Man’s search for artistic perfection has been ongoing since time immemorial. History books are littered with analysis of the emotive power of visual media, with countless attempts to understand what makes truly great art great. No one seems to ever wholeheartedly agree. Until now. It turns out all you need is a bear and a duffel bag of cocaine.
Cocaine Bear is an actual film, though you’d be forgiven for believing it was just a C-movie intent on getting the viral treatment from Twitter accounts dedicated to meme-ifying movie news into digestible chunks. Directed by the queen of comedy Elizabeth Banks, it does pretty much what it says on the tin, which is tell a story of a bear raging while absolutely mashed on coke. What more could you want from a film? First announced back in 2019, it stars Keri Russell, Alden Ehrenreich, O’Shea Jackson Jr. and Ray Liotta in his final, posthumous role.
Make no mistake. The bear in this film is on coke. We see it pull a door off its hinges, writhe around in ecstasy against a tree, sneeze cocaine on children and desperately search for its next fix. Withdrawal is tough, especially if you’re a 185lb black bear. The only thing it’s missing is seeing it rave to Vroom Vroom by Charli XCX or tell its life secrets to a stranger in a club bathroom, but hey, some stuff has to be left a mystery for release.
Though almost laughably unbelievable in premise, it’s actually based on a true story from the ’80s of a bear who got into an abandoned bag of cocaine dropped out of a plane by smugglers in the US state of Georgia. The reality of what happened after is far less enjoyable than any two-word film title could hope to give us, so it looks like this version of events will follow a tried and tested survival comedy-horror route. After spending a few years dancing around in the minds of the Twittersphere, when we finally got our hands on its trailer, the app lit up like the brain scan of a bear who’d ingested 88 pounds of cocaine, naturally.
Many have metaphorically thrown cocaine in the face of Hollywood’s bigwigs, who are siloing all releases into sequels and remakes.
Some have predicted Cocaine Bear could be the thing to finally save cinemas.
While others are waiting patiently for the clean awards season sweep the bear will undoubtedly get when it finally hits screens next year.
Every year needs a hero, a beacon to look to in the face of uncertainty as a sign of the promise of good things. 2023’s has already been crowned early, and it’s a bear absolutely off its nut.