Home > Entertainment, Movies, Nerd, Reviews, Youth > Fat Kid Rules the World (and my heart, too)

Fat Kid Rules the World (and my heart, too)

My movie-induced narcolepsy has frustrated my movie fanatic fiancée, Ba.D., for years.

I seldom actively try to fall asleep. It’s just that movies were for so long my bedtime lullaby, it’s hard for me to appreciate them as anything more.

Once in a while I find a movie it’s impossible for me to sleep through. More rarely, I find a movie that not only holds my wakeful attention for two hours but invigorates me even after its credits have wrapped.

Fat Kid Rules the World  is such a movie. The script didn’t so much whisper as sing through its actors.

“Troy Billings is seventeen, overweight, and suicidal. Just as he’s about to jump in front of a bus, he’s saved by Marcus, a charming high school dropout/street musician. The two begin an uneasy friendship when Marcus enlists the musically challenged Troy to become the drummer in a new punk rock band. As Troy’s relationship with Marcus grows, Troy’s father becomes increasingly concerned about his son’s new friendship.”Official synopsis

Photo used with permission

“Fat Kid” Troy (Jacob Wysocki) immediately won both my heart and my full attention. I would have stayed awake for two hours simply to watch him go through the motions of his life. And yet, each of the actors in this amazing cast held their weight not only collectively but alone. Through their words and silences alike, these actors created living characters who didn’t so much feel real as really exist. At the movie’s close, I knew and loved each of them.

It would be impossible for me to pinpoint any one thing that sold me on Fat Kid Rules the World. There were so many that shone: its relationships, its lighting, its locations, its humor, its tenderness. Its magic was not in any one piece but in many beautiful pieces moving together in perfect synchronicity; indeed, when asked what he loved most about the movie, Ba.D. waxed effusive until I cut him off at fourteen minutes. (I know it was fourteen minutes because I recorded him in the hopes I could post his response here.)

Like me, he found it impossible to choose any one part of the film more perfect than another. Still, I gave him a second chance, asking him to describe his favorite thing about the movie “in one to two minutes.” After four minutes, I told him to wrap it up. After five minutes, I stopped the recording and asked if we should try one more time.  He said we should.

That recording ran three minutes but felt insubstantial compared to the others. For indeed, how can you possibly say only, “This is cinematic perfection” when the rush of that cinematic perfection is still coursing through your veins?

Shockingly, the film has had a hard time finding its distribution groove. In a discussion following the screening, Ba.D. and I learned about the trouble with selling “a movie about a fat kid.”

Ba.D. had a lot to say about that as we drove home, shaking a verbal fist at Hollywood for trying to stick to movies easily boiled down to two- and three-word catchphrases. The movie, he said, would have virtually distributed itself in the era that brought us movies like Heathers, Pump up the Volume and The Breakfast Club.

The Breakfast Club analogy resonated with me.

At its most basic level, Fat Kid Rules the World is about a fat kid. The Breakfast Club is about a group of kids stuck in detention.

But is detention what you think of when The Breakfast Club’s “Don’t You Forget About Me” comes on the radio? Or do you grin as you sing along and remember the unlikely kinship that grew between its dissimilar protagonists?

Fat Kid Rules the World isn’t just about a fat kid. It’s about grief, friendship, anger, transformation, punk rock, and the unlikely kinship that builds between people who only seem unalike at the most superficial of levels.

There aren’t many showings of this movie scheduled yet. Check here to see if one is in or near your town. If one isn’t in your town, please request it by following the request link at the bottom of that page. It’s a little work, to be sure, but great things are worth the work, and Fat Kid Rules the World isn’t just great. It’s incredible.

Next time I see director Matthew Lillard’s name, you won’t hear me saying, as I did a few days ago, “Oh, hey, it’s one of those kids from Scream!”

Nope. Next time, I’m more likely to say, “Yeah! That’s the guy whose vision made Fat Kid Rules the World come to life on the screen!”

Photo used with permission

I’m not a movie reviewer. I’m barely a movie watcher. It’s hard for me to find the right parting words to show how much this film rocked me. Instead of the right words, then, I leave you with the ones I uttered after I stopped cheering when the movie ended:

I love this movie so much, I just want to kiss it. I don’t even know how I’d do that, but I want to make out with the entire movie. So much.

(For the record, I still do.)

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  1. Liz
    August 18, 2012 at 6:35 am

    I live in Texas. Not only is it not coming to a city near me, it isn’t even in our state! 😦

    • August 18, 2012 at 6:41 am

      That’s where the requesting part comes in, Liz! Here’s how you request it:
      (1) Go to tuggthefatkid.com
      (2) Scroll down to the very bottom of the opening page
      (3) Click the blue “REQUEST IT” button there
      (4) Fill out the form on the next page

      I hope you will request it! 😀

  2. August 18, 2012 at 7:59 am

    Heya Deb! It sounds like my kind of movie, and it’s playing about an hour from my home! If I don’t go see it in the theater (Mr. Sprinkles isn’t a fan of movie theaters), I’ll definitely order it on dvd when it’s available. How’s your weekend shaping up? 🙂

    • August 19, 2012 at 5:54 am

      I hope you find a way to catch it in the theaters, but if you don’t, I’d love to hear your thoughts when it reaches your home!

      My weekend has been a blast. I got to meet up with two online friends (plus families, yay!) at the ocean yesterday, so I’m as content today as I am sunburned. How’s your weekend treating you?

      • August 21, 2012 at 4:55 am

        Your weekend sounded like so much fun. Will you be writing about it? Hope your burn is better! We went car shopping this weekend and I think I may have found a replacement for my dearly departed van. I’m a slow car buyer, so I’m thinking it over until this coming weekend. Once H is back in school, I won’t have her car to use as often and she starts back next Monday, so I need to make a decision. Have a wonderful week!

  3. August 18, 2012 at 8:28 am

    You may not review movies for a living, but you should!

    • August 19, 2012 at 5:57 am

      Aw, thank you! Blogs usually come pretty quickly to me, but I agonized over this one, because oh! I hoped I could do its subject justice. I’m still not sure how it’d be possible to even do that, but I did my best. 🙂

  4. August 18, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    You did a wonderful job at reviewing, catching the attention of someone who like you can usually not stay awake through a movie (except Rent and Wizards).

    Texas, will likely find something morally offensive about this movie and not show it anywhere, but I will try!

    • August 19, 2012 at 6:02 am

      I hope you can find a showing! And I thank you for this: “You did a wonderful job at reviewing[.]” I am so heartened to know that next time Ba.D. asks, “Are you awake? Tell me you’re actually watching this!” I’ll at least be able to say, “You know, it’s not just me. There are others!” 😀 😀 😀

  5. August 18, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    I haven’t seen this one but you’ve certainly made me want to.

  6. August 18, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    I definitely want to see this! I’ll talk to the principal of the school where I work — and also where I live to promote it– so far I don’t see it playing in any nearby towns. You certainly could be a movie reviewer– great analysis! Thanks for sharing this vip information.
    PS: When I ask my son to watch a movie with me, his response is usually– “Why, do you want to take a nap?” — I can so relate to your film narcolepsy!

    • August 19, 2012 at 6:36 am

      Thank you so much on so many counts! I think this is a movie my teen self would have both relished and heartened by, so I’m excited by the prospect of your catching this flick and perhaps spreading the word to its target audience. (I think that’s its intended target audience, in any case; it was a smash hit among my entire, age-variegated audience. Yeah!)

      “Why, do you want to take a nap?” Hee. ♥

  7. August 19, 2012 at 5:40 am

    It sounds wonderful, and not just because I won’t sleep through it! (Before putting in a video, my husband often says ‘what movie would you like to sleep through tonight?). I will keep an eye out for it.

  8. John Erickson
    August 19, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Okay, Deb, I’ve told you before, you have GOT to let your real feelings out. You need to let your feelings show more, or you’re gonna hurt yourself! 😀
    I’ll definitely keep an eye out for this flick. And if they get it to DVD, maybe we can do a mass group-discount. (Work it though Wal-mart, and we can throw in my wife’s 10% discount!)

    • August 20, 2012 at 6:29 am

      That opening line made me chuckle when I first read it, and again now! (I’ve no doubt it’ll do the same when I read it again later.)

      I do so hope they get this flick to DVD! I’ve wanted to watch it pretty much constantly since I finished watching it, so I’m already looking forward to having that freedom . . . even if I probably shouldn’t exercise it too liberally, in the hopes of getting other stuff done occasionally. 😉

  9. August 19, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Oh man, now I’m dying to see this and I’ve only just discovered that Matthew Lillard was here promoting it with the Van’s Warped Tour in June. I HAVE MISSED MY CHANCE! So sad right now, for serious. This is like the National Theatre’s Frankenstein fiasco ALL OVER AGAIN. I really need to find a way to get my finger on the pulse around here so I can stop missing everything awesome. It’s become a comedy of errors at this point. 😀 Thanks for the awesome review, though… now I know to look out for it and I won’t miss my shot again, even if it does mean just waiting for the DVD.

    • August 20, 2012 at 6:32 am

      Hey! A promotion in June doesn’t preclude a showing in September! Request one, request one! I mean, if you want to, ahem. I’m honestly thinking of requesting one for Eugene. I’ve just gotta contact the theater in mind before I do such a thing.

  10. W.L. Going
    August 20, 2012 at 5:15 am

    wow Deb, great review, thanks for spreading the big fat word! wish everyone in the world could see this movie…

    • August 20, 2012 at 6:34 am

      Thank you! Also, “W.L. Going”–any relation to “K.L. Going”? If so, please send (or accept, depending) thanks for the marvelous novel! I actually tried starting this review with reference to that (which I also loved, hence going to the screening), but it didn’t fit. D’oh.

  11. August 22, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Definitely going to try this one, as I love movies like the Breakfast Club, etc, even though they were a bit before my time. Thanks for the heads up and the great review, you should officially be one of their poster children :).

    • August 28, 2012 at 9:42 pm

      I’m very hopeful that I’ll be able to get a screening going in my hometown! I hope, too, you’ll get your chance to watch this charming, invigorating film. Two weeks since watching it and it’s still totally occupying my heart. 🙂

  12. September 7, 2012 at 6:43 am

    I didn’t know Lillard was directing. Hm. Good for him. Carve your own path.

    • September 7, 2012 at 6:51 am

      He was hired to read the audiobook some years back, which got this on his radar. I’m glad it did, too, because this movie rules. Having him tweet say this review might be his favorite yet didn’t bug me, either. But mostly (99.999%) it’s the movie that still has me beaming. 🙂

  1. August 28, 2012 at 10:50 am
  2. September 7, 2012 at 5:26 am

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