Jeff Bridges the Scruffy Mentor
Some spoilers may occur
To know Jeff Bridges is to love him. Regardless of whether or not his movies perform well at the box office, if your movie has Jeff Bridges in it you need to cherish every day like it’s your last one on this earth and spend some quality time with my man Jeff Bridges. And makin’ that Hollywood money in the process, you feel me?
And with that, we’re all aware of the roles actors gravitate toward. You know exactly where this is going, don’t fight it.
I’m not talking about being type cast, I’m talking about the roles the actors themselves choose. Nobody’s agent says “Hey Liam. They need you to play a lone wolf type out to prove his innocence and break a hundred necks in the process while struggling to cope with his past.” No, Liam Hemswor-I mean, Neeson looks for the shortest titles out of his stack of offers and asks two questions: “Do I break necks?” And “Am I on the run from my past?”
Daniel Day-Lewis looks for the role that will be the most likely candidate to allow him to uproot his life as an Average Joe Millionaire just so he can spend four months prep work in a log cabin he built with his bare hands, drinking his own urine.
But then there’s Jeff Bridges. Jeff’s career has been a varied one. He’s been the Dude, an alien, a man who stares at goats, and everything else under the sun. But his favorite role of the past several years of the past few years has been that as the old, scruffy and wacky mentor. 2015, Bridges is doing the voice of “The Aviator,” “an old yet eccentric and mischievous man.” He will be, of course, mentoring a little girl. And with that, here’s how Bridges mentorship sizes up after being so old and so eccentric for the past several years.
Iron Man (2008)
Name: Obadiah Stane
Mentor to: Billionaire Tony Stark
Scruffitude: Low. He’s got a cool beard but his head is completely shaved and he wears suits 24/7.
Eccentricity Level: 3 out of 10. This is one of the less “out there” mentors for Bridges, which should say something but by the end of the film he’s in a huge suit of armor running around the city like he’s Godzilla.
Does he do his job as a mentor? Yes and no. He helped raise Tony as something of a second father. A big part of his job seems to involve how Stark looks to the people around him and taking care of their business affairs, ie, babysitting. So yes, he does do his job. But then turns on Stark to steal his ideas/money/what have you. So then the answer is no.
Death: They never show his charred carcass or anything but for all intents and purposes, he’s dead. A victim of his own greed. Or maybe that massive electrical surge that went through him and the metal suit he was wearing.
Tron: Legacy (2010)
Name: Kevin Flynn
Mentor to: Quorra
Scruffitude: Above average. He keeps his hair slicked back but it’s pretty long and has the potential to be unleashed in more dire moments. The beard is thick but nicely trimmed. The other Jeff Bridges in the movie, CLU, doesn’t count because his face was made from high quality Play-Do.
Eccentricity Level: 5 out of 10. It’s a bit tough to say with this one. On one hand, the guy is a genius that created a world that in turn, started creating itself. On the other hand, he’s a weirdo living inside of a video game whose own creations want to kill him.
Does he do his job as a mentor? To Quorra, yes. To his son, heeeck no. Sure, Sam lives off Kevin’s money in the real world, but with no da-da to teach him how to use it, he’s pretty just a good looking loser.
Death: He “reintegrates” with his younger, evil, video game self and it seems he’s been destroyed. But you know how it is, with extra lives in video games…
True Grit (2010)
Name: Rooster Cogburn
Mentor to: Little Mattie Ross, who wants to catch her dad’s murderer
Scruffitude: Extremely high. Not sure if it gets much higher. His hair is long and permanently wet with who knows what, his beard is unkempt, he’s got one eye and he drinks and smokes nonstop. He’s every old “Back in my day…” guy you’ve ever known rolled into one.
Eccentricity Level: 6 out of 10. On one hand, there’s nothing weird about this guy and people generally just accept him as he is in the film. But watching him on screen is one of the best parts of the movie due to his straight-forward yet far out look on life.
Does he do his job as a mentor? Sure, although whether or not you want him teaching your kid would be debatable. He finds the man Mattie is looking for and justice is served. Mattie gets bitten by a snake in the process but Cogburn does everything he can to save her. And he does. Well, most of her.
Death: He does die, but it’s of old age after Mattie has grown up. So while we can’t say he’s happy when he goes, it’s a better death than some of the ones he doled out in the film.
Name: Roy Pulsipher
Mentor to: Nick Walker, recently deceased detective
Scruffitude: Above Average. He’s got the mustache, goatee, long hair, sure; but he always wear a suit and his hair is appropriately maintained. His personality is similar to Cogburn’s though and we can conclude from this that his scruffitude is still higher than many. Still, he looks great for a dead guy.
Eccentricity Level: 9 out of 10. It doesn’t really get much more eccentric than a former Civil War Soldier turned undead policeman. He’s not the lone wolf type either, but the verbose and wide-eyed good ol’ boy.
Does he do his job as a mentor? As much as you can teach a newly-made dead guy about being a post-mortem detective, then yes, he does his job. They save the world by the end and they can’t be killed again so it’s not like Nick wouldn’t be able to figure some things out on his own, but Roy is the device used to teach us, the audience as well.
Death: Sometime before the movie begins, yes. It’s the only way Roy could be an agent of RIPD.
The Giver (2014)
Name: The Giver
Mentor to: Jonas, a boy whom a futuristic society has given the responsibility of keeping humanity’s history in a sense.
Scruffitude: High. While he has played scruffier, the beard and somewhat messy hair add to the hermit vibe the Giver “gives” off. This, along with the fact that he’s isolated and living in a library.
Eccentricity Level: 4 out of 10. As far as the town is considered, he’s probably kind of a weirdo and certainly a rebel. But to the audience, he’s the only character that makes any sense. And given some of the memories he bears as a burden, this guy is doing alright and hasn’t gone off the deep end in any sense.
Does he do his job as a mentor? About as good as one could. Thanks to his teaching, the main character Jonas is eventually able to free the town from the constricting grip of the counsel.
Death: Nope! Hooray for life!
The Seventh Son (2015)
Name: John Gregory the Spook
Mentor to: Tom Ward, the Seventh Son
Scruffitude: As high as it gets. The hair, the clothes, the drinking. Doesn’t get any scruffier unless you’re a dog.
Eccentricity Level: 9 out of 10. Got another high one here. The guy fights witches and dragons, deals with magic on a regular basis and is the last of his kind. Eccentricity comes with the job.
Does he do his job as a mentor? Yep. He trains the Seventh Son, aka “The only one who can defeat such and such evil…” and he does it as good as one could. And given how much this guy drinks, amazing job!
Death: Again, he lives. Hooray! Maybe in his older age, Bridges isn’t as willing to take on so many roles where he dies.