Saturday, May 28, 2011


Venturing forth once again to see the films that most are unlikely to go see for themselves...

Hesher assembles five mismatched characters in the dark tale of a family trying to survive the grief of losing a wife and mother.
T.J (Devin Brochu) is the young son, about jr. high school age, dealing with his issues through a string of erratic behaviors, vandalism, ditching school, and getting his ass whipped by bullies, until he friends...

Hesher (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a greasy, long-haired wasted burn-out who's main interests are heavy metal, pornography, and blowing shit up. Not as much of a friend as a hanger-on, Hesher squats in the family's home threatening them if they make him leave, while finding ways to maximize whatever trouble T.J. is already wrapped up in.

Rainn Wilson plays T.J.'s pill popping dad, too obsessed with his own grief to see what is happening to his son while Granny Piper Laurie), old and weary, does the best she can to provide a home for them both and doesn't seem to mind Hesher hanging around. For all his outbursts and vulgarity, he's the only sign of life in the household.

T'J. becomes obsessed with Nicole, the checker at the local market, well played as a mousy, plain Jane with her own struggles by Natalie Portman. NO! I did not know Natalie was in this before I got to the theater. It's not my fault she's on a personal mission to appear in every damn release, week after week.
It's seems T.J. sees in Nicole the kind of affirmation he needs at this point, especially after her gutsy intervention saves him from another asswhipping from his favorite bully. She becomes the target of his affections, but these are the affections he hasn't yet the knowledge or understanding to act on.

It's a shitty subject upon which to tell a story though all of the performances are first rate. Alas, performances can only go so far and as a result the project is, for the most part, a dud, but it's Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Hesher that steals the show along with every scene he's in.

I dis-recommend this movie for all but the very few twisted minds who might appreciate it (Brian?). It's a limited release anyway, so it should be Netflix bait before long.

An interesting aside: the end of the movie takes place in a funeral home and as the action moved outdoors my jaw hit the floor... right there on the big screen is my neighborhood of youth, and the funeral home I passed by damn near every day since I lived literally right around the corner from it (less than 100 yards), along with the boulevard and railroad tracks that demarcated the 'other' side of town. So, yeah, wanna see where I'm from? (And where I paid final respects to countless others) There it is.


Brian said...

Actually that sounds awesome. I may go see it tomorrow.

Gino said...

stay through the credits. you'll like it. your welcome.

Brian said...

So yeah, that was pretty good.

I couldn't tell if it was actually set in 1985 (or thereabouts) or they just purposefully obscured the time. The house (furniture, decor, TVs, phones) definitely looked right out of then, as were the cars that the main characters drove. But in the long exterior shots, there were plenty of clearly contemporary cars.

Maybe they just didn't have the budget to fill the screen with period-appropriate cars?

Anyway, yeah I really liked Gordon-Levitt in this. (Did you every see Brick?) Portman was solid, as usual. The kid was really good, too.


Brian said...

BTW, "nobody else is going to like this but you probably will" is probably one of the most persuasive recommendations one can make to me. But you've clearly figured that out already...

Gino said...

dija notice the mortuary scene? i'm proud of that. lol

yeah, i was wondering about the time period. either the creator was being brilliantly obscure, or too cheap to notice.
the hair/fashion styles crossed the spectrum, and i havnt seen a 4-door chevette still being driven since about 1990(nat's car.), or a van such as hesher's since about 86.

Brian said...

My dad had a two door Chevette until 1989.

When they were at the mortuary I thought of you.