Every year an independent movie takes me by surprise because of its interesting plot, engaging characters, and intriguing premise. 2015 had Ex Machina, 2016 was Swiss Army Man, and now 2017 has the incredible Brigsby Bear!
Brigsby Bear Adventures is a children’s TV show produced for an audience of one: James. When the show abruptly ends, James’s life changes forever, and he sets out to finish the story himself.
Unknown Plot That Keeps Unfolding – I can’t stress enough how good this movie is not knowing anything! Most of the trailers do a good job hiding the plot, but I’d recommend not watching any. You know, just in case you end up guessing something that could potentially ruin it. But even then, the story keeps going in so many interesting and fun directions. So by the end you are left wondering “what happened” and “I wish there was more.” It develops so naturally, yet oddly, that it is an experience that is hard to describe and match.
Fun Characters – Kyle Mooney from SNL plays James, a grown man who’s obsessed with a children’s TV show, and he’s PERFECT! He perfectly depicts every 80s/90s kid who’s in love with the TV shows and movies of their past. And what’s even better is that he actually sets out to give it a proper send off. I don’t know about anyone else, but that is definitely a dream of mine. But on top of that, Mark Hamill is part of the cast! He’s not in most of Brigsby Bear, but just know that his character plays an integral part of that plot and every scene he’s in is fantastic!
Heartwarming Yet Funny – I wouldn’t call Brigsby Bear a barrel of laughs or anything, but it does use the strange naturedness of the plot to drive fun interactions. But even then it knows when to put the laughs in the back seat so that the feels came come to the front. It never undercuts a heartwarming moment with a joke. And when the jokes flowing, it never takes it too far to be distasteful. I felt it had perfectly balanced tone throughout.
Brigsby Bear Adventures – A large portion of the movie is dedicated to watching and learning about the TV show that James grew up with. Let me just say, I WANT THIS SHOW TO BE REAL!! There’s nothing else like it! It’s so insane and intricate that there’s never anything that could come close to matching it. I know I’ll probably never see an actual episode of Brigsby Bear Adventures, so I guess I’ll have to keep watching it through James’s eyes instead.
Not For Everyone – This is the only downside I can think of. While I loved Brigsby Bear, it is definitely not for everyone. It is such a small, quirky movie that many people won’t ever know it came out, and of those that do see it, some won’t get it. It’s not offensively quirky, like many accused Swiss Army Man of being, but it also isn’t mainstream enough to be loved by all.
Brigsby Bear demonstrates expertise in characterization, plot development, and even world building. But above all that it is just a fantastic, small, quirky film that I loved from beginning to end.
Brigsby Bear is currently in limited release with a wider release coming September 22nd (according to IMDb). So if you get a chance to see it, I’d say to See it in theaters and then buy on BluRay.