Step Into the Ring: 10 Reasons To Rewatch “Fight Club”
All the hubhub about David Fincher’s Gone Girl reminded us that it’s been 15 years since we first saw Fight Club—high time to look back at the 1999 movie that achieved cult status. Tyler Durden is definitely going to be on our asses, as we’re clearly been breaking the first two rules of Fight Club, but without further ado, the top 10 reasons you need to rewatch Fight Club are:
1. Because you still don’t know the rules of Fight Club.
So, to review: “The first rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club. Third rule of Fight Club: someone yells stop, goes limp, taps out, the fight is over. Fourth rule: only two guys to a fight. Fifth rule: one fight at a time, fellas. Sixth rule: no shirts, no shoes. Seventh rule: fights will 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.”
2. Because as a philosophy professor friend put it:
“It defines the strange period between 1989 and 2001 when America didn’t have an enemy and Americans needed to fight each other.”
3. For lines like, “Losing all hope is freedom.”
As well as references to everything from Sigmund Freud (Tyler referring to soap as “the yardstick of civilization”) to Jacqueline Susann (Marla singing Dionne Warwick’s theme from The Valley of the Dolls).
4. To see The Matrix-style micro-zooms.
Everyone was all about “bullet time” and how eye-popping The Matrix was, but it’s curious that people forget the similarly mind-bending visuals in Fight Club, like the opening über reverse-tracking shot or the one through the trash can (which took 3 weeks to render—this was almost 15 years ago, after all). These visual cues are very reminiscent of the zoom through the computer screen “0″ in THE MATRIX. And guess what?! The two movies were released in the same year! Interesting, no?
5. To play the requisite Fight Club drinking games.
There’s the obvious a of drinking a shot every time you see a Tyler Durden flash frame, but there’s a whole host of more subtle things to get you drunk too, like knocking one back every time you see someone making soap. Our proposal: drink every time you recognize a direct reference to psychology (Freudian or otherwise), Vedantic Yoga philosophy (the movie’s harsh take on the material world and our attachment to it) or other more esoteric social commentary. Trust us. You’ll be hammered.
6. Because just like with The Usual Suspects and The Sixth Sense, who cares that you know the twist.
It’s great fun trying to pinpoint all the clues that lead to “the big reveal,” even if you were one of those people who insisted you knew that the narrator and Tyler Durden were the same person all along. Sure, it was easy to say that after you saw the movie for the first time. (…And if you’re reading this without having ever seen it, that spoiler serves you right!)
7. For Meat Loaf.
As the unfortunately-breasted Bob, “Meat Loaf Aday” scored serious comedic points here, further establishing him as a capable and versatile actor. The filmmakers had to construct two fat suits for Mr. Loaf, one with nipples and one without, just in case the censors had a problem with prominent nipple pokage (we’re oh so very happy they didn’t). Really though, who woulda thunk the aging crooner could have ever outdone himself as Eddie in RHPS?
8. Because of how cool the movie sounds.
Another quick Oscar-ific mention: a brief glance at past nominees reveals recognition for many of Fincher’s movies for sound editing and mixing—including Fight Club‘s sole nomination for Best Sound Effects Editing, and there’s a reason for it. Fincher favorites Ren Klyce and David Parker, as sound designer and mixer respectively, have constructed complex sonic environments and a certain “cleanliness” of sound in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Social Network and more. Even the trailer for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo sounded off the hook. And from the first frame of Fight Club‘s credit sequence all the way to the (welcome) inclusion of The Pixies during the climax, a full auditory experience is at work here as well, so listen up.
9. For Helena Bonham Carter. Enough said.
Yes, Edward Norton and Brad Pitt both deserve all the praise they’ve received for their work here, but HBC friggin’ owns it in this movie. The slow-zoom close-up of her cigarette exhale is pure cinematic confection; it would make even today’s biggest health nut concede that sometimes, well, smoking can be sexy. Carter proves her mettle and then some opposite the boys, veritably chomping on scenery and uttering some of the script’s best one-liners (like “It’s cheaper than a movie, and there’s free coffee.”) In fact, she’s the only woman with any lines in the film at all (the only woman in the film period), and we wouldn’t have it any different. Let’s put it this way: Marla Singer could have been Lisbeth Salander’s mother. Easy.
10. Because David Fincher is a genius.
Watching Fincher’s obsessive-compulsive growth as a director through Se7en, The Game and this treat (and now Gone Girl) reminds you that David Fincher’s career deserves an Oscar. Fight Club remains both his grandest homage and biggest “fuck you” to Hollywood.
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