47. Fight Club

Movie: Fight Club

Release Date: October 15, 1999

Director: David Fincher

Starring: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter, Jared Leto.

Tag Lines: “How much can you know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight?”

“When you wake up in a different place at a different time, can you wake up as a different person?”

“Losing all hope is freedom,”

“Mischief. Mayhem. Soap.”

“Works great even on blood stains.”

Relevance: “The first rule about fight club is you don’t talk about fight club. The second rule about fight club is you don’t talk about fight club.” But I’m going to talk a little bit about it today because as you know, the most important rule about ‘Fight Club’ is fuck the rules.

‘Fight Club’ was released in theaters in the Fall of 1999. It was a very polarizing film when it came to both critics and audiences. Some really loved it, others most certainly did not. Its box office performance suffered in the United States because of that lukewarm critical reception although it did manage to pull in over $100 million dollars worldwide. The David Fincher film was the most controversial and talked about movie of 1999 despite its lack in revenue. The real success of the movie really took off with the release of its DVD in 2000. It has since become a cult classic often touted as “the defining cult movie of our time.”

While working as a manager of a music and movie store, a friend told me to check out ‘Fight Club’ as she thought it was a movie I would enjoy, knowing my admiration for Brad Pitt. Little did she know that I was a fan of its director as well. David Fincher was already a well known director thanks to the success of another Brad Pitt collaboration, ‘Se7en.’ He also had directed many of Madonna’s most famous and popular music videos, of whom I am a great admirer. And when I say admirer, I mean I worship the ground she walks on. Some people believe in God, I believe in Madonna. Mr. Fincher has become one of my favorite directors which is well reflected on this blog of my most influential movies of all time. ‘Fight Club’ is his fourth and final film to make the list (check out 347. Zodiac, 304. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and 121. Se7en for the first three). So my friend did not have to twist my arm too much to check it out.

In the summer of 2000, I rented ‘Fight Club’ and was excited to see if I would be on the love it or hate it side of the movie. My friend was insistent I would love it. She said in a weird way, it’s like porn which only intrigued me more. Like many of Mr. Fincher’s films before I was immediately sucked in to it. It was quirky, odd, artistic and quite violent, peppered with lots of sardonic humor that amused me and kept me entertained and riveted to the screen for over two hours. I had to agree with my friend, in some very strange way, the movie was like porn in a way I can’t really explain. It might have been the amount of testosterone that oozed out of the screen or the many shirtless scenes with Brad Pitt, regardless it was sexy. I was definitely on the “love it” side and purchased the Special Edition DVD the next day at work. I knew that ‘Fight Club’ was a movie I would need in my movie collection with only one viewing.

‘Fight Club’ was easily my favorite David Fincher movie and was one that I have watched many times throughout the years. I am grateful that this film has been deemed a cult classic, because it really was a bold, daring, provocative film that really needs to be seen to be believed. It almost has a film-noir feel to it that makes it more interesting the more times that you watch it. Its themes of capitalism, consumerism and fascism are definitely still relatable in today’s climate as well as its take on male bonding and sexuality. ‘Fight Club’ needs to be studied, but it’s also a film that easily entertains as long as you are not faint of heart.

Today’s Thoughts: “You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your fucking khakis. You’re the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.”

‘Fight Club’ was the perfect movie to sit and watch on this chilly Autumn day while still in my pajamas and wrapped in a warm blanket. I probably have not watched the movie in its entirety in almost five years or so, and was excited to re-watch this classic film. I was not sure how long I would need the blanket as a shirtless Mr. Pitt was sure to increase my body heat.

David Fincher really is a terrific director and I think it is showcased most in this dark, brooding film. A lot of attention is paid to its violence, but there is such a humor to the film that often gets missed. Its a dark movie, but one that still makes me smile. The cast is quite remarkable. Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter, Jared Leto and even Meat Loaf (Mr. Loaf as I like to call him) are quite effective in their roles. Every time that I watch the movie, I am reminded of the great caliber of art that it really is.

Oh, and there’s a penis. Sadly it is not Brad Pitt’s, but it may be David Fincher’s if you believe any urban myths. Regardless of the owner, ‘Fight Club’ marks the twentieth movie on my list to show the male in all its full frontal glory. You can check out the rest of the “penis list” here: 92, An American Werewolf in London, 93. Angels in America, 105. American History X, 110. Shortbus, 112. A Clockwork Orange, 113. Weekend, 120. Sex and the City, 133. Porky’s, 139. Trainspotting, 144. Fargo, 183. Terminator 2: Judgement Day, 199. Six Degrees of Separation, 209. The Fisher King, 295. Being John Malkovich, 296. Wildcats, 332. The Crying Game, 335. Born on the Fourth of July343. Sideways and 357. Amadeus.

If you have yet to see ‘Fight Club,’ be warned that it is quite violent for those a bit squeamish, but it is one that should not be missed. Be prepared to be in awe, weirded out, confused, titillated but overall entertained. And that’s all I have to say about ‘Fight Club.’

Awards: Academy Award for Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing, Ren Klyce, Richard Hymns (nomination),

Ways to Watch: YouTube, Google Play, Vudu, Amazon Prime, DVD Availability.

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