The description of this movie I had read before seeing any pictures or video sounded pretty interesting, which was centered around a father and son who had just lost their wife/mother until meeting a nihilist metalhead named Hesher. What could possibly be more wacky?! Ok, maybe “wacky” isn’t the first term that jumps to your mind, but it seems like it would be a comedy. Add to that the fact that the dad was played by Rainn Wilson and that Hesher was being played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt made my interest rise even higher, until I saw the trailer. I don’t know what it was about it, whether it was poorly edited or the movie just wasn’t going to be good, that I completely lost interest in it. Since I was seeing positive things beings said about it on Twitter, I figured it was worth a shot. Funny thing is that Rampaige wants to have sex with both Rainn Wilson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, probably at the same time if possible, yet after inviting her numerous times, continued to say no. When I told her I was going to see it while she was at work, she somehow tried to get upset. What’s up with that?!
Would’ve been a little more convincing had there been corpse paint, or had his tattoos have been even shittier.
T.J. is a young kid who has just lost his mother in a car accident who we see chasing after the car she died in, attempting to cling to anything involving her existence that he can. His home life shows him living with his grandmother, who is either oblivious or has dementia, and his father sleeping all day, due to the medications he’s been taking for his depression. While T.J., played by Devin Brochu, is riding his bike, he falls and gets pissed and smashes the window of an abandoned house. Turns out that this is where Hesher lives, and Hesher then invades his life, following him at school and even moves into T.J.’s house at the threat of physical abuse. T.J. is also being bullied at school, so his life is looking pretty shitty, until Natalie Portman‘s character intervenes with the bully, not only rescuing T.J. but also causing him to develop a big crush on her. Hesher teases him quite often about this, and to seek revenge on the bully, Hesher takes T.J. to the kid’s house and blows up his car, all while listening to Metallica’s song “Battery”.
Best way to make everyone sad? ADD RAIN.
T.J. and Hesher have a tumultuous “friendship”, not sure whether Hesher is there to help or if he is just there as an act of chaos. He seems to offer assistance and encouragement with the family, and tries to get them to connect with one another. He encourages T.J. and his dad to spend more time with the grandmother, but before they can take advantage of this, she passes away as well. Hesher leaves the house, being emotionally frustrated with the family, as does T.J., who goes to see Natalie Portman in hopes of finding solace. Instead, he finds Hesher sleeping with her, and gets pissed and rages on everyone. Hesher kind of disappears as T.J. sinks into a depression, until it’s time for the funeral. At the funeral, Hesher shows up drunk and offers words of wisdom about how the two should lead their lives using a story of him losing a testicle because he blew something up. The three then take the grandmother’s casket for one final walk, which is something none of them took the time to do while she was alive. This seems to be what T.J. and his father needed, as it appears his father has now been shaken from the depression he was in, and shows T.J. that Hesher’s last gift to the two of them was the car their wife/mother died in, crushed into a cube. And then we see that Hesher has spray painted the roof of their house with “HESHER WAS HERE”.
Natalie Portman’s character’s age was a little ambiguous and confusing. I have deduced that she is younger than 60 and older than 5. That’s as close as I can get.
After watching the trailer, I had kind of assumed that this movie would be a “black comedy”. That has to be one of the worst fucking ways to label a movie, because to me, it’s just an excuse to not be funny while trying really hard to. It’s like calling something “modern art”, in the sense that if people don’t like it, you can always just claim they “don’t get it”. For the first thirty or so minutes of Hesher I was under the presumption that what I had seen in the trailer was accurate and that this movie was intended to be a black comedy, and wasn’t all that funny. It was hard not laughing at the intensity and insanity of the way Hesher led his life, in that it seemed like it was easier to laugh than to accept that someone like this would exist. There are quite a few comedies that have similar characters that can get away with being assholes because they are cute, but Hesher didn’t do that, so it took a little bit to accept him for the asshole that he was. It wasn’t until the scene where he is sleeping with Natalie Portman that you realized how terrible Hesher was and that he was a selfish piece of shit. The whole movie changed for me at that scene and I realized this movie was mostly a journey of terrible events going on in T.J.’s life. You needed to experience them the way he did because we’ve all had moments in our lives that we thought were awful and the end of all things, only to realize that life will keep going and we should all appreciate what we do have while we still have it. I’m sure there are plenty of movies with this similar message that has characters being brought together by some talking dog or a homeless man or something a little bit more wholesome than Hesher. However, by using a character that was so unlikeable was just another way of showing that you never know what, or who, will cause changes in your life. Rainn Wilson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Natalie Portman, and newcomer Devin Brochu were all awesome in this movie, and played characters different from their usual fare. Although this isn’t a movie I would encourage repeated viewings of, since it was emotionally exhausting, I think once you get over the fact that this movie shouldn’t be viewed as a comedy, you can enjoy the concepts in the movie and be glad that you didn’t have to have Hesher fuck the girl you have a crush on to get the message. Although, I’m sure Rampaige would be totally okay with Hesher fucking the girl I have a crush on, because that would mean she gets to sleep with Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Wolfman Moon Scale