Hobo With a Shotgun, Hillbillies With a Chainsaw and Two Dudes With a Flamethrower

Continuing my slow slog through the movies sent out for awards consideration. All movies mentioned are now available on DVD, but I don’t really recommend you search them out.

This week’s theme: What Were They Thinking?

Hobo With A Shotgun

Seriously. Someone sent out “Hobo With A Shotgun” for awards consideration. And I suppose if there were a category for “Best Use of a Manhole Cover as a Beheading Device” it would be a shoo-in, but otherwise I just don’t see it.

Yet another tribute to the ’60s-’70s Grindhouse films (Oh, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, what have you wrought?), “Hobo” stars Rutger Hauer as the title character, a homeless bum who hops off a freight train and winds up in a small town where lawlessness reigns. The head troublemaker is The Drake (Brian Downey), who terrorizes the citizens alongside his two violent, idiot sons.

Hobo just wants to beg for enough money to buy a lawnmower and start a grass cutting business, but he can’t just stand idly by in the face of such evil, so he gets a shotgun and…well, you don’t need Paul Harvey to tell you the rest of the story.

I suppose “Hobo With A Shotgun” isn’t a bad movie. From its opening credits to its soundtrack, it’s clearly made by people with a love for and understanding of grindhouse cinema. I guess I’m just tired of it. I enjoyed “Grindhouse” and “Machete” but this is just going to the same well one time too often. The idea isn’t fresh anymore and the hyper-violence isn’t engaging, it’s actually boring.

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

Horror and comedy. Two great tastes that taste great together? Not necessarily.   “T&DvE” is one-half situation comedy and one-half horror movie. It’s what you’d get if you threw “My Name is Earl” and “Friday the 13th” into a blender.

Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine) are two good-ol’-boys who have gone up into the mountains for a weekend of fishing and hanging out at Tucker’s  new cabin (a dilapidated mess that looks like something a serial killer would live in).

A van full of college kids have also decided to vacation in the same mountain woods. That first night Tucker and Dale are out fishing in their boat when they happen upon Allison (Katrina Bowden), who’s about to take a swim. She’s started by the boys, falls in the water and hits her head. Tucker and Dale pull her into the boat and when the other college kids show up, they assume their friend is being kidnapped by crazed, killer hillbillies.

Tucker and Dale take Allison back to the cabin to recover and what follows is a series of absurd, sitcom-style misunderstandings and mishaps which result in most of the kids being gruesomely killed. If you think the Three Stooges’ films could have been improved with buckets of blood, this is the movie for you.

“Tucker and Dale vs. Evil” is either a brilliant send-up of horror movies or just really stupid. I lean toward the latter interpretation. I did find Tucker and Dale to be engaging characters but I really didn’t get into the story.


Woodrow (Evan Glodell) and Aiden (Tyler Dawson) are two “dudes” who recently moved to the West Coast and dream of building a flamethrower and a “Mad Max” car so they will be prepared for the end of the world.

One night Woodrow meets free-spirited Milly (Jessie Wiseman) in a bar and the next day they go on a 3-day road trip to Texas because Milly wants to be taken to some greasy spoon. BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT PEOPLE DO ON A FIRST DATE.

And that was the first of many things that annoyed me about “Bellflower.” If you’re wondering how Woodrow and Milly could just take off for three days the answer is that no one in this movie appears to have a job. Are they unemployed?  If so, shouldn’t they at least be looking for work? Are they independently wealthy? If so, why do they live is squalor?

Anyway, Woody and Milly start up a relationship, even though Milly warns Woody that these things always end badly. Understatement. In short order Woodrow catches Milly cheating on him and things get ugly. Eventually things get violent (Ladies, don’t break up with a guy who’s building a flamethrower). Things escalate and escalate until — wait! Was it all a dream sequence?!

Oh, how I hated this movie. Granted, it had two things going for it: Jessie Wiseman has a compelling on-screen presence; and the film had a gritty, stylized look that was interesting.

But I found director/writer/star Evan Glodell’s performance charisma-free and the character unlikeable. Why any woman, let alone the two in this film, could be attracted to him is beyond my understanding. And then to build everything up only to pull out the “it was all in his head” cheat was unacceptable.


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