posted by meowser
Typically of alter cockers my age and upwards, I don’t get out to movie theaters very much these days. But when a commenter on Shapely Prose whose name escapes me at the moment (feel free to identify yourself if it’s you) mentioned that Pixar’s latest film, Up, had fat characters who were not made the butt of jokes because of their weight, and that this was exactly the kind of thing Fatospherians should be showing support (read: entertainment $$) to, I had to agree. I even sprung for 3-D, figuring I didn’t go to movies that much and if I was going to go, I might as well have the value-add experience I couldn’t get watching at home. (For whatever it’s worth, though, not many people seemed to agree with me on that; besides me and Chris, there were about six other people in the theater for an early Sunday night showing.)
Well, lemme tell you: 2-D or 3-D, this movie rules. RULES, I tell you. I’m not going to describe the plot in a lot of detail; let’s just say a flying house, talking dogs, a colorful chocolate-loving bird, and an exiled scientist desperate to clear his name are involved, and leave it at that. What I loved about it was that, yes, this is exactly the kind of movie I want to see a lot more of, one where there was wonderful characterization and voicing, gorgeous scenery, and many funny jokes, and not one of those jokes involved the weight of either the pudgy 78-year-old white man (played by 79-year-old Ed Asner; the character looks amusingly like him, with some latter-day Walter Matthau and Spencer Tracy thrown in) or the even pudgier 8-year-old Asian American boy (played by newcomer Jordan Nagai). If the characters’ weight is acknowledged at all, it’s said to work to their advantage in what they’re trying to accomplish.
According to Pixar Blog, the studio is not putting out much merchandise on Up despite brisk ticket sales, thinking dolls of fat old men and fat little boys aren’t going to be what kids are clamoring for…but shit, if they do put out Carl (old man) and Russell (little boy) dolls, I’m gonna scoop them up, you bet. Both of these characters are CUTE AS DAMN BUTTONS. And I don’t just mean their looks, either. Part of this is how they’re written, but even more so, the marvelous voice skills of the actors. Ed Asner, boy, you’ve been missed. (He’s been working all this time, apparently, but it sure doesn’t seem like it.) Another bonus of this film is that it does, indeed, put a real-life fat old man in the spotlight (Asner will turn 80 in November), reminding people once again that, no, we fatasses don’t all cack by the time we’re 60. (It shouldn’t need to be said — shit, I create medical records for fat old people all the time — but for some reason, that idea dies hard for a lot of people. Wishful thinking, perhaps?)
Asner might have been the only actor on earth who could have given Lou Grant (his character on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its eponymous followup series, Lou Grant) the multiple dimensions he had; he made the drunk asshole boss both funny and deep, right from that first “I hate spunk!” interview of Mary. And yeah, he was catnip to women, too (especially to Betty White’s brilliantly played horndogette, Sue Ann), despite the fat japes made about him. Carl, by comparison, is merely grumpy, but Asner hasn’t lost a step off his timing, and Jordan Nagai — who has huge mouthfuls of verbiage to deliver as Russell — keeps right up with him. (And yes, not that Disney deserves a cookie for doing what they’re supposed to and hiring an Asian American actor to play an Asian American character, but it’s definitely the sort of thing to nudge them in the direction of.) And in case you’re wondering, the 3-D glasses do fit over regular ones. What you’d mainly get from the 3-D here is not so much Disneyland-ish special effects (no birds landing on your nose or anything), but a sense of actually being there in the middle of the action. Which I dug, myself. But I hardly think you’d be losing out by seeing it in 2-D, either.
Now, all I could ask are some films featuring fat old ladies and fat little girls. C’mon, Pixar, I’m ready.