The Country Bears
The Country Bears is a 2002 American family musical comedy film, directed by Peter Hastings, produced by Walt Disney Pictures, and based on the Disney theme park attraction Country Bear Jamboree. The film stars Haley Joel Osment as the voice of Beary Barrington with supporting roles done by Christopher Walken, Stephen Tobolowsky, Daryl Mitchell, M.C. Gainey, Diedrich Bader, Alex Rocco, Meagen Fay, Eli Marienthal, and the voice talents of Diedrich Bader, Candy Ford, James Gammon, Brad Garrett, Toby Huss, Kevin Michael Richardson, and Stephen Root.
|The Country Bears|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Peter Hastings|
|Produced by||Jeffrey Chernov|
|Written by||Mark Perez|
|Based on||Walt Disney's Country Bear Jamboree|
Haley Joel Osment
|Music by||Christopher Young|
|Edited by||George Bowers|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Pictures|
It was Disney's second theatrical film based on an attraction at one of its theme parks and the third overall film based on an attraction following the television film Tower of Terror and the theatrically-released Mission to Mars. Its world premiere was on July 21, 2002 at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood, California. After that, it was released to theaters nationwide on July 26, 2002 and was a box office bomb, grossing only $18 million of its $35 million budget.
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The Country Bears are an all-bear country rock band who have disbanded in 1991 after years of popularity. Beary Barrington, a large admirer of the band and a young bear raised by a human family, feels disowned for being different. His father tells him that his family will love him unconditionally regardless, and that differences lead everyone to their purposes. But Beary's older brother, Dex, tells him the truth about his background.
Angry and embarrassed, Beary leaves home and ventures out to Country Bear Hall, the former concert hall of the Country Bears. Beary learns from the property caretaker Big Al and the band's manager Henry Dixen Taylor that Country Bear Hall is threatened with destruction by greedy banker Reed Thimple. After many attempts to raise $20,000 to save Country Bear Hall, Beary suggests to Henry to hold a benefit concert and the two of them set out to reunite the group with the band's bus driver and drummer Roadie. Meanwhile, the Barringtons have enlisted police officers named Officer Cheets and Officer Hamm to find Beary.
First, they approach Fred Bedderhead, the harmonica and electric bass player, who is working as a security guard on the set of Krystal's latest music video and agrees to return for the concert. Henry needs promotion and Beary suggests the group's former promoter Rip Holland whom Henry claimed had "stolen" the Country Bears from him. Henry phones Rip, who gladly agrees to promote the show (After the phone call, it is revealed that Rip was in an office display of a store as he is told to leave). Fred then mentions a talent show history where they defeated an armpit musician named Benny Boggswaggle in a talent competition which caused Benny to strike Zeb Zoober on the head with a chair. Meanwhile, Big Al is approached by Reed who learns about the Country Bears' plan and about Rip Holland promoting the show.
Next, they approach the band's fiddler Zeb Zoober, who has spent all of his years drinking honey at the Swarming Hive Honey Bar restaurant and owes $500.00 to the owner named "Cha-Cha". Zeb wants to return, but cannot do so without paying his debt. Beary places a bet to let Zeb off the hook by beating the house band in a playoff. Zeb starts his performance off by sounding rusty, but warms up and eventually wins. Meanwhile, Officer Cheets and Officer Hamm approach Big Al for directions to where Beary went. Because Big Al does not mention that Beary is friends with them and has joined them, the officers think that the bears have kidnapped Beary.
They then approach Tennessee O'Neal, the one-string guitar player, who is reluctant because he wants nothing more than to reconcile with his ex-girlfriend Trixie St. Claire, the band's keyboard player. After being chased by Officers Cheets and Hamm through a car wash, the Country Bears stop at a motel where Beary learns that Trixie St. Claire is performing at the motel's bar. Beary informs Tennessee about this and he goes in to reunite with her where they sing together. She subsequently comes with the band to their reunion.
They finally head out to find Ted Bedderhead, the group's lead vocalist and guitarist. Ted is supposedly very wealthy now when they find a mansion where they learn from a gardener (who Zeb claims to look like Elton John) that Ted is still at the local country club working at the wedding. After Ted has the other Country Bears members leave, Fred eventually finds out that he is nothing more than a wedding singer. Ted is knocked unconscious by Fred and forcefully dragged onto the bus. The Country Bears learn that Ted had been performing at weddings and birthday parties as he mentions that the "gardener" that they met was indeed Elton John and that Ted rented a room over John's garage. Zeb claims Ted to be the reason for the band's disestablishment, but Ted claims that he held them together and that no one was grateful, as the other members were all busy letting their personalities and habits get in the way. Beary reminds them that they claimed each other to be family, but Ted claims it to be meaningless publicity. Beary realizes the real meaning of family and returns home.
The Country Bears read Beary's school essay about them, and they realize that Beary was right and decide that they must perform the gig. Reconciling with Beary, Ted insists that they allow him to join them during the concert. But Reed Thimple kidnaps the rest of the Country Bears and steals the bus. While holding them captive, Reed Thimple reveals to the Bears that he is really Benny Boggswaggle and is wreaking his vengeance on the Bears for stealing his one chance at fame. Beary, his family, and Ted use Beary's tracking device to track down and rescue the band, and they head to the concert together.
When they arrive at Country Bear Hall, they discover that Reed Thimple has paid Rip to not promote the show, so the concert appears to be headed for failure. Big Al suddenly arrives and reveals, to everyone's surprise, that he promoted the show himself, and had everyone parked in the back field (because he did not want any automobiles out on the front lawn). Big Al then opens the doors and a surge of people rush in, as a defeated Reed Thimple is thrown out of the building by the crowd while vowing to the Country Bears that their feud is not over. The money raised from the concert is revealed to be enough to save the hall, and the Country Bears perform with Beary as member of the band, as the rest of the Barringtons and the audience watch the concert.
During the credits, a documentary about the Country Bears is shown with interviews with various celebrity musicians, Officer Cheets, and Roadie. In the post-credits, a scene following the car wash scene had Officer Cheets explaining to Officer Hamm about everyone at the police station wearing a fake mustache as they get to their police car and let the water out of it.
- Haley Joel Osment as Beary Barrington, an optimistic bear cub who idolizes The Country Bears.
- Elizabeth Daily as Beary Barrington (singing voice)
- Diedrich Bader as Ted Bedderhead, the lead vocals and guitar player of The Country Bears and Fred's older brother.
- John Hiatt as Ted Bedderhead (singing voice)
- Candy Ford as Trixie St. Claire, the keyboard player and Tennessee's girlfriend who broke up with him to date a wealthy panda. She later rekindled her relationship with Tennessee upon the Country Bears getting back together
- Bonnie Raitt as Trixie St. Claire (singing voice)
- James Gammon as Big Al, the sluggish and elderly property caretaker for The Country Bear Hall who is protective of the grass in front of The Country Bear Hall.
- Brad Garrett as Fred Bedderhead, the harmonica & bass player of the band and Ted's younger brother.
- Toby Huss as Tennessee O'Neal, the one-string guitar player in the band who's the most sensitive.
- Don Henley as Tennessee O'Neal (singing voice)
- Kevin Michael Richardson as Henry Dixon Taylor, the MC and manager of The Country Bears.
- Stephen Root as Zeb Zoober, a fiddle player for The Country Bears. He is the most naive of the band.
- Christopher Walken as Reed Thimple, a banker who plots to destroy Country Bear Hall. He is actually an armpit musician named Benny Bogswaggle who lost to the Country Bears in a talent competition.
- Michael Lawrence Morgan as Young Benny Bogswaggle
- Stephen Tobolowsky as Mr. Norbert Barrington, Beary's honorable and good-natured adoptive father.
- Daryl Mitchell as Officer Hamm, an inept police officer
- M.C. Gainey as Roadie, the bus driver for The Country Bears who also doubles as the band's drummer. He owns a pet chicken named Mr. Chicken.
- Diedrich Bader as Officer Cheets, an inept police officer who wears a fake mustache.
- Alex Rocco as Rip Holland, the former promoter of The Country Bears.
- Meagen Fay as Mrs. Norma Barrington, Beary's excitable, yet easily worried adoptive mother.
- Eli Marienthal as Dexter "Dex" Barrington, Beary's adoptive older brother.
- Jennifer Paige as Waitress
- Jess Harnell as Long-Haired Dude, one of the Bears' fans, later seen with Dex in the audience at the end of the film.
- Paul Rugg as TV Reporter
- Krystal as Herself
- Don Henley as Himself
- John Hiatt as Himself
- Sir Elton John as Himself, he is mistaken as Ted's gardener by the other Country Bears.
- Queen Latifah as Herself
- Queen Latifah also plays "Cha Cha," the manager of the Swarming Hive Honey Bar restaurant.
- Willie Nelson as Himself
- Bonnie Raitt as Herself
- Brian Setzer as Himself
- Don Was as Himself
- Wyclef Jean as Himself
- John Alexander as Big Al (suit performer)
- Julianne Buescher as Tennessee O'Neal (puppeteer)
- Alice Dinnean as Beary Barrington (puppeteer)
- Tom Fisher as Henry Dixon Taylor (suit performer)
- Terri Hardin as Trixie St. Claire (puppeteer), Big Al (puppeteer)
- John Kennedy as Zeb Zoober (puppeteer)
- Bruce Lanoil as Henry Dixon Taylor (puppeteer)
- Jody St. Michael as Tennessee O'Neal (suit performer)
- Denise Cheshire as Trixie St. Claire (suit performer)
- Tony Sabin Prince as Zeb Zoober (suit performer)
- Brian La Rosa as Ted Bedderhead (suit performer)
- Misty Rosas as Beary Barrington (suit performer)
- Kaepan Shaw as Fred Bedderhead (suit performer)
- Michelan Sisti as Ted Bedderhead (puppeteer)
- Allan Trautman as Fred Bedderhead (puppeteer)
Some of the puppeteers made cameos in the movie:
- Julianne Buescher, Jody St. Michael, and Terri Hardin were seen at the Swarming Hive Honey Bar where Julianne played a waitress and Jody seen as a patron with a tattoo of Tennessee O'Neal on his arm (which was painted on him by Julianne Buescher).
- Brian La Rosa and his wife Bess were seen as patrons at the hotel bar where Trixie St. Claire was performing.
The animatronic bear suits used in the film were created by Jim Henson's Creature Shop.
|The Country Bears|
|Soundtrack album by |
|Released||July 23, 2002|
|Label||Walt Disney Records|
|1.||"Let it Ride"||John Hiatt|
|2.||"Where Nobody Knows My Name"||John Hiatt|
|3.||"Can Love Stand the Test"||Don Henley / Bonnie Raitt|
|4.||"The Kid in You"||Krystal Harris|
|5.||"I'm Only in it for the Honey"||Stephen Root / Brian Setzer|
|6.||"Kick it Into Gear"||Jennifer Paige|
|7.||"Straight to the Heart of Love"||John Hiatt|
|8.||"Bear Mountain Hop"||Bela Fleck|
|9.||"Just the Goin'"||John Hiatt|
|10.||"Where Nobody Knows my Name (Reprise)"||E.G. Daily|
|11.||"So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star"||The Byrds|
|13.||"Bearly Home (Score)"||Chris Young|
|14.||"Nylon Hymn (Score)"||Chris Young|
Budgeted at US$35 million, it grossed $16,990,825 in the US and an additional $1,021,272 overseas. The film was released on DVD and VHS on December 17, 2002. Though filmed in 1.85:1 widescreen, Region 1 DVDs present the film in full screen only though Region 2 and 4 present the film in widescreen.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film received a rating of 30% based on 81 reviews, with an average rating of 4.3/10. The site's consensus states: "Despite all the celebrities on hand, this spin-off from a theme park attraction still feels tired and hokey." Film critic Roger Ebert said "the formidable technical skills in The Country Bears must not be allowed to distract from the film's terminal inanity." Critic Sean O'Connell said of the film, "Bears is bad. Not 'terrible filmmaking' bad, but more like, 'I once had a nightmare like this, and it's now coming true' bad."
Christopher Walken was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actor for his performance in the film, but lost to Hayden Christensen for Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones.
- The Country Bears at Box Office Mojo
- "The Country Bears (2002) : Filming Locations". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2014-05-24.
- "The Country Bears (2002) : Soundtracks". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2014-05-24.
- "The Country Bears : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". Dvdtalk.com. Retrieved 2014-05-24.
- "The Country Bears (2002)". Michaeldvd.com.au. Retrieved 2014-05-24.
- "The Country Bears". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-05-24.
- "The Country Bears (2002) : Awards". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2014-05-24.