In the same weekend I witnessed what might have been the high point and the low point of Jeff Bridges' career. The Coen Brothers masterpiece "True Grit" was as praise worthy as a film could be and represented the uppermost echelon of the Western genre of film. The day-glo headache "Tron: Legacy" was a two hour exercise in replacing plot, acting, script and dialogue with chincy neon graphics and brain-pounding 3D effects.
The film was awful in every way that a film can be awful. It was boring, it went on too long, it was peopled with irritating charcaters portrayed by terrible actors, the plot was ham-handed and dull, the progression was predictable and innane, the occasional attempts at humor were ridiculous and dry and the finale was cliche and anticlimactic. Even an actor as versatile and talented as Jeff Bridges could not hope to save this clunker of a film.
In fact, it left one wondering if a crappier movie could have been created. Of course, as Hollywood has been pointing out for decades, there may be a highest rung of cinematic excellence, but there is no lowest rung. In order to aid the film-industry in insuring that an even less entertaining film can be made in the future, I submit the following ways that one could go about making a movie that is even less enjoyable in 2011.
#1) It could have been longer
As bad as Tron:Legacy was, it did eventually come to an end. By the time the "plot" was wrapped up, the audience had been begging for the closing credits for the better part of an hour. Blissfully we eventually reached them and when we did it was like crossing the finish line at a barefooted arctic marathon.
But films that are too long tend to get exponentially worse as they drag out. It is entirely possible that another fifteen minutes of dialouge that would have embarassed George Lucas might have made the movie twice as bad.
#2) A pet could have saved the day
As bad as the movie was, at least they didn't force us to suffer through any talking animals. The main character did have a dog and while that elelment never actually had any significance in the movie, the finale could have been even more disappointing if that mutt had shown up in the end in full-on neon Tron clothes to laser disc battle the bad guy.
#3) They could have added a wacky neighbor
The screen writers for the film were clearly unqualified to write fortune cookie prognostications but at least they left a few terrible cliches on the table. The addition of a few late seventies sit-com staples such as a laugh track, a wacky neighbor and a "I guess we really learned something today" moral might have allowed the film to descend further into drudgery.
#4) Adam Sandler could have been in it
There is no movie that could not be made worse by adding Adam Sandler. Even Adam Sandler movies could be worse by simply adding more Adam Sandler scenes. Thus the makers of Tron: Legacy could easily have robbed the film of the inkling of entertainment value it had by simply adding some more terrible actors.
#5) The dialouge could have been delivered in the style of a late 80s rap
One of the few things more painful than Tron: Legacy is listening to white people try to rap. Since the movie was as caucasion as a square dance we certainly would have enjoyed it less if Jeff Bridges had busted out with:
"I'm a user and my name is Flynn...
When I'm on a light cycle I always win."
#6) There could have been a Bali-wood style dance number at the end
Actually, the more that I think about this, it really would have been an improvement. A chorus line of orange and blue clad Tron characters busting out in a big musical number would have been the high point of the movie.
#7) They could stab you in the eye repeatedly through the movie
While the terrible 3D graphics were very much like getting stabbed in the eye, an actual physical injury is one of the few things that would have made me enjoy this movie less. Staples in the groin, a seat full of broken glass or rabid ferrets loose in the theater all would have made the movie less enjoyable.
#8) It could have been Clash of the Titans
In truth, as bad as Tron: Legacy was, it was not the worst film of the year and it probably isn't even the worst movie in theaters right now. Hollywood has learned that if a film can be attached to nostalgia it need not be good. If you just made a movie about four mercenaries it would have to be at least moderately entertaining to get produced... unless, of course, one had already secured the title "A-Team" for that movie.
I'm sure Hollywood has something even worse in store for us in 2011. If the Smurfs movie doesn't do it we can still hold out hope for the third installment of Michael Bay's Transformer series. The bar can always swing lower.
PS I'm off vacation on Thursday and should be able to return to a normal blogging schedule then. Thanks for bearing with me through this week. I apologize if my haphazzard postings have forced you into doing your own griping and complaining. I will be back on the job soon.