***Official "THE COUNTRY BEARS" Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mark Pfeiffer, Jul 20, 2002.

  1. Mark Pfeiffer

    Mark Pfeiffer Screenwriter

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    When I saw the trailer for The Country Bears before Ice Age, I could hardly believe my eyes. It seemed like a terrible idea, a film doomed to the worst kind of failure.

    Well, I saw it this morning, and it may be one of the biggest surprises I've had reviewing films in 5+ years.

    So many of Disney's films revolve around the protagonist finding their place or purpose in life, and I know I've become really tired of it. That's essentially the message of The Country Bears, but it's secondary to some really offbeat humor in this well written screenplay.

    Haley Joel Osment voices Beary, a member of the Barrington who runs away from home after learning he's adopted. He's a big fan of the now defunct group The Country Bears. During his visit to Country Bear Hall he learns that a banker, played by Christopher Walken, is threatening to tear the building down in a few days if they Bears can't make a $20,000 payment. Beary convinces a couple of the Bears to have the band play a reunion concert to raise the necessary funds.

    The majority of the film is the search for the other band members. This may sound like standard, boring kids' stuff, but it flows remarkably well. There aren't any dead spots. Mark Perez's script has some seriously odd humor that had me laughing a lot and laughing hard. Jokes come out of left field, not unlike in Animaniacs (for which director Peter Hastings was a writer and producer).

    Walken is a hoot, and Diedrich Bader of The Drew Carey Show is extremely funny as a police officer looking for Beary. There are some amusing cameos too.

    The Country Bears is in one sense a musical, with the film taking time out for songs. John Hiatt is the singing voice of one of the bears. He also wrote songs for the film, so the music holds up to scrutiny.

    I liked Lilo and Stitch, but I think this is a more inspired, more unconventional film. I realize most of you are going to think I've lost my mind entirely--I never expected to like it let alone as much as I did--but if you give it a chance, you might be surprised to find what may be the funniest film I've seen all year.
     
  2. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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  3. Mark Pfeiffer

    Mark Pfeiffer Screenwriter

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    Yes, funnier than My Big Fat Greek Wedding. [​IMG]
     
  4. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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  5. Colin-H

    Colin-H Second Unit

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    Christopher Walken's in it. That's all I need to know.
     
  6. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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    The Country Bears becomes Disney’s second offering this summer that manages to disappoint – the first one being Lilo & Stitch. Disney would be wise to market this one as a musical because as a comedy it miserably fails. The jokes are far and few in between and did not generate the big laughs I was expecting. (One has to keep in mind that the film is rated G.) Furthermore, its story is very unoriginal.
    As a musical, it has its moments but in that regard, the film is also uneven. There are two elaborately choreographed musical numbers that plays out more like music videos complete with strobe lights and costume changes that both seem totally out place. I expect these two musical numbers to be played out on the Disney Channel to promote the film over and over again.
    Christopher Walken gets top billing in this film. But don’t be fooled by that. It looks like Disney is just abiding by some rules provided by the Screen Actors Guild when it comes to listing live actors along with the voice talents. His total screen time amounts to no more than 10 minutes tops.
    Shrek, a film that I totally enjoyed last year was criticized for its fart jokes. Wait ‘til you see this film and find out from which body part the sounds are coming from this time. [​IMG]
    As I’ve already said, The Country Bears becomes the second Disney offering this summer behind Lilo & Stitch that also manages to disappoint. While this one is not totally unbearable (sorry, but I just couldn’t resist), it makes we wonder though: Are there any real creative talent left over at Disney’s film division? Or have they all jumped ship and went to DreamWorks and Fox?
    Disney pulls another fast one by releasing another half-hearted effort theatrically – a film, which would easily qualify as a product typically seen on their Sunday TV show, The Wonderful World of Disney (TWWOD), on ABC, another one of their networks. In fact, I have seen better direct-to-television productions on TWWOD than this one.
    It’s too bad the Disneyland attraction, Country Bear Jamboree, to which this film was based on is no longer around. That 20-minute show had a lot more energy and excitement than this protracted 90-minute film.
    ~Edwin
     
  7. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    Now who do I believe here? Tough call between you two. I guess I need to hear more from others on this one. [​IMG]
     
  8. Mark Pfeiffer

    Mark Pfeiffer Screenwriter

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    Edwin, you're killing me here!
    If the reviews that come out Friday are overwhelmingly like this, I may need to go hide in a hole for awhile. [​IMG]
     
  9. Terrell

    Terrell Producer

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    [​IMG] Somehow, before Edwin wrote his review, I knew he would disagree with Mark. We've got opposing viewpoints, and I'm torn. Well, i wasn't interested in this film, but I may have to see it now.
     
  10. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    I haven't seen Country Bears, so I can't put in my two cents on that, but I do disagree very strongly with Edwin about Lilo & Stitch. I took my two-year old son to that Sunday, and based on the previews was not expecting much. I found myself laughing a lot, and think it's one of Disney's much better efforts. I thought it was much, much funnier than Shrek (I thought Shrek was a clever 'idea', and I really wanted to laugh at Eddie Murphy, but all his lines fell flat, plus I saw the 'surprise' ending coming from miles away).
    Bottom line: judge these things for yourself. [​IMG]
     
  11. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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  12. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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  13. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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  14. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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  15. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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    Mark:
    Did you really find this scene funny?
    Christopher Walken making sounds with his armpit that went on longer than it should? [​IMG]
    I found that scene to be the lowest point of his career. [​IMG] [​IMG]
    ~Edwin
     
  16. todd s

    todd s Lead Actor

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    It is sad. The actor who plays the black cop(he was also was Laredo in Galaxy Quest) was in a motorcyle accident after filming this movie and is now paralyzed from the chest down. [​IMG]
     
  17. Mark Pfeiffer

    Mark Pfeiffer Screenwriter

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    Edwin:
    As much as that type of bodily humor typically doesn't work for me, in that instance, yes, I thought it was funny. A much better Walken scene is when he keeps smashing miniature Country Bear Hall replicas.

    But Edwin, what did the little one think of The Country Bears? We already know dad has no taste. [​IMG]
     
  18. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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    At a very vulnerable and highly impressionable age, I wasn’t surprised at all and was glad at the same time that the little one enjoyed it. With years of film criticism under your belt however, I just didn’t expect you to be as highly impressionable as the little one. [​IMG]
    By the way, at this early stage, the film is tracking a 20% rating at Rotten Tomatoes. [​IMG]
    ~Edwin
     
  19. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    Yeah, but Lilo & Stitch (at a much later stage) are at 85% [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] And Roeper is one of the few critics bashing it. [​IMG]
     
  20. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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