The quirky movie Brigsby Bear had made the “best of 2017” lists of a number of critics, and it’s easy to see why. The indie film, written by and starring Saturday Night Live’s Kyle Mooney (and featuring “Star Wars” legend Mark Hamill in a crucial role) is an outlier moving away from Nostalgia Culture just as so many other projects with bigger budgets seem to be embracing it.
Infranaut’s video essay “Brigsby Bear, Nostalgia Culture and Millennial Optimism” examines not only how the movie handles the at-times thorny cult of Nostalgia in our pop-culture, but also the stereotype of the “apathetic millennial.”
Raised in an isolated bunker with a couple who had kidnapped him as a child, the protagonist’s entire view of the world has been formed by a Teddy Ruxpin-type TV show called “Brigsby Bear.” Once he is placed in the “real world” as an adult he is, unsurprisingly, woefully out-of-step with the current times. However, the younger people he meets—in direct contrast to the way millennials are often portrayed in TV and movies—take an active interest in helping him.
The video essay examines how many current pop-culture takes on nostalgia seem to fall back on tired and cliched tropes and characters—and how Brigsby Bear, in contrast, seems to gently encourage us to leave those beloved childhood icons behind and give the Future a try.