The obvious follow up to a film as sexy as Fifty Shades Freed is one that is even sexier. That’s right! We’re watching the theme park ride adaptation The Country Bears. You’ll never see anything quite as sexy as the scary animatronic bear monsters of The Country Bears. We’re watching this one for the game portion of the cycle as it appears on our Calendar for the July 26th entry. I don’t think I really have to justify more about this film for BMT… it’s The Country Bears! Let’s go!
The Country Bears (2002) – BMeTric: 47.8
(I’m surprised at how few votes there are (this was released to theaters, right?) and also at how low the rating is (this was almost exclusively viewed by children, correct?). Pretty standard regression to the mean though, so nothing really surprising. Will almost definitely hit 50 at some point this year and hover there for the rest of eternity.)
Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – “Inspired by” a Disneyland attraction, this lazy excuse for a kid film has a young bear (who’s been adopted by a human family) going back to his roots, and helping a legendary music group to stage a reunion and rescue their performance hall. It they spent time on the script and less time setting up cameo performances (Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Elton John, etc.) it might have been better.
(Why doesn’t that feel like a two star review? He brutalized it. Anyways, I do love cameos, they simple ruin even already terrible films. So bring it on, I’ll count them up with excitement at all of the excellent quiz questions I can make.)
(My god, what have we done? What horror have we found ourselves watching? I thought this was a real film. It seemed like a real film. And yet I watch this trailer and it is like I’m watching a trailer for Air Bud 3. I don’t get it. Was it a real film? Are they gaslighting us? Is Disney like “Oh, this old thing. This was a straight-to-video movie though. You must be misremembering, no company would release this to theaters”. And I’m sitting here like “Yeah, I guess you’re right Disney. I must be mistaken” … but I’m not, this is a real movie they released to theaters and made people spend money on.)
Directors – Peter Hastings – (BMT: The Country Bears; Notes: He is mainly a cartoon writer and story editor, primarily for WB things like Pinky and the Brain and Animaniacs. This was his only directorial gig, likely due to his voice work experience. Performed with the Groundlings in the 80s and has a degree from Berklee College of Music.)
Writers – Mark Perez (written by) – (Known For: Herbie Fully Loaded; Future BMT: Accepted; BMT: The Country Bears; Notes: Writing the upcoming Game Night, which honestly looks like the Man Who Knew Too Little updated with modern comedic actors.)
Actors – Haley Joel Osment – (Known For: Forrest Gump; The Sixth Sense; A.I. Artificial Intelligence; Tusk; Secondhand Lions; Pay It Forward; Sex Ed; Me Him Her; The World Made Straight; Bogus; Sassy Pants; Future BMT: Yoga Hosers; The Jungle Book 2; Mixed Nuts; I’ll Follow You Down; Entourage; BMT: The Country Bears; Notes: As a child star he received an oscar nomination at the age of 11 for his role in The Sixth Sense. Went to Tisch, but his acting since has been mostly indie films and tv guest spots. I’ve heard him on a few podcasts and he seems cool.)
Diedrich Bader – (Known For: EuroTrip; Napoleon Dynamite; Office Space; Ice Age; Bolt; Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back; Surf’s Up; Recess: School’s Out; Dead & Breakfast; Sassy Pants; Calvin Marshall; Future BMT: Meet the Spartans; Vampires Suck; The Starving Games; Balls of Fury; BMT: Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous; The Beverly Hillbillies; The Country Bears; Atlas Shrugged II: The Strike; Notes: Ah our old friend. A lot of his recent acting has been voice work including a ton of Batman cartoons. He even played Batman in the Batman / Scooby Doo straight-to-video crossover film.)
Candy Ford – (BMT: The Country Bears; Notes: Likely hired because of her voice work … she’s been in almost nothing otherwise. Had a small part in Curb Your Enthusiasm as Jacket Saleswoman … she’s been in almost nothing.)
Budget/Gross – $35 million / Domestic: $16,990,825 (Worldwide: $18,012,097)
(Oh wow, a complete disaster. Who could have guessed the film based on a terrible Disney World ride would do terribly. And don’t even say the words “Pirates of the Caribbean”. You know this is a much different and worse idea than that.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 30% (24/81): Despite all the celebrities on hand, this spin-off from a theme park attraction still feels tired and hokey.
(I honestly can’t even believe it did that well. I guess that is what you can get when you are innocuous enough. The cast is pretty impressive … but so was Marmadukes, so … Reviewer Highlight: By turns numbingly dull-witted and disquietingly creepy. – Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle)
Poster – The Country Sklogs (A)
(Nice balance. Nice color. And unique font. I honestly can’t think of anything bad to say about it other than that it is a poster for The Country Bears.)
Tagline(s) – They’re legends. Bearly. (C)
(This started as an F as my brain rejected it… but it’s creeping up on me. It’s already climbed up to a C as it tickles something in my brain. Quick! We gotta run before I give this an A.)
Keyword(s) – bear; Top Ten by BMeTric: 76.4 Hercules in New York (1970); 71.8 Furry Vengeance (2010); 70.6 Dr. Dolittle 2 (2001); 70.1 On Deadly Ground (1994); 67.0 Did You Hear About the Morgans? (2009); 65.4 Yogi Bear (2010); 65.3 Chernobyl Diaries (2012); 61.2 Norm of the North (2016); 60.4 The Guardians (2017); 57.4 Zombeavers (2014);
(We probably aren’t going to watch Hercules in New York. It isn’t a real movie. Yogi Bear on the other had is definitely in play as is, gulp, Norm of the North if we are feeling particularly bad about our state of mind one week. I’m personally offended that The Great Outdoors didn’t make the list)
Notes – After Tennessee and Trixie’s performance in the bar, a bar patron comments that it was better than Eagles. The patron is Don Henley, who is one of the founding members of the Eagles and who provided the singing voice for Tennessee. The female companion he says it to is Bonnie Raitt, who provided the voice for Trixie. (Ugh)
This is the first Disney film to feature Christopher Walken, who never made another Disney film until The Jungle Book (2016), 14 years later.
Though Haley Joel Osment voices Beary, veteran voice-over actress Elizabeth Daily provided his singing voice.
Disney’s later film, The Muppets (2011) featured a nearly identical plot to this one. (HA)
An outside shot of Country Bear Hall pans up to the night sky to shot a constellation, the Big Dipper aka Ursa Major aka Big Bear.
When Henry gives Beary a tour of Country Bear Hall, he names a few performers who had played there back in the day, including Liver Lips McGrowl. McGrowl is one of the many singing bears featured in the “Country Bear Jamboree” in Walt Disney World, on which the movie was based. (These notes make me sad)
While on the tour bus, Fred shows Beary his harmonica that his dad gave to him. In the “Country Bear Jamboree” show at Walt Disney World that the movie is based off of, it is mentioned in song that Fred picked up his harmonica playing from his father. (Please stop, I can only take so much of this)
Peter Hastings Directorial Debut. (One and done. One and done. One and done)
Awards – Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Christopher Walken)