Roughly ten days ago I presented a case for Barbie and Poor Things being more or less the same film, the difference being that Poor Things is sexier, crazier, loopier, trippier…more Alice in Wonderland meets Terry Gilliam‘s Frankenstein in a hard-R kinda way.

Poor Things, in short, is a much hipper film…more apple-cart-upsetting, more subterranean, more wild-ass unhinged…almost in a Radley Metzger sense.

And yet if the Best Picture race comes down to these two being the finalists, the proverbial mob (i.e., those who are far less hip than they think they are) wants the Oscar to go to Barbie. Why? Because it became a huge cultural event and made tons and tons of money, and they loved that glorious affirmation of urban girlitude and pinkitude. It was quite the national moment.

Filed on 7.20.23 — one of the first things I wrote after my late afternoon show of Barbie ended:

Key 7.20.23 passage: “I have to give Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach credit for having created a fleet, zippy, self-acknowledging, hall-of-mirrors Barbie universe that mostly works.

“If you don’t mind the relentless humiliation that is heaped upon the stupid, self-deluding Ken men, the film holds together. It’s fully realized and precisely thought through and is quite the pink creation, quite the work of imagination…

“Even though it regards men as pathetic and immature and basically seven- and eight-year-olds…the Barbie women are the wise and the strong and way, WAY more commanding and visionary and competent….the Ken men are foolish, emotionally stunted infants, and women know SO much more and are SO much wiser and more mature and they, henceforth, will lead the way. And are destined, it is fully implied, to run the real world once the men are fully deballed and schooled and feminized…”

“No Clint Eastwood or Lee Marvin types allowed! And no Cary Grants or Jack Lemmons either! Only buff-bod gay guys who are pretending to be straight, or at least aren’t identified as queer.”

But honestly? The more I think about Barbie, the less interested I am in seeing it again. If it has to be one of these, I’m definitely more in the Poor Things camp.