Root around in the back of a wardrobe, or maybe up in the attic somewhere, and chances are you’ll find a Beanie Baby. In the late ‘90s and early ‘00s they were everywhere – adorable plushes partially filled with little plastic beans, available in all kinds of animal shapes. They were a huge deal, much-hyped for their collectability, and the widely-held notion that they would likely end up being hugely valuable if kept in peak condition. There was even a Princess Diana tribute bear back in the day. That feverish collectibility (and behind-the-scenes backstabbing) is at the heart of upcoming Apple TV+ movie The Beanie Bubble – starring Elizabeth Banks and Zach Galifianakis as the minds behind the mayhem.
As well as a stellar cast – Blockers and Broken Hearts Gallery standout Geraldine Viswanathan and Succession’s Sarah Snook are also in the mix – there’s some real visual flair here. How about that slow-mo shot of a crashing lorry spraying bean-packed plushes across the road, or those pops of block color in the costuming and set design? The film is directed by SNL alumnus Kristin Gore (who also wrote the screenplay) and her husband Damian Kulash, aka the singer from OK Go. (That visual panache makes sense then, if you know anything about OK Go’s music videos). And beneath the colour and collectible toys, this seems to be the tale of Ty Warner (played by a near-unrecognizable Galifianakis) getting one over on the women who helmed him turn his toy brand into a global sensation.
Here’s the official synopsis: “Why did the world suddenly treat stuffed animals like gold? Ty Warner was a frustrated toy salesman until his collaboration with three women grew his masterstroke of an idea into the biggest toy craze in history. The Beanie Bubble is an inventive story about what and who we value, and the unsung heroes whose names didn't appear on the heart-shaped tag.” The Beanie Bubble will come to Apple TV+ on 28 July – hopefully it’s one worth collecting.