Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


The Hero (2017)

The Hero (2017)
Starring:
Sam Elliott, Nick Offerman, Laura Prepon, Katharine Ross and Krysten Ritter


Rated: R  for drug use, language and some sexual content.
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: June 16, 2017 Released by: The Orchard

Sam Elliott has been in a lot of feature films, mostly of the supporting variety if you consider the likes of The Contender, Road House and Mask. And, Lifeguard if you go back over four decades.

The Hero isn't really biographical in Elliott's second outing with director and co-writer Brett Haley as a fading Western star that undeniably is trite and predictable in its look at celebrity and aging. But, his Lee Hayden resonates with low-key grace, perhaps a cousin to the dissolute, finally redemptive one played wonderfully by Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart.

The baritone voice and hirsute grayish septuagenarian under a ten-gallon hat is present in pleasing ways just like those old "Beef" commercials with barbecue sauce on view here with Lee's voice-over work after a long career on the large and small screens. He enjoys hanging out with drug dealer and former colleague Jeremy (Nick Offerman) who happens to be a connection for the younger new woman, stand-up comedienne Charlotte (Laura liott) in his life. Katharine Ross is his ex Valarie with whom he still interacts with amicably.

The film, which is less than the presence of Elliott who far-and-away outshines his co-stars, hinges on the vicissitudes of his milieu which includes his ecstasy-fueled time at a gala from a Western group for his lifetime achievement prompting a sudden rejuvenation. Lee is not the model father as evidenced by his strained relationship with long-estranged daughter Lucy (Krysten Ritter of She's Out of My League).

But, if the other characterizations are hardly defined, especially Prepon who puts on an off-center, maybe off-putting routine, it's to the benefit of Elliott who doesn't insist on the due recognition but earns it with a tender goofy poignancy. The title refers to Lee's signature moment on screen in an effort to reach the glory of redemption and love amidst the grim from the eminence of an elderly soul just the toiling oh so sympathetic actor himself.

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