Blu-Ray Review: Fat City

Director: John Huston
Screenplay: Leonard Gardner
Based on a Novel by: Leonard Gardner
Starring: Stacy Keach, Jeff Bridges, Susan Tyrrell, Candy Clark, Nicholas Colasanto
Country: USA
Running Time: 96 min
Year: 1972
BBFC Certificate: 15


The late John Huston had an unusual career. Making his directorial debut with a cast iron classic, The Maltese Falcon, followed by a handful of other masterpieces, award winners and commercial hits, he then hit the doldrums for a while, making a couple of gems among the rough, but struggling to stay relevant as the 60’s rolled on. 1972’s Fat City was a bit of a comeback though, critically at least, leading to a pretty solid end to his career and life (we can forget about Annie). It’s been rather forgotten over time, but the critical love for Fat City remained enough to prompt this fine re-release package by the up-and-coming UK label, Indicator. Before I dig into Fat City I must take a minute to applaud Powerhouse Films for digging out so many lesser known gems, bravely picking some less than obvious titles to launch the first few months of their Indicator label. They pull out all the stops for special features too. Adding to the wonderful Blu-Rays released by Eureka, Arrow and The Criterion Collection, I’m truly spoilt for classic and cult re-releases these days.

Anyway, back to Fat City. Tully (Stacy Keach) is a former boxer who had a chance to make it big, but fell apart due to personal problems (he blames a woman and his manager, but as the film goes on we realise he’s got a drinking problem). When heading back to the gym in an attempt to get back into the sport, he comes across young Ernie (Jeff Bridges) training there for a bit of fun. Seeing potential in the 18 year old, Tully recommends Ernie speak to his ex-manager Ruben (Nicholas Colasanto – better known to me as Coach from Cheers). The film then charts, largely separately, Tully’s attempts to get back in the ring whilst battling personal demons and Ernie’s development as a boxer in the rough ‘skid row’ of Stockton, California. As both struggle to find the level of success Tully in particular dreams about, their lives intertwine with two women – Tully’s with alcoholic Oma (Susan Tyrrell) and Ernie’s with teenager Faye (Candy Clark).

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From our Netflix Queue

With the growing popularity of Netflix instant streaming in the U.S. and its most recent arrival into Canada, we at Row Three would like to highlight some of the great choices available at the press of a button.

 


 

Annie (John Huston)

One of the very first films I remember my parents taking me too. And wow does it still hold up! Great song and dance numbers, anti-communism subtexts, the political divide, the great depression, cute kids, a stellar Broadway cast and the 7-UP guy using the force. If Burnett and Finney weren’t nominated for an Oscar that year, they damn well should’ve! Sheer brilliance. Family films just aren’t made this way anymore perhaps most certified by an extended sequence with the joy of going to the movies. It’s exciting, funny and if nothing else the thirties had style. Relive this near masterpiece now while it’s available at the click of a button.
-ANDREW
 

it! (USA)

 


 

Community – Season 1 (Dan Harmon)

Enough people had told me to watch Community that I finally caved and took a look. Within the first five minutes of the first episode I laughed so hard I had to pause for fear of missing the next joke. The show follows a motley crew of characters trying to perpetually study for Spanish class in an undignified community college. As ensembles go, this has got to be the best, with the stand-outs for me being Joe McHale as Jeff, the so-called leader of the group (who is as close to Adam Scott in acting style as you can get), Chevy Chase as Pierce, the elderly student trying desperately to seem cool, and of course, Danny Pudi as Abed, the insanely meta oddball who insists they are all in a sitcom. Meshing a lot of the great aspects of Party Down and Freaks and Geeks, Community is relentlessly funny (sometimes veering a bit too far into non-sequitur comedy for my taste but usually tempered with a meta-understanding that apparently builds upon the Abed character in future episodes). As someone who has attended community college I see a lot of truth in this otherwise go-for-broke oneupmanship of half-hour sitcom comedies. I have only seen the first 15 episodes so far, but of these, the consistency of quality remains incredibly high. Try the first episode, this is quality straight out of the gate.
-MIKE
 

it! (CANADA)

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Cinecast Episode 142 – Aging Oddly

Episode 142:
With the strange release dates in different cities this time of year it’s difficult to come together and actually have seen the same recent films. Yet we somehow always find a way. Today’s show is just Kurt and Andrew back together for a classic shoot the shit discussion on everything we’ve seen theatrically over the past few weeks – from remastered Halloween classics to the latest Almodóvar and Todd Solondz. We also get into a little early Oscar talk (including the new hosts just announced) and of course weekly DVD choices. Hope you enjoy this little back and forth and feel free to leave your thoughts on anything you wish in the comment section below and
!Thanks for listening!

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Remembering a Decade…2005

(prologue) As we can begin to hear the death rattle of the oughts, we in the third row decided to start on this continuing series throughout 2009 that will look back at our favorite films of each of the past ten years (2000-2009). This will ultimately culminate in a “ten best/favorites of the oughts” piece sometime in early 2010.

This is probably our most inaccurate list of this series so far. With so many titles in 2005 that were on the cusp of being legendary, it really watered down the list of potentials. With movies like Brick, Good Night and Good Luck, Match Point and Batman Begins to contend with, it’s hard to put together a consensus top five list. Especially considering there were quite a few under-seen gems that popped up from 2005 over the past few years (Squid and the Whale, Lady Vengeance, Tristram Shandy). Once all of the staples of the year grace one’s list, it’s hard to fill in the blanks with a common consensus with so many great titles flying around. But anyway, if nothing else 2005 is a year that delivers weeks of quality film watching and more than a few week’s worth of discussion and debate. So here’s RowThree remembering 2005…

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