October’s been a busy month for me, and that agenda has included being a guest on some fantastic podcasts you should check out to help get into that holiday spirit:
First off, we have Tracks of the Damned, a podcast of horror film commentary tracks hosted by Director’s Club alum Patrick Ripoll. Patrick is making commentary tracks on the Scream series for the month of October, and you can hear me on the Scream 3 episode, which also includes a rambling discussion sparked by a listener’s question about women in horror.
I’m also featured on Film Jive’s Halloween special, Soundtrack of Terror Vol. 2, a compilation of mini audio essays on favorite music from horror film. My contribution was on “Through the Trees” by Low Shoulder from Jennifer’s Body. Thanks to Zach, Simone, and Andrew for inviting me back, after including my piece on Night of the Hunter on Soundtrack of Terror Vol. 1.
And last but certainly not least, I was happy to be back on Creepypodsta, the creepypasta podcast hosted by Jeff Kowalski. Louisa Herron and I discuss the first episode of SyFy’s Channel Zero, based on Candle Cove, the creepypasta that the three of us discussed on the podcast’s very first episode. The episode drops on November 3, so keep your eye on that space. Jeff and Louisa also cohost the podcast Seeing Red(dit).
I didn’t watch as many films as I usually do this past month, as I’ve spent a lot of my leisure time, um, seeing if there are any fat characters in Skyrim. But a few fat characters did crop up in the films I did see. The films are from different countries and 40 years apart, but both characters are coincidentally minor antagonists:
Zero Motivation (2015, Tayla Lavie)
Think MASH meets Broad City. A comedy focusing on two slacker soldiers Zohar (Dana Ivgy) and Daffi (Nelly Tagar) who work in an administrative office on an isolated Israeli Army base. Their supervisor Rama (Shani Klein) is bigger-bodied than the other female soldiers; while her frustrations evoke some sympathy, she is positioned as the somewhat-incompetent minor bureaucrat unsuccessfully trying to suck the fun out of the protagonists’ lives.
Yojimbo (1961, dir. Akira Kurosawa)
This classic about a clever samurai Sanjuro (Toshiro Mifune) who manipulates two warring gangs features some truly bizarre characters, including a fat, dim-witted gang lieutenant (read: syncophant) named Inokichi (Daisuke Kato), “The Wild Pig.”
The king of filth turns 70 today. With films like Cry Baby, Pink Flamingos, and problematic fave Hairspray, Waters has graced an undeserving world with outrageous stories of irrepressible outsiders, including some truly amazing fat characters played by Divine and Rikki Lake, who don’t subvert stereotypes as much as crash into them at full speed.
It’s been over a decade since his last film, A Dirty Shame, but he seems to be enjoying retirement from filmmaking. And he certainly has quite the legacy. Here’s a link to one of my favorite scenes from Hairspray, to celebrate.
I decided to start this blog as a way to chronicle the overlap of my interests in film and fat acceptance (and the acceptance of other types of bodies that aren’t the default subject of movies, if I end up feeling ambitious). I’m not sure where it’s going just yet, but basically it’s here for me to share my thoughts on fat characters in the movies that I watch. Some are movies I intentionally view because of their fat characters; others are coincidental.
I’m also doing this as a way to learn more about film studies and film criticism; if you want to read the thoughts of seasoned professionals, I recommend the Dissolve.
I’m also open to submissions: if you have thoughts you would like to share on fat people in movies. I’m writing from the perspective of a white, college-educated, able-bodied, genderqueer FAAB USian, so diverse voices are very welcome. Drop me a line!