I had deliberately overlooked Fat City in the past believing it to be yet another twist on the formulaic and Hollywoodization of boxing stories. Was I wrong! I'm so glad that I unexpectedly caught this and was riveted from the get go. Fat City is an amazing film, made even more stellar by the casting of Stacy Keach, Jeff Bridges, Candy Clark and Nick Colasanto. It is hard to distinguish between these marvelous actors as their performances, under the hands of the maestro John Huston, are incredible. Stacy Keach is the focus however, and he carries the film with the able performances of the aforementioned. I believe this to be one of the most overlooked films of all time.
The characters are a bunch of losers, but they don't know they're losers and keep reiterating their dreams. They operate on a level that is below average and live in impoverished surroundings, always believing that something good is around the corner. There is no big win in this, the wins remain around the corner.
There's basically no beginning, middle and end. It is a study of the underbelly of a town in California, the seedy bars, the dirty restaurants, life in the one room with kitchen-in-a-corner of a walk-up fleabag hotel. Stacy Keach pulls you into this world, he lives and breathes the character he plays down to the last few minutes of screen time when he takes a look around the rathole of a restaurant he's in, surrounded by people like himself and the film freezes for about a minute before it moves on.
You catch his stark awareness at that moment. And all of his life, past, present and future becomes crystal clear to him. You don't think he's going to do much with this newfound insight. It doesn't matter. And that's the point. Bleak and beautiful. All in the same minute of time. 9 out of 10. Thanks once again, Mr. Huston.
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