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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Hollywood needs some new ideas.

The summer of 2011 is upon us, and it seems moviegoers will be subject to a good helping of continuations, adaptations and remakes. Between mid-April and August, there are four superhero movies, two prequels, 10 sequels and even more movies based off of books or TV shows.

Hollywood needs "Hesher."

"Hesher" is the directorial debut of Spencer Susser, an up-and-coming Australian filmmaker whose resume consists of mostly commercials and music videos.

Written by Susser and David Michôd, "Hesher" boasts an exceptionally strong cast for a director's debut. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Natalie Portman and Rainn Wilson take on starring roles while audiences are introduced to teenage sensation Devin Brochu.

The story of Hesher (Gordon-Levitt) follows that of the standard "traveling angel" tale, but instead of a halo and white robes, he dons horns, crappy tattoos and a dirty Metallica T-shirt.

The film is seen through the eyes of 13-year-old T.J. (Brochu) as he struggles with bullies, his crush and the death of his mother. When T.J. accidentally ruins Hesher's hideout, the drifter decides to take up residence in T.J.'s garage. T.J.'s father, Paul (Wilson), apathetic with grief after losing his wife, does nothing to get rid of Hesher. Restricting himself to the couch, Paul does nothing to help T.J. with his problems, so Hesher takes it upon himself to do so.

Using a combination of fire, harsh language and metal music, Hesher helps T.J. overcome his heartache and grow into a man - or at least attempts to.

What originally interested me most about "Hesher" was its director, Spencer Susser. Hollywood is in need of fresh ideas, and Susser seems to be full of them.

My curiosity in the film only heightened once casting choices were announced. Gordon-Levitt has been an all-star the past year, starring in Christopher Nolan's "Inception" and recently landing a role in the upcoming "The Dark Knight Rises."

Wilson, most widely known as Dwight Schrute of "The Office," makes no attempt at humor as he portrays a heavily medicated, depressed father. There's always something interesting about watching comedy actors try their hand at drama.

Natalie Portman also continues her dominance of the big screen with yet another versatile role. The chance to see Portman revert to her frumpy hipster ways should be enough to get any "Garden State" fan into a theater.

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With an all-star cast and an enthusiastic, young director, "Hesher" has the potential to be a breakthrough indie-hit, snaking its way through the nation's theaters like "Napoleon Dynamite" and "Juno" once did.

"Hesher" sees a limited release on May 13. Theaters showing the film can be found on hesherthemovie.com.

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