At the start of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival I walked out on Bryan Buckley‘s The Bronze (Sony Pictures Classics, 3.18). I lasted 15 minutes, to be exact. I was criticized for this, of course, but my policy is firm — if a film clearly stinks or is going to make me suffer grievously, I walk. If you have the perceptions that I’ve been given and have more importantly developed them over decades, you can spot a piece of shit from a mile away, and so when push comes to shove you decide to commit yourself to something more rewarding or purposeful, or at least less wasteful.
There is no honor in sitting through a film that is clearly going to be awful.
The Bronze has 11% and 40% ratings from Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, respectively, and one reason the Metacritic rating isn’t lower is because Drew McWeeny wrote a review that was (a) less than approving but at the same time (b) not entirely damning.
Filed on 1.23.15: “For whatever perverse reason Sundance programmers will occasionally select a mostly dreadful, all-but-unendurable film to play in the Premieres section. The common consensus is that Bryan Buckley‘s The Bronze is one of these films. I can’t speak from authority because I left around the 15-minute mark, but I could smell trouble even before it began.
“Standing before the Eccles crowd and delivering his opening remarks, Buckley, 51, was affecting a look of a ski-slope party animal with a bright red parka and long blonde hair worn in a shaggy Iggy Pop or Chris Hemsworth-in-Rush style, and right away I was muttering, ‘No good can come of this….not from this guy.’
“I was right. Written by Melissa Rauch (The Big Bang Theory) and her husband Winston, pic is about Hope (Rauch), a former Olympic gymnast who won a bronze medal in ’04 and is still coasting on that modest memory, ten years on, as she resides with her dad (Gary Cole) — the very embodiment of a self-entitled, delusional loser. Buckley had told the crowd they would be detesting Hope almost immediately so the name of the game was “how hateful is this bitch going to be?”
“I decided within minutes — seconds, really — that my life would not be significantly diminished if I never found out. The easy-lay types were laughing but half-heartedly. An aura of uncertainty and then discomfort began to permeate the room. I grabbed the cowboy hat and bolted. I emerged from the Eccles a free man, elated and renewed and striding purposefully down Kearns Boulevard as I sucked in the frigid night air.”
Q: “What’s the ugliest part of your body?” A: “Some say your nose, some say your toes but I think it’s your mind.” — lyrics by Frank Zappa, featured track on “We’re Only In it For The Money.”
Prior to the start of last night’s screening of The Bronze. If you look closely you’ll spot a guy with a very worried expression sitting right in the middle, in the first row of the second section.