Cocaine Bear

My highly anticipated Cocaine Bear review is finally here. I have milked this bear for zingers for weeks now, so it’s only fair I at least give you, dear reader, a cursory review. But first, box office don’t lie. Let’s run the numbers. Cocaine Bear has been out in theaters for 5 weeks. It’s still a top 10 US release with a total haul of $63 million. Yesterday alone, it raked in $250,000. Not bad for a film that cost $30 million. Adding up the total $19 million internationally, to date our wired ursid has grossed $82 million. 


Is it a good movie? Ohhh. (Deep sigh.) It’s an absurd movie based on events that did actually occur but then are exploded with creative license. It’s alternately funny — though I’m sure we were laughing at the wrong places. Viscerally and gratuitously gory. And held together by some sincere, grounded performances and a few believable bears…and a few unbelievable ones. …And bear cubs! C’mon. That’s not fair. 

As D mentioned while the opening scene unfolded, a movie called Cocaine Bear only has to deliver on two things. And this it does. A Universal Pictures release, there is at least one homage to Jaws, early on, which sets the tone.

The marketing of the film as a horror comedy doesn’t quite get it right. It’s more like a gore comedy. How do I mean? If the sight of someone’s head being partially blown off elicits a shrug or chuckle or perhaps a belly laugh from you — this film was made for you. I’m only slightly squeamish but in general I don’t care for that in movies. I find this kind of normalization of gore to be troubling. This also happened in Violent Night. It’s incredibly, over the top gory. I’ve personally worked on and shot gory, violent movies. It’s not a problem that these depictions occur in films. What grinds my gears is that it is being presented to a mass audience as run of the mill and now mainstream. A cinematic bait and switch. Obviously I’m expecting violence but it’s a lot. There is a film class at a local state university that studies historical times when gore is popular vs times when psychological horror films reign. Maybe this is simply the zeitgeist. All I know is that since Midsommar, I feel like my stomach is on a trampoline at a lot of movies. Thanks, Sweden! 

Finally, Cocaine Bear is Ray Liotta’s final performance before his passing. And it’s a good performance. A solid one. So there is that too.

If you miss Cocaine Bear, don’t fret, my sources tell me that Cocaine Shark is already in production. 

One thought on “Cocaine Bear”

  1. Cocaine Shark is all well and good, but I was really hoping for Cocaine Walrus (see Extrapolations for context).


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