starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Devin Brochu, Rainn Wilson, Natalie Portman
screenplay by Spencer Susser & David Michôd
directed by Spencer Susser
EVERYTHING MUST GO
starring Will Ferrell, Rebecca Hall, Michael Peña, Laura Dern
screenplay by Dan Rush, based on the story "Why Don't You Dance?" by Raymond Carver
directed by Dan Rush
by Ian Pugh You could say that Spencer Susser's Hesher is about the desperate search for philosophical guidance during times of grief and how it can come from the unlikeliest of places...but that's the easy-to-digest version. The eponymous longhaired, frequently-shirtless metalhead makes for an intentionally obvious allegory; less obvious is Hesher's message that Christ was probably nothing like the Fonz. Troubled young lad T.J. (Devin Brochu) is still reeling from his mother's death, and during one of his frequent temper tantrums, he runs afoul of Hesher (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who responds by moving into T.J.'s house uninvited. Hesher's a profane slob prone to bouts of unprovoked violence, but Dad (Rainn Wilson) is too depressed to care and wacky old Grandma (Piper Laurie) takes Hesher in senile stride. So, T.J. is forced to live with this new houseguest under threat of a "skullfucking." Admittedly, the picture boils down to a series of wacky vignettes (in which Hesher hounds T.J. and fucks up his life accordingly), though anyone looking for a genuine moral centre is bound to be disappointed. While Hesher inevitably teaches the characters about the virtues of moving on, the very fact of Hesher himself throws doubt on the intentionality of his lessons. Offering advice in the form of vulgar, half-assed metaphors, he is perhaps best described as an out-of-control golem conjured by an adolescent's directionless rage.