Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

11 October 2014

The Briefest of Reviews from 1972

Fat City refers to a kind of dream; the term is the equivalent of easy street. But Fat City is a movie about a boxer starring Stacy Keach and Jeff Bridges (in 1972! so cute). I am not calling this a boxing movie, because it isn't really that. This is much more a movie about poverty, about living in Northern California and trying to find work and drinking a lot. Keach goes back to boxing because he loves it, but physically it costs him dearly, and if he doesn't win he doesn't win much money. Almost all of the victories here (and there aren't even many of those) feel hollow. This isn't a very pleasurable picture. But the pleasures that are here a related to Susan Tyrrell, as Keach's hard-drinking girlfriend – part of my difficulty with the film is the amount of screaming the two do at one another, but her performance is really great – and Jeff Bridges. Tracking this man's professional trajectory would be totally fascinating. At this point in his career, Bridges was playing hopeful, slightly feckless young men, and this is another of those. Fat City is definitely worth watching, but not a lot of fun.