Jordan and Bear

There are some movies that you know are going to suck after only watching the first twenty to thirty seconds. You watch them anyways, maybe just to prove that you were right but hoping you weren’t. There are also movies that you know are going to be great just from the opening scene.

I don’t know why (Is it the way the opening credits come across? The opening music? The cinematography?), but there is, without a doubt something that causes you to almost immediately know a show will be lamer than Coyote Ugly or great like True Romance.

Jordan & Bear, an ongoing web-serial presented by Phase Four Productions, has some of the characteristics that make you think, “Yeah, this is going to be some sweet stuff.”

It starts with main character Jordan, played by series writer Christopher Zanti, talking on a pay phone at night, having a fairly innocent conversation. As he leaves the phone booth the camera pulls back and Jordan, lighting a cigarette, begins to walk casually down the darkened sidewalk. He is accompanied by a bear, walking upright and wearing a jacket. Suddenly Jordan begins to walk a little more cautiously scrutinizing his surroundings. He reaches back, pulls out a pistol and enters a small convenience store.

All business, Jordan waves the gun at a stunned clerk standing behind the counter, telling him to get his hands in the air and not move.  At this point the bear stands guard at the counter staring down at the clerk, making sure he doesn’t cause any problems. All the while the episode’s theme song, an old original 1920’s recording of an Appalachian piece, King Kong Kitchie Kitchie Ki Me-O by Chubby Parker, plays on the radio.

(And in regard’s to the shows sound track I have to take a moment here say that their choice of music is just awesome.  They continue on with similar pieces like, Country Blues by Dock Boggs – from 1927 – and Coo Coo by Tom Ashley – from 1929. Fantastic stuff.)

Jordan and Bear WantedOver e-mail one of the show’s directors, Nikola Markovic, indicated that they were attempting to make web-content slightly more cinematic. I think this is exactly what they’ve done. It’s all there. Smooth camera work, well created tension, quaint mood music, and a hook (an upright walking bear wearing a jacket) that draws you in. I’m in. I’m sold. I’m buying it. I’m watching.

Markovic also described Jordan & Bear as a “Trailer Park Boys meets Calvin and Hobbes,” where Jordan and his best friend Bear “spend their time robbing convenience stores in the hopes of raising enough funds for an all-inclusive trip to the Dominican Republic.” Jordan is a dirty French Canadian with a thick black beard and a dream of stealing his way to a better life. His silent companion Bear is on board with all of this and then some.

These two Canadian’s are also wanted by U.S. Marshals. And I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but I will say that the possibility of a bizarre love triangle promises to help keep your interest from episode to episode, as well as lots of questions you’ll want answered and subtle hints and clues that all make for excellent entertainment.

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