Vanguard Cinema // 2011 // 96 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Rogers (Retired) // March 1st, 2012
If you've ever wanted to see a film whose DVD case heralds the fact that the soundtrack was composed by That '70s Show's Brett Perry, you may absolutely love Fat City, New Orleans.
I've seen my fair share of terrible films, and while I'm not someone who goes out of their way to watch them for camp value, I'm still able to laugh at cinematic dreadfulness. Unfortunately, Fat City, New Orleans is not one of those experiences.
A group of high school kids growing up in 1979 suburban New Orleans can't wait to turn 18 so they can add drinking alcohol to their pot smoking pot and hanging out in clubs with like-minded idiots. Stuck between adolescence and adulthood, these kids are supposedly coming of age on a pointless journey through New Orleans' disco underbelly, but they're too vapid and ignorant to take much away from their generic troubles with authority, love, and reality.
The ensemble performances are what you'd expect from a low budget indie, though writer/director Stephen Mouton's dialogue sounds like a middle-aged man trying to recreate 1970s high school speak. To make matters worse, the cast look as if they're reading off cue cards, the production design looks cheaper than it should, the lighting is at times blindingly high-key on the exteriors and terribly low-key on the interiors, and the audio sounds as if it were recorded in a fish tank.
Presented in standard definition 1.78:1 non-anamorphic widescreen, the image is beyond grainy, lacking clarity and sharpness. Everything feels washed out and unfocused, with colors that are at times overly saturated and others desaturated beyond belief. The Dolby 2.0 audio is similarly horrible, with dialogue that's barely audible and an underwhelming soundtrack so loud it blares out of your speakers like a Harpy's shriek.
Bonus features include four trailers for Fat City, New Orleans, alongside a behind-the-scenes featurette in which the cast recall experiences from the shoot and general stories about "show biz."
I give credit to anyone makes a living in the film business. It's not easy to conceive an idea and summon the will and tenacity to see it through to completion. It's even more difficult to make that final product be something of excellence. I firmly believe any film (regardless of quality) is a worthwhile endeavor, because it's the product of many people working together to capture an experience, an emotion, and a vision. So while I commend Mouton for creating Fat City, New Orleans, this particular tale has been captured many times before...and delivered more effectively.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Vanguard Cinema
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 96 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Official Site