Tracker Pixel for Entry

​The Hero

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Cinema | March 15th, 2017

Filmmaker Brett Haley carves out a juicy and glorious victory lap for golden-voiced treasure Sam Elliott in “The Hero,” a thematic companion piece to the warm “I’ll See You in My Dreams,” which gave Blythe Danner a similar showcase. Elliott is Lee Hayden, an imagined version of the actor himself. In his early seventies and paying the bills with commercial voiceover work for Lone Star BBQ sauce (“The perfect partner for your chicken”), Lee spends his considerable downtime getting high with former co-star turned dealer Jeremy (Nick Offerman). An unexpected pancreatic cancer diagnosis pushes Lee to consider his mortality and his legacy, but he cannot bring himself to share his dire news with anyone.

Lee is particularly trepidatious about reaching out to his daughter Lucy (Krysten Ritter), who has kept her father at arm’s length following years of distance and absenteeism. Haley and co-scripter Marc Basch imply that, at least in part, Lee’s choice of career took its toll on his closest relationships. In a nice casting touch, Elliott’s spouse of more than three decades, the great Katharine Ross, plays Lucy’s mother/Lee’s ex. “I’ll See You in My Dreams” was fully female-centric, and Haley continues to rely on vivid women in “The Hero.” Lee begins a tentative romance with flinty stand-up comic Charlotte (Laura Prepon), and the movie deals directly with the significant age gap between the two.

Concerns over the familiarity of that particular device have been voiced. Jon Frosch cited “The Verdict,” “Tender Mercies,” “The Wrestler,” and “Crazy Heart” in his review, and you could add “Lost in Translation” and many more to the list. But Haley and Basch avoid most of the cliches by shifting smoothly between the likely and the unlikely adventures of the pair -- “The Hero” is, on one level, a fantasy of Hollywood, after all. Both a drug-fueled date that leads to an offbeat acceptance speech during a ceremony honoring Lee with a lifetime achievement and the fallout from some of the more pointed jokes performed by Charlotte at Lee’s expense are made fresh by the skillful and genuine verisimilitude of Elliott and Prepon.

Haley’s measured pace contradicts the more commonly utilized haste of dramatic comedies, but “The Hero” unfolds with total confidence in its star. Eric Kohn pointed out that “the [lead] character’s name... is an amalgam of Lee Marvin and Sterling Hayden -- both of whom epitomize the male swagger of a different era and the dwindling opportunities for such faces as years go by.” Lee’s signature role, which gives the film its title, was performed some four decades past, and the actor suggests it is the only work he is genuinely proud to claim. Lee is also haunted in a series of dream sequences that evoke some old-fashioned cowboy movies, with a dash of Leone mixed in for good measure.

Elliott appears in practically every frame of “The Hero,” and he is so good, you’ll make plans to revisit some of his signature turns (not that you need an excuse to dial up “The Big Lebowski” for the umpteenth time). Elliott’s comfort and ease with his own image allows Haley to mine more humor than anticipated in a movie built on the worst possible health news one could receive, but “The Hero” is capable of having it both ways. Elliott is magnificent in a pair of mirrored audition scenes that alternately command laughter and tears. Here’s hoping the man, the myth and the mustache will be making movies for years to come.

The Fargo Film Festival will present a special screening of “The Hero” on Friday, March 24 at 7:00 p.m. at the Fargo Theatre. Producers Erik Rommesmo and Jeff Schlossman will participate in a Q & A following the movie.

IF YOU GO:

FFF screening of The Hero, with a Q&A with producers Erik Rommesmo and Jeff Schlossman

Friday, March 24, 7pm

Fargo Theatre, 314 N Broadway

Recently in:

Katrina Klett grew up running in fields with bees stinging her bare feet. Her parents constantly reminded her to put on shoes, but she rarely listened. Today, the family company she helps run in Jamestown, Klett Beekeeping, has…

How long have you had your computer monitor? Is it time to get a new one? How do you know if it is time to get a new one? Many people got their monitor bundled with their computer. I don’t have too much to complain about if that…

May 31-June 1Fargo Civic Center 207 4th St N, FargoA platform for you to build your business, your unmanned expertise, or network with fellow enthusiasts. Even more useful, on May 30 and June 2, Part 107 Drone Ground Training…

We’ve just read Mike McFeely’s interview with Governor Burgum, are intrigued by the governor’s vision of the future of higher education; that online courses will largely obviate the need for campuses, tenured faculty, and…

The rich live 20 years longer than the poorSeveral recent incidents in the airline industry are sending messages to the Ninety-Nine Percent around the world. If you can’t hold it, don’t book a flight. A male passenger was…

The moment of truth has arrived. After seven weeks of sampling and judging some of the finest libations in the area the results for this year’s Cocktail Showdown have arrived. Christopher Larson, Raul Gomez and Sabrina Hornung…

Do you eat enough vegetables? Almost no one does. The current USDA nutrition guidelines for adults recommends 2.5 to 3 cups of vegetables to be eaten daily. Other nutrition sources indicate this number can be upwards of 6 cups of…

Nine band lineup at The AquariumLocal radio listeners are likely to be familiar with 95.9 Radio Free Fargo, a station devoted to serving the Fargo-Moorhead area and run completely by volunteers. The station plays a little bit of…

Cinema

​Killer serial makes Blu-ray debut

by Christopher P. Jacobs

“Daredevils of the Red Circle.” Who are they? What is it? Before the internet, before television, serialized drama was still a significant part of popular culture. Novels were serialized in magazines and newspapers going back…

Artist Anna Lee brings years of knowledge to Fargo in new workshopsOrganizing and participating in locally-grown fashion shows, years at corporations like Target. And now working as an independent artist, Anna Lee has done it all,…

When we had a chance to catch up with Corey Ruffin, the mastermind behind the Grand Rapids-based traveling burlesque troupe Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, he was at the repair shop getting a tune-up on their tour bus. The retired…

Humor

​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung

“I don’t have a tour, like, on the back of a sweatshirt,” comedian Paula Poundstone says. “I go out every weekend. This weekend I went out Friday, Saturday and Monday. Mostly it’s Friday/Saturday or Thursday through…

This Memorial Day weekend, thousands of hands will be reaching into icy cold coolers for a refreshing beer to wet the whistle. Mark Bjornstad, co-founder and president of Drekker Brewing Company hopes that at least once during the…

Wellness

​Gut instinct

by Amber Schmidt

While many of us suffer with the occasional upset stomach, long-term digestive issues can lead to increased problems down the road. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, an estimated 60 to 70…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

With the recent passage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) by the U.S. House of Representatives, it is important to have an honest and truthful discussion regarding what the AHCA is and what it is not. But before we get into…