Hesher: A Very Bitchy Movie Review

Posted by on Jul Fri, 2012 in Movie Review | 2 comments

I hate to be blunt, but this movie is a total drag. When I first read blurbs hailing the film as gruesome, dramatic, and hilarious, I was expecting something between Rockstar and Dead Alive. What I got instead was something between a chick-flick and a home movie. The plot is tedious, unless you want to spend an hour and a half of watching a 13 year old suffering constantly. Seriously, the protagonist, T.J, is tormented by his own family, school bullies, authority figures, and especially by the titular character, Hesher. The bad guys are all one-dimensionally cruel, with an annoying heartlessness bordering on that of a cartoon supervillain. Even the good guys are a pain in the ass, as they seem to be pathetic martyrs who passively suffer. For a movie that revolves around death, violence, and substance abuse, it somehow manages to be incredibly boring. Like all dramas, it has the requisite family dinner scene in which the males yell at each other, break the dishes, and storm off while the womenfolk weep and plead them to stop.

As for Hesher himself…
For all the depth he has, he might as well be a stick figure shouting “Weed! Beer! Motorhead! Fire! I’m an asshole! Rawr!” He is basically a caricature of all the negative stereotypes about Metalheads. On the plus side, at least he’s not predictable. Even if you don’t know what his next move will be, you can rest assured that he is consistently acting like a horrible dick. The worst part is, he’d be kind of hot if he wasn’t such an insufferable asshole.

I’m not just being facetious when I say that the credits are my favorite part of the movie. That is the only time you hear a Metal song in its entirety, and I was also mildly entertained by the gallery of Hesher’s art that looks like obscene graffiti from a bathroom stall.
As grueling as this film is, it isn’t all bad. The scene in which Hesher smokes weed with the Grandmother is so wrong, yet so beautiful, like the breast-feeding scenario in Grapes Of Wrath.  For the most part, however, this is an account of unjust existential tragedy, the likes of which I haven’t seen since the Old Testament. I can acknowledge the allure of the movie’s concept, but in all honesty, I pretty much hated the whole thing. Two stars outta five.



  1. A few of my co-workers at Dish and I have a movie club, and Hesher came up as the next on our list since it stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He’s been getting several roles recently, and since one of the girls in the club adores him, we thought, “why not.” I added it to my Blockbuster @Home queue, and it’s already arrived in time for our meeting tomorrow night. I did find that ‘HESH’ is short for High Explosive Squash Head, and it was a type of explosive ammunition the British used in the Cold War to bring down walls/buildings. After reading that, I have a feeling of what kind of role JGL will play. I assume that he’ll play the highly volatile head banger that the Urban Dictionary so kindly describes someone who smokes, drinks and loves metal, but who may be bringing down some walls. I hope that there will be a message deeper than what one may expect from Hesher, so I’m kind of glad to read that it’s not anything like Rockstar or Dead Alive.

  2. Nice diss!

    Dead Alive is “Braindead” in Australia. That movie is freaking awesome. I saw it when I was a kid in the 90s. Got to love that Sumatran Rat Monkey.

    I like Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Mysterious Skin, but apart from that, I am finding the characters I’ve seen him play to be woefully one-dimensional.

    Oh look, there’s Natalie Portman on the cover, apparently transforming herself into a dag like the chameleon she is by wearing some unfashionable glasses. Hmm. I was so amused by that description of yours about the weeping. Those kind of stereotypical scenes make me cringe massively. I can see her really involved in pleading and weeping – I can just see it. And it annoys me.

    Heath Ledger was hotter than JGL, and he could actually act. (I mention him because they both have squinty eyes.)

    Is it based on a graphic novel? I can’t remember. I do know that Natalie Portman produced it, and this fact made me suspect I would find it annoying.

    I like your blog,
    – a passerby

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