A terse, sharp, downbeat but compassionate look at the underside of smalltown American life in the west.
Gabriel Conroy and wife Greta attend an early January dinner with friends at the home of his spinster aunts, an evening which results in an epiphany for both of them.
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The drama is featured in the documentary Visions Of Light: The Art Of Cinematography (1992) for Conrad L. Hall's use of lighting.
A Southerner--young, poor, ambitious but uneducated--determines to become something in the world. He decides that the best way to do that is to become a preacher and start up his own church.
Fat City is also an old nickname for Stockton, California, where the novel and film are set. The nickname preceded Gardner's novel.
Two men, barely 10 years apart in age, one with a lifetime of emptiness ahead of him, one with an empty lifetime already behind. This is what John Huston has to work with in "Fat City" and he treats it with a level, unsentimental honesty and makes it into one of his best films.
A member of British Intelligence assumes a fictitious criminal identity and allows himself to be caught, imprisoned, and freed in order to infiltrate a spy organization and expose a traitor.
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"Lots of people have asked me about the title of my book. It's part of Negro slang. When you say you want to go to Fat City, it means you want the good life. I got the idea for the title after seeing a photograph of a tenement in an exhibit in San Francisco. 'Fat City' was scrawled in chalk on a wall. The title is ironic: Fat City is a crazy goal no one is ever going to reach."
Movies and TV shows are Certified Fresh with a steady Tomatometer of 75% or higher after a set amount of reviews (80 for wide-release movies, 40 for limited-release movies, 20 for TV shows), including 5 reviews from Top Critics.
Tully's life has been a mess ever since his wife left him. He drinks too much, cannot hold down a job, and picks fruit and vegetables with migrant workers to make ends meet. He still blames Ruben for mishandling his last fight.
Huston tells his story in a slow, atmospheric way, and characters drift into it and stay because they have no place else to go. There's Oma (Susan Tyrrell), a youngish but bloated alcoholic, who picks up with Tully while her black lover is serving a little time. She is dumb, vulgar, sluttish and all the other things we think about people who never had an education and drink cream sherry all day. But she has a heart, by God, and she believes in all the naive cliches that do her for a philosophy.
Huston's boxers are Stacy Keach, the electrifying New York stage actor who was mostly overlooked in films like "Doc" and "End of the Road," and Jeff Bridges, who was the young man who went away to Korea in "The Last Picture Show." Keach plays Tully, whose boxing career is all over, although he miraculously pulls himself together for one final victory. Bridges plays Ernie, who never even has what Tully lost; he does have a strong body and a few good moves, but basically he's a pushover.
So this is a theme we find in Huston's work, but rarely does he fit it to characters and a time and place so well as in "Fat City." Maybe that's because Huston knows the territory: he was a professional boxer himself for a while, and not a very good one.
Huston really gets the flavor of Stockton, CA, and with its run-down drinking establishments, sleazy gyms, and bad coffee joints.
Munger is returning home from a fight one night when he sees Tully in the street, drunk. Munger tries to ignore him, but when Tully asks to have a drink, he reluctantly agrees to coffee. The two men sit and drink and Tully looks around at all the people immediately around him, all of whom now seem at an impassable distance. Munger says he needs to leave, but Tully asks him to stay and talk a while. Munger agrees, and the two men sit drinking their coffee together in silence.
Like the novel, the film was set in Stockton, California and shot mostly on location there. All of the original skid row area depicted in the novel was demolished (West End Redevelopment) from 1965-69. Most of the skid row scenes were filmed in the outer fringe of the original skid row area which was torn down a year after Fat City was filmed, in order to make way for the construction of the Crosstown Freeway, aka "Ort Lofthus Freeway".
The movie's edges are filled with small, perfect character performances. Candy Clark is vulnerable and vacuously hopeful as Ernie's young, pregnant bride. She has exercised a little instinctive cunning to lure him into marriage, hardly anticipating what a cheerless future she's won for herself. Curtis Cokes, as Earl, Oma's black lover, has a self-respect that will not give way to jealousy; when he gets out of jail and moves back in with Oma, he treats Tully with man-to-man dignity.
Tully tries moving in with Oma after Earl is sent to prison for a few months, but their relationship is rocky.
So you say to yourself, this Fat City is pretty damn realistic, even if you know in your heart that "realistic" and Hollywood should not be printed on the same page-otherwise paper ignites. Still, you're marveling at it.
Roger Ebert made the case for it as one of Huston's best films. He also appreciated the performances. Ebert wrote, "[Huston] treats [the story] with a level, unsentimental honesty and makes it into one of his best films...[and] the movie's edges are filled with small, perfect character performances."
A god-fearing Ohio boy dodging the Civil War draft arrives in Jefferson City where he joins up with a hardscrabble group of like runaways heading west.
The downbeat sports drama is a marvelous understated character study of the marginalized leading desperate lives.
An all-black inner city school has to become an integrated school. Few dozen white kids are transfered there, but the black students are aggressively opposed to this. The school then approaches a tough black teacher for help.
This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...
Marvellous, grimly downbeat study of desperate lives and the escape routes people construct for themselves, stunningly shot by Conrad Hall.
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Fat City (1972)
Munger loses his first fight, his nose broken, and is knocked out in his next bout as well. He gets pressured into marriage by Faye (Candy Clark) because a baby's on the way, so he picks fruit in the fields for a few dollars.
In 2009, Fat City enjoyed a week-long revival screening at New York City's Film Forum.
A psychiatrist involved in a radical new therapy comes under suspicion when his patients are murdered, each according to their individual phobias.
One of Huston's later films, it is based on the boxing novel Fat City (1969) by Leonard Gardner, who also wrote the screenplay.
Dave Kehr of the Chicago Reader wrote, "John Huston's 1972 restatement of his theme of perpetual loss is intelligently understated."
The film was screened at various film festivals, including: the Cannes Film Festival, France, the Palm Springs International Film Festival, USA; and others.
Fat City is a 1972 American neo-noir boxing drama film directed by John Huston. The picture stars Stacy Keach, Jeff Bridges, and Susan Tyrrell.
Fat City is most notable for terrific performances all around, especially those of Stacy Keach, Susan Tyrell, and a baby-faced Jeff Bridges.
The humorous adventures of the notorious Scottish highwayman and thief Davey Haggart during the 1820s in Britain.
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