A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Introduces a variety of economic concepts including supply and demand, primary markets and secondary markets, the definitions of a market bubble and a speculative market. Gives a glimpse into what life was like during the beginning of the internet and the Y2K scare.
People speak about the dangers of shopping addiction as well as the financial consequences of spending frivolously and going into credit card debt.
Positive Role Models
An early employee stands up for herself by leaving the company when she isn't promoted for her significant contributions. She never receives fair compensation.
The subjects of this documentary are primarily White, with the exception of an employee of Indian descent at the Ty company who is portrayed as being taken advantage of despite being very business savvy. Interviewees also promote the stereotype that female friends are competitive and always trying to one up each other.
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Violence & Scariness
A home invasion and a delivery truck driver being robbed and attacked with a sledge hammer are discussed but not shown. 9/11 is briefly mentioned. Many of the subjects of the documentary act in selfish ways, trying to beat each other to buy out all of the Beanie Babies and doing whatever they can to inflate the Beanie Babies' value, even if it's unethical, in order to make money.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Reference is made to a woman that "walks into a store as an A cup and walks out as a D cup" when she steals some Beanie Babies.
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Products & Purchases
There is a lot of emphasis on living lavish lifestyles with big houses and fancy cars. Porsche and Mercedes are repeatedly mentioned. Some of the documentary's subjects frame spending a lot of money on collectables as a fun and positive activity, even when it starts to consume their lives. Others talk about the negative aspects, such as compulsively buying Beanie Babies and hiding them from their spouses. Parents talk about bonding with their children by running all over town looking for specific Beanie Babies and also about continuing to do so on their own once their kids lose interest.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Beanie Mania is a documentary, directed by Yemisi Brooks, about the Beanie Babie craze of the 1990s, the subesequent rise and fall of their value, and the effect on collectors. The film provides some interesting lessons in economics. Some of the subjects act in selfish and immoral ways without much consequence. There is an emphasis on living lavish lifestyles with big houses and fancy cars, but people also speak about the dangers of shopping addiction as well as the financial consequences of spending frivolously and going into credit card debt. A home invasion and a delivery truck driver being robbed and attacked with a sledge hammer are discussed but not shown. 9/11 is briefly mentioned as is someone coming close to having a nervous breakdown. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Despite the narrow perspective of many of its subjects, this documentary still tells a fascinating tale of how a small group of collectors ended up causing a national frenzy during the height of American consumerism. The women at the center of Beanie Mania are clearly insulated in their bubble of privilege. One reports that she started collecting because "it was a quiet time in the world where people were happy" (the L.A. riots happened the year before). Nevertheless, once the group sparks the Beanie Baby craze, they each show ingenuity in capitalizing on it in a variety of ways. The film is a great introduction to market economics and entrepreneurship, while also touching on the dark side of rampant greed and consumerism. Parents who watch it with their tweens and teens will find a lot of life lessons to discuss. Just be aware that some people are treated unfairly (especially those of color) and those who act immorally or irresponsibly don't always face consequences for their actions.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.