If Sunday night’s Academy Awards show is propelling you towards your nearest movie theater to catch up on the nominated flicks, put The Revenant on the top of your list if you have not already seen it. Most of you probably know that there is a startling scene in The Revenant where a bear suddenly attacks the character played by Leonardo DiCaprio. (Leo acted truly surprised and dismayed. No surprise there; he is usually set upon by supermodels. Their claws are slightly less sharp.) It is an amazingly scary, overwhelming moment, leaving viewers shuddering and wondering ‘how-did-they-do-that?’
Perhaps every movie would benefit from a random bear attack. In The Big Short, wouldn’t it be swell if a grizzly paid a visit to an investment bank conference room just as a commercial mortgage backed securities transaction was about to close? Matt Damon had a tough time making it on his own on Mars, but think how much more challenging it would have been if a mama bear interrupted his gardening. There was certainly a lot of tension during the final prisoner exchange in Bridge of Spies, but it would have upped the ante if the East German snipers had to contend with ursine mischief. Nor need the benefits of beardom be confined to this year’s Oscar nominees. If we can colorize Citizen Kane or It’s a Wonderful Life, why can’t we insert bear attacks as Kane utters “Rosebud” or when Jimmy Stewart is about to take a sucker punch from a bar bouncer? Surely, a bear hug would have enlivened the slower moments in The King’s Speech or A Beautiful Mind? Or DiCaprio could have met that bear earlier, whilst scampering around the decks on the Titanic. The mind reels.