Fight Club: Psychosis and Romantic Intention
By
Phil Davetas
9/29/2002 10:52:25 PM

Before you were born, someone decided on a set of rules that would deem you acceptable in the modern American society. You were born a bitch picking up the fecal matter of the generation before you. Someone decided you were gonna take care of the problems of the world only to turn around and fuck it up some more and turn it over to the next generation to unfuck up for you. The smarter we are, the dumber we are. Before you were born someone decided what school you would go to, what TV shows you should watch, music to listen to, books to read, clothes to wear, who you should date, how you should fuck, how you should think. Someone told you what God to believe in. If you didnít abide by these rules, youíre not one of them and will be shunned to live in obscurity away from the umbrella of the accepted majority. You are an outcast, a misfit. You donít belong.

1999 would have to be the best year in movies. Studios were getting brave and making daring pictures that donít normally mix well with the commercial appetites of the majority. Some were box office hits, some were not. The list is short, but rarely do you get them in one year. The Matrix, South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Three Kings, American Beauty, Pitch Black (released in 2000) and eventually, Fight Club. These movies arenít ever on studiosí to-do list and interestingly enough, those days are gone. No oneís staking their careers anymore on these films. Now weíre stuck with PG-13 pyro-pabulum for the recently brain dead. But it also didnít help that these movies didnít do as expected with the box office receipts [some did]. Fight Club was the loser of the bunch.

Fight Club didnít do very well for several reasons and one was the Columbine incident. Originally designed for a summer release, but pushed back to October for that one media event alone [like Devil In a Blue Dress amid the O.J. Simpson verdict]. But never has a movie so quickly gained cult status in the short amount of time. UCLA had free Fight Club viewing and discussion meetings. Happy faces were graffitied over gang tags. Tylerís quotes slithered into our free periodicals of LA and OC Weekly. Web sites popped up all over the Internet. For a time it was impossible to even buy a copy of the movie here. Iíve owned the DVD four times. Each time I sold it for food only to turn around and buy it again. But the last time I sold it, I couldnít find it anywhere and I was shit up a tree. I happened to run into a copy of the DVD at the local library of all placesóa place that outlawed both the book and Palahniuk books altogether. Those who read the book know why.

Iím never surprised that people go on that Fight Club is about pounding peopleís faces in. But what I'm surprised at is that no one talks about the creation of Tyler Durden and the correlation to Marla Singer. Many people seem to get lost in the plot and the character's arc that people only see the violence and goofy anarchy that accompanies the film. No one talks about the class dichotomy between Marla and the narrator, and why destroying those buildings were so essential to regain an economic equilibrium to level the classes. How real were those space monkeys considering what you know about Tyler? How real were those bombs? In reading the book, you'll understand a different plateau of reality and comprehension of the narrator's psychosis and realize the romantic intention of the narrator.

As a DVD, this is probably the first good use of the medium. Nothing is arbitrarily inserted. You've gotta hand it to the people assigned to designing the double disk package, but I wonderÖ for a movie with themes dealing with the anti-materialist and narcissistic society, they sure did make it look nice and up the price when it could easily be done on one disk for less.

Special Features:

Director, Actor, Writer and Producers Commentary. Theatrical Trailers and TV spots. Visual Effect Vignettes, Music Video, Interviews, Deleted and Altered Scenes and Public Service Announcements.

Fight Club 4 out of Four.
R, 1999, 139 mins., Fox Home Video.

Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Boham-Carter, Meat Loaf, Jared Leto, Music by the Dust Brothers, Editor Jim Haygood, Director of Photography Jeff Cronenweth, Costume Designer Michael Kaplan, Production Designer Alex McDowell, Written by Jim Uhls, Based on the book by Chuck Palahniuk, Produced by Art Linson, Cean Chaffin and Ross Bell and Directed by David Fincher.

 

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