This piece was originally published in February. We are recirculating it now timed to Cocaine Bear’s streaming debut on Peacock.
In 1985, a bear was found dead in the forests of Georgia after eating a brick of cocaine dropped by a smuggler. The 150-pound bear got high (we assume), killed no one (that we know of), and overdosed. In Cocaine Bear — Elizabeth Banks’s new absurdity based on that true story — the bear is a half-ton beast, very much alive, and fucked up on the coke she finds scattered all over the woods. When she comes down, she starts tweaking. Violently. The hikers standing between her and a brick? Legs dismembered. A ranger who comes after her with a gun? Thighs sliced. A gangbanging teenager who smells of the white stuff? Face smashed. Entrails aren’t off the table. They’re half the menu. She and her cubs once disembowel a drug kingpin and slurp up his guts like thick noodles.
These clueless characters don’t stand a chance, because the cocaine isn’t just a stimulant for the bear — it endows her with extraordinary powers to climb trees at super speeds, survive gunshot wounds, and bite off body parts in one fell swoop. But the real question is this: How would Cocaine Bear stack up against the stars of other animal movies? Let’s see how she fares in these clashes (while she’s coked out, of course).
Jaws vs. Cocaine Bear
Black bears are good swimmers and take to the water easily. One once swam 14 miles along the Gulf of Mexico. But if our Cocaine Bear encountered the Jaws shark during such an adventure and the shark swallowed her whole, she’d likely claw her way out through its neck — effectively beheading the shark that caused those Amity Islanders so much trouble.
Winner: Cocaine Bear
Birds vs. Cocaine Bear
Alfred Hitchcock’s birds have strength in numbers. If the bear stumbled into Bodega Bay while all the crows, sparrows, and gulls were losing their goddamn minds, she’d be overwhelmed by the swarm. She could try and flop on top of them — like she does to one character in Cocaine Bear — but that would only squash, like, 20 birds tops. Plus all the birds that took a bite out of the bear would end up smacked.
Winner: Birds (and they’d get a free bump out of it)
Snakes vs. Cocaine Bear
The snakes from Snakes on a Plane are venomous and riddled with a special pheromone to make them more vicious. Luckily for Cocaine Bear, she’s used to sniffing out narcotics and would find the antivenom. Then her penchant for slurping up noodle-y things would take care of the snakes.
Winner: Cocaine Bear
The alien from Nope vs. Cocaine Bear
That nosy bear would look Jean Jacket in the eye (big mistake) and get sucked up into its bowels.
Winner: Jean Jacket. But the alien would still lose the war: There’s no way its drug tolerance is as high as Cocaine Bear’s.
The chimp from Nope vs. Cocaine Bear
Gordy is strong, fast, and mad at hell at his exploitation. Like, this ape is willing to kill children he has worked with for years on a family sitcom. Meanwhile, Cocaine Bear doesn’t have the guts to kill children she has known for mere hours.
Winner: Gordy (duh)
Bear from The Revenant vs. Cocaine Bear
What starts as a fight ends in a Mr. and Mrs. Smith–type situation.
Paddington Bear vs. Cocaine Bear
If Paddington managed to dodge Cocaine Bear long enough to get to the epic train scene at the end of Paddington 2, the red-hatted bear could leave her to drown in the wrecked train car that plummets into the lake. Let’s just say that this is a possibility. Because we really can’t stand to see Paddington mauled.
Winnie the Pooh vs. Cocaine Bear
Pooh just don’t have that dog in him. (At least not Disney’s version.)
Winner: Cocaine Bear
Moby-Dick (the book) vs. Cocaine Bear
Throw that heavy-ass tome at her. Most humans can’t get through all of those pages — let alone a black bear raised in a cave in the Chattahoochee National Forest without a formal education.
Winner: Classic American literature
Lyle the Crocodile vs. Cocaine Bear
The bear, starting to feel her heart give out from all the charlie, leaps to attack the crocodile — only to be enraptured by the reptile’s show tunes. The coke-fueled aggression gives way to bliss.
Winner: Musical theater
Mr. Tumnus vs. Cocaine Bear
Narnia’s most famous faun hands her a brick of Turkish delight that she mistakes for a brick of … ya know. The bear is so disgusted by the taste that she retreats — unlike a certain snotty-nosed kid who sided with Tilda Swinton after she gave him the pectin-y powdered-sugar treats.
Winner: Mr. Tumnus
Ratatouille vs. Cocaine Bear
If the rat met the bear in the wild, he could simply evade her until the bear grew bored. If Ratatouille met the bear in his Parisian restaurant, he would be eaten alive while trying to steer his human marionette, Linguini, to safety.
Winner: Toss up
Marcel the Shell vs. Cocaine Bear
Marcel and his family are scrappy. His brother once impaled an enemy with a brush. Let’s say that Marcel finds a way to get the bear to fall on an upright butcher knife. The bear isn’t dead, but the shell hang-glides on a Dorito to safety. He then calls animal control.
Winner: Marcel the Shell
More on Cocaine Bear
- The Best Movies of 2023 (So Far)
- Keri Russell Said Yes to Cocaine Bear Because Margo Martindale Was in It
- ‘This Was The Fast & the Furious — But One of the Cars Is a Bear’