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A Hobo’s Christmas (1987)

by on 2011/12/30

“You don’t cook pies, you bake them.”

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Just a couple of weeks ago, it looked like it was going to be a green Christmas. We were hit by unseasonably warm temperatures, no snow, no ice – just soggy dead grass everywhere. It didn’t look even a little bit like Christmas.

Lousy global warming. A Hobo’s Christmas looked like it had the very same problem with global warming. And how.

There wasn’t a single hint of the fluffy white stuff in this sentimental TV holiday flick. I wouldn’t have had such a problem with snow’s absence if not for the ways in which the film’s makers tried to remedy the problem.

After I got past the rather lovely title sequence, my eyes were assaulted by a piece of grainy video footage of a frosty Salt Lake City spliced into the other wise fine TV movie footage. The story was fine – if pedestrian – a long-lost father returns home after 20 years of riding the rails and living the life of a hobo. The performances were also just fine with a charming performance from Barnard Hughes as Chance. Gerard McRaney plays the tough, emotionally pent-up cop, Charlie, who can’t forgive his dad for walking out on him.

William Hickey, as Cincinnati Harold, is a crusty hobo and Chance’s best friend who serves as the tough-talking realist there to cut through the treacle. So far so good. But then there were the cars and vans spattered with weird white colouring, the people wandering around in coats that looked painfully unnecessary.

And the grainy camcorder footage of joggers running through icy streets kept cropping up. It was distracting. I wondered frequently during the 100-minute runtime, why did the producers and director bother?

Why did they need the appearance of snow so badly that they actually made the entire feature worse? It was like a baker who ran out of flour for her pie and decided to use plaster of Paris instead. Other corners were cut in the making of this movie.

Chance, while shopping with his grandkids at the local puppy and piano store, figures out what the perfect gift for each of them would be. Sigh. I understand the impulse. I even sympathize.

Sometimes in the creation of something, you reach a point where you just want the thing done. Sometimes money – or the lack of money – is to blame. Sometimes time’s at issue, the deadline is looming.

You make decisions based on expedience not quality. A Hobo’s Christmas, unfortunately, isn’t even a palatable piece of holiday fare. Definitely not quality. It could have been better, alas it was only half-baked …and splattered with fake snow.

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100 minutes Unrated

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  1. Month in Review: December 2011 « Geek vs Goth

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