy markets have always created a bubble for a certain product. People of a certain age might remember “Cabbage Patch Kids,” which saw shopping malls resemble war zones as parents frantically tried to get one for their child. Other examples have included Furbies and Fingerlings. These were things that people wanted to play with, though.

Then there are those items that people would buy and just keep stored away to have them gain in value as time went by. Recently, Funko Pops were an example of that. Collectors would buy them and not take them out of their boxes. There were certain limited edition ones that could fetch a lot of money.

Before that, though, there were the Beanie Babies. It’s hard to describe what kind of craze swept over the nation with these collectible toys that saw the people that created them get almost unimaginable wealth for a while. The movie “The Beanie Bubble,” which is streaming on Apple TV, recreates this, and it also shows the drama that went on behind the scenes that would make even soap opera writers think it was too outlandish.

One of the movie’s stars, Elizabeth Banks, has come a long way from her days as a love interest for Zach Braff’s John Dorian on “Scrubs.” She’s become a star in her own right and every scene she’s in on “The Beanie Bubble” is a must-watch. Banks is far more than just a comedy talent – she proved that in all the “Hunger Games” movies. Fortunately, she doesn’t purr “May the odds always be in your favor” to the people buying the Beanies. She shows a wide range of emotions throughout the film, including a snarky sarcastic one.

If you watch the credits or see on the poster that Zach Galifianakis is in it, you wouldn’t recognize him. The trademark lustrous beard is gone and the star of “The Hangover” and “Between Two Ferns” is clean-shaven. It’s a jarring sight, and you may spend the whole movie unsure that it is him. His performance is top-notch, though, and he perfectly portrays a person who is seduced by the possibility of wealth.

The film traces the rise of this toy and the resulting hubris that causes its downfall. Galifianakis plays Ty Warner, who was one of the founders. Banks plays Robbie, who was one of three women that he partnered with to create these Beanies. It’s not a factual retelling of the Beanie Babies story – a lot of fictional elements have been added. Sarah Snook and Geraldine Viswanathan play the other two women.

As is usually customary when it comes to immense wealth and multiple people, there’s betrayal. Ty tries to cut other people off from their piece of the pie. There are disasters, like a truck full of Beanies overturning on a busy highway. The company goes from being on top of the world to barely hanging on to eventually sinking.

When it comes to companies that are entrenched under a bubble, it can feel like the party will go on forever. Ty buys an expensive house and tries to keep as much of it as he can. Then there’s the part when the ride comes to an end. Kristin Gore wrote a script that came in under two hours, and she also directed it. The movie is a fun way to spend a part of a weekend afternoon, and it will leave a sense of nostalgia for those who lived through the Beanie Babies era.

While some people lost money, the real Ty Warner is a billionaire. He still ranks among the richest people on Forbes. One could say that the bad guy won. It still makes for a very interesting movie.

About the Author

Publisher and CEO of The Hype Magazine. Follow me on Twitter @HypeJustJay

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