How far would you go for a brand-new, fully loaded pickup truck? Would you go as far as the 23 contestants in Hands on a Hard Body, who entered a contest in which the last one standing with his or her hand on the car drove... more » off with it? S.R. Bindler documents the contest that takes place each year at a Nissan dealership in Longview, Texas. And what a contest it is. Twenty-three names are drawn at random and these lucky folks get the opportunity to participate. The rules are simple: one hand must remain on the truck at all times; no leaning or squatting allowed; if the hand is raised even momentarily, the contestant is out. One 5-minute break is permitted every hour, and one 15-minute break every 6 hours. The last three survivors--excuse us, contestants--must be tested for drugs. The results are hilarious. The gloves irritate hands (sweat could ruin the truck's finish), legs go numb, people get on each other's nerves. Strategy is involved, cheaters are accused, competition is fierce. "It's a contest, they say, of stamina, but it's who can maintain their sanity the longest," we're told by 1992 winner Benny Perkins, who competes once again. This offbeat film shows the quirkier side of human nature while providing a thoroughly entertaining watch. Each contestant represents something, but which will win out: desperation (a woman tired of riding her bike everywhere but who can't afford car payments), determination (a toothless woman who "tr[ies] to finish everything I start"), God (a woman's church holds a prayer chain for her as she communes with Jesus by the truck), endurance (a former Marine who once stayed awake for five days), or experience (Perkins is sure he knows all the tricks)? Who finally makes it through the 78-hour ordeal? You'll have to watch this comical film to find out. --Jenny Brown« less
"Most of the previous reviews describe HOAHB as a sort of a farce. Though it certainly does have comic moments, some intended and others not, it is not a comedy. It is easy for the typical documentary viewer (i.e. educated, middle class or better, often urban) to laugh AT the participants. And sure enough, none of them would seem out of place in a "Waiting for Guffman"-type mockumentary. Those who approach it this way, however, miss the true richness of the video. The goal of the directors, achieved brilliantly, was not to portray the participants as a bunch of wacko hicks and their pursuit of the truck as absurd. What they want us to see and what the participants articulate so eloquently (often in spite of themselves) is the universality of the human experience. These folks in Longview, TX, are willing to push themselves to the limits of physical and psychological tolerance for a chance to win a truck. A brilliant medical student works grueling 100-hour weeks in pursuit of her ultimate goal. What's the difference? As the quote at the beginning of the video states, it's the journey and not the destination that is the true experience. One of the most fascinating and moving parts of the documentary is when the participants explain what a new truck would mean to them. Nobody is doing it just for the hell of it. Whether the cause is material need, spiritual communion, or the "thrill of victory and the agony of defeat," the truck is their Holy Grail and their quest to win it worthy of Greek myth. Two previous contestants say that it was the best experience of their lives. A powerful idea. What would be this important to you? It may not be the chance to win a truck, but all of us would be willing to push ourselves to the limit for something, someone, or some experience. How far would you go? How would you get there? How would you be changed by the journey? That's what this video is about. The laughs are a bonus."
H.O.A H.B. Was My Most Enjoyable Experience at a Theater
vlcid | Austin, Texas | 11/29/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Never in my life had I laughed as hard as I did when I first saw this movie. I saw it at the Dobie Theatre in Austin, Texas, where it has been playing now for about one and a half years. The reason this movie is still playing there is because it never gets old. I love getting new friends to watch this movie because they always love it as much as I do. Everyone I've shown this movie to (about 20 people)has nearly died of laughter. Even when I was watching it by myself for the upteenth time I swear that I laughed just as hard as I did the first time. I am almost sure that everyone will love this movie. I am going to give this movie as a gift to my friends in New England and Oregon, because I feel that this movie needs to get more noteriety and needs to spread everywhere. If every person in this country could see this movie then it would be a much happier place."
Really quite brilliant
Eric Antonow | Palo Alto, CA United States | 12/21/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mid-level production values, top-tier story. A very telling and moving look into a contest that legitmately opens up the human soul. Different people, different backgrouds, all with some individual desire. That the contest is over a pickup truck is humorous at first but ultimately irrelevant (however, I'm not sure I would have even watched it if it were about anything less absurd). Instead you have a half-dozen people who are entirely ordinarily and uniquely determined. Any viewer has to come out of this a little humbled at the winners and with a better sense of the real depth of all the strangers on the world."
"It's a human drama."
email@example.com | Houston, Texas | 08/24/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love my people. This film is a pure slice of Texas at our best (some may say our worst). Round up a bunch of East Texans and put the hope of a free truck in their hearts -- then just sit back and watch. Hysterical. Truly hysterical. And I am pretty sure that even those not blessed to be from Texas will appreciate the humor. If not, at least you will enjoy sitting back and laughing at this great cast of real-life characters. Now, I sure could use an orange or a Snickers . . ."
The Good...The Sad...The Ugly...
Tommy | Longview, Texas | 01/08/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"At first one might think that "Hands on A Hardbody" might be the title of an adult video to get you in the mood...but really it's the true life story of 23 contestants who are vying for the keys to an ordinary Nissan pickup. The film starts with an experienced contestant and former winner, Benny, talking about what it takes to be a winner of this contest. It moves on and gives a little background information on each contestant through interviews conducted prior to the event. During the contest we see these people stand around this truck for hours and get insight into who these contestants really are. Among the most colorful contestants are Janice...a toothless woman(yes toothles...)with an air conditioner in her house that can cool the place down to 12 degrees below zero, Norma... a very religous lady with the special gift of laughter, and a fast slurring Karnack, Texas local who decides to feast off of Snickers and Oranges in order to maintain the strength that it takes to stay in the race. Hours and hours of footage was shot and we see only 2 of around 90. One can imagine what we didn't see. This film is truly a comedy,the people are real and these people have no idea how funny they really are. You will be entertained all the way through as you root for your favorite. After watching the footage..you tune in again just to laugh and have a great time. Produced by Matthew McConaughey, Longview native himself, this film makes you wonder how we must look to others...Check it out... You'll be glad you did."