So once again we have survived.

Fight Club

Fight ClubFirst of all thanks guys for making my first column a success, by reading it.

Also i’m sorry my sight has been offline I don’t know WHAT the fuck is wrong with geocities.

now every so often there is a movie that comes along that really hits a motherfucker right in the balls and says LOOK AT ME, MOTHERFUCKER – I AM A CLASSIC.

the motherfucker i’m talking about is of course fight club, the new movie by david fincher. david fincher for those of you who don’t know is a director of beer commercials from the ’80s. like beer commercials Fight club is a movie with assloads of style. unlike commercials, this is a movie about NOT buying products, or rather not buying into the idea that material objects are your life. the star is a guy by the name of “narrator” who is kind of a yuppie type dude working at a car company, wearing a tie, traveling around to take a look at burnt up cars.

by the way, don’t read this column if you haven’t seen fith club. id on’t want to ruin it for you. Just go to the bottom and order something from reel.com so a motherfucker can eat.

Now i don’t think i have to tell you this dude narrator is not happy, and that is why when his condo gets blown to shit, he decides to squat in the most fucked up house you ever saw. this is a piece of shit with no water, electricity, tv and falling apart. and narrator is happier than ever because when it comes down to it a nice condo is not worth a fucking penny compared to living life the way you want to.

actually iguess i don’t have to explain it because you guys have already seen it. sorry. So here is what I think.

Fight ClubThis is fincher’s best shit. this david is one of the movie makers who storms hollywood like a true outlaw and uses these fuckers money to make a statement AGAINST the need for money. i hope this movie is a HUGE failure at the box office because that will be a statement in itself – who fucking cares? it’s the movie that counts not the money and those fat cats at 20th century should learn something from the movie. They need to learn to truly let the small stuff slide. FIGHT Club is a shank to capitalism, to materialism, to passively sitting back and not chasing your dream. did you really want to be marketing shitty movies trying to make money, or do you want to die knowing you made a GOOD FUCKING MOVIE like fight club? i wish i had fight club when i was wasting time in a fucking cage – would have got me off me ass and escaped! no just kidding guys.

Anyway this motherfucker is a Die hard for the ’90s in my opinion, and I ain’t fucking lying. Like die hard, it will have a great influence and inspiration on the people who see it. The most important scene to be frankly honest is when Tyler Durden holds a man at gunpoint as a “human sacrifice” and forces him to pursue his dream to become a veterinarian instead of keep working in this fucking “convenience” store.

Now let’s be clear i do NOT condone holding a man at gunpoint. If there’s one thing i learned in prison, well it’s how to make a shank, rape a guy, get high off of pepper or a couple other things. BUT, since prison i have come to the conclusion that holding a man at gunpoint is IN MY OPINION wrong.

BUT, a balls out movie needs balls out metaphors and this is one motherfucker of a fucking metaphor, in my opinion. in a way that gun is on YOUR head because you are forced to put yourself in the man’s sweaty shoes, asking yourself that question – is this what i want to do with my life? and for me personally, this only enforced my opinion that i want to become a Writer and no longer a criminal. what am i going to do if i die look back and say, “at least i didn’t get caught at first – i got some fucking money i did.” You can make enough money to buy a fucking gold plated hooker and a giant robot dick to stick in her, your still not going to be proud of yourself if your slinging crack or trading fucking stocks or some shit like that.

I haven’t seen a lot of this type of movie but i think i will try to look for them after this. David is a MASTER of the film language and he knows how to tell a story. the style is very audacious but it fits the story like a rubber. the camera flies through a can showing the corporate logos of crumpled garbage, through a man’s brain, whatever. the music is by the dust brothers which i think has something to do with pot.

now i know what some of you want to know – what did i think of the FIGHTING? well first of all i have heard that brad pitt is supposed to be a pussy and a pretty boy, let me say this is FUCKING BULLSHIT. i have seen this dude in a couple of movies recently and to be frankly honest he is quite good.

true romance – he is a stoner. small part, but good.

the twelve monkeys – a crazy motherfucker. VERY good.

seven – a cop. okay, but he was good in the part still.

So i do NOT see this pretty boy shit. i’m not saying he’s van damme, no, but he’s a good actor. In the fight scenes here is muscular, good moves, especially puking blood on a guy. now personally i DON’T think most mafia guys would fall for that one but i admire tyler for giving it a shot.

This movie is not all that violent as some fucking pantywaists are saying. i don’t watch a lot of movies but i have seen my share of fights in the yard and they are NO fucking picnic. you see a guy get his cheek bit off, stabbed in the dick, teeth broken on a wall. Some times a guy gets his head twisted around the wrong way or a compound fracture which is when the bone actually sticks out.

in fact one time i believe it was a fight between Sweet jimmy sinclair (pimp) and another dude. surprised i forgot this dude’s name because this was a good move. What he did, sweet jimmy broke the guy’s arm, the bone is sticking out. he lets out a loud scream of pain, then stabs sweet with the bone. OUCH!

So waht I’m saying no, the fights aren’t as brutal as real life BUT, they are well done and i was impressed. IN FACT i don’t want to sound like a pussy but the movie actually makes you not like to watch the fighting, even feel a little bad about it. i think the fighting is a metaphor for the extreme measures a dude must go into his dark side in order to shed his skin and become the guy he wants to be.

THAT SAID, it does make a pretty convincing argument for fighting. It has been a few weeks for me and i do think it would be interesting for two guys who are sober and don’t have any grudges, more like boxing or slam dancing in the ’70s.

as you know there is one bitch of a twist here and let me say that you pricks who say it is only a gimmick are WRONG. at first tyler durden is the dude we all want to be, who has no attachment to material items, no qualms about fucking shit up, bending the system over. THEN, we see that his great plan, like any great plan, devolves into more military style bullshit, mindless followers calling him “sir” and blowing shit up (although with style i must point out).
but when we realize that narrator IS tyler, we must see this in a different way. WE ALL have tyler durden in us. we can’t wait for him to bump into us on a plane and give us his card. we have to bring him out of ourselves. and then we must keep the little shit under control, before meat loaf with tits gets his head blown off (metaphor).

i like a movie like fight club because it gives you a lot to think about, to figure out for yourself. there is not one definite message and i have heard many people give different ideas of what it means, like really fucked up grafitti in a bathroom. as opposed to say men in black where everything is all cut and dry and ready for consumption.

but of all the movie gives you to think about i think the one thing i will come back to most is the scene early on where narrator complains about losing all his furniture, and tyler sarcastically says,”yeah, that really sucks man.” We as Humans tend to get too upset over things that really don’t matter. so what if you dented your car, forgot to watch felicity, caught having sex with underage girl, whatever. Life goes on. next time i’m pissed off ’cause some motherfucker won’t get me a job or looks at me wrong, i will remember that scene and it will put things in perspective. and some motherfucker will keep his ass. so in reality, fight club stops the violence and increases the peace.
thanks guys

–Vern

P.S. I would like to thank jeff mccloud from rec.arts.movies.current-film who told me i should write about fight club. don’t get cocky motherfucker i was already planning on it. BUT i appreciate the suggestion. thanks bud

By the way if you want to help me improve my Writing please e-mail me and tell me what you think. If not then fuck you jack.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Monday, October 11th, 1999 at 4:21 am and is filed under Action, Drama, Reviews, Thriller, Vern Tells It Like It Is. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

16 Responses to “Fight Club”

  1. Just a quick ta for this review. Hands down my favourite movie of all time. If I start writing here it will be a nine page long comment so I just leave this one at ta.

  2. One of my favourite movies ever and IMO the best film of the 90’s! I remember how I so did not want to see it at first, because it starred Brad Pitt (Sorry, but at that time he was just the bland guy from “Meet Joe Black” and “Seven Years In Tibet”) and was about fighting, which had that DTV-smell on it. (I was a little bit of a snob 11 years ago) But then I saw the music video for “This Is Your Life”, which is that Dust Brothers track where Brad Pitt says quotes from the movie, and all the footage in it looked so fucking cool that I had to check the movie out!
    As soon as it came out on VHS, I rented it – and watched it three times in the same weekend. And the Soundtrack became one of my favourite CDs too, even if it lacks the “fa-la-la” part.

  3. They should have found a way to put this in the movie somehow.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPHrrSO3eTc

  4. I’ve been tooling around on the Youtube and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie critic so off the mark. The amazing thing is that I found two of them.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5Kr0ts-jV4

    Admittedly, me posting this may be a bit too spiteful for this websight, but these guys are the Michael Bay of movie reviewers minus the explosions of course so perhaps this gets a pass.

  5. ah, 1999 was an awesome year

  6. Where to start with this one? So much goodness. Perhaps a quote from Vern’s review – “A gold plated hooker with a giant robot dick to stick in her”. Okay, so that was random and not really leading anywhere. Also, pre-confession Vern was pretty scary with his insider know/how of shank making, man raping and pepper snorting. But we can all rest easy and laugh about it now. The pepper snorting could be true, though.

    The scene where Tyler’s urban soldiers are de-magnetizing the tapes in the video store – did anyone notice the copies of ALIEN on a display shelf? I thought it was ALIEN 3 at first, but the cover art matches ALIEN. Weird huh? Maybe Fincher thinks his is better than Scott’s. Or, in the spirit of FIGHT CLUB, he just doesn’t give a fuck and is shitting on the whole franchise as consumerist garbage.

    This is the only movie I have ever found Helena Bonham Carter to be genuinely attractive in, even as a talking walking venereal disease. And, she’s really funny – “My tit’s are rotting off.”

    “I haven’t been fucked like that since grade school.”

    I like the big Messiah moment in this, the turning point for the fight clubbers in Lou’s basement, when I’m Fuckin Lou pounds Tyler into roadkill. Tyler picks this fight, a chosen beating, a sacrifice on the altar of Durden’s Belief System – “Without pain, without sacrifice, we would have nothing.” Tyler even commands his followers not to intervene, like Christ rebuking Peter when he cut off the Roman guard’s ear. “Get behind me Satan, there is a purpose in this punishment, to the Cross i must go.” After the beating, FIGHT CLUB goes from Fight Club to Project Mayhem.

    So many great, philosophical statements in this. Like Vern said, they’re open to interpretation. Some examples –

    – Hitting bottom isn’t a weekend retreat. It’s not a seminar. Stop trying to control everything and just let go.

    – We’re consumers. We are by-products of a lifestyle obsession.

    – The things you own end up owning you.

    – How much do you know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight?

    – Self-improvement is masturbation.

    The one that grabbed me on this viewing was –

    – We’re a generation of men raised by women. I’m wondering if another woman is really the answer we need.

    Having grown up with a mother, two sisters and an absent father, I kinda get this. The women in my life tend to know what they want more than I do. They’ve been more driven. The couple of relationships I’ve been in post divorce have been with women who
    felt the need to control every aspect of my life, from how I spent my time, to how I raised my teenage sons. A friend once told me, there’s a difference between being enveloped in a relationship, and being engulfed. Engulfed is when she owns your arse. Fuck that. So, the key for me is to stay single long enough to go through some kind of life initiation, to figure a few things out on my own, without being consumed by someone else’s agenda.

    To bring this back to FIGHT CLUB, I guess this is where the “fight” comes back in. Grow some balls, Darren. Choose your battles. Figure out what’s worth fighting for, then gear up for Project Mayhem.

  7. Planning on rewatching this as part of a Fincher-fest but right now I’m finishing up on THE GAME. You’ve mentioned it in a couple of Fincher reviews but it really deserves a write-up of its own. I know it gets said too often but you really don’t see this type of deliberate filmatism these days, from the pacing to the setup beats. Plus Michael Douglas as a world-class prick is always amusing.

  8. Yeah, I’ve always loved that one. I’m glad it has a Criterion now so people don’t dismiss it as offhandedly as they used to. I should watch it again, you’re right.

  9. Fincher himself isn’t crazy about it now, given what he’s said in recent interviews. The Criterion upgrade from the laserdisc had been waiting in the wings for a long time and it seemed to me as if he dragged his feet about it. He’s not really crazy, by his own admission, about looking back at his older films. Which is why so often he’s done these elaborate special editions of his films out of the gate, so not to do all that later.

    I love it too but I would nitpick clubside’s comment about the Michael Douglas character. Nicholas Van Orton is not really as hotheaded as the characters Douglas made his stock and trade up to that point. In the beginning he’s very distant from pretty much everyone around him, including his brother. And though he is clearly financially secure, by no means is he truly rich. He was born into wealth and it seems as if it’s a burden to him a couple of times throughout the film.

  10. I’ll start by saying that I love – LOVE – this film. I saw it for the first time right when I was leaving college and about to start a career. I felt scared and a bit isolated to think I’d spend the next forty years sitting at a desk, and it kind of helped me rationalise my position. It was like “yep, you’re going to have to eat some shit for a long time, but hey – everyone else is doing that too”. It’s not too deep or anything, but the idea of being in a silent fraternity of pissed off people was pretty comforting.

    Anyway my other point is, this is a rare example (for me) or a film which surpasses its source material. As is usually the way (again, for me) I see a film and discover it’s based on a book, and I have to read the book to see how well it translated to screen, whether they cut out any significant plot points, whether they gave it a “Hollywood” ending etc etc. I kind of liked Chuck Palahniuk’s novel – it was pretty original and made me think about a few things, but the sheer brilliance of Fincher’s adaptation (or whatever you want to call it) makes Chuck’s book fade into the background more than a bit. Sorry Chuck, I’m still a fan. Maybe I need to re-read the novel and see if I feel the same way. I think the film is so well-conceived, produced, acted and directed, and it feels like walking through a trippy and hyper-colourful carnival where my senses are at times at bursting point, that words-on-paper could hardly ever hope to keep up. The finale (flashback humour included) is a perfect “fuck you” to a society driven by consumerism, and a reassurance that if it all went tits-up, we could always just be ourselves.

  11. Yeah, it’s my prime example for a movie that is better than its book. (Although I have to say that I downright hate the book. I read it after I fell in love with the movie, but was super annoyed by it and never finished it.)

  12. Cruise’s Edge of Tomorrow from, what, 2015? That’s another one. I enjoyed the comic-book feel of “All You Need Is Kill” by Hiroshi Sakurazaka but I genuinely think the film tells the story in a more dramatic and enjoyable way. It’s another one where the acting is spot on and Cruise plays the I’m-not-a-dick-I’m-just-not-a-soldier sort-of coward really well. I found out that the Sakurazaka novel was based upon an earlier work called Replay by Ken Grimwood. I absolutely loved that and I hope they turn it into a film one day. It’ll be like Edge but with fewer starfish-based aliens.

  13. The line that resonated to me after watching it recently was the one about fathers being our models for God, and what does it say about God when they fail us. It should have resonated to me even more when I was 17 but it just kind of slipped by me. I’d never considered my own lack of faith as having to do anything with my own situation, but I can remember when it happened I started questioning the whole idea of the man upstairs.

    It really feels like a film of it’s time now. Culturally, I remember 1999 mostly as Y2K paranoia and testosterone-driven drivel. In it’s sort of hyper-driven pace, it probably could resemble something that would have felt at home with the sort of audiences Fox pandered to in promoting it. But the ideas would have clearly gone over most of their heads. And it’s the ideas that elevate it beyond your standard thrillers of the time that were aping Tarantino (and even Fincher himself to a degree since there were a slew of SEVEN-inspired pictures).

    In revisiting it, I was surprised at how well it holds up. I thought it would be something I’d probably grow out of adoring. That’s somewhat true as I think Fincher has done well to surpass it in his later work to a degree. But it’s right up there with his best work overall. And it’s still as clever and darkly funny to me as it was when I first saw it.

  14. Interesting what you say about religion. I’m not a believer but I’ve often thought that it would be an easier existence if I was because I could be fatalistic and just give myself up to the universe. But because I think this life is all we have, I need to keep moving and learning, otherwise what’s the point? “Self improvement is masturbation” – I’m not sure I agree, it’s a case of refining oneself as one gets older, and maybe in doing so we become the fully realised “us”.

    Slightly off topic there I guess.

  15. ** I’m not sure I agree, it’s a case of refining oneself as one gets older, and maybe in doing so we become the fully realised “us” **

    I lean more towards the abandonment of “May I never be complete, may I never be content”, which I think is the dilemma of Jack and the curse of Tyler. Jack want’s to compartmentalize his life to a job, an apartment with lots of *essential* stuff, and to a reliance on his own inflated intellect – his first conversation with Tyler on the plane about being “clever” and Tyler challenges his poser attitude with “How’s that working out for you, being clever?”

    Now Tyler, I think he starts off on the right track, leading Jack out of his safe self-contained prison into a world of risk and adventure, but clearly his end-game is anarchy and terrorism. Both characters are extreme examples of masculinity gone wrong.

    I heard a story about a news article that was printed by a London newspaper in the early 20th century where they asked the question “What Is Wrong With The Human Race?” And a famous writer of that time called GK Chesterton (who was a Christian apologist in the vein of CS Lewis) wrote in and said “Dear sirs and madams – I am.”

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