Help a Fatass Out: Go See ‘Up’

meowser-48.jpg 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.

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14 Responses to “Help a Fatass Out: Go See ‘Up’”

  1. JennyRose Says:

    I loved up as well. It was funny, visually interesting and had a great plot line. I thought Carl and Russell had great chemistry together.

    I wanted to cry when they showed Carl’s many years of marriage and the loss of his wife. Who knew a cartoon could be so touching?

    OK – so you want to see fat old ladies? See Coraline. It is a sort of a fairy tale/nightmare of a lonely girl who sees what it is like to have another set of parents. Many of the characters are thin to average but when the other mother becomes the villain, she is all bones.

    Coraline gets advice and support from a pair of aged former burlesque dancers who are definitely not thin. Nor is their size a set up for a joke. Like Carl and Russell, they are interesting whole characters who happen to be fat.

  2. Lindsay Says:

    I loved “Up.” Almost cried during that opening sequence, about Carl’s and Ellie’s life together…

  3. Vixen Says:

    Heh. I bawled like a BABY in that sequence, and teared up somewhere else too. Big softy, me.

    This is the best pixar movie in years, and I loved how they handled the fat characters … by not “handling” them, just letting them be without either derogatory or apologetic comment.

  4. Des Says:

    This movie made me WEEP! It was so beautiful, I just couldn’t control myself.

  5. Colleen Says:

    EXACTLY! I wish the fatosphere would get on praising this awesome awesome movie. It’s been annoying me to no end that there was a pile on about how awful Wall-E was, and when Pixar MORE than makes up for any slight they may have caused, it’s crickets.

  6. Patsy Nevins Says:

    It sounds wonderful. I MUST see it…hell, I think I must BUY it when it comes out on DVD.

  7. Karin Says:

    UP is a great movie!! So many layers to it… not only the “fat” characters, but also the statement about how society treats old people, sons with absent fathers, dog pack mentality (sooo funny), etc. I will see this one again and again… And I agree with Patsy, this might be one to actually by on DVD !!

  8. Jess Says:

    I found Up to be a wonderful, bittersweet and whimsical film. I will be first in line to buy the DVD! I think on both the FA and AA fronts, it was good. I never expected to cry in the first 20 minutes, but this is a film I’ll watch again and again.

  9. lynnie Says:

    I haven’t seen it, but my mister took our daughter and they both loved it. He wants to take me to see it for out anniversary.

    Have you seen Bolt? The mom in that movie is fat, and it isnt’ an issue or brought up in any way. It is just her body type.

  10. JeanC Says:

    I don’t go to the theatres much, so will grab this movie once it hits DVD.

  11. Meowser Says:

    I loved loved LOVED the wife’s presence in this film, from the very first moment they met. And yeah, I choked up at the montage, too. (I wondered, though, how very young children would handle that; school age is probably fine, but I wonder if the very little ones would be upset about “Grandma.”)

  12. meowser Says:

    And Colleen, that might have something to do with the fact that most writers think they write a lot better when they have something to complain about than when they don’t. (I have to admit, I’m not free of that hangup myself, but I’m trying.)

  13. Piffle Says:

    Oh good! I think I may have been the person on SP, I think I mentioned it there and one other place. It’s good to hear other people are loving it too. 🙂

  14. Rosa Says:

    Meowser, my 4 year old wanted to be held when she died, and then again when the whole dog pack was chasing the main characters, but he was fine otherwise. That was in the theater in 2D, and he’s kind of a ‘fraidy cat about media (Bolt was too scary for him)


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