HEAVY. 1995

Director: James Mangold

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Fat, balding, wobbly-eyed character actor Pruitt Taylor Vince scores a richly deserved starring role in Heavy (1995) in which he plays a fat, balding, wobbly-eyed, middle-aged loser who still lives at home with his mom (Shelley Winters) & works as a frycook in his mom's diner.

One day mom hires Callie (Liv Taylor) who is extremely beautiful, emotionally vulnerable, involved with a handsome would-be rocker who isn't all that nice to her. She almost gets an inexplicable crush on tubby Victor the frycook, but it's nothing nearly as serious as in Victor's dreams.

Deborah Harry is Delores the town floozy who has waited tables in the diner for at least fifteen years, & whose boss Dolly (Winters) still abuses her, angry over a long-ago affair with Dolly's late husband.

Deborah's performance just about steals the film. She creates a multilayered truckstop figure, simultaneously sexy & pathetic. If Delores had ever gotten the nerve to quit working at that diner & get herself to the big city, her lustiness might not have gotten her pegged a strumpet, & she might've become a Playboy fold-out then fronted a successful band, you never know.

Other excellent support roles include David Patrick Kelly as "the grey man" & each side-performance helps make this film an actorly treasure. Pruitt Taylor Vince creates such a convincing loser that it is hard to imagine his life ever getting better, yet there's always hope.

This was the directorial debut of James Mangold who went on to direct uniformly appealing films like Copland (1997), Girl Interrupted (1990), Kate & Leopold (2001) & Walk the Line (2005). Heavy contains no big "movie type events" such as shoot-outs, murders, car chases, or terrorist bombs. There's just humanity striving to cope. The big events are the natural death of the elderly, falling uselessly in love, or learning to survive & grow in an environment that changes despite one's best efforts to stop change.

Heavy is a humbly great movie that makes you care deeply about ordinary people who are flawed but decent & don't deserve half the heartaches life provides, & for whom small successes become quiet moments of heroism.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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