"Hands on a Hard Body", a documentary by S. R. Bindler, showed for what could have been more than a year
at the Dobie Theater in Austin
, consistently filling the theater. I think it was the longest-running film
of anything to show at the Dobie.
When I saw this show, the audience's reaction was as fascinating as the movie. At first, they regarded the contestants as laughable, simple-minded hicks. Earnest on-screen interviews with these folks evoked knowing and superior chuckles and guffaws from the crowd.
As the story progressed, though, the audience became completely drawn in. By interspersing the contest footage in which, basically, not much happens, with personal stories, the filmmaker kept everyone's interest and let them identify with the contestants. All the audience members picked a favorite, and were crushed when their pick had to drop out of the contest. There were still plenty of comic moments, but we found ourselves laughing with the people on the screen, not at them.