After this talk of Tron Evolution has dominated film and nerd sites for the past couple of months, I thought it would be more than prudent to share a story of Tron fandom- well before the madness over Tron Evolution came around and the overall revival of the Tron franchise as it stands today. I was attending the Video Games Live concert at the Hollywood Bowl (the very same one I attended with my friend Taylor)- a nerdy enough event within itself- people dressed up as random video game characters wandering about the Bowl before the event started (I remember seeing a giant Pac Man guy walking around quite happily in the seats behind me). We had good seats, too- a booth pretty close to the stage. Nothing prepared me, however, for the sheer madness that I shared with the neighboring booth. The booth was filled with a family of asian males, perhaps Korean or Japanese in descent (to recall the specifics is quite hard at this point)- all completely decked out in Tron merchandising. Head to toe. Sports jackets all very worn down, twenty or so years old perhaps as they talked amongst themselves. I pointed them out to those in my booth, and we all had little individual scoffs as we took turns glancing at the men and their ridiculous attire. But they were pretty nice- we would share a nod and a glance after every song or so. But it finally came to the moment they were waiting for at the concert- a piece from Tron . All four men in the booth rose to their feet cheering quite madly, even a bit more than I had expected. My entire party looked over at them, bewildered to the energy that seemed to have exploded once they heard the music. Once I turned my head, the lunacy escalated- they held up Tron shoes among them- two pairs, each shoe cradled in the hands of each one of the men as they screamed and hollered for the music to continue. Everyone in my booth was… well speechless. We didn’t know fandom could go so far, even for a movie that was about twenty or so years old at this point. Once the song ended, the men clapped louder than anyone else there, congratulating one another as they finally took their seats. I quite remember just staring at them and thinking “Christ, like anyone else would ever think about Tron after this.” Oh how wrong I was. I thought about those crazy fans again recently, every time a ad or some news article on the movie pops up, thinking how happy they must be to see their beloved franchise returning to the big screen. And how foolish i felt misjudging what I had thought was a dead franchise to come back to life. I was totally wrong about Tron. Oh well.
In heated discussions with my friends, I’ve held up an odd belief about the actors to which I uphold can have something I call “The Free Pass Actors”. There are certain actors, in my belief, that they can do however many shitty movies they want- they have a free pass in my book. These actors have done so many amazing roles in their lifetime that I don’t even question them, nor rail against them, for the amazing work they had done so far. Make all the crappy movies you want at this point- you’re a legend already, you already have set a basis for your legacy as an actor. Relax, take a load off and you’re good to go. You’re the very damn best. The actor that started it all was of course, the fantastic Ben Kingsley. The man has done almost anything you can think of. He was Ghandi- what is left to say? But quite the argument against the free pass could be said that for all those movies Kingsley has done in the past, he’s ruining his legacy by doing all these terrible movies today, putting to shame what he has done as an actor in Schindler’s List or anything along those lines- but he continues to put out amazing films. Just take a look at House of Sand and Fog as a prime example of Kingsley at his very best, even in a film only a couple of years old. He still has the ability to be in some amazing films (like Shutter Island) while being able to have some fun with blockbusters like the Prince of Persia movie. You know what Better example, however, one that trumps Ben Kingsley, is the ever brilliant Morgan Freeman. Seriously, stop reading this for a second, lean back in your chair, and try to think of a role he wasn’t brilliant in. Every movie he does seems better with him in it. From the head of an assassin leauge in Wanted to the chauffeur in Driving Ms. Daisy, Freeman is ALWAYS good in the film. (as a personal sidenote, I would want to have morgan freeman narrate a day in my life. I don’t know about you, but I’d be eternally happy if I heard Freeman’s voice say “Daniel woke up late in the morning, his oafish form sprawled out upon a bed that was too small for him…” every time I woke up). Upon further discussion other actors came to the forefront of our discussion. Other free pass actors may include: -Jack Nicholson -Gary Oldman -Alan Rickman -Sigourney Weaver More explanations aren’t needed for the rest. Seriously, stop and think how much each one of those actors could have carried each individual film they’re famous for. They can do all they want now for all I care. But nope- each one has done films that have created unique memories- Alan rickman has played terrorists (Die Hard), a wizard (Harry Potter film series) and even the voice of god (Dogma). He can do anything else he wants now for all we care. He’s Hans Gruber, after all.
So yeah, my big catch of the week- I was able to pick up this copy of the Fifth Element from my work due to the fact that the staff at the library were tired to take care of so many people kept checking it out not knowing it can’t be played in DVD players and how so many people complained. I’m sure as hell not complaining about this though.