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11/10/2022 • 4 min read
Quite a few things can make a movie great. Maybe the film was ushered into life by a director with a compelling artistic vision. Some movies are elevated to greatness by the sheer charisma of their performances.
And then there's another method for a film’s ascendency: The power of a great premise. Some movies have such a compelling — or at least attention-getting — concept that you don't want to miss it.
COCAINE BEAR is one of those movies.
COCAINE BEAR is no run-of-the-mill story about a boy who falls in love with a girl, or a masked superhero who saves the world from villainous schemes. It’s not even about a human being. COCAINE BEAR is about a bear that does a whole lot of cocaine.
Talk as tough as you want, but bears are scary. If you were to cross one on a hike, you’d tell the story to anyone who would listen simply because we all know how terrifying bears can be. They’re huge. Their claws are huge. Their strength is huge. They are not usually on cocaine. This one is.
You'd think that a rampaging bear fueled by cocaine would be the brainchild of a schlock master determined to make a few B-movie bucks. Amazingly enough, COCAINE BEAR is based on a true story.
Way back in 1985, police officer-turned-lawyer-turned drug smuggler Andrew C. Thornton II was found dead in someone’s driveway. On his person, authorities found a mini-armory of guns, a bulletproof vest, and about 77 pounds of cocaine in a duffle bag attached to his waist. They also found an unopened parachute.
The story is that Thornton had to crash his plane filled with smuggled cocaine because it was too heavy. So he set it to crash, loaded up whatever he could, jumped out of the plane, and then died when his parachute failed to open.
So far this story is nuts… and the bear hasn’t even shown up yet.
Later, a hunter discovered a dead bear about 60 miles from Thornton’s body. Near the bear was another duffle bag filled with cocaine. Well, formerly filled with cocaine. Because the bear ate it. A coroner even confirmed its stomach was literally filled with the drug.
So what happened between the bear’s powdery feast and last moments? That’s where COCAINE BEAR comes in. We’ll get the full details when the movie opens, on February 24, 2022.
You can’t tell a story like this without some quirky contributions behind the scenes. Luckily, COCAINE BEAR has that in spades. The movie was directed by the great Elizabeth Banks, known to most as a hilarious actress but also as the director of CHARLIE’S ANGLES and PITCH PERFECT 2.
Perhaps more importantly, COCAINE BEAR is produced by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who have made a career out of turning wild premises into good movies that are big hits. (See 21 JUMP STREET, THE LEGO MOVIE, and SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE.) With creators like this involved, it’s a bit easier to see what kind of tone we can expect from COCAINE BEAR. This definitely will not be a sober look into the pathos of mankind’s existential malaise. It will instead be a wild romp which features, among another things, a bear with a snoot full of poweder. We are totally here for it.
All images courtesy of DisneyNature.
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