Monday, March 3, 2014

552. FAT CITY (1972)

Running Time: 100 minutes
Directed By: John Huston
Written By: Leonard Gardner, from his novel
Main Cast: Stacy Keach, Jeff Bridges, Susan Tyrrell, Candy Clark, Nicholas Colasanto
Click here to view the trailer

Note: I'm trying to make this "note" thing a daily occurrence where I put up what's currently running through my head, do plugs, etc. I didn't watch much Oscars last night, however, I did see the winners list. Hard to believe we're living in a world where not only is Jonah Hill an Oscar nominee, but Matthew McCounaughey is an Oscar WINNER! So let me get this straight, Matthew McCounaughey and Martin Scorsese have the same number of Academy Awards!? Wow! Anyway, I hadn't really seen anything except "Her" and it only walked away with the original screenplay trophy, so I can't really comment on anything else. Let's get down to business, shall we?


I needed something that wasn't going to fall in the average zone and I had a hunch this one would be good, so I went with it. Luckily, this time around, my hunch was right on, as I enjoyed this one quite a bit and even found a new actor to like in Stacy Keach. Read on...

The film starts out with Kris Kristofferson belting out a fine rendition of his "Help Me Make It Through the Night" and a scene with main character Billy Tully (Keach) trying to find a match to light his cigarette. He doesn't happen upon one, so he walks downstairs, then back up to his apartment, packs his gym bag and heads to the local gym where he meets Ernie Munger (Bridges), a wannabe boxer who he finds pounding on the speed bag. The two do a little sparring, before Tully pulls a muscle. Billy then refers Ernie to his old trainer, Ruben (Colasanto - fans of "Cheers" may know Colasanto as "Coach" on the earlier seasons) - "mention my name" he tells Ernie, before heading off. Ernie takes the advice and goes to see Ruben, who loves the kids look and is even more excited to be training a white guy (up till then, all of his trainees were black). It doesn't take long for Ruben to set up a fight for Ernie, which he loses quickly. Meanwhile, Tully, despite talking about it, can't get up the moxie to get back in shape and get a match (seems he's always looking for a match of some sort), so he spends his days doing manual labor for very little money and burying his failures in the local watering holes. It's at the bars where he meets Oma (Tyrrell), a world weary woman, who's beau has gone to prison and who needs a shoulder to cry on. Tully assures her she can "count on him" and the two shack up together. At the same time, Ernie is having some female interaction of his own, as his girlfriend has just become pregnant and is insistent that the two get married.

Man, look at Stacy Keach in this one showing us that you didn't have to be good looking in the 70s to be a movie star. Trust me, if he or even someone like Jack Nicholson were coming up through the ranks today, they wouldn't have a hope in hell of getting work in Hollywood. That's a shame, because when you look at Keach in this film, you're really watching a master at work and it's also a shame that before last night, I barely knew the name Stacy Keach. But man, what a performance he laid out for us, am I wrong? Not just him either, but Susan Tyrrell (who was nominated for an Oscar for this) also did an outstanding job and it makes me wonder why this picture is so inaccessible. You've also got Jeff Bridges in there and if I've never mentioned it before, let me tell you that I am a HUGE Jeff Bridges fan. In fact, there was a time when I tried my best to own all of Bridges' films on DVD. Furthermore, I actually owned this one at one time, but sold it when I decided that buying all of these films blind was a bad idea and realizing that a lot of them weren't THAT good. Too bad I never watched this one before though, or else I wouldn't have sold it - now it's out of print and would probably cost me a mint to get back. Anyway, yeah, I love me some Jeff Bridges and it makes me wish they'd thrown "The Fabulous Baker Boys" or even "The Big Lebowski" into THE BOOK too.


One man on the net referred to Keach's performance as earthy, when comparing it to Mickey Rourke in "The Wrestler" and that's very true. In fact, comparing this to "The Wrestler" is actually an interesting comparison, because the two are similar, with "Fat City" being far less pronounced and more subtle than Aronofsky's film. I loved that this film DID have a sad ending, showing us the two mains sitting on bar stools, sipping cups of coffee and realizing that the primes of their lives are probably over. You have Tully who's been thrown out on his ear by Oma and who is burning his bridge with Ruben and you realize that this guy ain't never gonna' make it to Fat City a.k.a. make it big. The line that I used in the subtitle is a great one and one that really sums up Keach's character. Big recommendation on this one! Seriously, if you can track it down, check it out and see what Stacy Keach is all about - an actor that a lot of us probably don't know and the ones who do probably forget about him. He was marvelous here and really made this movie. Oh and I absolutely LOVE Kris Kristofferson's "Help Me Make It Through the Night" - a song that really works for this movie.

RATING: 7.5/10  Thank God I finally found something to give me a little boost. This was good, more please.


March 3, 2014  11:48am


  1. Yes, an excellent and wistful picture, too little known.

  2. I couldn't get into this one but I am not into fighting/wrestling/boxing like you are! Btw I think Stacy keach is really handsome haha

    1. Really? I guess that shows what I know when it comes to judging good looking men. I am straight though, so....

      Thanks for stopping by Amanda.

  3. Nah .. sorry, I just don't get (most) boxing films.. people beating the crap out of each other..
    ( 'The set up' .. that is an OK to me boxing film)
    So sorry, I will pass by with no further comment.

    Excuse me Andrew.. but may I have a quick word with Amands..
    I'm having extream difficulty getting replies / comments whatever back to you.. several over the last week have ben rejected or just dissapeared... So unless I've said something ....
    Amyway, I will try again shortly...

  4. Good to see you here agian Amanda..


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