Seeking out the

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Cocaine Bear

Directed by Elizabeth Banks
Produced by Elizabeth Banks, Aditya Sood, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Max Handelman, and Brian Duffield
Written by Jimmy Warden
With: Keri Russell, Alden Ehrenreich, O'Shea Jackson Jr., Isiah Whitlock Jr., Brooklynn Prince, Christian Convery, Margo Martindale, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Kristofer Hivju, Hannah Hoekstra, Ayoola Smart, and Ray Liotta
Cinematography: John Guleserian
Editing: Joel Negron
Music: Mark Mothersbaugh
Runtime: 95 min
Release Date: 24 February 2023
Aspect Ratio: 2.39 : 1
Color: Color
A cult classic is a movie that fails commercially but, after many years of viewers slowly discovering its misunderstood greatness, becomes more beloved than most of the films that eclipsed it at the box office. You can't engineer a cult classic any more than you can intentionally make a camp comedy. You can, however, engineer a high-concept trailer or meme or title that people love to say because it sounds so outrageous. But few filmmakers have tried to do this ever since Snakes on a Plane demonstrated how quickly audiences will forget why they were excited to see the supposedly hilarious or transgressive or "next-level shit" movie that the trailer or meme or title promised them once they've actually paid their money to see it and discovered how much it sucks.

Cocaine Bear
is the latest low point in a film industry so desperate to get butts back in seats that it will try anything. The film is based loosely on an actual event that occurred in 1985, in which a drug smuggler in trouble jettisoned several bags of cocaine over a forest in Tennessee and a 175-pound bear ingested the contents of one of the bags. In reality, the bear died right away. But that's a downer, man. What if it didn't die? What if the bear was like Cheech and Chong but, you know, a bear that went on a drug-fueled killing rampage? Hilarious.

 Jimmy Warden's inept screenplay is brought to life with slapdash direction by Elizabeth Banks (Pitch Perfect 2, Charlie's Angels), a very fake CGI bear, and a cast of great actors who all disgrace themselves by participating in this shit. I'm sure when they signed up, it seemed like it would be a gas to be in this pseudo-exploitation picture. The talent on screen was just as dumb to fall for this idea as those of us who bought a ticket. But man, Keri Russell? Isiah Whitlock Jr.? O’Shea Jackson Jr.? Margo fucking Martindale??????? Worse, Brooklynn Prince—the kid from The Florida Project—and the peerless Ray Liotta are part of this ensemble. I'm sure Liotta thought it would be a hoot to lampoon his image in a movie called Cocaine Bear. Too bad he died before the film’s release and therefore has to have this abomination dedicated to his memory. Why do filmmakers do that? It's not an honour to have a terrible movie dedicated to you, that's like shitting on a loved one's grave! (Now if Liotta had not been in the film, and Cocaine Bear had ended with the dedication "in loving memory of Ray Liotta," that would have been funny.)

Twitter Capsule:
The latest low point in a film industry so desperate to get butts back in seats that it will try anything is Elizabeth Banks and Jimmy Warden’s fake exploitation picture about a coked-out CGI bear.