Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Hooch (1977)

Before vapid leading man Gil Gerard found his signature role in the campy TV series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979-1981), he appeared in a handful of movies and TV shows, none of which did much to elevate his stardom or to establish Gerard as a talent worthy of serious attention. Nonetheless, his productivity earned Gerard sufficient stature to claim behind-the-scenes involvement in some of his projects, such as the flavorless and plodding moonshine saga Hooch, for which Gerard served as cowriter and coproducer in addition to playing the starring role. A dull recitation of redneck-cinema clich├ęs that’s populated by one-dimensional stereotypes instead of characters, Hooch is as bereft of entertainment value as it is of original ideas. It’s also poorly made, with anemic character introductions, shoddy transitions, and an undernourished musical score. More than anything, Hooch suffers from a lack of urgency, with the pacing of the movie feeling as laid-back as Gerard’s screen persona. The most that one can say is that Hooch is tolerable, but even mustering that much praise requires effort. It's all just so empty and trite. Gerard plays Eddie Joe, a moonshiner mired in competition with beardy and corpulent Old Bill (William T. Hicks). Eddie Joe juggles relationships with two women, one of whom is Bill's daughter, so we’re meant to perceive him as an irresistible charmer who enjoys living dangerously. The fun-and-games period of Eddie Joe's life ends when New York City gangster Tony (Danny Aiello) arrives as a lead man for crooks seeking to enter the moonshine business. Intrigue of a dimwitted sort ensues. So, too, do unnecessary scenes like the bit of Gerard and costar Melody Rogers performing a country song onstage at a hoedown. Aiello, appearing fairly early in his long career, keeps things lively during his scenes by rendering an over-the-top caricature of a goodfella. Reason enough to watch the flick? Not hardly.

Hooch: LAME

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