By Dr. Zaius
Tuesday, December 12th, 2017 at 2:35 pm
Brigsby Bear Blu-ray
Director: Dave McCary
Screenwriters: Kevin Costello, Kyle Mooney
Cast: Kyle Mooney, Mark Hamill, Claire Danes, Jane Adams, Greg Kinnear, Matt Walsh, Michaela Watkins, Ryan Simpkins, Alexa Demie, Jorge Lendeborg Jr.
Distributor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Rated PG-13 | 97 Minutes
Release Date: November 14th, 2017
Combining elements of Blast From the Past, Room, and Perks of Being a Wallflower, Brigsby Bear is a wholly unique animal, and one to be greatly admired. This is a refreshingly original work of art that feels like a bizarro-world SNL sketch stretched into a 90+ minute film. Considering nearly everyone involved is connected to Saturday Night Live, it all kind of makes sense. Written by Kevin Costello and Kyle Mooney, and directed by their childhood friend Dave McCary, Brigsby Bear is full of wonder and creativity, a movie both heart-wrenching and heartwarming simultaneously. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at parts, and I spent most of the film doing some weird combination of the two.
It’s hard to discuss the plot without spoiling it, but here it goes. James grows up watching Brigsby Bear, an 80’s style kids show where the titular Teddy Ruxbin-looking bear teaches kids about kindness and friendship while sprinkling in other valuable life lessons, all while fighting off the villainous Sun Snatcher. Both the hero and villain are voiced by Mark Hamill. James has grown with Brigsby and Brigsby has grown with James as well. Then one day, James’s world is upended and he finds out his favorite show is gone for good, and perhaps even worse, he was the only one who even knew about it. Like the Blues Brothers on a mission from God, James is determined to make a Brigsby Bear movie, and enlists new found friends to help.
Kyle Mooney is phenomenal as James, bringing an aura of authenticity to the part. He is socially awkward to the point where he resembles Rain Man, except James does not have autism and is not an idiot savant. He is someone who grew up totally disconnected and thus is learning (in his 30s) how to interact with people. The scenes where he meets new people and copies their colloquialisms, shows his desire to learn and adapt to new and different surroundings, and the filmmakers never dip into cliche high school movie BS.
James’s obsession goes viral and soon his vision of making a Brigsby movie begins to see light. This film was inspirational. It’s not everyday you get a film where every character undergoes a transformative change, and I empathize with all of them. Brigsby Bear has a ton a rewatchability and is one I’ll be watching with my family many times over.
The Blu-ray comes loaded with bonus features:
Brigsby Bear: The Lost Episode!: Get to take in a full episode of James’s favorite show as Brigsby must rescue Arielle using his secret weapon… kindness!
Gag Reel & Deleted/Extended Scenes
Twin Speak: Kyle & Dave: Kyle Mooney and Dave McCary discuss growing up together in LA having almost a hive mind when collaborating. Along with co-writer Kevin Costello, they talk about breaking into viral filmmaking just as YouTube was developing and using the Lonely Island trio as a model; which of course plays into the SNL connection. This was a near 10-minute mini-documentary and fans of the film will enjoy watching the process of its creators. Kyle & Dave also provide audio commentary
An Evening With Brigsby: A post-screening Q&A with the cast and crew. The highlight is Mark Hamill saying that he loved the script because of his unique it was, and he had no idea what would happen next. They field questions from the audience and as someone who goes to fan conventions on a regular basis this was a lot of fun.
Brigsby Bear is currently in my Top 5 films of 2017. Get the Blu-ray now, available on Amazon for $19.96.