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A Salute To Our Favorite Fat Kids In Film

May 28th, 2009 9:45am EDT
The GooniesSure, it's true that childhood obesity is a serious problem that menaces the health and well-being of many American tots, whose rate of becoming the deep-fried and taterized variety has risen significantly over the past 30 years. Yet, we are not here to discuss alarming statistics or to point fingers (at the fast food industry for example) for America's increasingly doughy population. No siree. Rather, we come here today to raise our soda-filled glasses to pay tribute to all of those wonderful pie-faced kids who have cinematically graced us with their weighty presence over the years. So, here's to you, movie fat kid, and your delightfully slow metabolism. Chow on!

The movie fat kid is a typecast role for children that reached its height in the early 90s with characters such as Ham in "The Sandlot," Goldberg in "The Mighty Ducks," and well, the entire cast of "Heavyweights." During this time frame, for any movie that featured a group of four or more youngsters, there apparently was some sort of weight-related diversity quota, which mandated that at least one of the little munchkins had to be affably dough-faced.

The fat kid character may not be the brightest or the most suave personality in the bunch, but he usually is the most entertaining. As this typecast generally operates, the movie fat kid is typically depicted as a court jester - uproarious, slightly inept, and usually goofing things up for the thinner characters. The bumbling nature of the movie fat kid concurs with America's infatuation with championing the underdog. Hence, why the movie fat kid will always occupy a special place in the hearts of American movie-goers - a warm place mixed with pity and joviality.

Let's take a look at a handful of movie fat kids whose stellar, super-sized performances give movie-goers just cause to venerate the fat kid's laudable place in movie history:

Hamilton "Ham" Porter from "The Sandlot" played by Patrick Renna

One of the more confident and self-assured movie fat kids, Ham doesn't bumble around relying on gaucherie to provide comedic relief. Instead, the Great Hambino is large and in charge as the sandlot's wise-cracking, foul-mouthed hoodlum of a catcher. Ham is not the type of movie fat kid that you want to mess with. His outspoken nature knows no boundaries and he will stoop to any level necessary to dish out the ultimate smack-talk burn. Plus, Ham sure does know his way around a s'more. He delivers what is quite possibly the greatest scene in cinematic history involving a graham cracker, thus duly earning Ham a spot on the list of favorite movie fat kids.




Vern Tessio from "Stand By Me" played by Jerry O'Connell

"Stand by Me," directed by Rob Reiner, is more serious in tone than most of the movies that feature the movie fat kid. Yet Vern still rocks the full 7 cents worth (and then some) of his cellulite packed role. In this coming-of-age film, based on the Stephen King novella "The Body," four friends set out on a cumbersome 20 mile-long quest to unearth a dead body. And true to the movie fat kid formula, throughout their journey, Vern is klutzy and annoying as the tubby tagalong in his group of pals, which includes Gordie (Will Wheaton), Chris (River Phoenix), and Teddy (Corey Feldman).




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