User ReviewsReview this title
Like many other people, if I ever had the chance to participate in a contest like this, I'd probably jump at the chance. Well, after seeing this, maybe not. Depends how nice the car/truck is. Because after watching all the personalities fade away either physically or mentally, it's really an eye-opening experience, that no person should take lightly.
You've got people from all walks of life participating. From country bumpkin folk who just desperately want to win, to past winners, to Jesus-freaks who believe the power of the one above will push them to the ultimate goal, to even waitresses and ex-marines. All are entertaining in their own right, but a few select characters, like my favorite, the black dude, who should have taken up stand-up comedy as a means of living, rule the day.
Usually this appears to be some sort of fun, play around type contest, but the thing is, it's anything but. Backs, ankles, feet begin to hurt and eventually if you're up for over 30 hours or so, the mind begins to fade. You always knew that these types of things would occur, but to watch them is a totally different story. And I must admit, it's pretty damn funny. Watching one dude say he'll be here for a while, and then fast forward a couple hours and he appears to be on death's door.
Hands on a Hard Body, isn't a contest for body-builders (though they may do well, if their mind is strong), but for everyday, hard-working people who want to win their hand at a brand new truck and some well-deserved respect along the way.
If you're ever given the chance to enter one, research it a little bit because this movie definitely shows the viewer these contests aren't as easy as they appear.
"It's about this contest. These people put their hands on this truck, and the last one to remove their hands wins the truck. It's so good. I promise." Yeah, whatever.
My friends finally convinced me to go, and I was amazed. And very soon after that, I was the friend in the role of inarticulate defender, dragging anyone who would listen along with me for my second and third viewings.
My eloquence has not increased over the last two years, so I will simply say you will not be disappointed in watching Hands on a Hardbody. You may even be reminded how closely related we all are as human beings. You may also remember how dramatic and intriguing even the most seemingly uninteresting premises can be. And I defy you not to laugh out loud and/or get misty-eyed at some of the participants, not because they are presented as comic foils or ignorant east Texans, but because they are as human in their words and actions as you are likely to see in a film, documentary or otherwise.
One person here commented that the film exploits the poor people in the contest. I disagree. The people are presented as rounded individuals and the film includes interviews with the main characters, showing their viewpoints and not in a condescending way. The audience will find them amusing, but the tension comes from taking the contest seriously, and therefore, we take the contestants seriously too. We laugh at the human condition.
It's a shame this DVD is out of print. We still need this film!
This movie follows 20 people in their attempt to win a pickup truck. What I loved about this film is that (a) even that there's no action sequences with special effects, the film has a wonderful sense of tension and suspense, due largely to (b) the fact that the director doesn't just turn the camera on and expect magic to happen, but managed to interview a number of the contestants before hand and really get into their heads via some well done interviewing and editing. This film has some wonderful psychological portraits, which make the suspense heightened as you wait to see how the contestants hold up over the very long wait.
While I watched this, I was sort of reminded of the Dogma 95 resolution, to only use hand-held cameras and available situations, so that the story and the acting are what stand out, not "movie magic." By those standards, this film measures up quite well -- and it's not even fiction!
Bindler also uses choppy, melodramatic, and extremely repetitious editing techniques. While this is a great subject for a documentary, and there are many fascinating people, especially Perkins, in the contest, Bindler fails to make a film to do th
these are real southern people in the real America, and this film shows they have some real heart and dreams, and compassion as well.
i saw it in the theater in Atlanta in '97, and just found it on the Internet and watched it again tonight.
as good as I remember, maybe better. i am going to twist some arms of non-Americans here in Brasil to watch and enjoy this movie, because it has heart and is universal.
Find it and Enjoy it!
To be honest, I didn't expect much going into Hands On A Hard Body; in fact I expected to be bored out of my mind. As the film opened and the first few shots came across the screen I was fully prepared for a potentially mind-numbing 98 minutes. What I didn't prepare for was that I might have a great time watching it. As the film rolled on and I started to learn about the contestants I was surprised to see that I was actually rooting for some of them, and then I realized something I could have never prepared myself for: I was actually enjoying the movie.
I'm not usually a fan of documentaries because they depict real-world events and, to be completely honest, I don't enjoy reality. I like watching movies with original stories because I am given the opportunity to escape the dullness of everyday life and be taken to another, more exciting world. I especially enjoy a movie with an engaging story that absorbs me into its world and lets me get to know the characters because their struggles become my own, taking me away from my boring reality and drawing me into a more interesting one. Because documentaries are a depiction of reality I prefer to avoid them and watch the latest blockbuster instead.
Hands On A Hard Body, however, is a rare documentary. From when the first contestants started dropping out to when the final few were fighting with all of their might I was on the edge of my seat, as if I were watching a blockbuster rather than a documentary. You got to know each contestant, decide which ones you liked or disliked, and then rooted for the ones that won you over, sharing in their struggles as you saw them strive and suffer to win that truck. There was one contestant in particular that I really identified with. As the film went on I was so absorbed into the story that I wanted to see this contestant win more than anything but was ultimately disappointed when they were not victorious. However, despite their loss I enjoyed every minute I spent with them.
I wish there were more documentaries like Hands On A Hard Body, but not just because I want to be entertained; I want to be reminded that life is not always as dull as I think it is. Hands On A Hard Body showed me that there are moments when life is free of all stress and responsibilities, feeling less like a documentary and more like a summer blockbuster.
If you hate documentaries give this one a chance--you'll be sucked in from the beginning and laughing to the end.
I gave the film a "9" instead of a ten because I felt the ending was too prolonged after the climax of the final winner.
Otherwise, it is a FANTASTIC film experience.
All-in-all, if you can find a way to see this movie, do.
I still don't know which is funnier: The toothless hick couple with a '20-ton' AC unit, the woman who couldn't possibly afford payments on a measly $15k truck, or the retard who showed up to the contest wearing boots.
In the end though, the film really REALLY made me feel glad that I'm not them. I will wake up tomorrow, and everyday for the rest of my life, thanking my lucky stars that I'm not an inbred hick, living in some crap hole in the middle of Podunk, Texas.
This fun and novel contest showcases human behavior and motivation - they
are the stars of this documentary that ultimately celebrates the sheer peculiarity of the unwashed-Texas-public.
I loved the people in HOAHB because their personalities were so distinct and so real that they came across as unique characters. I come from a small town in Texas and I swear that I know a person that is like each and every one of those people in the contest. You have the woman with no teeth who would be like the woman in my town that would cause trouble at our high school for absolutely no reason at all. You have the winner who's so much like a good ol' boy that it's funny. You have the young man in the Bug who has dreams of pursuing a career in Hollywood as a stuntman. I guess because I could relate to the film it was that much more entertaining especially because I could pinpoint people in my town that are so much like the people in the film.
I think anyone watching this film will be thoroughly entertained regardless if they're from Texas or not. I loved this film and will be recommending it to all my friends!!!