Episode 1

Cocaine Bear (2023) and The Bling Ring (2013)

The first film in our new Stranger Than Fiction cycle is Elizabeth Bank's gonzo misfire, Cocaine Bear (2023).

Elizabeth Banks is an almost household name who likes to stay busy as an actor, producer, film director, and now gameshow host. While prolific, the quality of her output has been uneven. Her 2019 film Charlie's Angels spectacularly bombed, and Banks, always the press whisperer, jumped on the grenade and blamed sexism. Here she returns to the director's chair for a loosely true concept about a bear who eats a lot of cocaine. Clearly a joke by people who are too well connected to truly fail, Cocaine Bear is tonal salmagundi: black comedy, creature feature, coming of age, postmodern pastiche. None of it really lands beyond the basic concept of bear being turnt up on coke. Considering the large production budget and the talented people involved, the final result is an embarrassment.

For our chaser film, we discuss The Bling Ring, Sofia Coppola's blasé docudrama of young thieves obsessed with celebrity consumption. Despite its glassy surface, Coppola suggests a deeper abyss lies below.