Fat City Reviews

  • Mar 16, 2020

    To some, John Huston among them, boxing is more than a sport. It is an existential proclamation. But those who do it wouldn't know words that big. And the inspiration for Huston's vision of boxing as the poor man's salvation, his friend Ernest Hemingway, didn't use big words either. Both men, gifted and wealthy though they were, crafted their work around the seedy nobility of characters like those played by Keach and Bridges. What Roger Ebert failed to understand about this film is that Huston was not glorifying losers. He was acknowledging the place of all the characters in this perfect little film in the pantheon of the human condition.

    To some, John Huston among them, boxing is more than a sport. It is an existential proclamation. But those who do it wouldn't know words that big. And the inspiration for Huston's vision of boxing as the poor man's salvation, his friend Ernest Hemingway, didn't use big words either. Both men, gifted and wealthy though they were, crafted their work around the seedy nobility of characters like those played by Keach and Bridges. What Roger Ebert failed to understand about this film is that Huston was not glorifying losers. He was acknowledging the place of all the characters in this perfect little film in the pantheon of the human condition.

  • Jul 27, 2019

    Excellent. Dark and seedy.

    Excellent. Dark and seedy.

  • Apr 17, 2019

    Wonderful all around. Stacy Keach is yet another actor who deserved an Oscar that year over Brando’s supporting turn in The Godfather. Susan Tyrell gives the best performance of an alcoholic mess in any film..,ever.

    Wonderful all around. Stacy Keach is yet another actor who deserved an Oscar that year over Brando’s supporting turn in The Godfather. Susan Tyrell gives the best performance of an alcoholic mess in any film..,ever.

  • Mar 22, 2019

    this is an OK Story about boxing, but nothing to shout about

    this is an OK Story about boxing, but nothing to shout about

  • Mar 17, 2019

    Story about people who live job to job, drinking to forget their trouble, and either angry or sad because life sucks. The ending scene really hit home to me. Tully turns and watches the old men playing poker, and see's himself doing the same very soon. We all get old and we all wonder where it went. Good movie.

    Story about people who live job to job, drinking to forget their trouble, and either angry or sad because life sucks. The ending scene really hit home to me. Tully turns and watches the old men playing poker, and see's himself doing the same very soon. We all get old and we all wonder where it went. Good movie.

  • Jul 10, 2018

    Great performances, especially Susan Tyrell, and great faded color photography. The downbeat story was slightly lost on me, though, since I've seen worse fates depicted on screen before.

    Great performances, especially Susan Tyrell, and great faded color photography. The downbeat story was slightly lost on me, though, since I've seen worse fates depicted on screen before.

  • Feb 28, 2017

    A serious, powerfully acted drama from the 70s by John Huston, the predecessor of such films as Barfly. One of those powerful films about boxing where the focus is not boxing itself but rather the life of boxers which in many cases is more interesting than their boxing achievements.

    A serious, powerfully acted drama from the 70s by John Huston, the predecessor of such films as Barfly. One of those powerful films about boxing where the focus is not boxing itself but rather the life of boxers which in many cases is more interesting than their boxing achievements.

  • Sep 19, 2016

    Fat City is a movie that utterly failed to click with me. The story isn't really told in a coherent fashion, in fact there's not much of a story to the film at all. There's a young guy trying out some boxing and an old guy who used to box who's considering getting back into the ring. They both box some, there's one win that seems significant and then nothing in their lives changes at all. There's no big confrontation between young and old, there's no fight for a title or some kind of stakes. It's just a random string of moments featuring these guys who box a little and occasionally show us how awful life can be. The boxing is clearly not done with cuts and clever editing, but by having 2 terrible boxers flail around like little kids in a school yard. The fights look and feel artificial and staged. The truly baffling part of this film is the strange relationship between Stacy Keach (the older boxer) and the world's most annoying human being. Susan Tyrell portrays this woman as a subtle mix between an obnoxious alcoholic and someone running their nails on a chalkboard. I couldn't help wondering "What human being would ever want to spend more than 5 seconds with this person?" Yet they build this "romance" that utterly baffled and frustrated me. Aside from the annoyance of Susan Tyrell, Fat City committed one of the greatest cinema sins...it was flat out boring. As a result, I cannot recommend it to anyone, despite the fact that critics seem to love it for some reason. There are movies with much less going on that can fascinate me by creating intriguing characters and giving them strong story arcs, but Fat City did none of that.

    Fat City is a movie that utterly failed to click with me. The story isn't really told in a coherent fashion, in fact there's not much of a story to the film at all. There's a young guy trying out some boxing and an old guy who used to box who's considering getting back into the ring. They both box some, there's one win that seems significant and then nothing in their lives changes at all. There's no big confrontation between young and old, there's no fight for a title or some kind of stakes. It's just a random string of moments featuring these guys who box a little and occasionally show us how awful life can be. The boxing is clearly not done with cuts and clever editing, but by having 2 terrible boxers flail around like little kids in a school yard. The fights look and feel artificial and staged. The truly baffling part of this film is the strange relationship between Stacy Keach (the older boxer) and the world's most annoying human being. Susan Tyrell portrays this woman as a subtle mix between an obnoxious alcoholic and someone running their nails on a chalkboard. I couldn't help wondering "What human being would ever want to spend more than 5 seconds with this person?" Yet they build this "romance" that utterly baffled and frustrated me. Aside from the annoyance of Susan Tyrell, Fat City committed one of the greatest cinema sins...it was flat out boring. As a result, I cannot recommend it to anyone, despite the fact that critics seem to love it for some reason. There are movies with much less going on that can fascinate me by creating intriguing characters and giving them strong story arcs, but Fat City did none of that.

  • Aug 07, 2016

    For a prize fighter, winning is everything, but if you're a loser when you climb into the ring, you're still going to be a loser when you come out, even if you KO your opponent. Such might be the moral of this very atypical sports movie, starring Stacy Keach and Jeff Bridges as aspiring fighters in the lower echelons of the boxing game in and around Stockton, California. John Huston was one of the most commercially and popularly successful of mainstream Hollywood directors, making such major classics as The Maltese Falcon, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and The African Queen, yet most film historians and critics have been reluctant to rank him among the best cinematic artists. Fat City makes it hard to see why: this gritty, realistic film is one of those great films which surprises you by how much more it seems like real life than like a movie. Keach and Bridges both give what may be their best performances, and Susan Tyrrell, an actress better known for stage work, gives an unforgettable performance as an alcoholic barfly, for which she was nominated for an Oscar, and she should have won. Fat City is not at all a typical sports film, which by Hollywood convention must show a hero overcoming early difficulties to rise to stardom, nor is it really about boxing, though it includes an extended fight scene which may be the best ever included in a Hollywood film -- the fact that Huston was a prize fighter himself in his youth no doubt adds to the authenticity of the prize ring atmosphere. But this is a film about people, very flawed people who manage to hold onto some shreds of integrity and to be kind to one another, despite the fact that they are all in their own desperate situation. The atmosphere of the seedy towns and endless fields of California's Central Valley, a rare location for major films, is portrayed with great vividness and accuracy. All in all, not a fun film, but an unforgettable one.

    For a prize fighter, winning is everything, but if you're a loser when you climb into the ring, you're still going to be a loser when you come out, even if you KO your opponent. Such might be the moral of this very atypical sports movie, starring Stacy Keach and Jeff Bridges as aspiring fighters in the lower echelons of the boxing game in and around Stockton, California. John Huston was one of the most commercially and popularly successful of mainstream Hollywood directors, making such major classics as The Maltese Falcon, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and The African Queen, yet most film historians and critics have been reluctant to rank him among the best cinematic artists. Fat City makes it hard to see why: this gritty, realistic film is one of those great films which surprises you by how much more it seems like real life than like a movie. Keach and Bridges both give what may be their best performances, and Susan Tyrrell, an actress better known for stage work, gives an unforgettable performance as an alcoholic barfly, for which she was nominated for an Oscar, and she should have won. Fat City is not at all a typical sports film, which by Hollywood convention must show a hero overcoming early difficulties to rise to stardom, nor is it really about boxing, though it includes an extended fight scene which may be the best ever included in a Hollywood film -- the fact that Huston was a prize fighter himself in his youth no doubt adds to the authenticity of the prize ring atmosphere. But this is a film about people, very flawed people who manage to hold onto some shreds of integrity and to be kind to one another, despite the fact that they are all in their own desperate situation. The atmosphere of the seedy towns and endless fields of California's Central Valley, a rare location for major films, is portrayed with great vividness and accuracy. All in all, not a fun film, but an unforgettable one.

  • Sep 02, 2015

    Not a whole lot in terms of story with a mishmash of some well done scenes and strong performances by much of the cast but an unsatisfying film in the end.

    Not a whole lot in terms of story with a mishmash of some well done scenes and strong performances by much of the cast but an unsatisfying film in the end.