Review: Movie Hero, The (2002)

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Steve Rhodes

Feb 28, 2003, 8:54:08 PM2/28/03
A film review by Steve Rhodes
Copyright 2003 Steve Rhodes
RATING (0 TO ****): ***

Do you have an audience, or wish that you did? Blake Gardner, acted with
playful charm by Jeremy Sisto ("Six Feet Under"), does. In fact, his whole life
is a movie, something that strangers initially resist accepting. His friends
and parents have long since decided to believe in his strange vision or at least
to humor him into thinking that they do. Blake has no doubt, as he speaks
directly to us, his audience, that he is living his movie.

Let there be no doubt, however, that Blake's life is made of celluloid and not
pixels. THE MOVIE HERO, written and directed by Brad T. Gottfred, is part
fantasy and part homage to the magic of movies. In an early scene, Blake, with
popcorn in one hand and soda in the other, kneels in front of his altar, a movie
screen, reciting a funny turn on the Lord's Prayer. Among other things, he
prays to the movie gods, "Lead us not into television but deliver us from that
evil." (Let's hope this line doesn't scuttle any opportunity that Gottfred has
for selling the video rights to his picture.)

Currently Blake's life, I mean movie, involves a man known only as the
Suspicious Character (Peter Stormare, FARGO) and a lovely therapist named
Elizabeth (Dina Meyer, STARSHIP TROOPERS). Actually, Blake doesn't refer to
Elizabeth by her given name, but by her character's position in his movie, which
is "the love interest." Since Blake is her very first client ever, Elizabeth
doesn't want to turn him off even if he is trying to turn her on. Of course,
this being Blake's movie, she will eventually succumb. The whole Suspicious
Character subplot, while being essential to the story's resolution, is
underwritten and disappointing.

Although it has blemishes like a teenager going through puberty, the movie is
such a cute little charmer than it's hard to resist. Typical of its many funny
bits is Blake's disgust at having had a great childhood and an equally lovely
life. "How can my audience root for me if I have nothing to overcome?" THE
MOVIE HERO, made on the proverbial shoestring, has to overcome a lot in a world
of big budget bombs. Why would a studio believe that a little movie like this
could make it when so many of the ones that they devoted so many financial
resources to didn't make a profit? Let's hope that some distributor will look
kindly upon Blake and help turn the movie about his movie into a success.

THE MOVIE HERO runs 1:38. It is not rated but would be PG for mature themes and
would be acceptable for kids around 8 and up.

The film was shown last night as the opening film of San Jose's Cinequest Film
Festival (, which runs February 27 to March 9, 2003.



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