| Flicks

FLICKS: The Hero, Cars 3 & Lou

Posted on 22 June 2017 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

Receiving much praise since its debut at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, The Hero opens locally in neighborhood theaters. As the ironically-named title character, Sam Elliot has earned his best notices in years as an iconic actor whose career peaked many decades ago. A man out of time, Lee Hayden (Elliot) makes a living doing voice-over for barbecue sauce and spends his free time getting stoned with an old actor friend, Jeremy (Nick Offerman).

Diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer, Hayden attempts to make amends with his estranged daughter Lucy (Krysten Ritter) and his ex wife, Valarie (Katharine Ross -Sam Elliot’s real life wife). Having burned emotional bridges many years ago, the reconciliations are cold. While toking with Jeremy, Lee makes the acquaintance with Charlotte (Laura Prepon), a stand-up comedian. Through Charlotte, Lee is given one last dose of living fully. While attending an awards banquet, he is given career redemption and, through moments of generosity, the actor becomes a social media sensation again. But, through Charlotte, Lee is given a brutal reminder about his vulnerability and fatality.

The Hero sets false expectations for a Sam Elliot film in which he wears a 10 gallon hat. The title is meant to be ironic. Elliot takes full advantage of his public persona, while revealing painful truths about aging. His voice is as strong as ever, but as the film progresses, the tough-looking cowboy fades into a pot smoking has been. The Hero is hard to watch, but is a truthful statement about a generation of actors whose time has passed them by.

Having not seen the previous Cars movies, I was drawn to Cars 3 on Father’s Day when mainstream critics questioned if this film was meant for children. It does provide enough slapstick to hold a child’s attention, but this new Disney Pixar animated movie has themes and emotional content that relates to middle-aged adults. It is a reminder of Pixar’s award-winning films like Monsters Inc., Wall-E, Up and Toy Story 3.

After many successful years on the racing circuit, Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) is defeated by a younger rival who is faster, stronger and more scientifically aerodynamic. Taking advice from his dearly-departed mentor, Doc Hudson (the late Paul Newman), McQueen trains “old school,” but is forced to work with young Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo), a perky trainer with unrealized dreams. Cars 3 has an adult appeal for people who like The Karate Kid, Cinderella Man and Rocky Balboa.

Being a Pixar/Disney release, Cars 3 includes a brilliant short subject film titled Lou. Set in a playground, Lou feels like an Aesop Fable with a subject about bullies and loss. Both Cars 3 and Lou create a life-affirming afternoon at the movies.

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