Let me start off with saying that most of these entries will most likely enter into spoiler territory. By now I think anything that is over five years old is fair game, but if it is under that time-frame I will give some sort of warning so that you can freely escape without having something spoiled for you. Let me know if you think this sliding scale should be adjusted up or down and I will take that into consideration.
I want this to be as much your blog as it is mine.
Now with that bit of housekeeping out of the way, I wanted to talk about my favorite movie of all time. Again, this is just my personal opinion so don’t go all Kanye, “I’m going to let you finish, but Citizen Kane is the greatest film of all time…” on me. For me this is the one movie that I could watch on an endless loop or be stuck on a deserted island with, although I doubt there would be electricity on said island.
Fight Club (1999) is hands down, unequivocally, my favorite film. It is hard to believe that it has been out for fifteen years this month! There is a line in the movie in which Jack (Edward Norton) tells Marla Singer (Helena Bonham Carter), “You met me at a very strange time in my life” and I think this movie found me at just such a time. Something about the movie just seemed to resonate with me.
The film just hits all the criteria with a sledgehammer for what makes a memorable work of art. Combine spot on acting plus an innovative score, with a razor sharp script and pitch perfect direction and you have nothing less than gold. It certainly wasn’t gold at the box office, but it quickly developed a cult following.
David Fincher was just coming off The Game (1997) and Se7en (1995) which was quickly making him a “go to” director, which is really saying something after the debacle that was Alien 3 (1992) which I actually don’t hate coincidentally. Having primarily directed music videos during the early 90’s, Fincher had a unique directorial style and visual palate which we saw glimpses of in Se7en. These directorial traits really gave Fight Club its soul, I think had any other director attempted to bring the material to the screen it would have failed or at very least watered down. It is easy to see the director he would become, knocking out critically acclaimed movies such as The Social Network (2010) and his newest film, Gone Girl (2014), which is absolutely incredible and I recommend it wholeheartedly.
In its most basic synopsis, the story follows a narrator (Norton) as he meets a charismatic vagabond (Brad Pitt) and the two find themselves (and many followers) through an organized underground fight club. Again, that is just the basics…there is soooooo much more to it than that though.
The movie was harshly critiqued for being too violent and having a subversive message, which in my mind meant that it pushed the medium forward. If you ask what Fight Club is about, beyond the basic story, you are likely to get many different replies. Is it about being anti-consumer? Is it about pent up male rage due to no longer being part of a “hunter/gatherer” society? Is it about deep seated psychological problems? The answer can be yes or no depending on how you see it.
For me, Fight Club simply is. I know, that isn’t really an answer, but in the sense of how I feel about the movie it is. It is all those answers all piled into one. Every time I watch it I see something new, or see a different edit that I never noticed before. If I had to guess, I have seen this movie at least 50 to 100 times, if not way more but up until a couple months ago I never noticed that Tyler Durden (Pitt) is one of the waiters in the “Welcome” video that Jack sees at his hotel in the beginning of the movie.
Layer upon layer upon layer. Ultimately, rewatchablity is what will define and elevate a good movie to a great movie for me. If a movie is good and has a good story but I never want to watch it again, then how can I add that to a list of favorite films?
I am sure at some point I will revisit Fight Club and talk about some of those layers. Since this was a spoiler free blog, I would encourage all of you to go out and watch Fight Club for the first time, or rewatch it for the millionth time. You never know what you will find. Maybe it will be your “power animal” or maybe it will become part of your own support group. Maybe you should go out and read the book, which is also fantastic. Just remember, “this is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time”.
Now for the question which I am sure some of you must be thinking… “have YOU ever been in a fight club?” My reply is… “The First Rule of Fight Club is…