Wednesday, March 29, 2017

American Hero (2015)

Number Rolled: 94
Movie Name/Year: American Hero (2015)
Tagline: With great power comes zero responsibility.
Genre: Comedy, Mockumentary, Action, Drama
Length: 86 minutes
Rating: NR
Production Companies: Vertigo Films
Producer: Louise Killin
Director: Nick Love
Writer: Nick Love
Actors: Stephen Dorff, Eddie Griffin, Bill Billions, Jonathan Billions, Andrea Cohen, Luis Da Silva Jr., Keena Ferguson, Raefen Greer, Yohance Myles, Tim J. Smith, Phillip Michael Youmans, Christopher Berry, Daniel James, Ariadne Joseph, King Orba, Dominique Perry, Ashley Vetere, Countrified Wedman, Grayson Thorne Kilpatrick
Stunts: Floyd Anthony Johns Jr., Eric Stratemeier

Speech Available: English
Subtitles Available: English, Spanish

Blurb from Netflix: A hard-partying slacker with superpowers puts them to waste until a turning point leads him down a more traditionally superheroic path.

Selina’s Point of View:
Hell of a good week. Great movie on Monday. Great movie on Wednesday. On top of that, it’s Cat’s turn for the Top 20 on Friday, so I have a day off. Spectacular week.

American Hero looked amazing from the start. Both Cat and I listed it within the top 5 of our movies to look out for in December of 2015. The trailer made it look extremely original and it had a great cast tied to it. My hopes were sky high for this film. That could easily have wound up being a bad thing, but it met every single expectation I had, and then some.

Like the film we watched for Monday, American Hero was incredibly character driven. Every person in the film had their own personality and depth. Even the people from off-screen, that were just mentioned, caused an image of the world to form more clearly in my mind. I loved the characters I was supposed to love, even when they did stupid shit, and I hated the characters that I was supposed to hate.

I absolutely fell in love with Melvin, Stephen Dorff’s (Heatstroke, Brake, Somewhere) character. He acted a bit like several friends I’ve had over the years (of course my friends had no telekinesis, but you know what I mean). I found his entire story arc believable.

We all like to believe that if we developed superpowers that we’d go out there and change the world but, really, do you have any clue how to begin with that? Batman, Superman, the Avengers… they all have supervillains to guide them. Clearly, their job is to stop those guys. In reality, things aren’t quite so black and white. Even when they are, there are laws that need to be followed and so much wrong with the world that it would be nearly impossible to figure out where to begin. You could wind up accidentally going overboard, like Light Yagami in Death Note (2006-2007), or underboard, like Melvin.

Lucille, Eddie Griffin’s (How Sweet it Is, Highway, Redline) character, had a heartbreaking backstory, but enough soul that he didn’t turn into a sad-sack type. The sense of humor infused into the bleak reality of his life was enough to make him the perfect on-screen companion for Dorff’s character.

Yohance Myles (Home Sweet Hell, Containment, Hours) also seemed to be a great choice for Lucas, the clueless scientist trying to figure out what was happening in Melvin’s head. His micro-expressions made the character that much more believable.

This mockumentary felt real. If there were ever a person with telekinesis walking around, this is pretty close to what I’d expect the documentary to look like, only with more excitement.

I believe American Hero was a good idea that was well cast and well executed. Nick Love (The Business, The Sweeney, Outlaw) did a great job with it. I will definitely be watching it again.

Cat’s Point of View:
I had such high hopes for this movie. I even listed it as my #4 pick in my Top 20 Movies for December of 2015. With a combination of Eddie Griffin’s (The New Guy, Date Movie, Get the Money) humor and Stephen Dorff’s (Immortals, The Motel Life, Wheeler) multitude of talents; how could the movie possibly go wrong?!

The answer to that question is: far too easily. Disappointment is really the word that sums it up best for me.

I loved the concept of the story, and the framework they used for telling it. Dark comedy centering on an anti-hero is right up my alley, really. There was just something missing. I can’t really pin it on one thing. It was as if there was a chapter ripped out and a few other miscellaneous pages were either randomly added or were also missing.

I related well to Dorff’s character. I wanted to smack him upside the head one moment and in the next scene I was wanting to give him a hug. It was a treat that we got to hear some of his piano playing, also. His character was complex and well nuanced. The arc of the story just needed more than just so much character development.

Griffin was funny; but that’s generally an expectation. His role had a good bit of serious nature to it, as well. I did love the dynamic between the characters of Melvin and Lucille.

The movie was both filmed in and set in New Orleans. I understand the cross section that they wanted to show in the movie – areas you don’t hear about when people talk about New Orleans, Mardi Gras, and Bourbon Street. You don’t get a peek at those places unless something happens – like Katrina. I think they could have done more with it.

I might watch this one through again just to see if I can understand it better. 

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 33%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 22%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 3.5/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score4.5/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 3.5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score3.5/5

Trust-the-Dice’s Parental Advisory Rating: R

Movie Trailer:

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