First Hit: A sweet thoughtful film about a man caught in the past and trying to rectify the future.
Who doesn’t love Sam Elliot’s voice? Here Elliot plays Lee Hayden a part time actor and voice over master who had one film part that made him famous. The part was in a western in the 1960's called ‘The Hero’.
The film begins with him doing a voice over with his deep rich velvety voice. The director/producer asks him to continue repeating the saying (about some sauce) as if he’ll do the same words in such a way that it is different. Watching Lee closely you see his distaste for producers and directors not knowing what they want.
He spends time with his neighbor Jeremy Frost (Nick Offerman) who is a former actor who did a short-lived television series with Lee, and is also Lee’s marijuana dealer/provider. They smoke pot, take a few other drugs, drink, get high, watch old films and lament why their careers didn’t do more.
There’s a sadness about Lee, which gets pointed out by Charlotte Dylan (Laura Prepon) one of Jeremy’s other drug customers, when he asks what she sees in him while staring, she says “sadness”. There is a mutual spark of interest and he invites her on a date to an awards banquet where he’s to receive a “lifetime…” award.
The awards banquet is a hoot because Charlotte gave him a ‘molly’ in his champagne and they have a blast together.
The other story is Lee’s attempt at a reconciliation with his daughter Lucy (Krysten Ritter) whom he had with wife Valarie (Katherine Ross). Carrying around this news about his cancer is weighing Lee down and his inability to share this with Valarie, Lucy and his neighbor Jeremy is creating internal dialogue and dreams that have him reliving his famous role, 'The Hero'.
The challenges Lee has are: Being with a woman who’s about 30+ years his junior. His former wife’s success as an artist and gallery owner. His cancer and having an estranged daughter are slowing sinking him. He must find a way to begin resolving these challenges.
Scenes that I thought were powerful included; Charlotte’s comedy routine, Charlotte reading a poem, he and his daughter standing on a beachside cliff, his audition for a new film, and his sharing with Valarie about his cancer.
Elliot’s voice is amazing. I love listening to him speak. It is a voice I’m envious of. He’s perfect for this part because, although known, he’s not an actor you see in a lot of films. It was very nice to see Ross again in a film role. Although it was a small part, she’s great. Prepon is fantastic as the young woman who is interested in spending time with Lee. She’s a perfect amount of sassiness and thoughtfulness. Ritter is strong as the forgotten daughter. I loved her lines on the beach cliff about comparing their hands. It was truly touching. Offerman was funny as Lee’s neighbor, friend and drug supplier. When Lee is reviewing lines for a new part, Offerman’s antsy behavior is priceless. Brett Haley and Marc Basch wrote a very strong script. It was filled with perfect sections of silence as well as witty dialogue. Haley did a great job of filming this and when you see through the eyes of Lee high on mushrooms, you sensed the perceived clarity of life.
Overall: This was a fine film that will probably be enjoyed by a small audience.