Today is July 9th. July 9th is a very important date in regard to the process of things that went horribly wrong and turned me in to the morose, portly figure who you all know and, occasionally, find tolerable. For it was July 9th, 1982, when the movie "Tron" was released. Like many of the males of my generation who were not blessed with any type of physical acumen, social skills or a coping mechanisms,  I spent a lot of time watching movies. It seems amongst these people that there really are only a small group of movies that we all watched over and over again. The only thing that varied was the order of most important to least important. Some movies were completely indispensable. For example, if some new kid came into your social circle and hadn't seen "Star Wars" and "Raiders of the Lost Ark" they were immediately shunned. I mean, seriously, what was this kid, raised by Quakers? What did he do in his spare time? Go outside? What a freak!  
     As important as those movies were for me, above all else was "Tron". Always has been, always will be. Now this preferential treatment does not apply just to other movies, I will choose "Tron" over all other forms of entertainment, family, friends, religion, all of the above. Several years ago now when I was lucky enough to win an irreplaceable piece of Tron memorabilia in a trivia contest, I was asked by the crowd to give a speech. Brandishing the item in my hands, my speech went as such: "I just want to say that I now feel very sorry for my family pictures, because now, if there's a fire in my house, they're not getting saved". Hopefully, I'll never find out if I was joking or not.  
     When looking at any movie, or any piece or art for that matter, it's important to give extra points for originality. There's no other movie that has ever looked anything like "Tron". The level of visual amazement that this film was able to deliver considering the level of technology available to the film makers is astonishing. It's like if the excavation of a cavemen site unearthed a fully tricked-out Cadillac Escalade that they made entirely out of wood and rocks. This is a film that invented the term "Computer disk", invented the term  "Computer program". When they applied for the Oscar for best special effects, they were rejected. The reason given by the academy? "You cheated, you used computers". Tron is also more than a unique technical oddity. It's characters and story were both way ahead of their time. No film was anywhere near as prophetic as "Tron" was in predicting not just the impact that computers would have on our culture, but the impact our culture would have on computers. When closely examined, 2003's "The Matrix Reloaded" actually has a very similar plot. Even then, the audience was STILL not quite prepared to view computer programs as sentient beings and have what went on inside their PC parallel "real life". They also weren't quite ready to experience the franchise-killing sequence that I call "Morpheus' Zion Slo-mo Dance Party", but that's neither here nor there.
     Many films that are this technologically advanced beyond their time ("Star Wars", "T2", "Toy Story", the first "Matrix") create new information highways which other films use as jet-streams to usher in new eras of storytelling. "Tron", for all it's wonder, remains a dead end. A cul-du-sac, if you will. However, it's a cul-du-sac in a very nice neighborhood. Why don't you stop by sometime? I'm the last house on the left. Bring a bottle of wine and some Flynn's Arcade tokens.

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Of all of the fun "Tron" videos you can find online, this "Modern" trailer is a personal favorite of mine. Watch it if you need a reminder of how brazenly awesome it is.