What could be sweeter than a documentary that follows two hobos as they travel the country, hopping freight trains and championing the cause of the poor and helpless by solving crimes the police didn’t have time for? I have no idea, but vbs.tv’s series Thumbs Up is surely a close second.
Meet David Choe – a world traveling, hitchhiking, freighthopping, writer, artist, and even ex-con (he spent three months in Japanese prison) – and his nephew Harry Kim a.k.a. Horny Kim a.k.a. Guam Cruise a.k.a. Igloos Hong. For a vacation, these two decided to travel across the country with one rule and one rule only – there could be no traveling expenses. They accept all rides; they just aren’t going to pay for any of them.
The series starts out with David and Harry looking at poo while they wait to hop a freight train out of LA, and it goes on to document their epic journey all the way to Miami. Choe offersexcellent tips for the financially disabled along the way, such as which trains to hop and which to avoid and, more importantly, how to avoid being raped. Here’s a bit of his advice on finding somewhere to sleep:
“Being so tired and just wanting to sleep when you’re homeless and hungry on the road is very tough. The higher you can get on a building, the better. The rooftop is the best place. If you find a place to sleep on street level—no matter how hidden it is—the chances of getting [f-d] with while asleep increase dramatically. I once slept by the pool in a gated apartment complex and woke up to crack whores trying to take the change out of my pockets. So please, seek out higher ground.”
They get some questionable eats, frightening drinks, offers for strange sex, dirty, homeless-style fragrances, and bring a whole new definition to the term road weary, but David and Harry are never beaten down too much to rock out.
Choe ports a mini drum set strapped to his back and will, from time to time, set it up and drum away with Harry rockin’ some juicy chords in his ever present coonskin cap. The two even put in some mileage floating the Mississippi river on an inflatable raft/air mattress! Make a note here: huge river boats cannot see you floating the Mississippi in the middle of the night.
Each of the 20 segments runs about five minutes and they are all uniquely engrossing and enjoyable in their own right. I’m not sure if Choe and Kim’s cross country adventure does justice to the American Hobo, but it’s fascinating to watch. Check it out at VBS.TV.