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Imaginary Heroes

Dan Harris

Imaginary Heroes
I only agreed to watch this disc because all of the main characters were named Travis. Rest assured that I'll never give into that kind of vanity again, as the Travis clan lives life as a John Cheever after school special that's full of trauma but empty of purpose. Emile Hirsch is the sensitive surviving son in a family picking up the pieces after an older brother has committed suicide: father Jeff Daniels has become distant and resentful, leaving hard-ass mother Sigourney Weaver to do the parenting in her self-absorbed, take-no-prisoners manner. This raw clay might have had decent form if writer/director Dan Harris had figured out how he wanted to mould it. But mostly the film is just an excuse to wallow in every dysfunctional family cliché in the book; it may not resemble reality but it will be exploitatively "dramatic" and that's really the important thing. But if you're thinking that a film with rampant drug use, sibling hate-ons and adultery will at least satisfy your soapy instincts, be advised that Harris's visual blandness ensures that it will fail on even that level. The resulting fawn-coloured blur would be utterly forgettable if it weren't so outrageous in its presumptions, leaving you simultaneously bored by the ideas and thunderstruck at their deployment. Extras include a commentary by Weaver that's generous if not terribly informative, a second commentary with Harris and Hirsch that includes the information that a cut-scene was based on The Neverending Story, a brief "making of" featurette with the usual mutual admiration by the director and principals, a deleted scenes gallery, a photo gallery and a Milan records promo. (Columbia/Sony)


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