“BEAR CITY 3”— The Final Chapter


The Final Chapter

Amos Lassen

The “Bear City Trilogy” ends here as we go camping with the guys at the Woods Campground where as we might expect, they deal with new loves, old flames, and the joys of being a daddy bear. So much has changed since we left the bears at the end of the second film. Michael’s (Gregory Gunter) boyfriend has died and he tries to get his life back together with a new boyfriend, Dalton (Garikayi Mutambirwa), who loves him. However, has been having trouble letting go of the past and fully committing himself to this new future, which isn’t made easier when Dalton’s daughter Emma (Lauryn Alisa McClain) shows up. Wanting to protect her father, Emma hacks into Michael’s cloud to gather information on so that she can question her dad’s boyfriend about his past.

Fred (Brian Keane) and Brent (Stephen Guarino) meanwhile are preparing to have a baby – with Fred’s sister as the surrogate – but Fred is worried that Brent is too obsessed with finishing his “Beartopia” documentary and isn’t taking the idea of fatherhood too seriously, while Brent thinks Fred is being too uptight and fearful. Roger (Gerald McCullouch), has ended his relationship with his last boyfriend and feels a bit lost, and so sets out to find the ex that he still has feelings for. However, the young ex, Tyler (Joe Conti), has issues of his own. His new boyfriend, fireman Jay (Tom Hooper) hides that he is gay because he is afraid of what his colleagues will say.

They all go off to bear camp at The Woods and they bring all of this baggage with them. The intention is to unwind, relax and have great sex but as we all know only too well, where this is drama it follows us.

What I have always liked about the Bear City films is that we see another aspect of the gay community where the men are not built like Hercules and have gorgeous faces. The Bear City films celebrate that there are alternative forms of beauty as well as issues that we usually do not come across in “twink” films. However, even more important than anything else is that we see a unified spirit among the guys in the film. Let’s face it; most of us are members of “the rest of us” faction in the LGBT community. I remember walking down Commercial Street in Provincetown last summer and thinking that I did not belong there just because I did not look like the other guys I saw.

Brent has turned into a momma bear as he prepares for the baby that will arrive soon. As I said earlier, Fred is so consumed with his new documentary that becoming a father does not faze him. Brent is losing patience over how long this film is taking so he decides, as a producer that the film will have its premier right here at camp. Roger needs some fun in his life so he agrees to go out to the campsite, hoping to rekindle his relationship with Tyler but Tyler’s partner Jay isn’t about to going to let that happen.

We watch each couple work through the challenges of their romantic relationships and we see how each member of this group of bears learns to define the term “family”. Each man is forced to get back to the basics as he learns a valuable lesson about dealing with and tearing down misconceptions, building relationships, rebuilding one’s self, and finding that there is more than enough love in their hearts.

Fred’s sister Susan (Rachael Drummond) is both the voice of reason and the voice of comic relief. She assures Brent that he’s ready to be a father, while reminding Fred that he can’t hide from fatherhood forever.  We see clearly through her that building a family and maintaining a relationship requires work.

Michael and Emma eventually are able to come together over Dalton. Michael saves her, himself and Dalton from a very hairy visitor and Emma sees how he feels about her father and that he is indeed quite a prize. With all of the little intrigues going on, we might have questioned how this would all turn out and of course we want a happy ending. The connections and bonds between lovers and friends strengthen as we head toward the end of the film (and the trilogy). This is the best film of the trilogy and I could not help but think of my friend, now gone, Lewis Tice who had something to do with the project before he left us.

Director Douglas ends his trilogy on a high note and as I watched the other two films in the series I had a feeling that he was saving the best for last. He has something to be proud of but I wonder what we are going to do now that he has moved on.

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