Just Another Friday Night: Drinks and a Hobo With a Shotgun


Starring: Rutger Hauer

Written by: John Davies

Directed by: Jason Eisner

Distributed by: Alliance Films

For all you who don’t know the origins of Hobo with a Shotgun, an instant cult classic of epic proportions, here’s the lowdown:  In 2007 Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez held a contest for the fake trailers that would bookend their double feature Grindhouse. Hobo with a Shotgun was one of the lucky winners, and is now the second trailer (after Machete in 2010) that has gone on to full feature treatment. Now that we’re all on the same page, let’s move on.

Exploitation is definitely not my kind of movie. Anyone who reads this column even semi-regularly knows I’m a quirky indie/serious drama kind of gal. But in my love of supporting Canadian movies, desire to expand my horizons, and most importantly get my butt off the couch, I decided to make a night of Hobo with a Shotgun recently. I mean come on, just take a good look at the poster. How could you NOT want to see this?

So last Friday, my friend Ron and I met up for a few after work cocktails before heading over the Scotia Bank theatre to catch a late screening of the movie.  After the bar Ron and I walked down  St-Catherine briskly, and the topic of  our  animated conversation was how  much we were looking forward to  being entertained by some cheesy one-liners and gratuitous sex and violence. The martinis were without a doubt the classiest part of the evening.

The “plot” (just imagine me making the biggest air quotes you’ve ever seen in your life)  of the film is when a lone hobo (Rutget Hauer) comes riding into town, hoping for a new start. Instead he finds himself a vigilante in a town consumed with murderous and sadistic lust, with his only companion a vulnerable hooker with a heart of gold (Molly Dunsworth). Will this hobo be able to deliver justice…one shell at a time? (Answer: he does kill allot of people, and it’s really graphic.)

While I appreciated the fact that the extreme violence was supposed to be amusing, I   have to admit there were several moments where I turned my head away. Call me squeamish, but sometimes you just don’t feel like watching a hooker get her head sawed off by a psychotic crime boss, ok? I know the blood is horribly fake, and that a  hooker isn’t really getting her head sawed off, but, any film that has a cameo from Robb Wells, aka Ricky from Trailer Park Boys, is going to find it impossible for me to take it seriously.

Getting a head sawed off is just really friggin’ gross.

What is it about the  exploitation  genre that we relish in the awfulness of it? The horrible lighting, and camera angles, over the top acting and cheap special effects- why did it make the hundred or so of us who had decided to catch a movie that Friday night laugh so much?

When the movie was over some of us, myself included, cheered. We stood up and cheered that we’d just watched one awful piece of filmmaking.

Well it’s definitely refreshing to see movies that don’t take themselves too seriously.  In all my indie drama loving ways, even  I  can’t help but roll my eyes at the crap produced every year  for my demographic. No one in this film is obsessed about winning themselves an Oscar, they’re clearly here to have fun.

These kinds of movies remind me of the thrill I had as a young teenager making horror movies in my high school basement. While I highly doubt I’ll become a devotee of the exploitation genre, it’s impossible to deny that films like   Hobo with a Shotgun are some utterly ridiculous bits of fun.

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  • I recently downloaded this movie and thought it was horribly bad. I wasn’t expecting much — in fact, I wasn’t expecting anything at all, but I really didn’t like the film. I think there were some parts that had potential, but the film just didn’t go out of its way to be extreme enough.

    I’m with you when you say you have a hard time taking it seriously, but it’s one of those films I won’t even watch for a second time or even debate watching again. If the film went out of its way to be beyond insane and lose some of the nonsensical one-liners and shoulder-shrugging quirks, it may have become a cult classic similar to that of The Boondock Saints.

    It’s truly a parody of exploitation films. Personally, I’d say the remake of ‘I Spit On Your Grave’ is a better newer example of an exploitation film. Same with ‘The Human Centipede’.

    Personally, I prefer Death Proof and Planet Terror over Machete and Hobo. Do you know if they’re going to be making ‘Thanksgiving’? LoL. That would be something else.

  • Oh in no way whatsoever would I argue that this was a bad movie. It’s just since my usual taste involve depressing movies with beautiful people feeling bad about themselves it was amusing to go outside my normal realm and get caught up in the kitschy-ness of it. It was a fun experience but no, I won’t be watching this one again either.

  • A fair point. I guess for me the problem with it comes in the form of appeal. The concept is platinum in theory, but the execution is poor. Even the ending, if you can call it that, I guess one could say epitomized how I felt about the film.

    You have to think though — different director / direction but with the same concept and this film could have been something else. I guess it felt too much like a parody.

  • I just watched this movie and found it to be absolutely hilarious in just how ridiculously absurd it is. ];-{P}

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