Brigsby Bear Explores Creation as Therapy
Coming out July 28 in New York and Los Angeles is an odd little film starring Kyle Mooney (Saturday Night Live) called Brigsby Bear.
James (Mooney, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Kevin Costello) is obsessed with the kids’ show Brigsby Bear, having seen all of its hundreds of episodes. His life is isolated, residing in a bunker with only his parents and the show for company. Then it’s all uprooted, and James decides to make a movie to finish off the series as a way of coping with the discovery that he’s the only person who’s ever seen it.
First-time director Dave McCary also writes and directs for Saturday Night Live. The movie features Mark Hamill, Claire Danes, Greg Kinnear, Michaela Watkins, Matt Walsh, Beck Bennett, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., and Ryan Simpkins.
I’m a sucker for stories about the transformative power of the media we love, so I found plenty to think about here. Don’t go into this expecting a comedy, though — it’s more of a realization about how creativity is a struggle, a challenge, and a reward. The movie is somewhat lightweight, all in the premise, which is why I’m not saying too much about the plot events. It’s very gentle and positive, when someone else might have been more sarcastic or bitter.
One might quibble with a possible message, that you don’t have to let go of the shows you loved as a child, that you can take them and make more. It’s what our culture is obsessing about now, but I would have been reassured if James continued on to make his own content, but I suppose I can take comfort in Mooney doing just that. (The studio provided a digital review copy.)
Oh, one last comic-related note. At certain points, James uses a search engine on-screen. And clearly, they were using a live version of Google, not some faked screenshot, because when he searches for “Brigsby Smile Sisters Real Life”, as shown in the image below, he gets Raina Telgemeier’s site, because she wrote immensely popular graphic novels called Smile and Sisters.