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I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Friday, December 1, 2023

Hooch (1977)

Eddie Joe, played by Gil Gerard, is running shine and the sheriff knows it. But every time he tries to catch him in the act he either gets away or doesn’t have anything on him. This is especially annoying to the sheriff because Eddie Joe is sweet on his niece Ginnie. If the criminal stuff isn’t enough, he is pissed off that Eddie Joe is stepping out with another woman, Jamie Sue, the daughter of one of the other moonshiners! Toss in the fact that Eddie Joe is the only supplier of shine that refuses to pay the sheriff off and it gets messy.

It gets worse when a stranger shows up in town. His name is Tony, and he is a mobster checking out the local bootlegging scene. When he sees how much money can be made he brings his boss in and they start making plans to take over. With the help of Old Bill, Jamie Sue’s pop, they locate the other stills and blow them up. Then they try arranging a meeting and try to blow up the bootleggers themselves. Along the way they try to frame Eddie Joe for the crime and turn the locals against him. Not only does he have the best shine, but his still is hidden and is the only one they haven’t been able to get rid of. This leads to a big finale with a shoot out and a car chase. Damn I forgot to mention that Eddie Joe drives a sweet El Camino.

I really liked this movie. It is a mix of carsploitation, moonshiners, and hicksploitation blended in a fun package. Gerard is great as Eddie Joe playing it low key and laid back. It is almost as if the part was written for his personality, which it was. He also wrote the story that the script was based on! There is always something happening on screen whether it is him romancing one of the two ladies, cracking wise with the sheriff, or the comedic gags with the locals it is a blast. There is a bit in the middle with a musical number and a lot of dancing and a bar fight that feels like padding where Hooch slows down a bit. But then the movie does pick up after that and ends in a fun finale.

It was the '70s and Gil was cool!
I was expecting a bit more car chase action, but what we do get is fine. Honestly, I don’t think they had the budget to crash anything so manage your expectations. You do get to see a couple nice rides and folks do end up in disposable vehicles, so you know they are going over an embankment or into the river. The inclusion of the mobsters halfway thru feels a bit forced but the actors are decent and there are some laughs to be had. It was weird to see Danny Aiello in a movie like this. He plays Tony and ends up with a butt full of buckshot… comedy!

A few other things to mention about Hooch. The soundtrack is filled with some appropriate seventies’ country toons. There are some awesome lines like, “I like my bourbon old and my women young.” Seriously Eddie Joe is one smooth operator when it comes to the ladies! There is even a funny Kojak line that if you don’t recognize one of the actors you will miss, but it made me giggle. Finally, the financial success of this movie was partly responsible for the creation of The Dukes of Hazzard. Honestly as a child of the seventies how the hell did I not know about this movie before now?

I had a lot of fun with Hooch and recommend that you go track yourself down a copy. It is a fun bit of drive-in cheese that is a must watch for folks who dig cars, hicks, or are just looking for a fun way to kill ninety minutes.


© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

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