The Olympian Picks


Cocaine Bear (2023)

Cocaine Bear is rated R for violence, gore, drugs, and explicit language. Read at your own discretion.

As far-fetched as it sounds, this 2023 horror comedy directed by Elisabeth Banks is based on the 1985 true story of a bear that ingested 70 pounds of cocaine. The strange chain of events emerged through the actions of Andrew Thornton, a narcotics officer turned leader of a drug smuggling ring. Thornton was on a smuggling run, carrying duffels of cocai

ne in his auto-piloted plane. All was well until he jumped from his aircraft and became tangled in his chute. His body was found in a driveway located in Knoxville, Tennessee. The titular bear was discovered three months later, with the plane’s cargo scattered about it.

The film puts a wild spin on an already-wild tale, tweaking the ending ever so slightly. The film examines the question, ‘What might’ve that bear experienced after eating 70 pounds of cocaine?’ and, thank God, throws all logic out the window. In reality the bear likely died almost immediately after breaking into the duffel – but that’s not nearly as exciting as what the film purports.

“…In regards to what happened, we saw the necropsy report from that bear. We know exactly what happened.” Banks told Insider. “When it OD’d, literally all of its functions shut down. Its heart basically burst, its liver burst, and the bear was found surrounded by the drugs that were dropped.” The film instead chooses to explore an…alternate turn of events.

The beginning of the film stays fairly true to the real story. We see Thornton’s smuggling operation go awry and he falls to his death from his plane. Local news reports his death and we learn duffels of drugs have landed in the Georgia wilderness. From there, it’s all imagination. Our hero, a CGI American black bear, emerges from the woods coked up and ready to kill.

The ensuing film is goofy, gory madness. For a movie whose entire plot is its title, ‘Cocaine Bear’ never loses its audience, helped in great part by its oddball, original characters. Keri Russell plays Sari, a calm and caring nurse who ventures into the woods in search of her school-skipping daughter Dee Dee (Brooklyn Prince) and her friend Henry (Christian Convery). 

Sari is led on the escapade by park ranger Liz (Margo Martindale) who couldn’t care less about the missing children and just wants a romantic stroll with the apple of her eye, wildlife expert Peter (Jesse Tyler Ferguson). Also in the woods are drug dealers Eddie and Daveed (Alden Ehrenreich and O’Shea Jackson Jr) and Bob (Isiah Whitlock Jr), a dry-mannered Kentucky detective with a soft spot for his new pooch.

Each character in ‘Cocaine Bear’ is carefully crafted with unique touches of individuality that make the movie a blast to watch. Dee Dee, Henry, and a gang of no good misfits that call themselves the ‘Duchamps’ give the film an adventurous spirit of friendship reminiscent of ‘The Goonies’. Eddie and Daveed’s mismatched motives and personalities create a fun, banter-built chemistry. Martindale and Ferguson’s bumbling characters hilariously escalate every situation; Martindale in particular commands each scene she’s in. The characters carry the film, bringing intricacy and soul to Cocaine Bear’s oddly compelling journey to just get more drugs.

The 80’s excellence is the cherry on top, creating the perfect rowdy atmosphere. After all, what’s a slow-mo shot of a coked-up bear leaping into an ambulance without Depeche Mode playing over the whole thing? The reminiscent elements send the film over the top, somewhere into a blend of complete chaos and perfection.

It’s difficult to defend the film’s morals. Banks insists ‘Cocaine Bear’ is in no way a drug promoting film, but after watching a bear enjoy using them and presumably be brought back to life by a shower of white powder, her claim is difficult to swallow. Sure, the bear is wreaking havoc and leaving everything in bloody red shambles, but it’s having such a good time we can’t help but root for it.

Despite the ambiguous morals, it’s hard to object to it. To get the most out of the film you must accept it for what it is. After all, it’s called ‘Cocaine Bear’. What did you expect?


Call Me If You Get Lost – Tyler, the Creator

Credit to Passion of the Weiss

As we entered March, Tyler, the Creator gifted us with eight previously unreleased songs to his newest album in a deluxe version dubbed Call Me If You Get Lost: The Estate Sale. Due to Tyler’s most recent ventures, as well as the original album winning his second Grammy award for best rap album, I expected the same level of production and creative expression on his newest record. 

Starting off strong, the first of the eight new songs is an interlude called Everything Must Go. While the track is noticeably short, it gives a great lead-in to the beginning song off the album Stuntman, featuring Vince Staples. Stuntman instantly resets the pace of the tracks with an aggressive style that none of the other songs come close to. 

Following Stuntman is What A Day, which I found to be too slow for my taste with truly little rhythm – almost putting me to sleep. However, track four (Wharf Talk) makes up for what the third lacks with a feature from A$AP Rocky and a very feel-good beat, earning its place as my personal favorite from the release. 

Tyler then leads into the fan favorite, Dogtooth, which I have no complaints about, other than it being a little repetitive; as well as Heaven to Me with a very ethereal tune.  

The last two songs off the album are Boyfriend, Girlfriend, and Sorry Not Sorry which, upon first listen, sounded like fillers. However, my opinion was quickly swayed after paying more attention to the lyrics used. The story told by the pair is very well done and put together in a way that kept me interested all the way to the end of the album.  

Overall, I was happy listening to The Estate Sale, especially considering I am not a big Tyler, the Creator fan; I hope to hear more like it. I would rate this album a 7/10.  


Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress 2 is a multiplayer first-person shooter game with a unique cast of characters and classes to choose from, each with their own abilities and playstyles. The gameplay is fast-paced and chaotic. It also has a vibrant cosmetic system, including a vast selection of hats and other items that can be traded between players. However, with the game being relatively old, it suffers from some drawbacks. TF2 does have alternate game modes and weapons to choose from to spice things up.

One reason why TF2 is so enjoyable is because of the memorable cast of characters you can choose from, each having their own unique personality and backstory. The story of TF2 is a deep rabbit hole and could be a long paper by itself. Another reason why people love TF2 is because of the community surrounding it, with lots of fan-made content, trading system and community servers adding a stronger bond between the game and the player. When there are other players to have fun with, it makes the experience a lot more enjoyable.

TF2 was known for its unique gameplay at the time, and not many other games were too similar. The game also has a unique art style with vibrant but bland colors and catchy music that are still idolized today. However, every game has its downsides, and for TF2, there are a couple. One major problem with TF2 is the lack of updates. Valve, the game’s developer, has shifted its focus to other projects in recent years, leaving TF2 with infrequent updates and less attention. While TF2 still makes money and gains new players every day, it receives little attention from Valve.

With the lack of updates come underbalanced weapons and metas, resulting in certain classes being overpowered or underpowered. This can make the game less enjoyable for some players who feel that their chosen class or playstyle is at a disadvantage. This leaves some TF2 weapons completely useless compared to others, leading players to never use these weapons, creating a following with their meme status on how bad they are.

Bugs and glitches plague TF2, and with limited updates and patches, the game still has its fair share of these drawbacks. These bugs can be frustrating to deal with, particularly when it comes to hit registration, which sometimes feels inconsistent. Youtubers have even come under controversy due to the community’s disapproval of these bugs and glitches, considering TF2’s limited updates.

My overall scale for TF2 is an 8/10 because while the gameplay is very addicting, over the years, the game has fallen short compared to some of the more recent games that have come out. As more years go by, it seems that more problems arise with TF2. Who knows, maybe one day Valve will start working on TF2 again. But until then, the game is still fun to casually load onto and play for a little bit.


Portage Bay

Credit to Portage Bay Café

When I first walk through that door going into Portage Bay, my mouth starts watering at the thought of their biscuits and gravy graciously landing in front of me when the server delicately lays the mixture of savory goodness on my table. Portage Bay Café previously only had a few locations in North Seattle, but a few months ago they opened another location in Jefferson Square, placed right next to the Junction. Their building in the Junction is almost always busy; their breakfast bar placed conveniently in the center of the building allowing easy access, and lots of seating with a main level area and a set of stairs that lead to more seats. Outdoor heated seating with chairs and blanket is also available, which fosters a cozy and homey feeling. The inside is decorated in a standard way, the furniture slightly rustic but nothing out of the ordinary for a restaurant. The staff is always incredibly nice and accommodating, which allows for a lighthearted and whimsical environment. Their menu is quite diverse, with chai French toast, biscuits and gravy, and Swedish pancakes. They also offer a specialty menu where people can see what items are popular amongst many customers and view restaurant specials. My family loves the place and treats the restaurant as a special occasion; a meal that is basically a treat. I celebrated my birthday there since I don’t like having a party or a big event so Portage Bay Café was the perfect choice for a day like that. If I were to give the restaurant a grade I’d give it a solid A-. I’m not saying that the restaurant is a 9/10 for a fact, it’s just my opinion on the whole experience, not just the food. I removed one point just because I don’t enjoy every dish, but there are many options that I do like.