Directed by Dave McCary (2017)
by Rosalie Kicks, OLD SPORT
If you do not like Brigsby Bear, you most likely have no soul. Not enjoying the film Brigsby Bear probably means as a child you were the Biff Tannen of your school and totally deserve to be smothered in manure.
It is hard to talk about the film Brigsby Bear without wishing you could hug him. The bear just looks so damn lovable. At the mere mention of Brigsby Bear, it is hard not to crack a smile and just run off at the mouth giving the entire plot away. I refuse to ruin your movie future, because you need to just get out there and experience this one for yourself. This movie has a dude (Kyle Mooney) dressed as a super rad bear from space, which triggers all those childhood memories you have of those awesome 80s television shows that you worshiped (Aw, yeaaaaa: Small Wonder), and oh hey!, it is a movie about one of the most important things you could ever do with your life: MAKE A MOVIE.
Brigsby Bear tells the story of James Pope (Kyle Mooney) a guy that was abducted as a baby and has spent his life trapped deep underground in a bunker with two people pretending to be his parents. His only real contact with the outside world is a children’s science-fiction TV show, that is released weekly: Brigsby Bear. To say James idolizes Brigsby Bear would be an understatement. Once you encounter the infamous Brigsby, you will most likely completely understand his obsession. James has t-shirts, bed sheets, a blog, posters, and every episode on VHS lining his bedroom walls. Brigsby is his life and only friend. You will wish he was your friend too. The film opens and we are immediately introduced to Brigsby’s primary color 80s world presented in VHS (the only format that matters) grainy quality causing your little hipster heart to flutter.
Each week, Brigsby goes on kickass space adventures, provides tutorials on math/science equations and provides life advice through brainwashing. The method of brainwashing, is displayed not only in the show, but also in the Brigsby themed paraphernalia James displays in his room. A poster stating “Curiosity is an unnatural emotion.” These type of ideas, perpetuate James to remain child-like. I feel it is wrong to think of him as a man-child, as this would imply that he was given the life experiences in order to become an adult and actively chooses to be immature. In this instance, James was not given this opportunity, he is not choosing to be a child, instead this is the life that was chosen for him.
However, having the mentality of a child also makes James fearless. After he leaves the bunker, like a child, he initially has a tantrum when realizing that his weekly supply of Brigsby Bear will cease. How will he ever learn how the story ends? Then he discovers that zillions of movies exist in this world for him to consume and that he too could make movies. Unlike an adult who would most likely utter “it’s too hard," James instead finds a copy of “Filmmaking for Dummies” and starts storyboarding. Children are willing to try anything because they have yet to experience defeat. In a scene in which James interacts with Detective Vogel (Greg Kinnear), we learn that the Detective always thought his life would turn out differently and he regrets not pursuing his dreams. When James asks, why, the detective blames growing up. Despite James being in his twenties, he has no understanding of why anyone would ever choose a life that doesn’t make them happy, simply remarking this concept to be “stupid."
By choosing to make movies, James experiences one of the most thrilling adventures one could ever embark on. Is there anything more significant that you could do with your time than make a movie? From my personal experience of doing so, probably not. Making a film is exhilarating or as James would put it “dope as shit." To have your ideas leave your mind and appear on screen for people to enjoy, there is nothing like it. It makes one wonder if there is anything more important than making movies?
Wellllll, I suppose having friends and family might be. After all, without a gang of your nearest and dearest, making a movie is next to impossible. Sure, you can attempt to be an Orson Welles. But even he needed a crew, a gang. While you’re off busting a move in front of the camera, who is gonna hit record? You’re gonna need someone making sure those craft services stay stocked. You’re gonna need a pal like Detective Vogel to show up with the props and your friend Spencer (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.) to bring the camera. How will you recreate all those Michel Gondry-esque set designs without your Dad’s (Matt Walsh) garage? Or buy the supplies needed to build a super kickass explosive device without your mom’s credit card? Making movies is serious business and you need a crew. Friends and families make movies possible. By making this movie, James discovers what it truly means to have friends and to have a family that believes in him.
When James decides to don the Brigsby costume, his initial goal is to make a movie in order to finish the story, but he ends up accomplishing much more than that. This experience provides an opportunity for everyone involved to witness that anything is possible. In the end, James acquires not just friends but some much needed life experiences.
This film is not perfect, but it is an original story that will warm your heart (as cheesy as it sounds). You may leave the theater even with the desire to make your own film. At the very least, there will be times in which you find yourself sitting in the dark movie theater, just smiling. If you don’t experience this, well, as stated earlier on, you have no soul.