Fat City (1972)

Fat City (1972)
Dir. John Huston
Starring: Stacy Keach, Jeff Bridges, Susan Tyrrell, Candy Clark, Nicholas Collasanto, etc.
100 minutes

If this film were made now, it would be considered an indenpendent film. The characters are people on the fringe of society, but are probably more common and real than the ones Hollywood likes to feature. The setting is in Stockton, a small town–again probably a more typical setting than Hollywood is interested in. The story is not so strong, but the acting is first rate–especially Stacy Keach and Susan Tyrrell. Keach plays someone not so bright, and Tyrrell plays a drunk. Usually actors in those type of roles take it over-the-top and create caricatures. Not so in this film.Tyrrell turns in a really good performances that I felt deserved at least a nomination for best supporting role. She indeed was nominated that year. Keach was also terrific, the best I’ve seen of him, but I don’t think I’ve seen him in very many films. He should have also been nominated at least. The scenes between the two of these actors are first rate. The characters, performance and tone of the film remind me of Louis Malle’s Atlantic City. If you liked that, there’s a good chance you’ll like this.

Credit should also probably go to Huston for choosing these performances, and keeping the right tone in this film. For example, there are some moments I tnought were comical, but you never felt like Huston was trying to funny. Indeed, some people may not laugh at the scenes I did.
However, the film is not really a comedy, but a melacholy tale about who dream big, but are really deluded and trapped. It’s certainly not a new theme, but the filmmakers handle it really well.

I also liked the filming of the bars in the film. The darkness and film stock created the right mood. Those scenes reminded me of the one or two people I used to see in bars on Hotel Street during the day. It’s the same vibe. The film really has the look of the 70s and 70’s films.

Finally, Nick Colasanto–the actor who played “Coach” in the Cheers–stars in this film, and it’s the only time I’ve seen him in something other than Cheers. At first I thought that connection would distract me, but, in a way, he plays a similar character, but not so over-the-top.

The film gets a 7 because I liked the performances, particuarly several of the scenes.

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