“Monday Came” (re: Lbs. the Movie)

I’ve posted a couple of times about the movie, “Lbs.”  I don’t quite remember what brought it on, but I was doing a Google search for movies that contained overweight main characters and somehow, by luck, chance, or fate, I stumbled across the movie’s official website.  I read the synopsis and then watched the trailer.  At that point, I was hooked and immediately posted a quick comment/link on here to share it with all of you.  I then proceeded to check out the rest of their site and was fascinated by what I read.

For those who haven’t clicked over yet, “Lbs.” is a movie about an overweight man, Neil, whose weight (over 300 pounds) leads to a heart attack that delays his sister’s wedding.  This “creat[es] family chaos and forc[es] Neil to re-evaluate his life.”  Here is the remainder of the official synopsis (which can also be found on the main site):

The next day, he heads upstate and buys a dilapidated trailer in the middle of nowhere with plans to kick his addiction to food in isolation.  Two hundred miles from the comforts of home, Neil learns how to compromise, love, and survive – and that change – real change – comes from within.

Fantastic, eh?

Not too long after I posted about the movie, I received an email from someone claiming to be Marc Victor, the Executive Producer of the movie.  Of course, I was highly skeptical that it was really him, but responded to his email.  I’ll admit I had my doubts right up until I actually spoke with him on the phone on President’s day last week.

The passion that he feels for this movie was very evident.  He went over quite a bit of the information that can be found on the site:  the filming of the movie, the massive problems they had with getting it released, etc., but he put a human voice on it when he described how “cathartic” this release will be for the movie’s lead actor and writer, Carmine Famiglietti.  He’s been waiting for this moment for many years.  I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for him to pour his heart and soul (and the extra weight he shed) into this movie and then have it stalled for so long.

Mr. Victor also discussed his motivation behind his drive to get “Lbs.” released.  He said it wasn’t just a matter of trying to make a lot of money (which in this “Biggest Loser” society, I’m sure it will), but also a desire to open a discussion about not only the problems associated with obesity, but the impact on the obese person, their family, and their friends.  He believes that this movie and the discussion that it opens up could have the potential to change people’s lives, fight childhood obesity, and have a major impact on how obese people are perceived.

Please check the main site for further details about the movie’s journey and how Mr. Victor became involved.

The best part of the whole thing is that I can say emphatically that this is a movie worth watching.  In my opinion, anyway, since I have now been lucky enough to see it.  This past Friday, I received a package in the mail from Mr. Victor containing a screener copy of “Lbs.”

I almost immediately sat down with my parents to watch the movie, and am just now finishing my second watching.  I’m not a professional reviewer or critic, so please bear with me as I try to express the multitude of thoughts and emotions that this movie provoked (without giving anything away, of course!).  I’m not even sure where to start, except to say that I am now a big fan of Carmine Famiglietti and have added another of his movies, “Amexicano,” to my Netflix queue.

  • The acting (particularly that of Carmine and of the actor playing his best friend, Michael Aronov) was phenomenal.  Carmine can express so much emotion with a mere glance or smile, from heartache to joy, that it’s almost a physical presence in the room with you.  You are drawn into their characters.  You care about them.  Carmine’s character, Neil, isn’t a perfect human being, he doesn’t always say the right thing or make the right choices, but you become emotionally invested in his story.
  • I thought the directing was beautiful.
  • This movie brings attention to so many thoughts, experiences, and emotions that I, myself, have dealt with on my own journey.  There are so many little things that I think anyone who has struggled with their weight will catch and nod and say, “Yeah, I know about that,” or “Yeah, I’ve seen that,” or “Yeah, I’ve felt that way,” or “Yeah, I’ve been told that, or “Yeah, I’ve done that.”  The list is endless.  I don’t want to ruin it for you, so will just let you discover those little gems for yourself.
  • There are a few scenes in the movie that are actually a bit disturbing in their honesty:  from comments that people can make (it’s amazing how free people feel to comment on another’s weight), to a few scenes at the end where Neil tries to deal with being home again.
  • I was warned by Mr. Victor that this movie doesn’t have the perfect guy-gets-girl, happily-ever-after, Hollywood-style ending.  It doesn’t, and I’m actually glad that it doesn’t.  Other than a few loose ends, I think that the ending is just right and is certainly more realistic.
  • One of the main things (other than Neil professing his love of eating) that caught my attention from the trailer was the description of overeating as an addiction.  This idea is carried throughout the movie and I believe it expresses how losing weight is more than just a battle against failing willpower or laziness.
  • I wasn’t expecting the humor.  It was a lot funnier than I thought it would be!

There are so many other scenes and things in the movie that I want to discuss with you all and get your opinions on, but I’ll just have to wait.  As I said, I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.  But there were also a couple of other random thoughts that I had.  First, I had to smile at the thought of all of the people watching this movie at the theater and chowing down on popcorn and nachos.  Second, there is a scene in which an overweight woman is mentioned and it made me wonder how this movie would be different if the main character had been female.  Hmmm…Lbs. the Movie, Part 2?

If nothing else, as I said above, I believe this movie will open up the lines of communication about obesity as more than just a lack of willpower.  Hopefully people of a healthy weight will see a bit of the difficulty that an overweight person goes through, while an overweight person may feel a bit of validation, that they’re not alone, and that while weight loss is their personal responsibility, it’s not necessarily a character flaw or defect that makes it so difficult.

My parents both enjoyed the movie, too.  My dad actually stayed awake through it!  My mom thought it was interesting, but when asked what she didn’t like about it, she mentioned one of the loose ends and scenes from the end of the movie.  The reason she didn’t like it was based on one of her own personal experiences.  At one point during our viewing, my dad said “this is kind of hard to take.”  When pressed, he said that it seemed like they were showing an extreme example of one man’s journey through obesity.  I agree with this.  There are quite a few extremes – from one end of the spectrum (of the overeating ) to another (of the losing weight), but I think it helps make their point.  And there are people like Neil out there.  Both of my parents have struggled with their weight, as well, but neither to the extent that I have.  And even I couldn’t identify with every aspect of the character.   My dad said, when discussing what he liked, that “it makes you think.”  Which I personally believe is the highest form of praise you can give a movie.

I don’t believe this movie will be everyone’s cup of tea, regardless of their weight, but I do think it’s worth a watch, and as soon as it’s on DVD, I will be purchasing it.  I will also go see it at the theater, so it better come to Kansas City!  🙂  “Lbs.” is certainly not a perfect movie, but its really not about perfection anyway.

If anything I’ve said has made you interested in the movie or if something you’ve seen or read on the official site has made you want to see it, please let people know about it.  Again, it was just chance that I myself happened to stumble across it.  If you feel so moved, give it a mention on your blog if you have one.  They’ve had enough trouble trying to get the word out about this movie that Mr. Victor said it’s really going to take a grassroots effort to get it released in more cities.  As I mentioned in my previous post, he said that it will open in NYC on March 26th and then spread to a number of other cities.  MizFit, he did say it was coming to Texas!  If you are interested to learn about what you can do to get it to come to your city, let me know and I can put you in touch with Mr. Victor.

Carmine’s character, Neil, states this in the trailer: “Monday came and I started.  . . .  How many times?  It might be a thousand.  But on 1,001, I started.”

Well, today is my Monday #1,001 (give or take) and I’m starting.  I’m going to do it.

**Note:  Other than the interactions with Mr. Victor mentioned above, I have had no prior relationship or association with any of the people or companies involved in the making or distributing of this movie.

PS – I just had another thought – the best thing about this movie?  It was written by and acted by a real overweight person – no fat suit!

You can read more about why this movie is important to me here.

**For more “Lbs.” related info, you can click here to see the page I’ve created for “Lbs.” or click on the link on the toolbar above.

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