action movie freak    



Hobo With A Shotgun
or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love Film

"You won't think twice about killing someone's wife,
because you won't even know it's wrong in the first place.

(21 Jan 2011)  Director: Jason Eisener

I love that film expands horizons! For me, the biggest case in point was at
Actionfest 2011. Actionfest's second year brought many more career film people, and that seemed to elevate the entire festival.  It didn't essentially change anything about it, rather, it gave more importance to the Genre (it's billed as the first and only film festival that's strictly "Action"1)), and if you were there, it created an excitement that was palpable in every showing.  It really is a very special experience to be with like-minded people when you all truly appreciate something. It feels a lot like love.

The trailer for  Hobo With a Shotgun was extremely violent. It may seem strange to talk of love if you've only seen the trailer and haven't seen the movie. When people object to the violence in Action Movies, I often wonder what their reasons are. They often stop short and object before they see a film, based solely on the trailer (I've been guilty of that), or they object to the Genre.  Is it for the same reasons I object to the degrading vs. debasing (thanks to Ric Meyers for making that distinction) of women in Action (or any) films? 

Degradation and violence is often necessary in Action Movies to create empathy or a thirst for vengeance with an audience (best case: 13 Assassins, also shown at ActionFest), and while it may be uncomfortable to watch, your forbearance is paid off with 'message' when they turn it around at the end.


Debasing however, is never okay. With debasing, when you watch you feel slimed, like you were a part of something awful—watching feels like contributing.  But if you stay and don't walk out, it will at least give you the opportunity to write about how you felt, which will help fight it, and chances are your horizons will be expanded. "Enlighten me!" [The Rundown]

After watching the trailer for Hobo With A Shotgun, I knew I would either love or hate it.  When I first saw it, I didn't hate it, but it took watching it a second time (June 10, 2011) to love it.  Hobo made me realize that the difference between me and the career film people at ActionFest is that their horizons are that much more expanded; that they are in love with film. And that realization took me back to when I fell in love with Action Movies.


intial thoughts on Hobo With A Shotgun had everything I needed to get to this point, why I didn't at the time is a mystery, but better late than never.  Film is like that. When it's really good, it stays with you. Many times films become a part of who you are, a part of who "we" are. The shared experience of such a collaborative and visually impactful art form is a tremendous gift.  Leave it to Jane Austen to know about love. From Fanny Price, Edward says "There are as many forms of love as there are moments in time." Austen, in her way, was also saying there is only one "in love".

When people say "I don't go to the movies that much" I wonder how they stay away.  Up until I decided not to see Cyclone2, I saw every movie that came out, and found something worthwhile even if it was just pushing the envelope on special effects, or, the show-stealing performance of a minor character by an unknown that launches their career. I thought, then, that Cyclone was the movie that taught me to be more selective. Now, the only reason I don't see every movie is time and money.  Given the opportunity and resources, I would see EVERY movie, and come away with something worthwhile. I just happen to enjoy Action Movies the most. That an incredibly violent movie like Hobo could speak so about love is one of the great miracles of film.



The town and violence in Hobo reminded me of
Paul Verhoeven's Robocop 2 (1990), and the colors and camera angles reminded me of
Brian De Palma's Snake Eyes (1998). Visually, it's creative in every aspect, especially the violence. It took me until after ActionFest, as I watched the movie the second time, to realize that the Hobo's speech to the babies in the hospital maternity room could be about himself (and not the town, as the clips being shown suggest).  He has "regrets" and it seems like he realized too late what he did, but seeing the violence in this town made him realize. He was so far gone, it took something super shocking to wake him up. (The same could be true for you, or me.)  He was the one who took drugs, sold drugs, and he was the one who killed someone's wife.  It could all be about him, his delusions. How he sees things.

When I saw Hobo at ActionFest 2011 and wrote about it, I compared it to Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange and that comparison stands up, not only visually, but with message.

If you object to violence and won't see a film like Hobo, you come up snake eyes because you don't get the attendant horizon expansion.  Get a little out of your comfort zone, don't make a judgment call immediately after, wait a little while and see if it grows on you. You will get something out of Hobo With A Shogun, but if you never see it, how will you know?

I went to ActionFest 2011 in love with Action Movies, and came away in love with Film. Promoting the message that the Festival is about the unsung heroes of the Action genre, 2011's Actionfest included movies that seemed to be made to please movie people, not just movies that the movie makers think will please everyone

In the hallway the critics come and go
Talking of George Romero . . .



1 Oh yeah!  When Wikipedia says so, you know it's real! lol

2 If you knew that was the 1987 motorcycle movie starring Heather Thomas, you're either my age or addicted to Action Movies, or both.  Which Heather? The prettier one whose career didn't take off.


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