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We all have our cultural blindspots. No one can be aware of every piece of culture ever produced on this great planet, and for me, that includes the seminal (???) 1984 film The Bear. This movie tells the life story of Bear Bryant, and probably contains a modest increase in dialogue over the 1988 movie that bears (lmao) the same name.

For a full and actual review of the film, please consult the fine work of Tom Keiser at The Classical. This will not be a review of the film, but will simply concentrate on the part where Gary Busey wrestled a God damned black bear while wearing overalls. Skip ahead to around the 1:55 mark for the really good stuff, but I recommend staying for the whole thing.

Apparently this is how Bear Bryant received the nickname "Bear", which I was unaware of until several days ago. This may be common knowledge in Southern climes, but not where I grew up. Again, we all have blindspots, and I didn't make fun of you for not knowing that Columbus Day is also Canadian Thanksgiving.

In addition to the unbelievable casting decision of installing Busey as Bryant, the scene tries to pull of Busey as a 17-year old version of him. This involved him wearing overalls and having slightly longer hair, which admittedly is the route I probably would've taken if faced with the same conundrum.

When I'm looking real calm, that's a sign of hysteria right underneath the skin. Golly, that was an 800-pound black bear, and they're pretty -- they're strong. I mean, it's just like [unknown sound]

At this point, Busy makes this motion and face.


I have never witnessed a more evocative and realistic imitation of a bear. But it's easy to stop here and marvel, but the best part has actually yet to come. We must move on, as Busey peels back the curtain to reveal the incredible, the unbelievable.

I was allergic to the bear saliva, so I broke out in welts. They wrapped me in saran wrap and gave me dry clothes, then we went back and did it again. I recommend that highly as a diet. Wrap yourself in saran wrap and find yourself a black bear and rassle.


Several points here:

1. I suppose this is probably the most reasonable method to determine whether or not you're allergic to bear saliva. It seems like an odd thing to be allergic to, but Mother Nature's always had a warped sense of humor.

2. I'm not a doctor. I don't pretend to be one. But I question the efficacy of "wrap yourself in plastic wrap and put on fresh clothes" as a treatment for an allergic reaction. I'd be more inclined to think leeches could be of more use in this situation, or at the very least a rigorous rebalancing of the body's humors.

3. This is not a diet. Other than the immense spiritual and metaphysical benefits of coming into close contact with a bear and surviving, it does not give you the fuel you need to continue living.

Peer reviewed science has never stopped Busey before, and I suspect it's too late to go back in time and advise him against making such claims. But even if we could, I'm not sure I'd want to. Sometimes you've just got to let a man live and let him talk about his balanced diet of bear wrestling and new clothes.