Why ‘Cocaine Bear’ Opens the Same Way As ‘Wet Hot American Summer’ Does
Further proving that movie-goers love bears with crippling addiction issues (Winnie the Pooh’s honey dependency and Paddington Bear’s marmalade habit being exhibits A and B), this weekend sees the release of Elizabeth Banks’ much-hyped Cocaine Bear, which, unlike a certain TV show about Chicago restaurateurs, actually has a goddamn bear in it. And, as promised, the bear does ingest Robert Evans-levels of cocaine.
While it remains to be seen whether or not Cocaine Bear’s internet buzz will translate into actual ticket sales or if it’s yet another example of a movie that is ironically memeable but not financially viable (which should henceforth be known as pulling a Morbius), one moment that will no doubt delight comedy fans is the opening needle drop.
As the film begins, we hear the mellifluous sounds of Jefferson Starship’s 1979 tune “Jane.” Which seems like a pointed reference to another ridiculous movie set in the 1980s, as the same song similarly accompanied the opening credits of Wet Hot American Summer and later served as the theme for its prequel/sequel series on Netflix.
Of course, Wet Hot American Summer was one of Banks’ first movies — she played Lindsay, the camp counselor who revoltingly tastes like a burger.
While the song choice may seem perfect in retrospect, Banks reusing Wet Hot’s anthem for Cocaine Bear wasn’t always the plan. In an interview with The AU Review, Banks revealed that during the editing process, they placed several other vintage tracks over the opening, but none clicked. So they randomly tried “Jane,” and according to Banks, “It was such a good idea, I just had to use it.” She also realized that it fit with the film’s opening scene, reasoning that it is “the song a character like Andrew Thornton would have been listening to when he was throwing cocaine out of the plane.”
Before committing to the decision, Banks called up Wet Hot director David Wain and said, “Listen, I’m going to steal this and put it in the opening. It’s an homage. I hope it’s okay?” To which he replied: “Please. It’s not my song. Go for it!”
Presumably, the surviving members of Jefferson Starship were just happy to get a royalty check and help support the cocaine bear-based arts.
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