Cinema Clips: The Hero

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Lee, an aging movie star (Sam Elliot) gets some bad news from his doctor and tries to make good on some mistakes in the face of some big decisions. If that sounds like a done-to-death story for you, it kind of is, but director and co-screenwriter Brett Haley makes things intriguing with large thanks to a great performance from Elliot and an excellent supporting cast.

Elliot is basically playing himself, a western star known for his big voice and iconic moustache, and the part was tailor made for him. His Lee is sort of a jerk, but the kind of jerk you have to like (The way that moustache arches with his smile is magical!). Nick Offerman is stellar as Lee’s drug dealer and best buddy, while Laura Prepon has never been better as “the love interest” (Yes, it’s a cliché role, but she takes it to great heights). Elliot’s real-life wife, the great Katharine Ross, even has a role as Lee’s ex-wife, which must’ve been a little awkward to pull off on set.

The film looks great, especially during Lee’s dreams, which have him acting out a final movie in his head. Elliot and Haley take a familiar story and imbibe it with a lot of heart and good humor. In a summer of blockbusters and blockbuster wannabes, this stands as one of its fine sleepers.

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