Boy what a choice we have this weekend. As of now you can go to the cinema and catch the hugely hyped Barbie or the hugely promising Oppenheimer. No doubt many of you are thinking about catching one or maybe both movies this weekend, but which one should you watch first? Ben and Alex have conflicting opinions on this, so let’s once again put our heads together to give you reasons why you should prefer one movie over the other.
Alex – Barbie
When asked whether we want the good news or the bad news first, we will often get the worst out of the way so that we can enjoy the good. Many people approach Barbenheimer this way because they first want to get the depressing view of the most devastating invention in human history out of the way so they can then enjoy the glitz and glamour of the real cinematic event of the summer. I understand that argument, but personally I will see Barbie first, and I think you should too.
First, as we already know, there is a tremendous amount of Kenergy surrounding Barbie. It’s a force that can’t be measured, a vibe that you either feel or you don’t. I believe that the Kenergy we will see by watching Barbie first will far exceed the depression that Oppenheimer creates. Even if it forces you to have an existential contemplation immediately after watching, the sheer joy of Barbie should radiate everywhere, so you will always think of the high of the movie you saw first. You won’t end on a sad note if you see Oppenheimer last, or if you see it first, because I believe Barbie will just be so bright and fun that even three hours of Nolan’s best can’t get you down.
Also, speaking of Oppenheimer’s runtime, the last thing you want to do is pull up to Barbie and not feel ready for a good time. If you spend three hours in the theater, you will probably feel deflated, especially after watching Oppenheimer’s content. In my opinion, this doesn’t give Barbie a fair chance because it’s like going to a birthday party after being hungover at a funeral. Barbie won’t just laugh either, and as we know from Gerwig’s previous work, she can create moments that really tug at the heart strings. So it may not be the pick-me-up we all hope for, and may make you feel even worse, especially after enduring Oppenheimer.
There is also something to be said about spoilers. Very little about Oppenheimer can spoil you except actual shots from the film. No one will scream “the bomb goes off” in the middle of the theater to try to con you, because unless Nolan is aiming for an alternate history twist, as Robert Downey Jr. says in the Oppenheimer trailer, we all know what happened next. It’s historical fiction, based on fact, while Barbie, well I shouldn’t have to say this is a wild plot where no one really knows what’s going to happen. I’m not saying you will grit your teeth after someone tells you a story detail, but there is more to ruin in Barbie, and to avoid that downfall, I recommend you see it first.
This is not an incredibly serious recommendation, and there’s no right order to see first, but I think if you’re here for a good time, not long, you’ll want to get your tickets for an earlier Barbie screening. Who knows, after a good dose of glamour and glitz in your life, you may not even be up for Oppenheimer’s melodramatic so-called cinema.
Ben – Oppenheimer
Interstellar, Inception, Dunkirk, The Dark Knight, Memento, The Prestige. What do all these absolutely incredible films have in common? Christopher Nolan. There are few filmmakers in modern times with the same prestige attached to their name as this man. He is a master at making films meant to be experienced on the big screen, and with this in mind, there can only be one choice this weekend: Oppenheimer.
The class and quality associated with Nolan’s name pretty much confirms that Oppenheimer will be one for the ages. This dramatized look at the life of Robert J. Oppenheimer, and how he helped find and then lead the Manhattan Project and its goals of defeating the Nazis in the race to create the world’s first atomic bomb, becomes a story with weight and gravity unlike anything else we have seen before.
Nolan is a master at weaving intricate stories and then accentuating them with beautifully framed shots that allow the world’s most talented actors to shine with compelling and breathtaking performances. While no one doubts Barbie director Greta Gerwig’s ability to make film, Nolan simply exists in a class of his own, which is why it is remarkable that the man has never won an Oscar. Judging by what some of the cast members involved with Oppenheimer say, this film could be the one.
Speaking of the cast, sure Barbie has snagged Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Will Ferrell, Emma Mackey and a host of other stars, but Oppenheimer has pulled out all the stops and assembled an Avengers-level cast. Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh, Kenneth Branagh, Alden Ehrenreich, Rami Malek, Gary Oldman, Casey Affleck, the list goes on and on.
But admittedly, all I’ve really done so far is highlight the exciting parts of the film that Universal’s marketing goons have been ramming down your throat for months. So why watch Oppenheimer over Barbie this weekend? It’s simple, and it revolves around the fact that Nolan’s films usually surprise you.
If you ever need proof that it’s not a good idea to watch a Christopher Nolan film as the second part of a double-bill, all you have to do is try to watch Inception, Interstellar or Tenet immediately after virtually every other film. These films take it out of you mentally as they drag you through a confusing and exciting epic story and turn your mind to mush. Oppenheimer is about nuclear physics and the ethics involved in that field of research, and if I had to put my life on something this weekend, it would be that Oppenheimer will be more mentally taxing than Barbie.
So, long story short, whether you watch only one of these films this weekend, or you commit to the Barbenheimer double-bill, there is only one film to watch first: Oppenheimer. The last thing you want is to be overloaded with pink color palettes and silly humor before you sit down for the mega three-hour monster that is Oppenheimer. No, Barbie is the icing on this weekend’s cake at the box office, so do yourself a favor and see Nolan’s next epic before anything else.