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Movie reviews: ‘Transformers,’ ‘Beatriz at Dinner’ and ‘The Hero’ invade theaters, June 23

Paramount Pictures, 2017.

“The Hero”

”The Hero” feels like a lifetime achievement award for its star, the eternal gruff cowboy Sam Elliott, who plays an aging star, Lee Hayden, who is on the verge of receiving one himself. Elliott has one of the most recognizably deep southern drawls in the business, and is perhaps one of the most under-rated actors of his generation…here he gets one of the few lead roles he’s had despite his near 40-year career in TV and film. This movie and this role seems made for him, and it fits him perfectly, like a worn cowboy boot.

But Elliott’s brilliant, subtle performance, is not where "The Hero" goes wrong. Being in the twilight of his career and getting news from the doctor that he has cancer, Hayden befriends a young woman…and I do mean young, considering the fact that his character is in his seventies. This girl, Charlotte (Laura Prepon), is a stand-up comedian who forms an unlikely bond with the old actor…but none of it really works. This inspires Hayden to also try to re-connect with his estranged daughter (Krysten Ritter), a plot ploy we’ve seen one too many times. Nick Offerman shows up as Hayden’s pot-dealer and former co-star, and their scenes together make you wish for a movie about their friendship much more than the one we’re given. Hayden faces love and mortality head-on, like a real American hero, but Elliott is the true hero: An iconic actor stuck in a movie that should be better. But like he has in so many other performances, he quietly steals each scene he’s in, and captivates you to the point that you almost don’t realize you’re watching a subpar film. Almost.

Grade: C+

Rated R.
Genre: Drama, Comedy. Run Time: 1 hour 33 minutes.
Starring: Sam Elliott, Nick Offerman, Laura Prepon, Krysten Ritter .
Co-Written and Directed by Brett Haley ("I’ll See You in My Dreams," "The New Year").

Also opening this week: "Ripped" and "Obit."

All of these movies open locally on Friday, June 23, 2017. Check for show times.

Next week’s reviews will include: "Baby Driver," "The Beguiled" and "The House."