Film and TV

Six Best Bums in Entertainment

In a world gone mad, one vagabond has the courage and the fortitude to stand up to the corrupt forces that tear all that is good asunder. This is the plot to Hobo With A Shotgun, and it is more than 80-minutes of hideously terrific cinema.

The contest-winning Grindhouse trailer turned Sundance Film Festival entry made waves (of blood, body parts, and vital organs) at its premier in Park City this year, and now it's coming to the Midnite Movie Mamacita's new movie theater, the Royale in Mesa on July 1.

In an attempt to quench the blood thirst of the masses who might wish to take vigilante-style justice into their own hands, we've compiled a list of entertainment's best transients (or "urban campers"), who tend to take the higher road than actor Rutger Hauer's hobo. These guys might not be hardcore enough to stomp on a guy's spine while wearing an ice-skate, but they're bad ass all the same.

1. Oscar the Grouch - Sesame Street

Sure, Oscar might seem like an insensitive, ill-conceived analogue for America's lower class, and his difficult nature and frustrating points of view may make you want to rip his Muppet head right off. But Sesame Street's resident trash-diver has affable, endearing qualities that have made him a staple on PBS' hit kids show, going strong for more than 20 years.

It's not easy being green, and Oscar can be a real asshole most of the time. But maybe, - just maybe - if you're nice enough, he'll invite you inside his trashcan to take a swim in his pool.

Plus, have you seen those other dickheads from Grouchland? Elmo better have his rape whistle on hand.

2. Ezal - Friday
There was a time when the best day of the week was synonymous with gangster rap, smoking weed, and Chris Tucker's enunciation of the word "DAAAAAAYUM," and not that shitty song that's made our own Lenni Rosenblum provoking the ire of pre-teens everywhere.

Ezal was one of the best parts of the film, always popping up and asking for change at the most inconvenient times -- LIKE A GOOD HOBO SHOULD. His skill was persistence and annoyance, as if there were a toll to pay to be left alone. 

I'd avoid giving this guy a place to crash, however, as he'd probably find a way to break his leg and sue you in the process (though he'll probably take a 20-spot out of court, maybe even a dollar and some envelopes).

3. Navin R. Johnson - The Jerk
Steve Martin becomes a bum, gets rich, becomes a bum again, and gets rich AGAIN. Though things often had a way of working out for him, the life of Navin Johnson wasn't easy, but he found joy in simplicity. 

All he wanted was to see his name in print, have a little money, find a nice woman who could put his special purpose to good use, and kick back with Shithead. However crazed serial killers, class action lawsuits, and financial security all tend to put a damper in Johnson's plans, but misfortune can't keep a good Jerk down. 

Arguably the most lovable hobo on our list, Martin's The Jerk more than stands the test of time; it sets the standards that all bums must aspire to.

4. Parry - The Fisher King
What would you do if you saw your soul mate shot and murdered right in front of your face? If you said, "go insane, become obsessed with Arthurian legend, and live the rest of your life in delusion," well, you need to go outside more often. Or stay inside. Whatever you're doing, do the opposite.

Robin Williams' stint as the lovably homeless Parry is both inspiring and heartbreaking. His thirst for life and his appreciation of imagination slowly bring Jeff Bridges' sardonic shock-jock character out of the dark, and along the way he gathers the strength to live and love again.

This guy probably has the most (and least, oddly enough) in common with Hauer's Hobo, particularly due to his willingness to rough up a couple of no-good punks, but he also has a nicer side. This is one bum I'd let stay in the guest room.

5. Tyrone Biggums - Chapelle's Show
You've gotta admire someone who is willing to give back to the children, especially when the courts require him to stay at least 500 feet away at all times. It takes guts, and as evident by his Fear Factor stint, Tyrone Biggums has guts in spades.

Dave Chapelle's crack-addled vagabond provided some of the most memorable moments in the show's two-and-a-half seasons, which is quite a feat in and of itself. Chapelle's Show is missed by many, and Biggums remains a big reason for that.

Or else we wouldn't have stuff like this:

Did we forget your favorite bum? Sound off in the comments!

Hobo With A Shotgun premiers July 1 at the Royale at 108 West Main Street in Mesa. Tickets can be purchased at the Midnite Movie Mamacita's website.

Follow Jackalope Ranch on Facebook and Twitter.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Joseph Schmidt
Contact: Joseph Schmidt