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Episode 215 - The Country Bears (w/ Kulap Vilaysack)

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10 hours ago, Elektra Boogaloo said:

Okay so I went to rent this and I said to myself, "Self, I like you more than this." And I didn't watch it. So I found this podcast very surreal.

Besides Paul, did anyone ever go to see the Country Bears Jamboree on purpose? I remember seeing it as a kid, and my entire group being like "this sucks. Can we go on Thunder Mountain again?"

Also, are we told the names of the bears in the ride? Because I did not know who they were. And I reluctantly googled it just now and it doesn't seem like they are the same as the characters in the movie. I mean there is a Trixie but no Beary?

Also, I would really like a Funny or Die Short, directed by Kulap, about Jason and Paul hunting Country Bears in their natural habitat, ie Disney.

I remember going to it the first couple times I went to Disneyland, the first time I was in awe basically because I was 4-5, the second time I thought it was okay, but realized it was more for younger kids. Also, I remember when this came out my younger cousins fucking LOVED this movie, to where it became their temporary new favorite that they would watch on constant loop, just after Shrek 2 and just before The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl.

Interestingly, when I was looking up info on this movie I saw that it was the third Disney film based on one of  their attractions, behind the TV movie Tower of Terror and the horrible Gary Sinise/Don Cheadle film Red Planet, which I didn't even realize was somehow connected to anything Disney.

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1 hour ago, RyanSz said:

and the horrible Gary Sinise/Don Cheadle film Red Planet, which I didn't even realize was somehow connected to anything Disney.

Mission to Mars. Red Planet had Val Kilmer.

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Obviously Beary and the Bears are "bears", right? Clearly this movie is a gay acceptance allegory. Happy Pride Month Everyone! 

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49 minutes ago, SlidePocket said:

Mission to Mars. Red Planet had Val Kilmer.

Shit you're right, though they are pretty interchangeable with how they came out around the same time and both are god awful.

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49 minutes ago, Elektra Boogaloo said:

Apparently Krystal Harris is a real person. She is a singer but her credits seem to be like “the Legally Blonde” soundtrack and the “Princess Diaries” soundtrack. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krystal_Harris

Oh yes! Loved that song from Legally Blonde !

The diner waitress is Jennifer Paige who was a one hit wonder I think. I know her one song Crush I loved as a kid in like 1999/2000.

 

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I’m a bit out of my depth here, but while watching Country Bears I couldn’t help but wonder what the Force of Impact would be from a rather large, stage-diving, harmonica playing bear upon an average concert goer. In an attempt to suss this out, I figured the average weight from five different types of bears - from pandas (the lightest) to brown bears (the heaviest). The result being an average weight of ~528lbs or ~240kgs. Based on what’s shown in the movie, I also estimated the height of the stage to be approximately 1.5 m. Which (based on this formula) would suggest that a 240 kg sentient bear hurled bodily from a height of 1.5 meters would achieve a velocity of 5.4 m/s (meters per second) just prior to impact. Long story short, when Fred Bedderhead spontaneously launched himself into the air he would have plummeted upon the unsuspecting audience members with a Force of Impact of about 35,280 Newtons or 7931.26 lbs!

Again, I can’t say that I’m incredibly well-versed in the world of physics and people more knowledgeable than I are more than welcome to check my math. However, I do think that the biggest takeaway from all of this should be that those people Fred landed on are most likely dead or seriously injured. I also think that we can now surmise that the most likely reason for the Country Bears break up was Ted Bedderhead’s exasperation at the constant tide of civil suits brought against the band by all the grieving families his brother so callously crushed into quivering puddles of goo.

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In the Country Bears episode, you were dubious that honey for bears could serve the same purpose as beer for humans. Mead is an alcoholic beverage made of fermented honey. The movie writers may have known this or may have been trying to be clever. 

 

Tangentially, “mead” is one word that linguists used to determine the geographic origin of the English language. English is an Indo-European language, a family of over 100 languages ranging from India to the Western Europe, as diverse as Sanskrit and the Romance languages.  These languages have many similar words, and “mead” is one of them. These languages seemed to originate in the Caucasus region of Eastern Europe. Furthermore, honeybees cannot live in cold climates, so “mead” as a term for honey alcohol must come from a region where honeybees live. The guess is that thousands of years ago proto-Indo-European was spoken just north of the Black Sea and spread north, south, east and west until “mead” became the English word for fermented honey. 

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I only have one legitimate complaint:

Why didn’t we meet any country singers inspired by the Country Bears?  The only two singers who say they were fans of the Bears are pop singers!  That’s like rap singers saying how they were influenced by Three Dog Night!  (Come to think of it, why were Wycleaf John and Queen Latifah in this anyway?). Disney couldn’t find one young/youngish country singer for this?  They could get Willie Nelson to talk but not sing?

 

And how do you judge a contest between a fiddle and an electric guitar anyway?

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On 6/8/2019 at 2:15 AM, JaguarScribbles said:

NO RACISM AGAINST BEARS ALLOWED!

 

Although the only other non-Country Bear we see was working the car wash waving down customers after drying their car. So, hmmm. 

By the way, the Disney wiki lists the Country Bear Hall in Pendleton, Tennessee. Since Ted the Bear is crashing at Elton John's place, it could be any of his two homes that are in the US-- Atlanta or Los Angeles. The four-day time frame makes the LA home difficult to believe (in a movie of talking bears) so I'll assume it's Atlanta. Still weird that Beary can RUN HOME but take a bus to and from the Country Bear Hall.  

Anyway...

My observation was about the all-signing diner, which obviously is just too trippy to put into words. But really, why did Beary freak out when the police arrived there? He didn't have any reason to think they were looking for him. I'm thinking there must have been some REALLY dark scenes in the director's cut that we're missing. 

The real movie I want to see was the animated version that features the Bears versus aliens bent on dominating the world through mind control. That sounds like a WAY better movie. 

And for how old are the Bears, there's not that many clues from their time as a band. They presumably formed before 1972 (the date of the Disneyland attraction), had Rolling Stone interviews in 1983 and broke up in 1991 according to the movie. The 1972 date makes sense if the movie takes place in 2002, but Christopher Walken says they ruined him 30 years ago, which would be earlier than '72, wouldn't it? In any event, according to bearlife.org, a bear's life span is about 20-30 years, so proportionately, these Country Bears are pushing 80 in human years. So just picture Mick Jagger or Paul McCartney instead of anthropormophic bears. Likewise, even tho Beary is in fourth grade, in bear-years, that's like 20 or something.

Was the whole "protecting the grass" thing a Willie Nelson reference? 

If anyone like tabletop roleplaying games, check out Honey Heist, a one-page storytelling game. https://www.docdroid.net/KJzmn5k/honey-heist-by-grant-howitt.pdfwhich clearly points out that there should have been MORE hats on bears. 

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3 hours ago, DannytheWall said:

Although the only other non-Country Bear we see was working the car wash waving down customers after drying their car. So, hmmm. 

By the way, the Disney wiki lists the Country Bear Hall in Pendleton, Tennessee. Since Ted the Bear is crashing at Elton John's place, it could be any of his two homes that are in the US-- Atlanta or Los Angeles. The four-day time frame makes the LA home difficult to believe (in a movie of talking bears) so I'll assume it's Atlanta. Still weird that Beary can RUN HOME but take a bus to and from the Country Bear Hall.  

Anyway...

My observation was about the all-signing diner, which obviously is just too trippy to put into words. But really, why did Beary freak out when the police arrived there? He didn't have any reason to think they were looking for him. I'm thinking there must have been some REALLY dark scenes in the director's cut that we're missing. 

The real movie I want to see was the animated version that features the Bears versus aliens bent on dominating the world through mind control. That sounds like a WAY better movie. 

And for how old are the Bears, there's not that many clues from their time as a band. They presumably formed before 1972 (the date of the Disneyland attraction), had Rolling Stone interviews in 1983 and broke up in 1991 according to the movie. The 1972 date makes sense if the movie takes place in 2002, but Christopher Walken says they ruined him 30 years ago, which would be earlier than '72, wouldn't it? In any event, according to bearlife.org, a bear's life span is about 20-30 years, so proportionately, these Country Bears are pushing 80 in human years. So just picture Mick Jagger or Paul McCartney instead of anthropormophic bears. Likewise, even tho Beary is in fourth grade, in bear-years, that's like 20 or something.

Was the whole "protecting the grass" thing a Willie Nelson reference? 

If anyone like tabletop roleplaying games, check out Honey Heist, a one-page storytelling game. https://www.docdroid.net/KJzmn5k/honey-heist-by-grant-howitt.pdfwhich clearly points out that there should have been MORE hats on bears. 

the reason Beary freaked out was because they had just seen a breaking news piece claiming  that police were looking for the Country Bears ( and Mr. Chicken) in connection to his kidnapping.

I don't know much about tabletop role-playing games but I do know I love a bear in a hat ( except in this movie)!

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3 minutes ago, gigi-tastic said:

the reason Beary freaked out was because they had just seen a breaking news piece claiming  that police were looking for the Country Bears ( and Mr. Chicken) in connection to his kidnapping.

I still don’t understand why Beary, or the Country Bears, can’t just explain what they’re doing. It’s weird, yes, but no one has actually been kidnapped. As far as I can tell, no crimes have been committed. I’m not even 100% sure the CB’s even know Beary has a family at that point. I think they just assume he’s an orphan or something. Once that news report came on they should have been like “What the fuck, Beary?” They could have the whole thing explained and sorted out in less than 30 minutes. Their behavior makes absolutely no sense. The only reason the Country Bears are treated like dirty, kidnapping deviants is because they act like a bunch of dirty, kidnapping deviants.

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You know, I can accept a lot from movies. Like, I really don’t have a problem with a kids movie about country music singing bears living among us and everyone in the world just accepting that as normal. As long as the movie abides by its own logic, I’m happy to go along for the ride. No, what bugs me is when a movie just expects to swallow a whole bunch lunacy without explanation. For example, at the end of the movie, they arrive at Country Bear Hall to discover that it empty and that their promoter, Rip, has been cahooting with Christopher Walken. Everyone is suitably bummed, but then Big Al says that people are there they just parked in back to keep off the grass. And they all just kept quiet out there in the dark...because Al likes to play cruel, soul crushing practical jokes on his friends, I guess. I mean, it really doesn’t even bother me why their fans were happy to sit outside and wait as much as, if as the movie states, there has been zero promotion, how the fuck did they know to be there in the first place? In the movie’s universe, no one has spared a thought for the CB’s in ten years, and the first time they are brought back into the public’s consciousness it’s in connection to kidnapping and child endangerment. Nothing on the news ever clarified that this was all in service to a show meant to save their music hall. The movie should either never have brought up the notion of show promotion or those bears should have been playing for a room full of goddamn crickets.

 

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Regarding the logistics of this bear-human world: 

To the best of my recollection, I don't think anyone in the movie ever says the word "bear" in a way where it couldn't be construed as shorthand for "one of the Country Bears."

Even Dex, who is flabbergasted that no one will acknowledge that Beary is anything but Mr. and Mrs. Barrington's biological son, pointedly refuses to directly address it. Beary himself does not follow the implication that he was trapped in the woods by a parked ranger, but neither does Dex spell it out for him. 

Does that mean we are in a full on Animal-Farm-scenario, where the animals are extended metaphors — in this case, coming to understand one's own minority identity and finding community through the arts? There are other bears in the world, and there are bear-oriented cultural artifacts, like the "TeleCub"  telephone-receiver extenders, and Cha-Cha's bear-themed bar. But might these just be part of the extended metaphor as well?  Is the Swarming Hive really just a gay bar?   

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2 hours ago, Cameron H. said:

You know, I can accept a lot from movies. Like, I really don’t have a problem with a kids movie about country music singing bears living among us and everyone in the world just accepting that as normal. As long as the movie abides by its own logic, I’m happy to go along for the ride. No, what bugs me is when a movie just expects to swallow a whole bunch lunacy without explanation. For example, at the end of the movie, they arrive at Country Bear Hall to discover that it empty and that their promoter, Rip, has been cahooting with Christopher Walken. Everyone is suitably bummed, but then Big Al says that people are there they just parked in back to keep off the grass. And they all just kept quiet out there in the dark...because Al likes to play cruel, soul crushing practical jokes on his friends, I guess. I mean, it really doesn’t even bother me why their fans were happy to sit outside and wait as much as, if as the movie states, there has been zero promotion, how the fuck did they know to be there in the first place? In the movie’s universe, no one has spared a thought for the CB’s in ten years, and the first time they are brought back into the public’s consciousness it’s in connection to kidnapping and child endangerment. Nothing on the news ever clarified that this was all in service to a show meant to save their music hall. The movie should either never have brought up the notion of show promotion or those bears should have been playing for a room full of goddamn crickets.

 

So I think that the only explanation ( and it's a weak one at that) is that they've been driving all over the South getting the band back together and having adventures so the people around them are now aware of the event. However they never tell those people when or where the band will be playing just that they're getting the band back together. The only other exposure they had was that news warning to be on the look out for them because they supposedly KIDNAPPED A CHILD

2 hours ago, Cameron H. said:

I still don’t understand why Beary, or the Country Bears, can’t just explain what they’re doing. It’s weird, yes, but no one has actually been kidnapped. As far as I can tell, no crimes have been committed. I’m not even 100% sure the CB’s even know Beary has a family at that point. I think they just assume he’s an orphan or something. Once that news report came on they should have been like “What the fuck, Beary?” They could have the whole thing explained and sorted out in less than 30 minutes. Their behavior makes absolutely no sense. The only reason the Country Bears are treated like dirty, kidnapping deviants is because they act like a bunch of dirty, kidnapping deviants.

Which leads me to this. Not ONCE did they question what Beary was doing with them or where his parents were. They didn't even ask him to explain the kidnapping thing. They have to understand that a random child showing up with no parents or adult supervision is suspect.  There's something wrong with that picture. Even if they had explained to the cops that Bery wasn't kidnapped they are still driving around God knows where, possibly across state lines, with a runaway minor. Taking kids across state lines is a big deal apparently because of anti trafficking laws. Even if they were in the clear the end result would be Beary having to go home ( as it should be). 

What exactly was the plan here anyway? Were they adopting him? Is he going back after the concert? Is he becoming a child hobo? 

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I was impressed by the music in this. John Hiatt is the lead singer for the Country Bears and the Don Henley/Bonnie Raitt song was great.

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Does Country Bear refer to the type of music they play or simply where they’re from?

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Don't have an observation about the movie, but its fun that Kulap's the guest since her husband, Paul's boss Scott Aukerman, played a Country Bears character when he worked at Disneyland. He's told a story of getting lost in the park and nearly passing out while in the full Country Bears mascot costume.

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On 6/7/2019 at 6:22 PM, RyanSz said:

Interestingly, when I was looking up info on this movie I saw that it was the third Disney film based on one of  their attractions, behind the TV movie Tower of Terror and the horrible Gary Sinise/Don Cheadle film Red Planet, which I didn't even realize was somehow connected to anything Disney.

Here's a good article on Disney rides turned into movies:

https://www.themeparktourist.com/features/20180408/33790/ride-screen-8-best-and-worst-disney-movies-based-rides

First of all, even calling Mission to Mars an adaptation of the Disney ride is a big stretch. Secondly, I notice that all but one of these was made BEFORE Pirates of the Caribbean. That's right, at one time Disney figured The Country Bears was a better bet than friggin' Pirates. Sometimes our corporate overlords are dumb.

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On 6/7/2019 at 5:33 PM, Cameron H. said:

Yes, I believe that was Diedrich Bader.

Definitely was. I think he's the only bear speaking voice to appear live in the movie, and by the way, the voice actors here are no slouches.

Besides Bader and Haley Joel Osment, we've got James Gammon (a.k.a. the surly manager from Major League), Brad Garrett, Stephen Root, and Toby Huss. As I understand it, the DVD commentary track features the film's real director and also Bader and Root playing their bear characters, commenting on the movie. That sounds like the kind of meta-humor the actual movie could have used more of. Per the Onion AV Club, the commentary track is apparently quite funny.

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On 6/7/2019 at 3:14 PM, gigi-tastic said:

So while you can't get drunk off honey you CAN get high.There's a form of honey from the black sea region of eastern Turkey and parts of Nepal that has hallucinogens in it from the natural neurotoxin grayanotoxin in some  rhododendrons nector.  It's know as "Mad Honey". It's been around for millennia and has even been used as a tool of war. In B.C.E. 67 Pompey the Great lost over a 1,000 men in a battle with the Persian  King Mithridates after they were tricked by the pots of honey the Persians had left out for them to eat . The men were too sick and weak to fight back .

In parts of Turkey and Nepal mad honey is used as a form of traditional medicine. It's used as a way to get a boost of energy, relive hypertension,and is seen as a form of natural Viagra.

Mad honey gives you a sense of euphoria, lightheadedness, and sometimes hallucinations . However the honey can have unfortunate side effects like  vomiting, diarrhea, loss of consciousness, seizures and although rare, it can be fatal if you eat too much. It's also one of the most expensive honeys in the world at $60 to $80+ a pound .

I know a dude who likes to make mead infused with magic mushrooms. He's an interesting person.

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12 hours ago, devscoots said:

Don't have an observation about the movie, but its fun that Kulap's the guest since her husband, Paul's boss Scott Aukerman, played a Country Bears character when he worked at Disneyland. He's told a story of getting lost in the park and nearly passing out while in the full Country Bears mascot costume.

Are you telling me that we have a lead in getting Paul a Country Bear Costume? Surely Scott must know someone from his bear days!

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