Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.

This is the tale of bad marketing and naivette. In high school shortly after this film was released to VHS, I remember walking by Blockbuster with some of my friends who all wanted to rent Fight Club. I looked at it and thought "Wow this is a dumb movie idea. A bunch of douches, including Brad Pitt, take there shirts off and fight each other? Dumb. Might as well watch wrestling or a boxing match!" The marketing made it look dumb too. I wrote it off as a Testosta-flick.... even though we then ended up renting Lock, Stock & Two Smokin' Barrels which is just as much a testosta-flick as any... but I was a naive young lad. My logic wasn't the best at that point. Anyway, it wouldn't be until years later, maybe like Freshman year of college when everyone was talking about this mystical, deep film. I was wondering what it was and it sounded right up my alley and someone said "Fight Club." I almost laughed but waited and questioned my old logic. "Do you trust advertising?" The answer: Hell No. Boy was I wrong! As most of you know, this is the kind of movie that can be easily spoiled if read about, so if you haven't seen it, go to your local video store and rent it. Or Netflix it. Or break into almost an college student's dorm room and pilfer their DVD collection.

Turns out, Fight Club is a very awesome social satire/imposing film on the abuses of the world's greed and self-love. The other thing that I love about this film is one of my friends favorite film theories: The Duality of Man. First: the satire. I love satire. I don't know why but skewering society in ways that are unsettlingly hilarious just attracts me. My favorite books are satire, my favorite movies are satire and my favorite sandwich is satire (Roast Beef represents the highfalutin upper crust of society, bacon represents the poor and horseradish is the resentment of each class to the other... pungent and bitter, all shoved on that long roll we call life.) Satirizing materialism, Fight Club shows just how ugly society can be. The self-worship and the 'need' for things in America is quite disturbing and this film hits the mark. You almost want to join them on their crusade destroying all things corporate.

Ed Norton and Brad Pitt play off each other phenomenally well and Helena Bonahm Carter is striking and dark. They really are the reason the movie works so well. They depict the duality of their characters so well that you get lost in their dialogue. Even though *SPOILER* they are the same person. The internal struggle acted outward is really original and well done.

David Fincher's gloriously dark and dismal direction adds an element of intrigue as well. Something about all his films just sucks you into another realm. It's the perfect direction to match such a dark topic. A true testament of a director who knows the ability of his actors, this scene is one of the craziest, most hilarious and truly disturbing scenes in all of cinema.

I guess it was my young misjudgment, but alas, we get older and we mature. We figure out what is more interesting and we diversify. As youngsters, our pallatte for anything conceptual or deep is limited. We like candy and very specific kinds. We only eat certain foods. But with time, we grow and change and adapt and find new things that we like. My original reasons for not wanting to watch Fight Club that fateful night in my yesteryear is proof positive that being a kid, you just don;t know what the hell you're talking about. Then you get over yourself and dabble. Once you dabble, you discover. Sometimes discoveries can be dissappointing, others will change the way you look at life. Fight Club is that kind of a movie that changes perspective.

1. Cinema Paradiso (1988) dr. Giuseppe Tornatore
2. Rushmore (1998) dr. Wes Anderson
3. Jurassic Park (1993) dr. Steven Speilberg
4. It's A Wonderful Life (1946) dr. Frank Capra
5. Trust (1990) dr. Hal Hartley
6. Donnie Darko (2001) dr. Richard Kelly
7. On The Waterfront (1954) dr. Elia Kazan
8. Monty Python & The Holy Grail (1975) dr. Terry Jones & Terry Gilliam
9. Do The Right Thing (1989) dr. Spike Lee
10. Stop Making Sense (1984) dr. Johnathan Demme
11. Trekkies (1997) dr. Roger Nygard
12. Fight Club (1999) dr. David Fincher

Up Next: The Sting (1973) dr. George Roy Hill

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