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Imaginary Heroes
DVD disk
Jun 22, 2005 By: Quigles
Imaginary Heroes order
Director:
Dan Harris

Actors:
Sigourney Weaver
Emile Hirsch
Jeff Daniels

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
The already crumbling Travis family collapses when the star son kills himself. In this suburban household, all that is left are the unhappy lives of a troubled teen, a sick mother, and a distant father.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
A dysfunctional suburban family deals with angst and depression during their troubled lives... heard it before? Me too. American Beauty, The Ice Storm, Donnie Darko the list goes on and on. All of them are similar in plot, but each is unique in their own way. HEROES, on the other hand, doesnt really portray anything particularly original, but is still wonderfully touching in its own right. It just feels a bit dated, thats all. A few years back, it would have been filmmaking gold.

Im a sucker for these types of movies. The whole dysfunctional family element always hits me hard, so I welcome them whenever they come around. Im also a deep advocator of portraying compelling and diverse characters on screen, and if theres one standout thing about this flick, its definitely the characters. Emile Hirsch, previously seen in THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, is especially great as the remaining son. His subtleties in emotion add a lot to picture, a feat which not many young newcomer actors can pull off. Just as good as Hirsch is the always amazing Sigourney Weaver, who brings a surprising amount of humor and irony to her role, while still being lonely and depressed. Not quite as standout is Daniels, who plays a central character in the film, although isnt given all that much to do. Luckily, he still manages to shine with a few strong scenes and a glaring presence that could strip away your manhood. Even the most minor of characters bring something special to the plate, such as the sons seemingly one-sided drugged-up buddy, the supermarket youngster who hits on the mom, and even the boy in the hospital who attempted suicide. All of these characters have little-to-no screen time, yet still add their own taste of life to the picture. I guess it makes the whole thing feel more real.

The obviously talented first-time writer/director Dan Harris has put together a terrific ensemble piece. So even though not that much happens during the runtime, you can still appreciate it, let it sink in, and walk away feeling better for having experienced it. I know I certainly did.
THE EXTRAS
Not too much in the way of extras, but more than enough to please me for a flick like this one.

Commentary (with writer/director Harris and actor Hirsch): While these two coversed between Australia and California, I sat quietly, enjoying the chatter. I was thoroughly entertained, and at the same time, felt like I was learning something too. Certainly worth a listen.

Commentary (with Weaver): Intelligent, classy, and agreeable. Aside from a few quiet spots, Weaver has plenty to say and most of it is worth listening to, so check this track out.

Behind the Scenes (6:25): Better than the average making-of featurette, but still fairly void of anything worthwhile. If you enjoyed the movie, I suppose its worth a look.

Deleted Scenes (10:58 - with optional commentary): Pretty decent deleted scenes, most of which were cut for time, as well as other reasons explained in the first-rate commentary. I especially enjoyed a minor subplot involving a teacher at the sons school.

We also get a Photo Gallery with 20 on-set pictures, 9 Previews, and a Milan Records Promo.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
While not the most original or creative movie involving broken suburban families, IMAGINARY HEROES still shines through its characters and the actors portraying them. So if you havent yet, check out the other even greater flicks, and then when you have the time for it, give this one a go-around. Hopefully it touches you like it did me (err, I didnt mean for that to come across as wrong as it did).
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