Review/update: Hesher rages on

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You probably don't want to seek spiritual guidance from Hesher, the metal rocking title character of this movie. But that seems to be writer/director Spencer Susser's premise. (Full review here.) In the film, Hesher crash lands into the midst of a family in crisis. Young TJ is looking for any kind of help or guidance, but his mother is gone and his father is in a medicated stupor from dealing with depression. Hesher barges in, and he both freeloads and seems to be a form of shock therapy for TJ and his father. Some of the plot progression is highly implausible in any real sense, but the film is gripping because of its crazed energy and it seems designed to be viewed in a more allegorical manner. (The trailer above asks if Hesher can help.)

Hesher is anything but predictable, serenely calm at some moments, a volcano of aggression at others. At first, the story reminded me of The Tao of Pooh, Benjamin Hoff's 1982 book re-examining A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh stories and divining his approach to life in different light. While the notion was whimsical and popular, I subscribed to the skeptical response that Pooh himself is an addict — given to stealing honey from his friends and being rather oblivious to any inconvenience he causes them —¬†and thus not an enlightened figure (ask Rabbit). Whether Hesher helps this family see life in a new way or just parachutes in and freeloads is up for debate. In one scene, Hesher tries to help TJ's grandmother by showing her how to smoke her medical marijuana more efficiently —¬†through a bong. She seems to like it better, but it's hard not to notice that in sharing this wisdom, Hesher smokes most of her weed himself. Altruism? Or stealing meds from a senior citizen? You be the judge. The movie has a stellar cast, it's got a hilarious reference to the original Star Wars and its run has been extended at Zeitgeist through July 28. (Conan O'Brien Can't Stop has also been extended through July 28.)

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