Local film ‘The Fat Boy Chronicles’ illustrates impact of bullying

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Bullying. It occurs in schools all across America. Dictionary.com defines it as “An overbearing person who habitually intimidates smaller or weaker people”. Over the past few years, bullying has been the cause of numerous teen suicides and has been talked about to countless Fayette teenagers who couldn’t give a hoot about it. Most are in the mind set of “It doesn’t happen here, so why should I care?” It does happen, and “The Fat Boy Chronicles” will show them how.

The film tells the story of Jimmy, an overweight boy starting his 9th grade year. He is bullied by almost everyone at his high school, with the exception of his best friend Paul and a Goth classmate, Sable. The only places Jimmy has peace are his home, youth group, and surprisingly, his journal.

After a doctor informs Jimmy that his life will only get worse, he decides to start losing weight. As Jimmy comes closer to accomplishing his goal, he will face the truth that he isn’t the only one with big problems and that friends can come in all forms.

I liked this movie. It felt realistic about 85 percent of the time, rare for a high school film. The parts that were not realistic could be looked over. I think that some elements were not explained as well as they should have been, but they had a rushed filming schedule (Only three weeks before school started again and they needed to vacate the premises), so it is okay. I would suggest renting this movie: It will bring up some very important conversations with your kids about how much bullying goes on in their school.

Two years ago, a senior at Starr’s Mill informed me that he was getting bullied in the locker room and not much was being done about it. The locker room/gym areas are where all of the major bullying takes place, so teenagers who have been in the same situation as the senior was will be able to identify with Jimmy.

This film is being shown in high schools across the country. It is important because it will open up teens eyes to how much a “little joke” can affect someone. I was asked to review this movie because I am at the age where most of this occurs, and I’m very happy for the opportunity. I went in expecting to see an overweight kid being bullied for ninety minutes, but what I got was an overweight kid doing something to help himself.

The transitions in the film were uneven in some spots, but that may have been due to the rushed filming schedule. Despite that, the film definitely kept me interested.

This was the premiere of the film in a local theater. I met many of the people who worked on it, including the writer, director, producer, and one or two of the actors. The director is from Newnan and stated that he was happy to shoot this movie here because he wanted to go home every night. I told him I was impressed and hope to see more of his projects.

“The Fat Boy Chronicles” was filmed mostly at Newnan (changed to “Newman”) High School. The screening played to a full audience. The director said, “We’ve shown the film to 3,000 people and to five people, so we hope for a big audience but you never know”. I didn’t expect an entire theater to be filled with people. Apparently the film’s numerous awards at the festivals around the U.S. attracted some attention. A few of the high school extras from the film were sitting right behind us and they were giggling at some of the scenes, probably fond memories of hilarious days on set.

Following the film was a book signing in the NCG party room. I also discovered I’m camera shy: I couldn’t get my opinion out when I was getting filmed.

“The Fat Boy Chronicles” will be released on DVD January 2, 2012. I would think this movie would be rated PG for Thematic Elements, Bullying, and Brief Smoking (Paul does this in a party scene).

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