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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Light, Fun Look At The Bear Community
Being a straight man who happens to fit the mold of a typical "bear" (ie: larger, hairy, bearded, etc), I have had several gay friends joke that I missed my calling. I was first made aware of the term because of Kevin Smith, who also happens to resemble the traditional "bear" type. He mentioned that Malcolm Ingram (the director of the film) & he were appearing on the...
Published on May 28, 2012 by J. herrin

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Embrace a Gay Bear
Bear Nation (2010). Running time: One hour, 15 mins.
Directed by Malcolm Ingram. Executive Producer, Kevin Smith.

What is a bear? For many of us "baby boomers", the first bear we saw was "Smokey The Bear", Yogi Bear or Boo-Boo Bear. Then we saw "Grizzly Adams" played by Dan Haggerty. Well, now that we are an adult, the word "bear" has a different meaning,...
Published 13 months ago by James McDonald


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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Light, Fun Look At The Bear Community, May 28, 2012
This review is from: Bear Nation (Amazon Instant Video)
Being a straight man who happens to fit the mold of a typical "bear" (ie: larger, hairy, bearded, etc), I have had several gay friends joke that I missed my calling. I was first made aware of the term because of Kevin Smith, who also happens to resemble the traditional "bear" type. He mentioned that Malcolm Ingram (the director of the film) & he were appearing on the cover of a magazine dedicated to the community & those who loved them. Malcolm talked about the movie & it sounded interesting. Several years passed with not a peep about the project it seemed, until I decided to check Amazon to see if it made it here yet.

I was happy to see it available for streaming, though the DVD/blu-ray release is still not set. I found the film to be a charming, light-hearted look at the bear community, & it really did a good job at taking some of the stigma of being large & hairy within the broader gay community. It was nice to see the local groups creating strong bonds amongst each other, as well as the larger events that brought international crowds. It was also nice to hear the stories of so many people who looked at themselves as outcasts from whichever society they were trying to fit in, who became immediately embraced & accepted when they found their true proper group, where they were free to be themselves without judgement. In the end, that's what most people want, & I thought that Malcolm did a good job of capturing that feeling.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting for Outsiders Too, April 17, 2012
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This review is from: Bear Nation (DVD)
I found this film fascinating, even as an outsider of the gay community. Maybe it has something to do with being a big, bearded-guy myself, but I found these stories of love and acceptance very touching and empowering. BEAR NATION is also visually pleasant, the story is well-crafted, and the film is an enjoyable watch, overall. If you liked the filmmaker's SMALL TOWN GAY BAR, you'll probably like this one too. It is ingrained with the same sensibility, but the production values are improved here. Malcolm Ingram is as exciting a queer filmmaker as I've come across and should be celebrated for his ability to always allow the character, personality, and humanity of his subjects come through in his films which, in lesser hands, could easily be overtly-political diatribes. That's not to say that Ingram's films don't have a point of view--they do--but he crafts his narrative from his characters' stories rather than simply shoving an agenda down the audiences' collective throats, which is both refreshing and the sign of a confident filmmaker. I can say, as an outsider, that goes a long way toward building empathy and creating straight allies who may otherwise be unfamiliar with gay culture and its many sub-cultures. This is an easy recommend for me. Looking forward to Ingram's next film, CONTINENTAL, as well.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Embrace a Gay Bear, December 7, 2013
By 
James McDonald (Lancaster, California) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bear Nation (DVD)
Bear Nation (2010). Running time: One hour, 15 mins.
Directed by Malcolm Ingram. Executive Producer, Kevin Smith.

What is a bear? For many of us "baby boomers", the first bear we saw was "Smokey The Bear", Yogi Bear or Boo-Boo Bear. Then we saw "Grizzly Adams" played by Dan Haggerty. Well, now that we are an adult, the word "bear" has a different meaning, especially in the gay community. A "Bear" means a large, hairy gay man. He can be well-muscular and fit. Broad shoulders with beard and mustache, hairy chest and well you know.
But the man can also be a "chubby" or a "cubby". The hairy man can also have a belly. He could also be a short man with broad shoulders.
You have to be careful out there when looking for a bear or a cub because the man can be straight and arrow, like Kevin Smith who is straight and married. he has a wife.
But you don't have to go by my description, I have to keep it clean here.
This documentary will describe to you what a bear-man is in the privacy of your bedroom and many gay men are interviewed. Most of the men interviewed or seen do not reveal their name, but some are given a special thank you in the end credits. Also discussed is how and where to meet a gay bear.
Comedian, Tracy Morgan (also straight) is interviewed briefly.

Filmed in Chicago, Illinois. Toronto and Grimsby Ontario, Canada. Las Vegas, Nevada. London, England UK.

Some nudity, but nothing revealing.

Bonus: Extended Interviews with Kevin Smith (31 mins), Tracy Morgan (54 seconds), Bob Mould (20 mins).
Original Theatrical Trailer.
Also available from Kino Lorber: trailers of El Bolli (2011), Littlerock (2010).

Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Vintage Fire Safety Films 2 DVD Set: Fire Department Education, Prevention and Forest Fires w/ Smokey the Bear.

The Yogi Bear Show the Complete Series.

The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams: Season One.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I wish I could offer a 4.5 review, October 7, 2013
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This review is from: Bear Nation (Amazon Instant Video)
It is impossible to encapsulate all of the bear experience and keep everyone happy. I realize this is the only reason I assess this documentary as a 4 (in reality, 4.5). I believe a more country or world-wide snapshot is in order, though this is costly and time-consuming. I think the men in this doc were somewhat representative, though I would have liked a balanced approach that did address the laterally marginalizing factions within our generally very-welcoming subculture of a subculture. I hope to see more from this team--I truly feel that it is one of the more fully realized docs of my peeps.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a paw at the bear community, March 4, 2012
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This review is from: Bear Nation (Amazon Instant Video)
This is a movie about the bear community as it is depicted in 2008. It shows several men share their feelings and how it is to be a bear in the gay community. It is a worthy documentary movie to see. I wished it was available in DVD or Blu-ray formats.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, as far as it goes, August 11, 2012
By 
M. J. Arcangelini (Santa Rosa, CA, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Bear Nation (DVD)
"Bear Nation" is a good enough documentary which simply doesn't go far enough. It is a snapshot of the Bear movement at a particular time, 2011, over 25 years on, and mostly in a few particular places, Toronto and Chicago predominantly. There is some interview footage with the current publisher of the current manifestation of "Bear Magazine," which is apparently now headquartered in Las Vegas. The documentary depends predominately on 6-8 talking heads, most of whom appear to have probably been in grade school when the movement began. It would've been nice to see some of the history explored. The first "Bear" magazine began coming out of San Francisco in the mid-80s in a 5"x 8" format, so one can easily hold it with one hand. Interviews with original publisher Richard Bulger and/or early contributors such as Jay Shaffer, Jack Fritscher, Chris Nelson, Congo Moore, Luke Maumerman and Furr (or at least those of whom are still with us) or later editors Rich Iremonger or Scott McGillivray would have been wonderful to see and would have provided insight into the birth and early development of the movement. It would've been nice to see mention of other early publications which explored alternative images of gay men such as "RFD" which began publishing in the 1970s, "Hippie Dick" which began its brief but influential run in 1989, "S.T.H. (Straight To Hell)" which began coming out of NYC in the 1970s, and "Daddy, the Magazine" which published throughout the 1990s. All of these magazines featured photographs, artwork, essays, "one-handed fiction" and men who were not the clichéd smooth, young, pretty, slightly effeminate usually retouched/airbrushed image which was most often propagated through the media, when any image of us was propagated through the media at all in those days. The men in these publications were real guys you could actually meet and in those pre-Internet days, if one can imagine that, most of these magazines featured Personals ads through which like-minded men could hook up. Cartoonists like Tim Barela and Sean Martin gave the burgeoning movement an often touching sense of humor. All of these men and magazines, and many others, contributed to what we now know of as the bear movement. Dr. Les Wright's anthologies "The Bear Movement: Readings in the History and Evolution of a Gay Male Subculture" (1997) and "The Bear Book II: Further Readings in the History and Evolution of a Gay Male Subculture" (2001) provide a lot of background and analysis gathering essays written relatively early in the movement's evolution and an interview with him would have been an insightful addition to the film. Likewise an interview with Ron Sushura, editor of "Bears on Bears: Interviews and Discussions" could have added a lot to the film. The interviews in "Bear Nation" are pretty consistently interesting, especially (for Husker Du and Sugar fans) the one with musician Bob Mould (check out his solo album "Black Sheets of Rain" - like "Husker Du's "Zen Arcade" it is a true rock masterpiece). Filmmaker Kevin Smith provides humor along with a straight man's point of view. Like Henry Rollins he seems absolutely unafraid to be embraced by the gay culture and is unhesitating in his support. But most of the real insight to be gleaned from the film comes from the regular, non-celebrity men who share their experiences. To summarize, "Bear Nation" is an enjoyable view of the current state of the bear movement. It doesn't dig very deep, touching quickly on issues like divisions within the bear community before moving on. One is almost tempted to refer to it as a "fluff piece" but it is a bit more than that. However a definitive documentary on the bear movement it is not. That, I hope, is still to come. DVD production is fine although bonus features are slight, consisting solely of extended interviews with the three celebrities, Smith, Mould and Tracy Morgan. In the spirit of full disclosure I am proud to say that the original "Bear Magazine" published three sets of my photographs, including the cover of issue number 49 (I believe the last B&W cover), and one of my poems.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ok for those that don't no what a bear is., June 13, 2012
This review is from: Bear Nation (Amazon Instant Video)
They failed to explain that full spectrum of bears. But its general enough for those that don't know what a bear is.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Surprise, July 25, 2013
By 
Dork Inc (Atlanta , GA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bear Nation (Amazon Instant Video)
Guess I'm a bear. Interesting look at a subculture most people are unaware of. A little slow in places but overall enjoyable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing!, April 11, 2013
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This review is from: Bear Nation (DVD)
This documentary (?) examines a few bear events on either side of the Atlantic but offers little insight into bear culture that would recommend much to an inquiring mind. The film is lighter on content than twinks in loafers! Its only segment that might provide helpful information was the segment on the filming of Bear City, which in a fictional way offers much more insight into this subculture than the so-called documentary.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction to the community, August 21, 2012
This review is from: Bear Nation (Amazon Instant Video)
This really is a good and light way to see a little of what the bear community is. The movie does show very well the different sub groups of the bear world very well.But if you really want to know. Go hang out in a bear bar, don't worry it'll probably be the safest bar to hang out in.
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Bear Nation
Bear Nation by Malcolm Ingram (DVD - 2012)
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