Awfully Good: The Country Bears with Christopher Walken
No matter what crass hijinks TED gets in to in his sequel this week, he will never be as disturbing as?
The Country Bears (2002)
Director: Peter Hastings
Stars: Christopher Walken, Haley Joel Osment, Diedrich Bader
Christopher Walken is mad at bears for ruining his armpit farting career.
THE COUNTRY BEARS gets the historical distinction of being Disney's first film based on one of its theme park attractions. And while PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN may have made billions of dollars, it can never claim to have Academy Award-winner Christopher Walken angrily armpit farting during a film's climactic showdown. Point to you, COUNTRY BEARS.
"I sh*t in the woods!"
I couldn't shake a feeling of déjà vu while watching this movie and about halfway through I realized what it was: THE COUNTRY BEARS is the exact same movie as Jason Segel's THE MUPPETS. In both, a non-human is adopted in to a family and feels like an outcast, eventually deciding to leave home in search of his favorite group of similar-species entertainers. Once he meets them, he discovers they're about to lose their home/venue to a rich white guy and must get the gang (and random celebrity cameos) back together for one last show in the hopes of raising the money. It's literally the exact same Jim Henson-designed movie, except instead of the fun and joyful Muppets, you have the dreary, slightly creepy Country Bears.
"You really think I should follow this up with GIGLI, ENVY and KANGAROO JACK? Okay, thanks!"
While most of THE COUNTRY BEARS is a standard Disney flick?full of lame attempts at humor, childish characters and a heartwarming message about being yourself?it does have one secret weapon: Christopher Walken as the villainous Reed Thimple. Walken's part is supporting at best, but anytime he's on screen magic happens. Reed Thimple works for the bank that's foreclosing on Country Bear Hall and he has no sympathy for the bears' situation. In fact, in his office he has multiple scale models of their beloved building, which he gleefully destroys over and over again while not wearing any pants. (Why does he have to be in his underwear to do this? Ask the screenwriter of this movie.) Eventually Walken goes from everyday debt collector to full-blown evil mastermind when he kidnaps the bears and reveals himself to be their former musical rival and legendary armpit farter Benny Boggswaggle. Yes, there is actually a scene in this movie where Christopher Walken performs a concerto of ass blasts under his arm.
His new friends may smell terrible, but Swamp Thing enjoyed his simpler, Nicolas Cage-free life.
Walken is not the only famous human dragged in to this mess. Haley Joel Osment plays the lead bear and I'm pretty sure he was going through puberty while recording his part. CON AIR pilot MC Gainey switches vehicles as the bears' bus driver. And there are a bevy of famous musician cameos from the likes of Willie Nelson, Queen Latifah, Brian Setzer, Bonnie Raitt, The Eagles' Don Henley and even Elton John, who randomly shows up as a gardener. However, apparently none of these people were willing to actually perform in the movie, leaving Disney to instead feature awkwardly long musical numbers from such famed artists as Jennifer Paige and Krystal, who are people you're supposed to recognize and be impressed by. (Honestly, was Smash Mouth not available? I'm pretty sure they work for craft services.)
Diedrich Bader's xenomorph cosplay was on point.
And finally we get to the Country Bears themselves. The Bears' existence in this movie is truly bizarre. Ignoring the fact that nobody seems to be surprised that these select animals are able to talk and live amongst us (the brother character seems to be the only person that notices his sibling isn't human), some of their characterizations will leave you scratching your head. The fiddle player has a honey addiction that could land him on Behind the Music. One of the bears works as a marriage counselor but still cries because his wife left him for a rich panda. And the one female bear is shaped like a lady but wears an open robe that would suggest she's constantly exposing herself to everyone. On the technical side, this was clearly not Jim Henson Creature Shop's best work. The bear animatronic suits are pretty terrible, with faces that constantly look surprised and mouths that don't articulate enough to make any of their dialogue convincing. In fact, all the bears are constantly leaving their mouths so agape that a more appropriate name for the movie would be THE DERPFACE BEARS.
Christopher Walken's best line deliveries and more.
Christopher Walken armpit farting, bears sucking at music and more.
The lady bear never closes her shirt. Yay?
Take a shot or drink every time:
- A bear looks shocked or surprised
- Christopher Walken says " Oh no!"
- The cops are stupid.
- A celebrity cameo happens
- A musical number breaks out
Thanks to Roberto for suggesting this week's movie!
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