It’s 2 a.m. and you awake with a jerk, alone in your fully lit apartment and still on the couch. On TV, the credits of some movie you’ve already seen a billion times are scrolling by. It feels like rock bottom. And we know, because we’re just like you: single.
Need a movie to keep you company until you literally can’t keep your eyes open? Join us tonight when we pass out to Fight Club [starting @ 11:30 p.m. on Fuse]
Why we’ll try to stay up and watch it: There are those people that think Fight Club is a depraved, silly and condescending film—one that possesses utter contempt for its audience and characters; those that feel this is the type of movie that actually winds up celebrating the same people it hopes denigrate (for a more current example of this, see the controversies erupting over the yet-to-be released Bruno); frankly, there are people that just don’t like this thing. And to them, we say: Get over it! Fight Club is a true pop masterpiece, and, depending on the day you asked, it would rank fairly high on our list of all-time favorites.
Effusive praise aside, we are objective enough to understand Fight Club does have flaws and limitations; both of director David Fincher’s two most recent films, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Zodiac, are more complete thoughts from a cinematic standpoint. But Mr. Fincher has never again come close to capturing the spirit and energy of Fight Club. He attacks the adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s novel, written for the screen by Jim Uhls (whose only other legitimate credit is for Jumper; go figure), with the tenacity of an angry shark. Fight Club is cut with a razor’s edge, and Mr. Fincher keeps the film hurdling along at speeds that clock in at just below borderline derailment. And while Mr. Fincher almost loses his grip on the proceedings during the clumsy third act, he pulls it all together for the Pixies-scored denouement. Even in a September 10th world (Fight Club was released in the spring of 1999), ending your film with the mass bombing of multiple buildings takes guts we’re not sure many filmmakers have.
When we’ll probably fall asleep: While we can’t agree with the fanboys at Empire magazine who called Tyler Durden the greatest film character ever (was Quint from Jaws ineligible?), we can at least understand that kind of breathless hyperbole. Brad Pitt’s portrayal of Durden is a whirling dervish of charm and menace; of course people love Tyler! But … give us Edward Norton’s Narrator over him any day of the week. Mr. Norton has kept a much lower profile than Mr. Pitt (which is true of almost every other person on the planet), but Fight Club is a great reminder of his talents as an actor: He’s focused, sardonic, resigned and really good at being kinda creepy. So we’ll make it until 12:40 a.m., 70 minutes into the film, when Mr. Norton’s “button-downed Oxford clothed psycho” takes the stuffing out of his boss by threatening to go postal on his office mates, all while barely raising his voice above a whisper.