Hands on a Hard Body (10/16)

How far would you push yourself to win a free truck? Documenting the charming madness unfolding at a gloriously absurd Texas car dealership contest, Hands on a Hard Body follows 24 small-town contestants as they attempt to keep one hand firmly planted on a fully-loaded pickup truck longer than any of their competitors. Who will maintain their sanity as the days pass without mercy: the woman who’s been praying for it? The “pro” who won last time? The sleepless former Marine? Or, is the dealership merely exploiting them all? Put together in 1997 by S.R. Bindler, whose deftly satirical direction finds deep humanity in the hapless contestants, this battle of misguided wills/quirky exposĂ© on the peculiar priorities of entitled American consumers plays just like a real-life Christopher Guest comedy. As with the best of Errol Morris, Hands on a Hard Body finds poetry in unexpected places, delivering a parking lot portrait of East Texas that’s equally hilarious and poignant. And, thanks to a brand-new restoration of this underseen gem, we’re all the winners of this contest.
Dir. S.R. Bindler, 1997, digital presentation, 98 min.

Watch the trailer for “Hands on a Hard Body”!