“Barbenheimer” explodes over summer

Along with critic and student opinions on the most popular movies of the summer
Graphic made on Canva by Luke Soule depicting a mesh of Barbie and Oppenheimer
Graphic made on Canva by Luke Soule depicting a mesh of “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer”
Luke Soule

“Barbie” and “Oppenheimer”

Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” was released on July 21 alongside Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer,” sparking an internet phenomenon called “Barbenheimer” concerning the simultaneous release of the two movies.

The two movies received critical acclaim, with “Barbie” receiving a 6.6/10 on IMDB and an 88% on Rotten Tomatoes and “Oppenheimer” receiving an 8.6/10 on IMDB and a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes.

“Barbie,” the pink-ridden satire about the titular doll by Mattel starring Margot Robbie, became a box office smash, garnering $1.2 billion dollars compared to its $145 million dollar budget.

The movie became acclaimed for its themes of identity, gender roles and feminism, according to the New York Times.

“It was sad and the ending was touching. I barely cry at movies so it says a lot,” junior Karina Nirenberg said. “The message of confidence I thought spoke to me and many others.”

“Oppenheimer,” on the other hand, demonstrated the aesthetic and thematic divide that caused the internet sensation in the first place.

The intense biographical drama starring Cillian Murphy grossed $663.9 million compared to its $100 million budget. The film was praised for its accuracy and Murphy’s atomic portrayal of the scientist, according to the New York Times.

“[Oppenheimer] was a little confusing sometimes,” senior Reilly Scoleri said. “Some particularly risky scenes with nudity were unnecessary but the nuke scene was actually pretty cool and had me at the edge of my seat because of the style choice, the explosion sound was delayed for probably three minutes while there were these crazy visual effects.”

The two biggest movies of the Summer stand as some of the best-rated and thought-provoking movies of this year so far.

Graphic illustration by Luke Soule depicting Miles Morales created in Canva.

“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”

Initially, the sequel to 2018’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” was announced to have an April 2022 release date, which later got pushed to October 2022 and finally released on June 2 of this year. 

This continuation doubled down on the stylistic approach to animation that the first movie in the series pioneered, combining a lower frame rate with a comic book aesthetic.

The movie turned out to be a critical success, achieving a 8.8/10 on IMDB and a 95% on Rotten Tomatoes and a $683.3 million box office against a $100 million budget.

“It was really good, but apparently it’s a two-part movie so I didn’t really get too much closure,” senior Matthew DellaTorre said.

The third film, “Beyond the Spider-Verse,” was set to be released in 2024 until Sony Pictures took it off the release calendar, leaving a release date yet to be determined.

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Graphic illustration by Luke Soule depicting the embalmed hand from “Talk to Me” created on Canva

“Talk to Me” and “Asteroid City”

YouTuber brothers Danny and Michael Philippou of the channel RackaRacka announced their feature horror debut, “Talk to Me,” would be featured in the 2023 Sundance Film Festival and was eventually taken up by the acclaimed independent production studio A24. 

The film eventually released on July 28 in theaters across the world to critical acclaim, garnering a 7.5/10 on IMDB and a 95% on Rotten Tomatoes and was praised for its gripping horror sequences and gruesome special effects.

“The movie is one of the better modern horror movies, I really like the movies A24 chooses to produce,” junior Gavin Smalley said.

That being said, I personally think that this is the best movie I have seen all summer and one of the best horror movies I have ever seen. The best way to describe this movie is feeling like you are in a nightmare. One scene in particular concerning an eye genuinely made me nauseous. The makeup effects specifically were astronomical and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was nominated for an Academy Award.

With “Hereditary,” “The Witch” and now “Talk to Me” under their belt, I believe that A24 is one of the best studios that has been putting out and producing movies from the past decade.

The prequel was soon later announced and has no set release date.

Our publication published a story on Wes Anderson’s discography and expressed my excitement for his next movie, “Asteroid City,” which was set to release on June 23. Now that the time has passed, I will say that I left the theater a little underwhelmed, similarly to many other critics.

The movie was rated a 6.7/10 on IMDB and a 74% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is admittedly good; however, it is not up to standards for Wes Anderson movies such as The “Grand Budapest Hotel,” which achieved a superior 8.1/10 on IMDB and 92% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Many critics expressed that Anderson prioritizes his trademark style of formalism and symmetry over the actual story and substance, according to ScreenRant.

The story was definitely captivating and in no way bad, however, I believe that Anderson has the ability to create a broader and more in-depth world than what was shown in “Asteroid City.”

Graphic made on Canva by Luke Soule depicting the red door from “Insidious”

“Insidious: The Red Door”

The fifth installment of the Insidious franchise, “Insidious: The Red Door,” builds upon the story of Josh Lambert and his estranged relationship with his son, Dalton.

The movie was rated a 5.6/10 on IMDB and a 39% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is the lowest rated in the franchise.

The first movie in the franchise to be directed by the star Patrick Wilson, “Insidious: The Red Door” was slammed by many critics, who view the final major installment as not particularly scary, being “less reliant on jumpscares” and “[not] do[ing] anything new,” according to ScreenRant.

A spinoff set to be titled “Thread: An Insidious Tale” was teased by creator James Wan, according to Cinemablend. Although few details are known, the hint of a spinoff reinforces the fact that the Insidious franchise will persist as one of the longest running and largest modern horror franchises.


The Rest of the Year

The rest of 2023 has a fairly stacked line-up including “Dune 2,” “Five Nights at Freddy’s,” “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” “The Exorcist: Believer,” “Saw X,” “Wonka” and “Killers of the Flower Moon.”

Compared to the past couple of years, this year has been, and will continue to be, a monumental year for movies and holds great potential for future releases concerning the rest of the year.

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About the Contributor
Luke Soule
Luke Soule, Multimedia Editor
Multimedia editor Luke Soule is a senior at McIntosh High School and has returned for his second year on the McIntosh Trail. Soule received an all-georgia and superior award during his first year on the staff as a writer and specializes in writing about film, music and environmental issues. He is also an editor for the Mischief Literary Magazine. Soule enjoys writing poetry and stories and has written multiple screenplays. Music and film are big parts of Soule’s life. He taught himself to play guitar and currently takes music theory and piano lessons. His favorite artists are Death Grips, Gregory Alan Isakov and Hugh Masekela. He also began writing screenplays at the age of 13. His favorite movies are The Master, Swiss Army Man and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. He frequently volunteers at the Fayette Humane Society and Clothes Less Traveled.
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