Without fighting, defend _Fight Club_.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jack Briggs, Sep 30, 2002.

  1. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    When I screened the DVD of Fight Club this past weekend it was only the second time around for me and this David Fincher film. Only the most oblivious HTF member would be unaware of the film's cult status here.

    So, what makes this interesting little movie work for you?

    I can see elements in it that I think work for the HTF crowd. However, some of the dialogue is, to me, more smug and cute than clever. But I digress.

    Is this film "great"? Will it stand the test of time? Or will it seem curiously dated within another five years? I applaud its adventurousness, but I'm not certain if that makes the film "good."

    Make your case for Fight Club.

    *I'm Jack's puzzled conscience.*
     
  2. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    This should be interesting, Jack.
    I'm one who wasn't overly impressed with Fight Club. It's not bad, but I honestly don't get what all the fuss is about.
    I will say that the cinematography is very striking and the performances can't be faulted, but overall the movie just doesn't do much for me.
    I can't wait to read the responses to this thread.
     
  3. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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    Spoilers hinted! You have been warned!
    It's one of those films that you sit down and watch, and you are transported inside the head of the narrator, the film grabs a hold of the viewer and never lets go, and when the rug is pulled out from under the viewer, it makes for high re-watchability as well.
    I think it'll hold up very well in 5 years. People will still have accidents, and bosses will always appear to act like assholes to their subordinates.
    I love the mental cat-n-mouse game that narrator plays with Tyler. It's one of the better depictions of what it might be like for people with multiple personalities from the inside looking out with the non-dominant persona.
    When I watch this film, I have a curious grin throughout the viewing (even though I know how it ends). It's got such a good vibe in its tone and undercurrents. Plus conflict resolution ranks high in this film.
    And, of course, who can forget this great analysis that ties Fight Club to Calvin and Hobbes.
     
  4. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

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    Jack,
    This is a tough one. FC is one of my favorite films, but in many ways it defies normal logic. I have a very strong emotional response to the film, and it's very challenging to use an intellectual argument to back it up. That said, I am the target audience. A caucasian (of minor note) American male (of much greater note) who grew up in the eighties, and began real work in the nineties.
    My usual adoration of FC begins with a simple: "It's like taking a live wire and sticking it right into your brain." It's almost an anti-movie. It has great performances from a cast and crew that clearly believe in it. And like all great films, it's purpose/themes are fairly transmutable. People get out what they put in.
    For me, the film itself is about ideas and empowerment. To quote a favorite story/comic/book - "The world only makes sense when you force it to." (The Dark Knight Returns) I am not going to convince anyone, but no one will convince me otherwise. I laughed, I learned, and I believed. Some of it is smug. Some of it doesn't hold up as much, but as an experience, FC has yet to be topped. I can't not watch it when I put it in.
    As for longevity, I'm afraid it's cult status is cemented pretty rigidly. I saw it twice at the theater (yeah, that was me), and it was a bomb. But those who liked it, LOVED IT, for the most part, and now, it's somewhat revered (rightly AND wrongly) by filmgoers.
    The dark side of you doesn't have to be bad...just dark. And you choose.
    I do love this film. It's in the top three, and has been since viewing #2. But it'll be tough to explain why (as you have seen). It simply connected with me at the right time of my life. That I think it's brilliant is an opinion, however.
    Besides, any film that subversive and gleeful must have something going for it, especially when 20th CF is footing the bill [​IMG]
    Take care,
    Chuck
     
  5. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    I wouldn't say "great", but I would say it's very good. It's too scattershot for true greatness; it often seems like a set of loopy ideas and scenes that Palauchuk (sp), Fincher, et al, somehow pulled together into an entertaining black comedy.

    To a certain extent, I like it because it sort of inverts everything. It uses the appearance of deeper meanings and dark messages to disguise how it is, at heart, a farce. It's a mistaken identity farce where only the victim is confused. It happily eats itself, mocking its own smart-ass cleverness while simultaneously reminded you why that sort of thing is so much fun. It pulls off the trick of making an audience take complete absurdity seriously.

    And that's before you get to the three leads. Maybe five years from now, we'll have forgotten that while we knew Edward Norton was good, Brad Pitt was still widely thought of as a "sensitive", girl's leading man at the time (12 Monkeys nonwithstanding), and Helena Bonham-Carter a lace-and-corsets type.
     
  6. Chris Harvey

    Chris Harvey Second Unit

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    In terms of standing the test of time, I think it resonates quite strongly with the late-20s/early 30s crowd of today, and will probably remain popular among us as we grow older. Ed Norton hit it on the head, I think, on the DVD commentary, when he mentioned that this was a GRADUATE for today's 20-something generation. Is THE GRADUATE as important today as it was to young folk in the '60s? No, but it remains a valuable and important film regardless.

    I think as time passes people will be bemused at the rabid reaction of many of the older critics at the time of FC's original release -- the sheer wild accusations of fascism, etc.
     
  7. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    Every once in a while you walk into a house with fake wood paneling and shag carpeting and catch yourself saying, "what the hell were they thinking back in the 70s"?

    I have a feeling fight club might get the same response.
    Very stylistic which at the time seems like a good idea.
     
  8. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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  9. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Very interesting comments here. I see that the film's supporters are almost defending it on an emotional level. Is that your take as to how the film works best (that is, on a visceral, non-verbal scale)?
     
  10. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    I wasn't terribly impressed with it. I knew what the filmmakers intended, but the whole thing just rang completely hollow to me. I mean, a bunch of rich stars making a multimillion dollar, corporately sponsored movie about the evils of capitalism (well, that's how I saw it at least, for the most part) and corporations? I guess there's an intended irony somewhere in that, it just didn't work very well for me.
    Plus, I had a MAJOR problem believing that a guy who /Mike
     
  11. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    I loved it because I identified very much with Ed's character (except haven't quite gone that far down...the road).

    In the same way that a lot of my office, er, cubicle-mates identified with the Matrix (trapped in our little lives, wishing for something more), this movie just struck a chord with me that is very hard to verbalize.

    I think a lot of people feel that way (identifying w/ FC) and unless there's a major socio-economic shift in the next few decades, I think this film will survive well with those who already like/identify with it, and will garner more future fans on home video (as I think this might have been the poorest marketing job on the planet while it was in the theaters).

    YMMV
     
  12. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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    If you're watching Fight Club as a cerebral exercise, I'd suggest that you're wasting your time.

    Fight Club is also about that internal struggle we all face in our daily lives. The narrator just happens to suffer from a psychosis that allows himself to become that alter-ego who's diametrically opposed to who the narrator knows himself to be, and not who he can become.

    How many times have you wanted to give your boss the finger and tell him to shove the job where the sun don't shine from stress on the job. This movie is, of course, a visceral experience that gives the viewer (who's open to it) an outlet for such internal musings and reflection.

    I found it to be laced with dark, dark humor, and plenty of doses of satire to be able to laugh at myself through the film.
     
  13. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    Great question, great thread. Several of my opinions have already been touched upon, but I suppose I dig the movie because A) it was made for ME, and B) it did a brilliant job of speaking to me.
    In many ways, Fight Club effectively encapsulates my hatred for rampant consumerism and conveys honest feelings of alienation by young people suddently thrust into the world of "buying things = grown up".
    Technically, I think the film's an absolute marvel. I'm not really in "review mode" right now (football's on), but few movies 'visually thrill' me like this one does.
    Is it a bit smug and mean-spirited? Sure. Is it maybe not as all-out brilliant as many people (like me) think it is? Sure, different strokes and all that stuff.
    When a friend tells me they dislike The Princess Bride, I say "You're a goddam lunatic. Go away."
    When a friend tells me they dislike Fight Club, I say "Yeah, lots of people don't. More for me." [​IMG]
    Much like another movie I love to death (Moulin Rouge), I can see why Fight Club isn't everyone's cup of java. That's not to say that "I get it and YOU DON'T", more like "It just hit me on a gut level and I freakin' love it." [​IMG]
     
  14. Vickie_M

    Vickie_M Producer

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  15. Brian Kissinger

    Brian Kissinger Screenwriter

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    I know one of the most grabbing elements in it was real-you vs the you you wish you could be. When I caught this, I wasn't far into my "responsibility" stage of life, but I was far enough into it that I knew I didn't like it. I look at it like this: SPOILERS MAY FOLLOW
    We have "Jack." Jack was just like me and many other people. He works hard, he's unattached, he's doing all the things he thinks he should do. Then we have Tyler. Tyler is just like that hidden part of many of us that we wish we could be. He doesn't "work." When he does, he's doing all the things we wish we could do with our drab jobs. (Urinating in soup, putting naughty images into G rated movies, Selling soap made from fat, etc.) Basically all the little nasty things we often want (but would never) do. He's the male's fantasy unattached. Meets women, uses them, moves on. While I'm not saying that's what all or most men deeply wish for, I think there are many of us that have been hurt and made to feel small, that we in turn have a dark fantasy to do the same in return. It's in those deep, dark places that we don't go. And I'm betting 99% of those would never do it, but all the same have that "wouldn't it be great" feeling deep in them. And Tyler does whatever he wants, not what he should. While not the first movie to head into this area, Fight Club kind of pulled no punches. At one point Tyler says, "I look like you want to look, I fuck like you want to fuck." The movie was visceral. I thought it was great look into someone's head.
    And on top of all that, you have great performances, great humor, haunting images, and a well paced and enthralling story.
    But as I said earlier, I came to this movie not long after the harsh realities of life came into full focus in my life. So it could just have been the right movie at the right time.
     
  16. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    It is definitely an emotional movie for me. Mainly because of how I (and probably all people around my age) can identify with Jack. As Tyler put it, we have seen no great war, we have seen no great depression, etc. We've been living these bland lives since we were born, and we are trying to reach out to something. What that something is doesn't really matter...we just need to feel that we are somehow alive.

    In addition, I agree with the others, it's got fantastic cinematography, dialog, humor, performances, and it makes for a fun movie to watch. You don't have to believe in the the anti-capitalism preaching, but it's certainly fun to watch.
     
  17. Chris Harvey

    Chris Harvey Second Unit

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    (spoilers)



    I think it can largely be seen as an ascent to maturity. Here is a man who's largely still immature, and his alter ego indulges in all sorts of destructive immature behavior -- we've all had these urges, but we don't act upon them. I'm not talking so much about the physical acts of Project Mayhem, though those qualify as well, but more about his relationship with Marla. At the end of the film, he has accepted who he is, taken responsibility for his actions, and is prepared to accept a relationship with this woman.

    I think one of the most brilliant things about the movie (and the script) is that the first time you watch it, you think "God, Marla, what a fucked-up chick she is! He should stay the hell away from her!" yet the second time though, you feel exactly the reverse, and empathize about how much emotional trauma she's going through trying to make this relationship work yet being cruelly rejected at every turn.
     
  18. Bruce Hedtke

    Bruce Hedtke Cinematographer

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  19. Sam Hatch

    Sam Hatch Stunt Coordinator

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    Spoilers involved so beware...
    Count me in as another fan of its twisted coming-of-age angle. The concept behind Jack's story is based on a Buddhist principle (Buddhism shows up quite a bit in the film -- the Space Monkeys having to wait three days on the patio of the Paper Street 'temple' for one example) that in order to mature you have to kill your parents, kill God and ultimately kill your teacher.
    Throwing that template onto a 'modern man' (i.e. raised without a father and unable to actually mature until nearing thirty) makes for an interesting dynamic. Throwing mental instability into the mix makes it even better -- since true spiritual teachers are hard as hell to find nowadays, the ability to splinter off into multiple personalities and create one himself gives Jack one of the most unique treks into adulthood ever seen on film.
    And of course this is only the core of the film -- heap on tons of humor, social commentary, absurdity, amazing music etc. etc. and this coming of age story becomes almost irresistible. (For myself at least)
    And the ending, when he is finally able to assume responsibility for his/Tyler's thoughts/actions, leave his teacher behind and finally make adult, human contact with a grown woman while the world explodes all around them is just fucking BRILLIANT!
    I must admit that this felt more like a spiritual event than an entertainment piece, though entertained I was. Seeing it seven times in the theater (I used to go to Fight Club every Saturday and Sunday night), the experience was absolutely exhilarating every time. And of course it remains so on video as well.
    Best film of the nineties? Just kidding with the question mark there. Of course it is! [​IMG]
     
  20. MichaelAW

    MichaelAW Second Unit

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    The first rule of Fight Club is you do not discuss fight club. [​IMG]
     

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