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>> Saturday, April 2, 2011

This is what happens when you tell them to get a job - they do.

There was once upon a time when you could tell the decade a movie was made during because of the qualities that particular film possessed. It doesn't take much more than hearing a tidbit of the score or a second or two of screen time for most people to recognize a non-classic from the 1930's, the 40's or the 70's and 80's. Even the movies from the last ten to twenty years have started to date themselves - and this is all due to quality of the film, the effects present and the titles.

Obviously when I mention these things, I'm not talking about films like Grease - which was shot in the 70's but took place in the 50's. I'm talking more about the types of films that have made it big as a result of the Grindhouse (2007) films, Planet Terror and Death Proof - resulting offspring also included last year's Machete. I'm not going to say I disliked these films though, I down right enjoyed them and that brings me to the film I'm here to talk about today - Hobo with a Shotgun.

The title itself is titillating and walking in I only knew the info I had gathered from the poster at my local Galaxy and a snippet or two from TV commercials. It's been a while since I walked into a cinema blind - and I'm glad I did. If the title didn't get me (I am partial to hobos as I have my own web series centered around one), the poster did. It screamed 70's style with a good taste for gore. What I was surprised with as Hobo began to roll, was that this was a movie more centered around the 90's. Wow, was I getting that old already that cheesy 90's films were now the new thing to spoof and create a camp out of?! Then I remembered, it was now 2011 which means the twenty-year rule had come to pass, and the early 90's were now a novelty (and fashion faux pas) and something to be ridiculed by the new generation. Not only that, but to top the 'cheese' cake off - Hobo was more or less Canadian-made (the presence of Trailer Park Boys star Robb Wells was the tip off for that nugget of info.).

So there I was, watching a Canadian-made flick (last one was the awful Score: A Hockey Musical) about a homeless man with an attitude problem that took place in the 90's and looked like something from the Dick Tracy cutting room floor. To be honest, I (at first) wasn't very happy. The acting was subpar, the cinematography cheesy, the actors unrecognizable and the film un'bear'able (an inside joke for those of you who've seen the film) - I was almost ready to walk out (a feeling I last got in Sucker Punch). Then something magical happened - I got through the first act and and that dang hobo (played amazingly well by Rutger Hauer) finally got his hands on a shotgun. Turns out all I needed was a little more action. Perhaps you won't understand until you see Hobo, but that's the moment that turned the film around for me and I felt writer and director Jason Eisener finally started to embrace just how perfect his hobo creation could be. Whether it be the witty lines or quirky sense of humour (or yes, the shotgun), Hauer's unnamed hobo finally came to life and breathed some perfection into Hobo with a Shotgun. While it's a stretch, I would like to see Hauer nominated for an Oscar for his roll in this film - that's how pitch perfect he hits his mark.

It wasn't any sooner that I hated the film than I was in love with it. The annoying characters were on screen just long enough, and the story was finally coming together. The story included a hooker (Molly Dunsworth) that befriends the hobo, by the way - and it pays off relatively well. He wants her to be a school teacher, and she wants him to mow lawns. In any other film that wouldn't work as a storyline - here it glows. The rest of the characters were whatever for me, although I did enjoy seeing Canadian 'treasure' George Stroumboulopoulos get a skate through his chest.

When it comes down to the nitty gritty (and believe me, it does) Hobo with a Shotgun may be a film that will have to grow on most (and be hated by others), but for now it gets an open door. I enjoyed the film and if you liked the Grindhouse treasures, you'll probably like this one too. If you want a typical action Michael Bay film, this won't work for you. Even most commercial horror fans wont dig Hobo the way some will. I wont ever go as far as attending a Hobo with a Shotgun fan-cult party, but I can see it eventually gaining that kind of appeal. For a movie that's somewhat flawed AND Canadian - in my books that kind of potential for a cult-following ain't a bad way to be remembered.

*Stills courtesy of Alliance Films


Anonymous May 6, 2011 at 6:35 AM  

Just saw this fanboy's wet dream movie this week. Pathetic garbage. It is stunning that people are raving over this. It is embarrassingly bad. Everything moment that is supposed to be COOL or RAD just falls flat. did this get financed, and why didn't someone pull the plug after watching rushes and seeing they were creating a horrid mess?
Inept in every way.

Hobo With A Shotgun = Idiot With A Camera.

Angry Charlie May 7, 2011 at 10:00 AM  

I agree with you actually in the way you feel. As I stated, this film will be hated by most. Retrospectively, I still feel meh about it for the most part minus the parts I mentioned.

Could it have been done better - hell ya. But eventually I was happy enough with the originality of the film to recommend at least seeing it once - whether you like it or not is just sorta part of the experince. Either way, you gave it a chance and thats whats important.

If anything, I support the film because its still something that was on that screen instead of a shit Michael Bay film. While I dont want to see every movie be more like HOBO (bc I can really only take it in small doses), I do want to see more original films on the big screen - even if 'original' means bad.

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