For the past few years, Scarecrow Video has been contributing reviews of movies made in the Pacific Northwest to the Seattle Office of Film + Music's e-newsletter (you may have seen some of them when we had our Scarecrow on Seattle rental section up last year). We're now proud to be able to share these reviews on our site as well. We begin with a review of a hit from SIFF 2012:
In the opening scenes of Fat Kid Rules The World, Troy (Jacob Wysocki) stands on the steep slope of Lenora between First and Western. A Metro bus approaches (no route number, it just reads SEATTLE) and Troy takes a step forward, ready to end it all. But as the brakes squeak, a furious streak rushes into the frame, throwing him to the sidewalk, and a sort-of friendship is born. We learn that Troy is profoundly lonely. Aside from crusades with online gamers, he seems to have no one. No one, except maybe the refrigerator. It’s always his first stop upon coming home, where he finds solace with chocolate donuts and roasted chicken. Marcus (Matt O’Leary), the aforementioned furious streak, is a twitchy, manipulative, drug-addled dropout who enlists Troy to be his drummer in a new punk rock venture. Troy doesn’t know how to play but as he learns and the story plays out, having something to aspire to (and someone to look after) seems to shift his spirits. Troy may not rule the whole world by the end of the movie, but he at least has some control over his own.
First-time director Matthew Lillard moved the setting of KL Going’s novel from New York to Seattle and filled it with little details for us locals. Marcus and his delusions of grandeur promise Troy they’ll play a show at Neumos. Troy performs what I’m sure is some of the best air drumming ever recorded on public transportation against the plastic green seats in a Metro bus. Troy’s brother’s room is decked out in full Seahawks and Sounders regalia. Pay close attention to a kitchen scene where Troy listens to a lecture from his father (Billy Campbell, who is great as a stern-but-caring widowed dad). Allow your eyes to move over to the bulletin board, where you’ll spot an SIFF popcorn punch card and Easy Street Records stamp card. Troy is also seen clutching an Easy Street bag full of punk CDs. White Center’s beloved Zippy’s Giant Burgers and the Comet Tavern get a shout-out via shirt.
Physical location-wise, Troy’s family live in an apartment in the Broadmore Apartments on First Hill and they shoot a depressing round of hoops on the playfield at Hamlin Robinson School in the Central District. There are glimpses of Eastlake, SODO, and downtown, but for me the best location is a personal one. Fat Kid’s interior high school scenes were filmed at my alma mater, Renton’s Lindbergh High School. It would be easy to write off the endearment I felt towards this movie as a by-product of the nostalgia kicked up watching Troy and Marcus bound down its brick-lined hallways. But the only thing you need to like this movie is to have ever been young and/or have a heart. Lillard and company capture the almost universal feeling of adolescent isolation in a genuine and organic way. I wish this film had been around when I was in high school.--Jen Koogler
Fat Kid Rules the World is currently available for rent in our New Release section. It is also availalbe for sale here in the store, or click the DVD box below to purchase online.
We'll be back with a new review next week. In the meantime, you can pore over the archives on the Film + Music Office's website.
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