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22 Jul 2023
Lisa Respers France

NextImg:The 'Barbie' and 'Oppenheimer' double feature shouldn't be a one-off | CNN

CNN  — 

Sometimes the best thing to do when the present feels unpleasant is to look back, or look ahead.

In case you haven’t noticed, the state of the world is a little steamy these days.

All the more reason to lean into entertainment – and some movie theater air conditioning.

Which brings us to this week’s topic.

Cillian Murphy is J. Robert Oppenheimer in Christopher Nolan's "Oppenheimer."

It simply cannot be said enough – with how hot it’s been outside, hanging out in a cool theater with an icy beverage sounds like heaven to me.

Now you can double the fun (and the comfort) this weekend by enjoying a double feature of new releases “Barbie” (produced by Warner Bros., which is owned by CNN’s parent company) and “Oppenheimer.”

For those of you who have been living under a rock, “Barbie” is the eagerly awaited film about the world’s most famous doll, directed by Greta Gerwig and featuring a star-studded cast led by Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling.

“Oppenheimer” is based on the story of physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, who helped develop the atomic bomb. It stars Cillian Murphy, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh and Matt Damon, among others, and is directed by Christopher Nolan.

Since both films are out the same day – but couldn’t be more different in terms of subject matter and target audience – some people have celebrated the double release and purchased tickets to both movies, a phenomenon that has been coined “Barbenheimer” on social media.

That got me to thinking about what a great idea double features have been in the past, and their potential in the future.

Movie theaters have been struggling in recent times with the proliferation of streaming services that make it easier for audiences to enjoy films at home. Convenient, yes, but without the shared excitement that can come from experiencing the film with others and a bucket of popcorn.

Since the double feature first came to be in the 1930s as a means to get people in seats after a Depression-era slump at the movies, why not turn to it once again to create a sense of nostalgia?

If someone in Hollywood decides to act upon my suggestion, direct message me and I will tell you where to send me the check for a cut of the profits.

Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae attend the red carpet event for HBO Max's Project Greenlight Film "Gray Matter" at The Fairmont Miramar on February 28, 2023 in Santa Monica, California.

Another example of revisiting something old and making it new again when it comes to the movies is the reboot of “Project Greenlight,” the 2001 docuseries spearheaded by Hollywood super-duo Matt Damon and Ben Affleck which showed their search for the next great filmmaker.

This time actors Issa Rae, Kumail Nanjiani and writer/director Gina Prince-Bythewood serve at the mentors on “Project Greenlight: A New Generation,” as they seek to find the next great director. The difference is that this time, the focus is on women, and in particular women of color.

Knowing the history of Hollywood, which has been less than inclusive, it’s great to have a series that seeks to level the playing field. And who better than Rae and Nanjiani to help guide the contestants, along with Prince-Bythewood, who helmed “Love & Basketball” and “The Woman King.”

“Project Greenlight: A New Generation” is currently streaming on Max, which is owned by CNN’s parent company.

Margot Robbie in "Barbie"

There really is no way you can produce a massive movie like “Barbie” and not have an equally big soundtrack.

Enter “Barbie: The Album,” which features music from huge stars like Billie Eilish, Lizzo, Sam Smith and Nicki Minaj. Expect it to be like the film: upbeat, fun and something people will be talking about this summer.

I usually stan for a soundtrack regardless, but this one feels pretty in pink.

The album drops Friday, just like the film.

John Boyega as Fontaine, Teyonah Parris as Yo-Yo and Jamie Foxx as Slick Charles in "They Cloned Tyrone."

While there’s been more attention paid to star Jamie Foxx’s health as of late, perhaps spare a bit of that for one of his latest projects.

“They Cloned Tyrone” pays homage to the Blaxploitation films of the past, while mixing notes of horror, science fiction and a bit of satire. Foxx, along with his costars John Boyega and Teyonah Parris, offer up a wild ride that I’m looking forward to.

According to its streaming home Netflix, the movie covers “an eerie series of events” that leads “an unlikely trio down a rabbit hole into a sinister neighborhood conspiracy.”

It starts streaming on Friday.