Real Men Love Fight ClubBy Christopher Brown on December 13, 2007 - 9:00 am |
The first rule is… I’m not supposed to talk about it. And if you don’t know the second rule, then you need to see this movie and discover why Real Men Love FIGHT CLUB.
To be honest, I shouldn't even have to write this article. The name alone should get your testosterone pumping on anticipation of the ass-kickery implied by something named Fight Club. But, for the three of you Real Men that might’ve been overseas in a P.O.W. camp or fighting aliens off-world, here is one of the manliest, ballsiest, hard-core movies ever made.
Based on the book of the same name written by Chuck Palahniuk (who, by the way, writes some pretty insane books, probably on par with Brett Easton Ellis who wrote American Psycho... I recommend Survivor and Choke, because contrary to popular belief, Real Men read, too), the main character, an unnamed everyman played by Edward Norton (in the credits he is, simply, "The Narrator") is tired of his mundane existence. He goes to work every day as an insurance adjuster, lives in a file cabinet of a hi-rise condo with his IKEA-style furniture and his typical, dull existence. He travels all over the country, assessing different car accidents to determine the need for a recall. Because his life is very unfulfilling, he becomes an insomniac. He goes to the doctor, who tells him to chew some Valerian Root. Yeah, very manly, I know. However, the doctor also turns him on to seeing what people with real problems look like by attending a support group. Support groups help for a while, until he meets...
Helena Bonham-Carter’s Marla Singer is a tortured soul. Most men aren’t sure whether they want to help her, hurt her or bed her.
Obviously she’s had some pretty fucked up experiences if she can utter phrases like, “I haven’t been fucked like that since the grade school.” (Geek note: in the book, her original quote at that moment was, “I want to have your abortion.”) Anyway, Marla shows up at several of the same support groups that The Narrator has taken to, including a testicular cancer support group (where he meets Bob, played by Meat Loaf).
“Bob. Bob had bitch tits.”
Distracted by Marla's lies, The Narrator's insomnia returns. Life goes on like this for awhile until he meets..
Narrator: "You had to give it to him: he had a plan. And it started to make sense, in a Tyler sort of way. No fear. No distractions. The ability to let that which does not matter truly slide."
Brad Pitt’s Tyler Durden is everything The Narrator is not. Where he is cautious, Tyler is impulsive; where he is careful and planned, Tyler is... well, let’s just say he does everything in a very “Tyler” way. Instantly, The Narrator takes a strange liking to Tyler. There’s something about him that draws The Narrator (and every other man) in, like a black hole from which he can’t escape... but the fact of the matter is, he probably doesn’t want to escape. And Tyler’s philosophy is so... well, badass... that every man can’t help but be pulled into it.
“We're a generation of men raised by women. I'm wondering if another woman is really the answer we need.”
“Reject the basic assumptions of civilization, especially the importance of material possessions.”
Tyler Durden: "We're consumers. We are by-products of a lifestyle obsession. Murder, crime, poverty, these things don't concern me. What concerns me are celebrity magazines, television with 500 channels, some guy's name on my underwear. Rogaine, Viagra, Olestra.
Narrator: "Martha Stewart."
Tyler Durden: "Fuck Martha Stewart. Martha's polishing the brass on the Titanic. It's all going down, man. So fuck off with your sofa units and Strinne green stripe patterns."
“Goddamn! You just had a near-life experience!”
“The things you own end up owning you.”
“It's only after you've lost everything that you're free to do anything.”
“Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy s**t we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.”
So Tyler and The Narrator become roommates after The Narrator’s condo is permanently "renovated" and on the night of this supposed tragedy, our hero gets his first taste of freedom, Tyler-style.
“I want you to hit me... as hard... as you can.”
Upon achieving this bit of freedom, the two men fight each other, and find the release that The Narrator so desperately needed. He remarks in his voice over that “babies don’t sleep this well.” They continue beating each other’s asses, until a man in the small crowd that has gathered to watch this spectacle steps forward and asks, “Can... I be next?” And so Fight Club is born. It grows in size, until 30 men of various status -- businessmen and busboys alike -- all come together to be men and beat the shit out of each other... finding something primal that’s long been lost to cubicles and computer screens and the daily drudgery of “civilized” life.
If this thought alone doesn’t put hair on your balls, if you can’t appreciate the concept of this... well, then you better go back to your Martha Stewart Living magazine and go buy a new duvet for your bed, because from here, the shit gets deep.
Fight Club: The Rules
Fight Club is so badass that the first rule has to be said twice... and every rule that follows is just that much more hardcore:
The first rule of fight club is --
you don't talk about fight club.
The second rule of fight club is –
you don't talk about fight club.
The third rule of fight club is –
when someone says "stop" or goes limp, the fight is over.
Fourth rule is –
only two guys to a fight.
Fifth rule –
one fight at a time.
Sixth rule –
no shirts, no shoes.
Seventh rule –
fights go on as long as they have to.
And the eighth and final rule –
if this is your first night at fight club, you have to fight.
The Love "Triangle"
Marla and The Narrator cross paths less and less with the advent of Fight Club, and yet, for some reason she continues to contact him. Through a series of circumstances, Marla finds herself in contact with Tyler. And of course, Tyler, being the compassionate (snicker) individual that he is... well, let’s just say they spend some quality time together.
“My god... I haven’t been fucked like that since grade school.” (and the look on Tyler’s face is priceless…)
Needless to say, the next morning The Narrator is more than a little horrified to find her in his house.
What follows is a bizarre love/lust/disgust triangle that poses a very interesting conundrum for The Narrator, especially when the big secret is revealed... but more on that later.
I am Jack's...
At one point in the movie, The Narrator and Tyler discover a series of medical journals about internal organs written from the first person perspective, i.e., “I am Jack’s lungs... without me, Jack could not take in oxygen to feed his red blood cells... I am Jack’s prostate...” to which Tyler interjects, “...I get cancer... I kill Jack.” From this jumping off point, The Narrator interjects statements in his voice over about his different feelings from the same perspective. “I am Jack’s Cold Sweat.” “I am Jack’s Complete Lack of Surprise.” (I STILL use that one regularly...)
I am Jack's smirking revenge
In one of my personal favorite scenes, The Narrator does something we all WISH we had the balls to do. He gets the greatest revenge on his asshole boss...
I swear, I think I nearly pissed myself when I saw this. This alone was worth the price of admission.
Fight Club begins to evolve into something more. And, in spite of its humble roots, Fight Club has spread like wildfire to other states. And all of this is part of Tyler’s plan. Before The Narrator knows it, his house has been turned into the headquarters of Project Mayhem. What is Project Mayhem? The first rule of Project Mayhem is, “You do not ask questions.” You’ll just have to see it.
This goes down in history for me as one of those “Holy SHIT... I did NOT see that coming!” moments. I’m not telling the three of you who haven’t seen this what that twist is, but I will say that after learning about it, and rewatching the movie, you’ll catch a LOT of the clues that you missed the first time around. It also raises some interesting questions about all of the character’s interactions... and just how desperate men can get when life is not what they tried to make it.
The Last Fight
Another you just have to see for yourself... but it’s worth it.
"You met me at a very strange time in my life."
The ending of Fight Club sums everything up pretty... well... strangely, to be honest. It’s one of those endings that leaves you shocked that they actually got away with doing this movie in the first place... and kind of wishing it actually happened.
For an insane plot, and scenes that are brutal and at the same time relatable, Real Men Love Fight Club.