6.5/10
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26 user 11 critic

Jack the Bear (1993)

PG-13 | | Drama | 2 April 1993 (USA)
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0:31 | Trailer

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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. Loving, but useless at the daily job of fathering, the ... See full summary »

Writers:

Dan McCall (novel), Steven Zaillian (screenplay)
Reviews
1 win & 2 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 clown, 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:

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 »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$5,145,462
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In 1992, Danny DeVito had played The Penguin in Batman Returns (1992), and Gary Sinise had played George in Of Mice and Men (1992). Both roles were previously played by Burgess Meredith. See more »

Goofs

The stuffed dog on the living room floor of Karen's house. 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 Sesame Street (1969) See more »

Soundtracks

(I've Got a Gal in) Kalamazoo
Written by Harry Warren and Mack Gordon
Performed by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra
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User Reviews

 
A Different Kind of Horror Film
16 January 2005 | by Brandt SponsellerSee all my reviews

The Leary family, John (Danny DeVito), Jack (Robert J. Steinmiller, Jr.) and Dylan (Miko Hughes), have moved from Syracuse, New York to Oakland, California in the early 1970s. John was a children's show host in Syracuse, but also has a love for horror films, and becomes a television horror film host in Oakland. On one level, the film is just a drama about the Leary's trying to settle into their new life. On another level, Jack The Bear is about confronting various kinds of monsters, from make-believe to human, as well as more abstract "monsters", including behaviors that are difficult to control and accidental tragedies such as deaths.

I've seen Jack The Bear a few times now, and every time I see it I like it even better. The performances are fantastic, taking you on a roller coaster of emotions. But it almost requires multiple viewings to really "get" the film. At its heart is the growing presence and threat of the various "monsters" mentioned above. The various monsters are all woven together in very complex ways, and most of the developments later on in the film are about how those monsters can be conquered, but always at some price. Just as the threads are densely combined, so is the vanquishing of the monsters, and both the development of the monsters and the "solutions" to them are like various pieces of a large jigsaw puzzle, each piece necessary for the whole, and often affecting the whole in unexpected ways.

The direction, script, editing, cinematography, and all of the technical aspects are impeccable. The score is also wonderful and not only enhances the setting, but underscores the dramatic developments if you listen to the lyrics closely.

A 10 out of 10 from me. Don't miss this film.


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