“Based on a theme park attraction” is second only to “based on a popular video game,” as the phrase mostly likely to have these reviewers sprinting like Usain Bolt —with a boulder bearing down on him in the opposite direction.
The Country Bears, though, is one such movie…a project inexplicably inspired (if that’s the word) by a Walt Disney World attraction. In our neck of the woods, Ontario, there’s something called a spring bear hunt…but don’t expect us to fire potshots at these creatures.
For whatever reason — we sure as hell can barely explain — this is an oddly charming, bizarrely horrifying film.
Beary Barrington (voiced by Haley Joel “I see dead people” Osment) grew up in a human family. And is a cub. Otherwise, he may have gone all Grizzly Man on his adoptive bipedal parents. He’s a budding musician, and took inspiration from the eponymous band, the Country Bears, an all-bear band who’ve since disbanded.
Like an ursine VH1 Behind the Music special, Beary tracks down the various members of the band, and they reunite for a big tour. Of course, there’s an obstacle in their way: an evil developer (Christopher Walken) who wants to tear down their concert hall, as well as an unscrupulous concert promoter who wants to exploit them (Alex Rocco, who got it in the eye in The Godfather).
As badly received as any movie we’ve discussed on the Really Awful Movies Podcast, this one isn’t as deserving of opprobrium as you might think. That could’ve been the beers or the weed talking, but here us talk about it…this was a fun podcast to do.
We’re continually surprised by what comes across our metaphorical desk every week on the show, and this one’s no different. So, is The Country Bears a classic for the ages? Perhaps not, but give it a crack…