Back in the fall of 2000, I was working for a rent-a-cop company in Austin, Texas, and wound up getting assigned to work overnight security at the Radisson Hotel by accident, thanks to a late call-in from a co-worker. They liked me there, so it wound up being a semi-permanent assignment. One of the front desk agents was a big fan of Fight Club to the point that he kept a copy of the DVD at work, and would watch it on his laptop. Every. Single. Shift. During my rounds, I would pass through the lobby, and saw a bit of the movie at a time. Never in order, never all the way through. I felt like I had seen enough, and already knew the twist to it, that I didn’t bother to actually watch it until just this morning.
The other day, while in Tyler, Texas, I picked up a copy of the book by Chuck Palahniuk. Started reading it Monday night, finished it this morning.
I’ll be honest, I liked the story of Tyler Durden.
And I’ve been a fan of Edward Norton for quite awhile, can’t remember if I watched American History X or Primal Fear first. And I’m still pissed that his Hulk was recast in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
So, the book was good, but the movie was better.
Edward Norton is the unnamed Narrator, and there are times both he & Brad Pitt’s Tyler talk directly to the audience. In this case, me, on my couch. The Narrator is lost in life, working at a job he hates for a boss that sucks, trapped in the consumer world and trying to make sense through support groups he doesn’t need.
Tyler is an outspoken round peg that doesn’t fit in the square holes of society, impolite & uncaring of what anyone would think of him or his life. Brad Pitt was ripped for this role, too.
Polar opposites that turn the film into a bit of a buddy drama, unless ya know the twist of it. But, twenty years since it came out, I still wouldn’t want to spoil it for anyone.
Helena Bonham Carter is Marla, the off beat love interest that the Narrator meets in the support groups, and Tyler winds up having the fuck buddy relationship with.
Meat Loaf is Robert Paulson. And thanks to that one scene, that is a name that can haunt you.
Within the movie, Fight Club starts with the Narrator and Tyler in a bar parking lot. It evolves when others want to fight, too. And as it grows, it becomes Project Mayhem, a plot to tear down the consumer society and start fresh.
The movie is definitely more focused and goal oriented than the book managed to be.
There are differences – the Space Monkeys aren’t shaved bald, there is no confrontation on a bus full of them, Tyler isn’t introduced on a nude beach, the Narrator isn’t as mutilated in the film thanks to the fights, and there’s no mention of Marla wanting to have Tyler’s abortion. I think the line they use in the movie is even better.
Overall, I think that the Narrator’s desire to fight William Shatner was the best line in the movie.
This is not one I would watch over and over, as my former co-worker would do twenty years ago. And it won’t ever be a favorite. But its well worth watching, and even if it took twenty years, I’m glad I finally got to it.
And, if you can, read the book, too.