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Sunday, July 2, 2017

WE NEED A HERO

WE NEED A HERO

After seeing the movie trailer, I had high hopes for The Hero starring Sam Elliott. I’ve been a Sam Elliott fan since his early western roles—his laconic presence, the gunsight eyes, The Voice. Now in his early 70s, The Hero looked tailor made for him. All of which found me in a seat the night it opened in our local art theatre. Five hours later—at least it seemed like five hours in the same way an hour can seem like five when you are in the dentist chair having your teeth drilled—I staggered into the light of the theatre lobby with crushed hopes and a bad stink in my nostrils.

Don’t get me wrong, Sam Elliott’s performance is excellent, but the scenes where the story makes progress can’t have taken up more than ten minutes of the film’s two hour running time. The other hour and fifty minutes moves at the pace of a retreating turtle—a silent twenty second close up of Sam’s face...a silent twenty second close up of the back of Sam’s head...a silent twenty second close up of the stray tribble that ate Sam’s upper lip...a silent twenty second close up of Sam’s neck—all of which does nothing more than give you a chance to realize Sam Elliott has been ridden hard and put away wet a whole bunch of times during his life. Sam has taken the term weathered to a whole new level. Trust me, Sam’s profile on the movie poster has been air brushed to within an inch of its life.

The rest of the story? It’s actually a reboot of those ‘80s drug warning commercials—You remember those, right? A picture of a pristine egg appears with a voice over claiming, This is your brain. Then there’s a picture of an egg bubbling, frying, and burning around the edges in a frying pan with a voice over saying, This is your brain on drugs. The Hero updates this message to play out as—This is Sam Elliott after years of alcohol abuse and smoking a container ship’s worth of the Devil’s lettuce. Watch Sam slowly and silently roll and smoke a joint...Watch Sam silently roll and smoke another joint...Watch Sam ingest enough shrooms to send an entire Indian tribe on a vision quest...Watch Sam mix molly and champagne and ingest it like a shot of tequila.

What is there to like about the film? Sam Elliott still has a certain cowboy charm and The Voice still resonates. Otherwise, it’s a bigger miss on the entertainment scale than the last film I wasted my ticket money on—Paris Can Wait. Sam Elliott will certainly have to wait for an actual career defining film no matter what the critics are saying about this one.

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