The Beanie Bubble, a film that depicts the remarkable rise and fall of Beanie Babies as both a cultural and economic phenomenon, begins with a sequence that captures so much about that moment in time: Inspired by a real-life incident, we see thousands of Beanie Babies flung out of a truck involved in a highway collision, their flight through the air captured with the bright colors and elegant slow motion you might associate with… an OK Go music video.
That’s not a coincidence, as the new Apple TV+ film is co-directed by OK Go frontman Damian Kulash and screenwriter Kristin Gore (who happens to be Kulash’s wife) — who knew, as soon as they read about that 1999 accident, it would be “an incredible metaphor for everything we’re trying to get across,” Gore tells Consequence via Zoom.
Adds Kulash, “We didn’t have to imagine anything. It was just like, well, a truck explodes and then Beanie Babies fly through the air. That’s a good half of our film.”
The Beanie Bubble stars Elizabeth Banks, Sarah Snook, and Geraldine Viswanathan as the three women who were instrumental to Beanie Babies becoming a billion-dollar business, both for the Ty company and its official founder Ty Warner (played by Zach Galifianakis). It’s the latest entry in a new sub-genre of American film exploring the intricacies of famous business deals (and who might have been screwed by them), following this year’s Blackberry and Air.
The trend feels “pretty bizarre” to Gore, she says, because “we’ve been working on this since 2015, so we didn’t expect to come out at the same time as a bunch of other product movies. And we also didn’t mean to make a movie about a product. For us, it was always about these other themes that were so important to us. But there’s the 25 year rule where you see, culturally, there tends to be an inflection point where people are like, ‘what happened 25 years ago?’ And you see a lot of things coming out in entertainment around that. But it’s a weird sub-genre to accidentally be a part of, because we didn’t intend to.”
Gore says the actual intention was “to tell a story about, you know, women and the American dream and our value system, in the sandbox of fun, colorful toys. I would hope that, you know, a lot of the passion that goes into making movies doesn’t always have to be about products and consumerism. I think there are a lot of really important more human stories to focus on.”