Almost on MovieBoozer: “Hesher” is a fun movie review site. I’ve already contributed two reviews, and have plans to continue. The other day, I finally got to watch “Hesher”. After I finished writing a review up, I realized that one already existed on the site. Oops, but no big deal. Here is my almost MovieBoozer review of “Hesher”:

Typically, when you think of an angel, you think of someone with wings, a halo and loose fitting white clothing. This angel is also extremely caring and comforting, making sure everything is alright. A nice image, sure, but what if it’s slightly incorrect? What if your angel chose jet black hair and tattoos instead of a halo, and ditched Angelic 101 to wreck a neighbor’s backyard and make homemade explosives? Say hello to “Hesher”.

We are introduced to our film’s title character through the trials and tribulations of T.J. Forney, who recently lost his mother in a car accident. Living with his depressed father (Rainn Wilson) and sweet grandmother (Piper Laurie) his days are filled with longing and anger, as well as torment from a bully. Just when things couldn’t get any worse, Hesher (Joseph Gordon Levitt), a headbanging squatter, moves into T.J.’s home uninvited, and proceeds to break the family down even further — though maybe it’ll be good for them.

A Toast

I have to give applause to Hesher himself. He is an aggressively vulgar free spirit, entering and exiting places and lives with an almost supernatural ability. As I described above, He is essentially T.J.’s angel / counselor, helping the family get through their grief mostly by forcing confrontations, blowing shit up and making vulgar — yet spot on — metaphors. Maybe I like the character’s flamethrower style attitude because I kinda know a real life version — less vulgar and violent, but with a similar “cause a problem, walk out like a hero” personality. He is definitely one of the more memorable characters in recent cinema history.

A character like this must be handled just right, as some actors would be tempted to go over the top. Joseph Gordon Levitt knows exactly how to play this characters energy as naturally as possible. I’m reminded a bit of his performance in “Killshot”, playing a comedic criminal buffoon. While that particular character required some scenery chewing, it also needed the same amount of natural energy. Pretty impressive for an actor to pull that out (though I wonder how/why He even has energy to do Hesher).

Beer Two

This film’s main selling point is also it’s only real detraction. The film may follow T.J.’s family, but it feels more like an all out exhibition for Hesher. At every turn, Hesher is there, to outshine almost everybody. Not that Rainn Wilson or Natalie Portman (as a grocery store clerk / possible motherly surrogate for T.J.) go unnoticed, but…Hesher is just such a dominate character. We do care about the family and all, but we’re more interested in what Hesher has in store than anything else. Maybe this isn’t worthy of a second beer, and maybe I’m nitpicking a tad — maybe the second beer should just be given to Hesher. You know, in case He shows up.


I think GG Allin said it best: “With [me], you don’t get what you expect — you get what you deserve.” Exactly.

Bonus Drinking Game

Take a drink: Everytime Hesher blows something up or lights something on fire.

Take a drink: Whenever it seems like T.J.’s life couldn’t get any worse.

Take a drink: In Hesher’s honor

Originally published at on September 12, 2011.

Independent film critic. Progressive po’ boy, moviegoing romantic. SEFCA member, 🍅 - approved. Newsletter at

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