Bill Sniffin: A Pair Of 70-Somethings At The ‘Barbie’ Movie — What Could Go Wrong?

Columnist Bill Sniffin writes, “If you can see the opening 10 minutes and the last three minutes, well it gets a partial thumb’s up from me. The rest is a thumb’s down.”

Bill Sniffin

September 02, 20235 min read

Nancy and Bill Sniffin give the "Barbie" movie two thumbs down.
Nancy and Bill Sniffin give the "Barbie" movie two thumbs down. (Bill Sniffin, Cowboy State Daily)

Wow, what a great idea. Executive Editor Jimmy Orr wanted a movie review.

His idea was to ask some old farts who write columns for the Cowboy State Daily to review the hottest movie in the land — “Barbie.” What could go wrong with this plan?

Since I love movies, it appealed to me. Columnist Rod Miller said he was never going to see “that f******g movie.” OK, so he doesn’t beat around the bush.

Columnist Dave Simpson was all in, until he came up with the lame excuse that he was in charge of cooking a whole bunch of food for his mountain buddies and suddenly, there I was alone, ready to review perhaps the silliest movie to come along in decades.

Managing Editor Greg Johnson then came up with the brilliant idea of having my wife Nancy watch it with me. She hates most modern movies. This could end badly.

Siskel And Ebert Style 

To folks who watched TV 30 years ago, the most popular movie review show in history featured two Chicago critics, Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel. Their show was just fantastic.

Their trademark was offering a thumb’s up or thumb’s down on whether or not they liked a movie.

Rod, Dave and I were going to duplicate their format with this column. Or so Jimmy thought.

Sadly, dear readers, you are stuck with my review with a few comments thrown in by my wife Nancy.

My grandson Hayden Johnson, 21, a senior at the University of Wyoming, said the movie was very good. Leo Wolfson, our political reporter (who is younger than some of my other grandchildren) also said it was good.

Really? I had assumed that it would be all about feminism and no man would like it. Both Hayden and Leo are manly men, so that was good to hear.

Off we went to the Capitol Cinema in Cheyenne for the 4:30 p.m. showing Thursday. The reclining seats were comfortable and Nancy and I picked out two in the middle of the third row. We were the only people in the theatre.

There’s a reason you have read this long and not seen anything about what we thought of the movie.

Not A Hallmark Movie

My wife loves Hallmark movies. That should give you an idea of what she thought of this slam-bang, loud, louder and loudest, rapid-fire, hard-to-follow masterpiece.

The word “yuck” was mentioned a number of times and she threatened to walk out. She is a Ryan Gosling fan (ala “The Notebook”) and she could not believe he was in such a dumb movie. I think he was paid $20 million, by the way.

As for me, I love almost all movies.

A tradition in our family has been taking our grandkids to movies for 25 years. We started with cartoons in 1998 and two weeks ago, we attended “Oppenheimer” (an important historical movie). But that tradition is a topic for another column.

Thus, I am used to these fast-paced modern movies. But they can be hard for an older person to follow.

Nancy is 76 and I am 77. We have not played video games since Pong came out 40 years ago, so we really do prefer a movie that is a little slower paced. But we also realize that we are not the primary market for movies nowadays.

Also, Hallmark movies are just boring, in my opinion.

Spoiler Alert

The movie “Barbie” got interesting when she and Ken entered the real world. That was well done. The movie’s director, Greta Gerwig, is the real deal.

But the rest of it gets a thumb’s down from me just because overall, I wish I could get those two hours back. Nancy gives it a thumbs down because it is not a Hallmark movie. No, honey, it is definitely not a Hallmark movie. Not even close.

The final scene in the movie, though, will go down as a classic. It was not worth waiting for, but in the true sense of being a professional movie reviewer, it is a smart and memorable scene.

The movie cost $100 million to produce and has earned back about $1.5 billion. Margot Robbie, who plays Barbie, will rake in a cool $50 million. Some big bucks.

Loved The Beginning

Oh yes, I love science fiction (Nancy hates that genre), but the opening scene pays great homage to the classic movie “2001, A Space Odyssey.” It is simply great. 

So, if you can see the opening 10 minutes and the last three minutes, well it gets a partial thumb’s up from me. The rest is a thumb’s down, except for the interesting scene in the middle involving the modern world.

To sum up, despite a great beginning, a pretty good middle and a classic ending, I just cannot give it a thumb’s up.

Sorry, Jimmy, this review is nowhere up to the standards of Siskel and Ebert, but it’s the best a couple of old-timers can do on a 90-degree afternoon in Cheyenne after driving all day from Lander.

But that’s also another story.

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Bill Sniffin

Wyoming Life Columnist

Columnist, author, and journalist Bill Sniffin writes about Wyoming life on Cowboy State Daily -- the state's most-read news publication.