Chubsters, lard asses and human hippos appear to be the latest group of people we’re s’posed to tippy toe on eggshells around, if not show automatic respect for.
Fantastic, and I’ll certainly bear that in mind the next time I’m wedged next to one in Coach Class or I see some slobbering blubber guts outside KFC wolfing down a bucket of fried chicken.
In the meantime, as I patiently wait for the gentle grace of enlightenment, here are my seven favorite trouser-splitting tit hoarders.
Arguably cinema’s first great comic troupe, I never tire of the incompetent antics of Will Hay, Moore Marriott and Graham Moffatt. Just like the hugely talented members of Monty Python and The League of Gentleman, these British buffoons had memorable faces and effortless chemistry. The sharp, gag-laced writing didn’t do any harm, either.
In 1936 Moffat was still in his late teens when he hooked up with the other two. Nearly always playing a character called Albert, he was just as lazy, cowardly and corrupt, but perhaps slightly smarter. Surprisingly (for supposedly less sophisticated times) the laughs were hardly ever generated by cracks about his flabbiness. Instead they came from the trio’s comic timing, rapid-fire bickering and potent gift for physical comedy.
Deemed too fat for military service, Moffatt managed to avoid World War Two, enabling him to carry on playing comic support instead of saying hello to the Krauts on the Normandy beaches. Result!
Then again, his ever growing obesity (combined with the less than ideal occupation of being a very successful publican) ended his life at 45. Guess you win some and lose some.
Martha Beck in The Honeymoon Killers
Martha’s a classic frump.
Plain, lonely, jealous and sullen, she spends her time scoffing chocolate, tolerating her elderly mother and bossing others around at work.
“This is a hospital lab, not a motel room,” she tells one pair of romantically involved colleagues.
“Yes, Miss Beck,” comes the pointed reply.
But after a friend adds her name to a dating agency, she starts corresponding with New Yorker Raymond Fernandez. He’s good-looking and in shape, but there’s something about his fondness for medallions, sharp suits and cigarillos that suggest he’s not the ideal solution for her despondent heart. In fact, things turn toxic upon their first meeting when Martha drugs her mum so they can have sex in the same room.
With Martha posing as Fernandez’s sister, they quickly hit the road to swindle a string of lonely hearts, even though her near-constant jealousy threatens to derail the setup.
Based on the 1940s true-life story of the Lonely Hearts Killers, this is not for everyone. It’s a low budget flick with mediocre sound, fairly static direction and not the best actors, but its deglamorized grasp of realism does give it a documentary-like feel.
Most of all, it’s just great at illustrating the terrible dangers of being wanted.
Grossberger in Stir Crazy
Stir Crazy is a goofy, feel-good comedy that put a fair dent in the box office back in 1980. With a much funnier first half than second, it remains a decent watch, even if it’s not as good as those other Gene Wilder classics, Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein.
Grossberger is definitely one of its more memorable aspects. He’s a six-and-a-half feet tall giant with a girth to match, having not only wiped out all his relatives in one weekend but also killed a few more people who reminded him of his family.
Wrongly imprisoned Harry Monroe (Richard Pryor) is eating in the canteen when his bread-holding hand freezes in front of his open mouth, a nice directorial touch that suggests something humongous has walked in. Best mate Skip Donahue (Wilder), however, simply sees the chair-kicking arrival of the fierce-looking ax murderer as another opportunity to reach out and bring people together.
“No one has ever sat down and honestly talked with that man,” he confidently tells the others. “Poor kid!”
Of course, his initial approach doesn’t go well. Grossberger simply stares at him with limited comprehension before growling like a cornered animal, leaping to his feet and bellowing. Skip hightails it back to his table, meekly offering: “I’ll wait till after he’s had a little nap.”
Grossberger is then placed in Skip and Harry’s tiny cell by the dodgy warden as a means to force Skip to take part in a big money rodeo. There’s a pretty funny scene in which Harry is wedged between the bunk beds and Grossberger’s enormous belly as the near-mute mass murderer stares down at him, his fear so overwhelming he’s no longer capable of coherent speech.
Now I know Stir Crazy isn’t rooted in hard reality, but there’s absolutely no explanation why Grossberger changes overnight from a feared killer into an all-round nice guy after one night with Skip and Harry. Perhaps they give great blowjobs?
As for the Dutch-born, three-hundred pound plus actor who played Grossberger, you might also know him as Dynamo in The Running Man. A clearly promising career portraying man mountains was cut short by his death at 34.
Porky Wallace in Porky’s
With a flashing neon sign perched atop the titular nightclub depicting an upright female pig in a skirt baring her ass beneath the words Get it at Porky’s, it’s fair to say this 1981 box office smash is not the subtlest of movies.
Not that I care. I fucking love Porky’s.
The nightclub in question is obviously the place to go, especially if you happen to be a horny, underage kid in 1950s Florida. A bunch of them visit, firstly marveling at Porky’s bright pink Pig Mobile in the car lot, complete with its porcine hood ornament. It’s the first clue we get that this man loves pigs in a way that brings to mind a redneck hillbilly rapist from Deliverance.
Anyhow, his nightclub is a heaving joint with sawdust on the floor and alligator skins on the wall. A fair few customers are passed out, some of whom are removed in a wheelbarrow. This is a place where the barman will punch you and, if he misses, someone else will step in to finish the job.
Onstage we’re treated to the sight of a midget cowboy holding the reins to six, bare-assed dancing girls, whip in hand as they pull him around. “Holy shit!” a high school boy exclaims upon seeing the entertainment, his tongue almost on the floor. “It’s a pussy stampede!”
There’s even an employee whose sole job appears to be manning a massive World War Two machine gun, so large it might even have been appropriated from a plane (or Charles Bronson). A nearby sign reads Danger! Attack Pig, momentarily confusing us until we see an inebriated, overexcited patron with his face pinned to the groin of a protesting dancer. The gunner starts urging a large black pig by his side to go to her aid until the situation’s resolved with a more standard use of violence.
Fair play, the movie does a great job in bringing to life Porky’s distinctive vision for nocturnal entertainment.
We first meet the main man when the underage kids demand to see him to negotiate a price for some fun in Porky’s Pen, an upstairs place of prostitution. Well, as expected, Porky is a big guy. Indeed, he’s shaped like a gigantic spinning top. If you did wanna throw a punch at his quadruple chin, you’d firstly have to bend at the waist, mould your body around his protruding gut and really lean in to have any chance of success. Dressed in a cowboy hat and a brown leather waistcoat, it’s no surprise to find them both adorned with the confederate flag.
The high school boys don’t fare too well with this intimidating figure. He’s obviously a no-nonsense guy who’s seen and heard it all before. “What you got to spend?” he barks, momentarily removing his cigar. “Bottle caps?”
When they tell him they want five girls for one hundred bucks, he points to the door. “It’s a long ride back home and it’s even longer with a hard on,” he says. “I’ll give you two girls for an hour or three for half an hour.”
Porky then plays a cruel trick by putting them in a dark room with a trapdoor that empties them into the swamp, much to the delight of his obviously loyal customers.
Soaking wet and humiliated, they burst back in to once again demand to see that ‘piece of pig shit.’
Porky is cool as a cucumber, though. “How was the pussy, boys?” he merely asks to raucous laughter.
Mr Creosote in The Meaning of Life
After the glorious heights of Holy Grail and Life of Brian, I guess it’s unsurprising this 1983 effort isn’t as good. It’s cruder and more mean-spirited while a fair chunk of the long-winded sketches (especially its twenty-minute opener) fall flat. Saying that, there are things to like, such as John Cleese’s practical sex education class and Michael Palin’s inspired, Catholic-baiting Every Sperm is Sacred.
And then, of course, there’s Mr Creosote. Now this is how I like to think of fat people. Repulsive, bovine and inextricably wedded to their out of control appetites, they have no dignity and do little but inspire disgust.
Played by Terry Jones, Mr Creosote enters a high-class restaurant very much dressed for the occasion. However, that’s his only nod toward civilized behavior because it doesn’t take long for him to tell the French waiter (Cleese) that he needs a bucket to throw up in. He proceeds to puke left, right and centre, including onto the back of a cleaning lady. He eventually orders the entire menu, as well as six crates of brown ale. His repugnant antics cause some fellow diners to leave, but Cleese remains relentlessly polite. After the meal is completed, Mr Creosote is offered a mint chocolate on a silver platter.
“No, fuck off, I’m full,” he says. “I couldn’t eat another thing. I’m absolutely stuffed.”
But Cleese politely continues to coax. “Oh sir, it’s only a tiny little thin one. It’s only wafer thin.”
We all know what happens next after Cleese uses a tiny pair of tongs to place the dessert on his tongue, but it’s a bit of a mystery what this gross sketch is supposed to illuminate.
Not that it matters too much because once seen it’s never forgotten.
Jabba the Hutt in Return of the Jedi
Aah, Jabba… A progressive, free-thinking individual if ever there were one. I was twelve when I first caught Return of the Jedi at the cinema, the experience providing a trusty blueprint for how the future ladies in my life should be treated. Namely, clad in a slinky gold bikini and chained.
Thanks, Jabba. You’re the man.
Although mentioned in the previous Star Wars episodes, it’s not until the third (sixth?) installment we get to meet this monumental fat fucker. Reposing on his stone sofa in a gloomy underground lair, he’s a curious mixture of slug and frog with a massive, white-flecked, downturned mouth. He smokes a bong, chomps on live bugs and likes to party with his sycophants, although he’s not above publicly executing them.
He’s got what you call a strong personality.
Now while he’s a tough bargainer and unfazed by the threat of thermal detonation, you do wonder how he’s managed to become such a fearsome crime lord. For a start he seems incapable of movement. Plus, like any fat fucker, he’s prone to dozing off in the middle of the day.
Anyway, feared he is, and I do like the way he’s hung the frozen Han Solo on the wall like a prized painting. It’s a nice touch that serves to underline his arrogance and provide the perfect deterrent to potential defaulters.
Jabba, however, really comes into his own after capturing the friends who try to rescue the Millennium Falcon captain. Just like he shows off Han, he also shows off Leia. (Mind you, where did he get such a perfect-fitting size 8 bikini from? I dunno, perhaps they have Target on these desert planets). There’s a definite sexual element in how he treats her, similar to the way King Kong obviously got a rise out of ripping Fay Wray’s clothes off.
Watch how he waggles his great tongue in her revolted face and playfully gives an occasional tug on the chain to choke her. There’s also a none-too-subtle shot of the stump of his tail excitedly wiggling next to her smooth bare stomach.
Well, who can blame the guy? As my adolescent memory will attest, the pigtailed Carrie Fisher is in sensational shape here and still throws up naughty little fantasies to this day.
She also serves as a graphic warning of what can happen if you don’t keep your woman on a tight leash, eventually turning the tables on the moon-faced pile of guts by wrapping the chain around his neck. It’s entirely fitting his massive tongue starts waggling again while his penis-like tail stump does another jiggle. Jabba, my friends, has obviously long been a devotee of auto-erotic asphyxiation and this is his ultimate high.
Guess I missed that when I was twelve.
Private Pyle in Full Metal Jacket
“Anyone dumb enough to wanna be in the military should be allowed in. End of fucking story. That should be the only requirement. I don’t care how many pushups you can do, put on a helmet, go wait in that foxhole, we’ll tell you when we need you to go kill somebody.”
Wise words from that doyen of truth, Bill Hicks, and nothing illustrates his point of view better than the first half of Kubrick’s penultimate film. It’s the perfect depiction of how the army takes apart people’s personalities and reassembles them so they can kill on the other side of the planet in some unjustifiable war.
And while such a dehumanizing process overwhelmingly works, not everything runs like clockwork in the hands of demented Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (the outstanding Lee Ermey).
“The free world will conquer communism with the aid of God and a few marines,” he barks at his platoon of raw recruits on the training ground. “God has a hard-on for marines because we kill everything we see.”
Hartman is such a fucking macho moron he even takes pride in maggoty pieces of shit like Charles Whitman and Lee Harvey Oswald, both ex-marines who used their crack rifle skills to kill in peacetime over long distances.
Hartman is also a classic bully, sensing easy pickings when he first meets the overweight misfit Private Pyle (Vincent D’Onofrio). Pyle might be taller and heavier, but he’s none too bright , he’s got a slightly tremulous voice and his unfortunate facial expression gives him a semi-permanent smirk. Hartman zeros in, humiliating him at every turn. “Wipe that grin off your face or I will gouge your eyes out and skull-fuck you,” is one of the nicer things this pseudo-Dahmer bellows in his face.
Pyle does not improve, especially after he’s caught hiding a jelly doughnut in an unlocked foot locker. Now Hartman starts punishing the others for his indiscretions. “I’m gonna rip your balls off so you can’t contaminate the rest of the world,” he rages.
Increasingly punch drunk and hopeless, Pyle begins talking to his rifle, perhaps on the understandable basis it won’t insult him back. Hartman, though, is too blind and arrogant to judge the deteriorating situation.
However, in terms of observable humanity, the fat guy ‘in a world of shit’ wins hands down.
While hypocritically scratching his ever-expanding gut, Dave Franklin has also been known to write novels.