Review by Chastity Campbell
Stars: Stacy Keach, Jeff Bridges, Susan Tyrell, Candy Clark
Director: John Huston
Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo
Video: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen & 1.33:1 Standard Full Screen
Studio: Columbia Tri-Star
Features: See Review
Length: 97 Minutes
Release Date: December 10, 2002
“You can count on me, right down
Fat City is a skewed look at the classic human
condition and how even when the odds are stacked against us, we’ll keep
pushing those boundaries until something somewhere gives.
Stacy Keach (CBS’s Mike Hammer) plays ex-boxer
Billy Tellen in this John Huston film.
It seems that Billy was once a pretty descent boxer with a chance to make
a name for himself…that is, until a bad woman and a barstool sent his career
to the bottom of the bottle! A hung
over Billy meets up with a young guy named Ernie at the local YMCA and has a
quick sparring session with him. The
kid is good, so Billy sends him down to his old manager to see if he truly has
Stacy Keach and Jeff Bridges worked really well together in
this film. The individual
acting style that each person brought with him, along with the directing talent
of John Huston, set the stage for some mid-level exploration into why we do or
don’t do certain things to help ourselves move forward in this life.
The character of Oma played by Susan Tyrrell (Powder,
Cry Baby) made me long for the nice young men in the clean white coats to
come and take her away. Her over
the top drunken fits of anger, jealousy, and rage did lend a bit of humor to
some of the more serious scenes, but her character didn’t really add anything
to the story that benefited it in any way that I could see. Her acting abilities are far from questionable, as she is a
fine actress with a lot of depth, but the role she plays in Fat City was
a bit too over the top for me.
Jeff Bridges did an outstanding job playing the young,
energetic Ernie. He is really young
in this movie, but it’s clear his character’s innocence and openness gave
him a great pallet to build on. I
mean, we all wish we could get back to the way we were when were 18 or 19, but
Jeff does a wonderful job making you believe in Ernie and his willingness to
work hard and do the right thing, no matter what.
John Huston’s marvelous directing abilities really shine
through in this movie. The blocking
of some scenes with the characters set off to the side, and almost out of the
shot really impressed upon me the cold and lonely nature of these peoples’
existence. It is sheer will
and determination, that motivates each of them to get up every day, and deal
with the cards life has dealt for them. Huston
sets up each shot so that it paints a picture for the audience that shows the
internal as well as external forces at work against each character.
I wouldn’t put this movie in league with, say, a Rocky
flick, but it definitely could go at least one round with the big lug.
Give it a try, and if nothing else you’ll learn a few lessons about
human nature and how we all get lead down the wrong path a time or two in our
I wasn’t too impressed with the video quality on this
release. The movie itself
came out in 1971 and with the attention to detail that is being paid to releases
a lot older than this one, it’s upsetting to see the dirt and grain easily
visible in every scene. The
colors indoors and outdoor were very dull.
The tones and shading were flat with no texture to add that extra boost
of realism that older darker movies need.
The menus and movie trailers were nice looking especially the trailer for XXX. Overall though, this movie really could have benefited from a face lift.
The audio on this DVD had a really rich and full sound. The Dolby Digital Stereo mix was nicely blended and really helped add to the naturalistic feel of the movie. Kris Kristofferson’s brooding sound in the opening song really helped to set the tone of the movie. This is one instance where the audio really did help carry the movie along.
When it comes to features this DVD barely makes it through
the first round before it gets KO’d!
A movie trailer for The Greatest the real story
behind Muhammad Ali is included for your viewing pleasure along with a quick
peek at the Marlon Brando movie On The Waterfront.
Flash forward a few decades and you get a good look at Vin Diesel in the
promotional trailer for his latest blow um up action flick XXX..
The interactive menus weren’t so interactive, and the
choice of widescreen or full screen was about the most exciting part for me.