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The Hero: Blu-ray + Digital HD Review

The Hero (2017) movie poster The Hero

Theatrical Release: June 9, 2017 / Running Time: 97 Minutes / Rating: R

Director: Brett Haley / Writers: Brett Haley, Marc Basch

Cast: Sam Elliott (Lee Hayden), Laura Prepon (Charlotte Dylan), Nick Offerman (Jeremy Frost), Krysten Ritter (Lucy Hayden), Katharine Ross (Valarie Hayden), Ali Wong (Herself), Cameron Esposito (Herself), Doug Cox (Doctor), Max Gail (Gary Babcock), Jackie Joyner (Betsy), Patrika Darbo (Diane), Frank Collison (Man in Dream), Andy Allo (Bartender), Linda Lee McBride (Linda), Christopher May (Director), Demetrios Saites (Paparazzi Cameraman)

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Long reduced to supporting roles as the silky-voiced sage,
Sam Elliott steps into the spotlight in The Hero. He plays Lee Hayden, a character not too far from himself. Hayden is an aging, mustachioed septuagenarian actor best known for a film role he held over forty years ago. These days, substantial offers are few and far between. Lee could use a distraction from a bleak cancer diagnosis he has just been given. But the gigs he gets now are voiceovers for barbecue sauce commercials.

While chilling at the bachelor pad of his pot dealer Jeremy (Nick Offerman), a co-star on a short-lived television series ages ago, Lee meets Charlotte (Laura Prepon), a thirtysomething comedian who's totally into old men. She tags along with him to receive a lifetime achievement award from a western appreciation guild. Under the influence of some Molly she supplies, Lee gives a lively speech that ends up going viral. Suddenly, his agent has some promising job offers for him, including an audition for a much-anticipated YA fantasy adaptation.

"The Hero" stars Sam Elliott as Lee Hayden, an actor who grows contemplative as he ages.

But The Hero is not about an aging Hollywood cowboy's triumphant renaissance. Lee is melancholic, haunted by visions of a movie that may not exist and troubled by the strained relationship he has with his 34-year-old daughter (Krysten Ritter).

The third feature co-written and directed by Brett Haley (I'll See You in My Dreams), The Hero reflects on what life is like for an old-fashioned loner in a fast-changing world.
It's impossible to imagine anyone but Elliott filling the lead role and anyone else giving it as much weight. It's a treat to get Elliott onscreen for the entirety of the film instead of having to settle for the usual small dose. He is consistently a compelling figure and Haley's film gives him the depth and time to soak it in, whether he's watching Buster Keaton and eating Chinese food with his "Parks and Rec" nemesis or remaining friendly with his ex-wife played by Katharine Ross, Elliott's real wife of more than thirty years. Elliott is the real draw here and no one else in the cast even approaches the same level of magnetic performance.

Like any movie with a senior citizen as a protagonist that isn't Pixar's Up, The Hero was given a limited release. It expanded up to 447 theaters, but never got too close to cracking the top 10 at the weekend box office, ultimately grossing a little over $4 million, which is less than Elliott and Haley's previous collaboration, even though that was in fewer theaters. This film, a release of The Orchard, recently hit Blu-ray and DVD from Lionsgate.

The Hero (2017): Blu-ray + Digital HD combo pack cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray Disc Details

2.40:1 Widescreen
5.1 DTS-HD MA (English)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, Spanish
Not Closed Captioned; Extras Not Subtitled
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Suggested Retail Price: $24.99
Single-sided, single-layered disc (BD-25)
Blue Eco-Friendly Keepcase in Cardboard Slipcover
Also available as DVD ($19.98 SRP) and on Instant Video


The Hero looks pretty nice on Blu-ray, the 2.40:1 picture showing some light grain but pleasing with good detail, clarity, and colors. The 5.1 DTS-HD master audio soundtrack gets the job done without really wowing.

This photo gallery image of Lee Hayden sitting on a tennis court in a chair marked "The Hero" became the basis for one of the film's theatrical posters.


On Blu-ray, the film is accompanied by an audio commentary by Sam Elliott
and writer-director Brett Haley. Their track is spirited and informative, with Haley explaining what inspired his writing, some things he cut (and why he doesn't include them as deleted scenes), and the fact that Offerman's character's wardrobe was inspired by Ray Liotta. The two also reflect on Elliott's career and his interactions with the public. While no commentary feels like a must-hear these days, this is not a terrible use of your time if you enjoyed the movie.

Beyond that, we find an unremarkable Photo Gallery consisting of 22 publicity stills and no behind-the-scenes ones.

"Trailers" repeats the three full previews that play at disc insertion for The Dinner, A Ghost Story, and Wind River. No trailer for The Hero is included here.

A single-sided insert supplying a code and directions for the Digital HD included with purchase is all that joins the blue disc inside the slipcovered eco-friendly keepcase.

Lee Hayden (Sam Elliott) repeatedly journeys to the set of his career-defining role in his mind.


The Hero may be a bit slow or meandering for some viewers, but I enjoyed it for Sam Elliott's fine performance and for its attention to a stage and age most movies give no thought to. Lionsgate's Blu-ray is light on extras, but the commentary complements a perfectly adequate feature presentation. There's enough here to recommend a rental, especially if you're an Elliott fan.

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Nick Offerman: The Kings of Summer The Founder Danny Collins Somebody Up There Likes Me | Katharine Ross: The Graduate
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Reviewed October 14, 2017.

Text copyright 2017 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2017 The Orchard, Northern Lights, Park Pictures, HK Productions, and Lionsgate. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.