A nameless homeless man arrives at his new home by train. He enters what the chief of police calls "Fucktown" to which he welcomes the tramp before holding him down so that a couple of douchebags might carve the word "scum" into his chest.
The film Hobo with a Shotgun was first conceived as a fake trailer created by Jason Eisener as part of a competition to promote Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's Grindhouse. The violent, somewhat gruesome, film definitely has heart and a few good Catholic jokes. It's the kind of entertainment that's perfect for the babysitting high schooler, who wants some justice on the big screen, and a few blood covered boobs, too. If you're feeling disempowered, you violently hate your boss, or you're tired of being bullied, this is the movie for which you've been waiting. It's showing at O Cinema, starting tonight.
The "hobo" (Ruter Hauer) has stumbled upon a place where people like to kick each others' asses and blow each others' heads off with odd vehicles and mash feet to pieces for no reason. It's like Iraq. It's run by three sadistic creeps. There's Drake (Brian Downey) and his two sons (Gregory Smith and Nick Bateman), wussy dudes you might remember from every '80s film, but like grosser.
The movie begins with the sons killing their uncle. One of them says, "This cocksucker gave me the shittiest Christmas presents," and the other in a low voice, "I hate Christmas." They behead him, make everyone standing around clap, and then a sexed up lass in a white bikini appears to bask in the fountain of his blood.
After the perpetrators drive away, everything goes back to normal, soft music even plays in the background. The hobo sees on TV simpler times, a man with his family and a lawnmower.
On his hobo sign, he writes, "need $ for 5 year old son who lost his leg," he then rips the lying sign and writes, "I am tired need $ for lawnmower." After chewing glass for a cameraman to buy one of these machines, he's about to buy it when robbers bust in and hold a gun to a baby's head. Why? Because fuck that baby, we suppose. The hobo then takes a shotgun and commits himself to a rampage of justice.
Suddenly, he's a media star! He's on the cover of the newspaper, running around town saving the lives of women mostly. Sometimes children, too. He's starts inspiring anti-violence groups. He's also public enemy number one, and the Drake boys burn a bus of school kids to intimidate the rest of the shitty town into bringing this crazy hobo down.
In a city of bloodthirsty, deranged citizens, there are a couple of decent people. Well, there's Abby (Molly Dunsworth), the prostitute. They save each others' lives throughout the film. She's the voice of reason, telling him that you can't save the world with a shotgun, reminding him that the people are scared. Poor Abby. She tries so hard, but Fucktown really fucking sucks, well, for the most part. Maybe they're just a little slow on the uptake.
It's not all gore, there's more than a few amusing moments. Remember the religious jokes mentioned earlier? Here are two. When the hobo gets caught, he sees his captor paint a red line over his face in the newspaper on the wall, Jesus is next to him, line across his face. There are some other good exchanges like, "You can tell Mother Teresa when she's finger banging you in hell." To which he responds, "Mother Teresa is a goddamned saint." She will be soon enough, but not yet, Mr. Hobo. Not yet.
Though the movie is great for the downtrodden, it's certainly not for kids or the queasy. There's a scene where the hobo rises up from his hiding place in a grocery cart through a man's intestines and is blown out his torso, for God's sake!
It's nicely shot, interesting to watch, and, thankfully, doesn't drag. Hobo with a Shotgun has the potential to gather a cult following, though it doesn't attach itself in any way really to a particular subculture, so it probably won't become a "cult classic." You might want to bring your male film buff friends who enjoy a little smoke of the pot and taste of the beer.
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At O Cinema (90 NW 29th Street, Miami), let your inner teen out, and enjoy this movie. Screenings are tonight0 at 8 p.m., July 1 and 2 at 7:45 and 10 p.m. and July 3 at 5:30 and 7:45. Tickets cost $10.50. Visit o-cinema.org.
Liz Tracy has her master’s degree in religion from Florida State University. She has written for publications such as Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, and Ocean Drive. Liz spent three years as New Times Broward-Palm Beach’s music editor and is currently the managing editor at Tom Tom Magazine.