The Bronze

>> Saturday, January 31, 2015

The main screen at Peery's Egyptian Theater in Ogden, Utah

This is the last time I'll be attending the Sundance Film Festival for the foreseeable future. Perhaps the last time ever actually.

Before tonight, I was actually kind of glad that this is going to be the last time. Ticket prices increased from $15 to $20, which is quite a bump considering the last price increase was from $12 to $15.

Last year, I saw two films: Camp X-Ray and Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart. For the Pamela Smart movie, which was later rebroadcast by HBO, I drove down to Salt Lake and saw it at the theater within the Salt Lake City Public Library. That was an interesting experience because there actually was a Q&A session with the filmmaker. I was able to see Camp X-Ray on MLK day since I had the day off. I still think the most memorable thing about seeing that was the three diehard Kristen Stewart fans sitting near me who were raving about the film and how it was already the THIRD time they had all seen it. That's THREE TIMES at a film festival where plenty of OTHER films are being shown. Although the kicker for me was that they all had press passes due to running Kristen Stewart fans sites. I never would have guessed the press pass standard was so low.

So this year when I discovered that tickets were going to be $20, I had to think and study the schedule to decide what and how many films I wanted to see. The festival wasn't falling on a MLK holiday weekend, so seeing anything on a Monday without taking the day off wasn't going to happen. Plus, I wasn't in the mood to see downer films because my mom was having knee replacement surgery, so I was going to be doing much more work around the house. But I heard that the U.S. dramatic competition was letting in a comedy. And that it was going to be the opening night film. And, even better, it was going to be playing in Ogden on a Saturday, so I wouldn't have to drive down to SLC or Park City to see something. I bought my one ticket for The Bronze.

The festival opened, and it got "mixed reviews." The one benefit of seeing films at a film festival is that I don't have to work on avoiding huge swaths of critical opinions or massive amounts of marketing before I see something. It's the closest I've ever been to walking into a movie with a blank slate. This is one benefit that forking out $20 for a ticket guarantees me.

And then, of course, I read about the sex scene. Again, I like seeing films--and enjoy them so much
Hope Greggory in The Bronze
more--when I don't have every detail splashed out for me before I even see it. So...before I even see the movie, there's a crazy ass sex scene that I can anticipate.

By the time I got to see the movie today, I admit that my expectations were kind of dashed. I've had some film experiences that weren't exactly stellar (Hesher). I was glad I was able to bring a friend along. But we were pleasantly surprised at the introduction of the film when the director was there. He mentioned that there was going to be lot more profanity than other films previously shown in this lovely theater probably had.

I'll admit that the beginning is a little slow.  Our protagonist (hero?) is a loser. I don't think I can emphasize that enough. Yeah, she won a bronze medal years ago, but she is now living in complete loserdom. And she is not easy to like. I think I kind of hated her in the first 20 minutes. But then her nemesis Lance Tucker shows up, and I started to root for her. I'm not going to detail the plot in anyway, but this movie reminded me A LOT of Young Adult. Although I think the biggest difference in those characters is that Hope grows up/matures where as Mavis Gary almost changes but then goes right back to being the way she was at the beginning. In fact, when I think about these two movies, I understand much less where the seemingly negative reviews are coming from for The Bronze.

Out of all the Sundance experiences I've had these past few years, this one was probably the best. The bonus was having a Q&A with the director and both writers. When asked about the soon-to-be-notorious sex scene, writer Winston Rauch referred to it as a "lyrical dance." The director, Bryan Buckley, made an excellent point that this film hasn't been screened by the MPAA yet. It's totally possible that what was shown at Sundance will be edited down when released this summer. I sure hope not. Like my friend said to me, the MPAA will probably force them to cut out any depiction of oral sex on a woman. Figures.

But here's the organist on the Wurlitzer playing the theme for Star Trek: The Next Generation right before the film's introduction.


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