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The Bronze Blu-ray Review

The Bronze (2016) movie poster The Bronze

Theatrical Release: March 18, 2016 / Running Time: 100 Minutes / Rating: R

Director: Bryan Buckley / Writers: Melissa Rauch, Winston Rauch

Cast: Melissa Rauch (Hope Ann Greggory), Gary Cole (Stan Greggory), Thomas Middleditch (Ben "Twitchy" Lawford), Sebastian Stan (Lance Tucker), Cecily Strong (Janice Townsend), Haley Lu Richardson ("Mighty" Maggie Townsend), Dale Raoul (Doris), Craig Kilborn (Heath Parker), Dominique Dawes (Herself), Olga Korbut (Herself), Dominique Moceanu (Herself), Barak Hardley (Matt), Michael Shamus Wiles (Vet), Christine E. Abrahamsen (Coach Eleyna Pavleck), Ellery Sprayberry (Teenage Hope Ann Greggory), Olivia Macrae (3-Year-Old Hope), Reese Garber (7-Year-Old Hope)

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With the Summer Olympics approaching, what better time is there than now to release a film about Olympic gymnastics? The Bronze, however, takes an unusually dark and cynical view of a sport that few think about more often than two weeks every four years.
This R-rated independent comedy does not want to inspire you the way that Chariots of Fire and Miracle do. It wants to make you laugh and requires no knowledge or love of gymnastics.

At the 2004 Games in Rome, Hope Ann Greggory (Melissa Rauch) won a bronze medal for Team USA, finishing her set despite injuring her Achilles' heel. The pride of her small hometown of Amherst, Ohio, Hope milked her fame for what she could, but she hasn't really moved on. Nowadays, she pleasures herself to the VHS of her medal-winning performance, takes advantage of her lifetime supply of free meals from Sbarro, snorts crushed-up prescription medication, and barks meal orders to her widowed father Stan (a winning Gary Cole), a much too accommodating mailman.

After her former coach commits suicide, Hope gets a letter in the mail saying she'll inherit $500,000 so long as she agrees to train Coach P's promising current protιgι, Maggie Townsend (Haley Lu Richardson, who proves capable both as actress and gymnast). Hope doesn't want to, but she is just about broke and her soon to retire father has just cut off her allowance. Reluctantly, Hope returns to her old training grounds, initially trying to sabotage Maggie's dream by loading her up on fatty fast food and giving her a pot-infused smoothie before an important observation. When that approach nearly loses her the coaching job and, by extension, the half a million dollar inheritance, she decides to get serious and actually get the sweet and admiring Maggie to qualify for Toronto. (Why Toronto? I don't know.)

Hope Ann Greggory (Melissa Rauch) schools her pupil on the importance of fatty fast food in "The Bronze."

Meanwhile, Hope reconnects with Ben (Thomas Middleditch), the gym's tick-addled owner whom she calls "Twitchy", to the blossoming of a romance. She also runs into Lance Tucker (Captain America's Sebastian Stan), a Gold medalist with a giant ego and his sights set on training Maggie for Team USA.

The Bronze is truly a homegrown film. Rauch, who has apparently appeared in over 100 episodes of "The Big Bang Theory" but would be unknown to non-watchers, co-wrote the film with her husband Winston. Just like Stallone on Rocky, the leading lady apparently made herself a package deal with the screenplay, thus landing her first leading role to date.

As you can probably tell, it is quite the role. This is a rare display of female arrested development. The bold character is clearly meant to be loathed, but you nonetheless develop some sympathy for her as the movie progresses. This is a young woman whose 15 minutes of fame came and went over a decade ago. Where do you go from there? To sugary soft drinks and self-loathing.

Maggie's janitor mother (Cecily Strong) considers having her daughter coached by gold medalist Lance Tucker (Sebastian Stan).

Obviously, the movie is going to conceive redemption for her. It is kind of difficult to accept what begins as a vinegar-veined misanthropic movie evolving into a sweet romantic comedy as Hope and Twitchy hit it off at a mall food court after hours.
But the movie doesn't lose us there. It comes closer to losing us with an awkward, out-of-nowhere sex scene between two decorated gymnasts, which is certain to go down as one of 2016's most outrageous sequences. Even so, the film manages to recover to a degree and to disarm with some moments of surprising cinematic flair. Making his highest-profile feature to date, seasoned commercial director Bryan Buckley displays enough talent to qualify him for future gigs.

At 100 minutes, the movie runs a little longer than it needs to. Of course, some viewers won't be able to tolerate the insufferable, warmup-wearing protagonist for more than a few minutes, which is something of a testament to Rauch both looking the part and selling the bitterness. Real gymnasts Dominique Moceanu and Dominique Dawes make appearances in the film as themselves, who are among the TV commentators.

Though largely disliked by critics, The Bronze did draw some favorable reviews, but they weren't nearly enough to make the film discover an audience. Sony Pictures Classics, who typically dabbles in foreign films and art house fare (and interestingly hides their usual branding from the front cover here), opened this wider than they have any other film, in over 1,000 theaters. But the movie limped to a 25th place opening, lost nearly three-fourths of its theaters in its second weekend, and wound up plummeting with an epic 92.5% week 2 drop. Though it continued to track ticket sales for another three weeks, the film contracted to single-digit theaters by week 3 and barely did any business there.

It has another chance to be seen and embraced in this week's DVD and Blu-ray releases.

The Bronze Blu-ray Disc cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray Disc Details

1.85:1 Widescreen
5.1 DTS-HD MA (English, French, Portuguese), Dolby Digital 5.1 (Descriptive Video Service, Thai)
Subtitles: English, English for Hearing Impaired, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, French, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai
Not Closed Captioned; Extras Subtitled in English
Release Date: August 2, 2016
Suggested Retail Price: $25.99
Single-sided, dual-layered disc (BD-50)
Blue Keepcase with Side Snap
Also available on DVD ($19.99 SRP) and on Amazon Instant Video

VIDEO and AUDIO

Sony Blu-rays consistently look terrific and The Bronze is no exception. The 1.85:1 presentation is sharp, vibrant, and clean. The 5.1 DTS-HD master audio mix is suitably lively and directional. No one will raise any complaints with the Blu-ray's technical standards.

Stan Greggory (Gary Cole) gets more of a pushback than expected when he wakes up his daughter as planned in this extended scene. The Bronze's Blu-ray menu features five lead characters in what seems like a potential cover design.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

The Blu-ray's main bonus feature is a collection of five deleted scenes running 6 minutes and 40 seconds all together.
They include Hope stocking up with pharmaceuticals she has put on her "tab", an extended version of her father's wake-up that involves wrestling and a dildo, trouble with Hope's much-watched VHS, a clash over turkey meatloaf, and a scene of Hope welcoming young new recruits.

As a Sony Pictures Classics release, The Bronze also has its red band theatrical trailer (1:19) kindly preserved.

"Previews" repeats the disc-opening trailers for Edge of Winter, Don't Breathe, Hello, My Name Is Doris, Maggie's Plan, and Sausage Party (red band).

The main menu attaches score to a cast still. The Blu-ray supports bookmarks and also gives you the chance to resume playback as well.

Oddly devoid of Digital HD, the unslipcovered side-snapped keepcase holds no insert alongside the full-color disc adapted from the cover art.

Bitter has-been Hope Ann Greggory (Melissa Rauch) is not a great role model for the up and coming Maggie.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Largely disliked by critics and avoided by the public, The Bronze isn't worth the swift dismissal that reception usually encourages. This caustic comedy will certainly not be everyone's cup of tea and those with love for gymnastics may be the most offended. But there are some things to like in this devil-may-care indie, from the surprising occasional creative flourish to Gary Cole feeling like a John Hughes movie dad. So long as you can handle constant profanity and that crazy sex scene, this film may warrant a cautious rental.

Buy The Bronze from Amazon.com: Blu-ray / DVD / Instant Video

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Related Reviews:
New to Disc: Everybody Wants Some!! • The Boss • Eddie the Eagle • Louder Than Bombs • Keanu • Puerto Ricans in Paris • Elvis & Nixon
Stick It • Cool Runnings • Blades of Glory • The Foot Fist Way • Breaking Away • Young Adult • Sisters • Step Brothers
Thomas Middleditch: Fun Size • The Kings of Summer • Drunk History: Season 3 • The Campaign • Beavis and Butt-Head: Volume 4
Gary Cole: Tammy • Hop • Cadet Kelly • Gang Related • I'll Be Home for Christmas
Sebastian Stan: Captain America: The First Avenger • Captain America: The Winter Soldier • The Apparition • Black Swan

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Reviewed August 1, 2016.



Text copyright 2016 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2016 Sony Pictures Classics, Stage 6 Films, Duplass Brothers Productions, and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
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