6.5/10
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28 user 11 critic

Jack the Bear (1993)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama | 2 April 1993 (USA)
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0:32 | Trailer
Danny DeVito is John Leary, a professional clown, whose wife's death in a car accident has left him to care for his two young boys.

Writers:

Dan McCall (novel), Steven Zaillian (screenplay)
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1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Danny DeVito ... John Leary
Robert J. Steinmiller Jr. ... Jack Leary
Miko Hughes ... Dylan Leary
Gary Sinise ... Norman Strick
Art LaFleur ... Mr. Festinger
Stefan Gierasch ... Father-in-Law
Erica Yohn Erica Yohn ... Mother-in-Law
Andrea Marcovicci ... Elizabeth Leary
Julia Louis-Dreyfus ... Peggy Etinger
Reese Witherspoon ... Karen Morris
Bert Remsen ... Mitchell
Carl Gabriel Yorke ... Gordon Layton
Lee Garlington ... Mrs. Festinger
Lorinne Vozoff Lorinne Vozoff ... Mrs. Mitchell
Justin Mosley Spink Justin Mosley Spink ... Dexter Mitchell
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Storyline

Danny DeVito is John Leary, a professional horror host "Al Gory"; whose wife's death in a car accident has left him to care for his two young boys. Loving, but useless at the daily job of fathering, the onus falls on plucky Jack the Bear (Robert J. Steinmiller, Jr.) Leary's conscience, and a quantity of alcohol, leads him to denounce a neo-fascist candidate on his children's television program, and also to the kidnapping of youngest son Dylan (Miko Hughes) by a disturbed neo-Nazi supporter. Written by David Holmes <d.r.h@btinternet.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Laugh. Cry. Hold on tight.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for elements of theme, and for some terror | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 April 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El pequeño papá See more »

Filming Locations:

San Francisco, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,219,891, 4 April 1993

Gross USA:

$5,145,823

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$5,145,823
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the movie, Al Gory's (John Leary play by Danny DeVito) horror movie show was "Midnight Shriek", which ran late nights on KCFG, Channel 3, Oakland, California around 1972 ish. See more »

Goofs

Jack refers to the Oakland A's after they won the '72 series as the 'Amazin A's'. The actual nickname was the 'Swingin A's' See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Jack Leary: I thought I knew all about monsters. I used to watch them late at night on Dad's TV show. After we moved to Oakland, he stopped doing kid's shows, because he was different now. Everything was different. Now he was Al Gory, monster of ceremonies at Midnight Shriek.
See more »

Connections

Features Lost in Space (1965) See more »

Soundtracks

Concerto for Piano & Orchestra No. 21, C Major, K. 467 Allegro Maestro (Cadena M. Perahia)
Performed by Murray Perahia and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe
Courtesy of Sony Classical
by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

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User Reviews

Like Stand by Me, a kids film for grownups
13 August 2009 | by AlfabetaSee all my reviews

Most people are surprised when they find out about this film. The only one to blame for this is the studio, because the trailer, synopsis and the poster don't do it justice.

When it was released, most people probably thought it was a kids movie, so they skipped it. In fact this is a "kid's movie for adults" genre that had it's glory days from the second half of the 80ies (with the "all boys" Stand by Me) to the second half of the 90ies (with the "all girls" Now and Then). These movies (usually a grownup character's reminiscence of childhood days) are about kids, but their tribulations (although not always probable) are with the real world. This ain't no Goonies, but it isn't Dolores Claiborne either. These films were meant for us (the kids that grew up and now can laugh, with a certain nostalgic feel, about the adventurous moments of childhood).

Here, Danny has a very interesting main supporting role as a caring and sacrificing (if flawed) father of two boys during the day, and a host of a macabre kids show during the night. As it's predecessors, this movie also does some things right and some things wrong. It has many good and serious elements, and yet it is really sweet all the way through. This sweetness is created by great direction that menages to capture a nostalgic vibe, especially through 60ies classic rock soundtrack, special camera lance shading (like we're watching something from the past) and a sense of actual neighborhood and family community (a street where Danny and the kids live). Just in the "look" department, this film mostly resembles the look of 1993's film "Matinee" with John Goodman. The past we see here may be real or yet, just a way we want to remember it, but it does feel real enough and that helps in our occasional suspension of disbelief for the plot. On the other hand, this film is occasionally very melodramatic, often predictable (way way too much obvious foreshadowing) and sometimes not sure what it is (a serious drama or adventurous film). They could say they were going with recreating the real "life" (which is often a comedy and a tragedy) feeling with that one. Kids do a great job (especially the kid brother) and actors do make a wonderful (again if melodramatic) sense of family unity against all odds.

Long story short, this is a movie of "Stand By Me" kind and if you like the latter (or Danny) do watch this one.

They are not kids movies, but they are not real dramas either. They are the past that we can identify with because we feel it could (or should) have been our own.


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