‘The Hero’ | Movie Review

Elliott comes to the rescue in ‘The Hero’

Our story begins with Lee Hayden (Sam Elliott), an aging actor known for western roles, seen doing voiceovers for barbecue sauce. In that short scene, as we watch Elliott use his resonant, well-known southern drawl and his “stare ‘em down” gaze that has made bad guys and damsels in distress quiver, we know that this movie is his.

You might guess that director Brett Haley and writer Marc Basch collaborated on this script with Elliott in mind. We are used to seeing Elliott as a very strong member of the supporting cast, so his fans will be glad to see him carrying a movie.

The story is pretty cut and dried; a once leading star has great career and family. Roles become few and far between, he turns to drugs, he loses family. Later on, he meets a love interest, this time a much younger lady played by Laura Prepon, who serves as a reason for Lee to get a little hitch in his giddyup.

After a lifetime achievement awards ceremony in which Lee, a little tipsy and high, gives a rousing speech about how everyone deserves such an award, Lee goes viral online (“What does that mean?” he asks). A short, possible resurgence of his career gives us all hope. In the meantime, we see him mend fences with his family, smoke more marijuana and drink whiskey, wonder about a cancer diagnosis and stare at people a lot without speaking.

It’s a laid back, easy going movie with great moments from Elliott. He keeps the whole story from being too sugary and trite. It’s totally his movie and he’ll get a lot of attention for the role.

I’d recommend the movie to Elliott fans, but don’t spend the money to see it at the theater. “The Hero” is rated “R” for language, May-December sex scenes (yes, for real… but understated), and glorified drug use throughout the movie. Running time is 1 hr and 33 minutes.

My grade: B-

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Mark Tullis

Mark is a 25-year veteran teacher teaching in Columbia. Originally from Fairfield, Mark is married with four children. He enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with his family, and has been involved in various aspects of professional and community theater for many years and enjoys appearing in local productions. Mark has also written a "slice of life" style column for the Republic-Times since 2007.
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