A few summers ago, I sat down on my sofa, cranked up the Netflix box and selected a film called Hobo With a Shotgun.
Hobo With a Shotgun is based on a trailer in the style of the Grindhouse revival popularized by Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez back in the late 2000s, and is without question the most bizarre, senselessly violent movie I've ever seen in my life. The plot is essentially the same as you've seen in Road House and a thousand Westerns, in which a stranger enters a town of good folk who've been run down by a corrupt, vicious criminal boss, and wins over the hearts and minds of the locals en route to restoring justice. The interloper in this case is the titular hobo, played by legendary Dutch actor Rutger Hauer, who, true enough, has a shotgun.
Highlights in the violence include a prostitute having her arm severed with a lawn mower shield, then using her exposed forearm bone to stab her assailant to death. More than once we see a person's head placed through a manhole cover, then a length of barbed wire tied around their neck, the other end tied to the back of a motor vehicle. The driver then drives away, using the barbed wire to decapitate the poor bastard in the road.
It's the most confusing, disturbing, ugly, awful thing I've ever seen on film, and it's kind of like tonight's Sixers game.
The first half encapsulated the frenetic energy of bad action movies at their best, with end-to-end full-court action punctuated by sloppy finishing, and the Sixers kept it close, but the fourth quarter felt like having your head pulled off by barbed wire tied to the bumper of a truck.
The good news: The Sixers were extremely active on defense, particularly Nerlens Noel, who just looked half a step more athletic than anyone else on the floor en route to his first career double-double. He followed up on the offensive glass, contested shots, and kept his hands active down low, as a generous and considerate lover would. He finished with 14 points, 10 boards and three blocks in 35 minutes. Much of the same can be said of K.J. McDaniels, who had 12 points in 14 minutes.
Tony Wroten played a typical game, which is to say that he was both electrifying (14 points, a team-high six assists and 11 free throw attempts) and often out of control (eight turnovers, 4-for-11 shooting).
The trouble is--and will be again, I'd imagine--that the Sixers just couldn't hit a shot. Hollis Thompson went 6-for-19 from the floor, and what seemed like 400 open jumpers and layups just clanged off the iron like a blacksmith's hammer. The coup de grace came in the fourth quarter, when, after having kept the game within seven points one way or the other the whole way, the Sixers just quit scoring.
With 8:21 left in the game, Thompson hit a three to cut the Bucks' lead to 82-81, and now's a good point to revisit Hobo With a Shotgun. At some point near the end of the movie, a pair of armored assassins called The Plague appear and do...I'm not sure what, exactly, because I was bleeding from my ears pretty badly at this point. But the Sixers didn't score for the rest of the game after that, while O.J. Mayo--who had 25 points and five assists in 28 minutes--pulled Milwaukee slowly to safety. O.J. Sheep-Buggering Mayo turned JaKarr Sampson's innards upside-down and had his way with the Sixers' defense.
Anyway, if the Sixers ever learn how to make a layup, they could be okay. Next game is the home opener against the Heat on Saturday night.
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