The Bear 1988 Poster

As a kid, I saw lots of movies that were technically age-inappropriateIn 1991 alone, my parents vouched for ten-year-old me to get into R rated movies like Thelma and Louise and Terminator 2.

Shootings, stabbings, and beatings?  Didn’t faze me.

And the traumatic scene in The Man in the Moon?  Please.  That was only PG-13, practically made for babies.

But The Bear scarred me for life.

It probably seemed like a good idea to take a seven-year-old to a PG-rated nature film about a cute little orphan bear cub who learns how to make his way in the world.

The film opens on the bear cub and his mother rooting around on a mountaintop for honeycomb.  The mother knocks too many rocks loose and a boulder falls on her, killing her instantly.  The now orphaned cub is first confused, then bereft, whimpering as he spends the night sleeping against his dead mother’s body.

I squirmed in my seat.

But things were about to get so much worse.

Over on the other side of the forest, two hunters are tracking a giant Kodiak bear.  One takes a shot, and the bear roars with pain, and blood appears on his shoulder.

They zoomed in on the blood.

So much blood.

I started screaming at the top of my seven-year-old lungs.

My dad carried me out of the theater, with my mom right behind.

I stood, hysterical and inconsolable, in the lobby of the theater.

“It’s just ketchup,” my dad kept saying, referring to the blood.  Ketchup, ketchup, ketchup, I repeated to myself.

“It’s pretend,” my mother said.  “None of the bears got hurt.”

Pretend, pretend, pretend.

I’ve never had the guts to go back and see what happens after the first twenty minutes.

I hope the little guy made it, and the big Kodiak too.

Give me Louise blowing away Thelma’s wannabe rapist any day.

Just leave the animals out of it.

The Bear
Never saw this part….

This is part of my Movies I’m Grateful For series, running daily through the month of November. 

Other films include: Splash | New Moon | The Lucky One | Thelma and Louise | Katy Perry:  Part of Me | Crazy Rich Asians | Under the Tuscan Sun | Terminator 2 | Moulin Rouge! |  How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days | Practical Magic | Schindler’s List | Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol | Stardust | The Man in the Moon | The Others | Little Women | Cruella | Sliding Doors | Far and Away | The Magdalene Sisters | The Heat | The Last Five Years | Shakespeare In Love | Erin Brockovich |