Until, that is, of course, it found new life on DVD and video, where over the years it developed and kept developing until it has become what it is today: A cult classic. But, it is not just a cult classic. That is only one word that you could use. There are so many other pones that you could use instead to explain it. For instance, one could say such words as: Masterpiece
Watching it today, Brad Pitt and Edward Norton's anti-consumerist film is a bunch of stylized bullshit. I was too young to see it when it came out in theaters, but by the time I reached high school in the mids, Fight Club had already become a cult favorite.
Lord, how I longed to be one of those cool kids who could eloquently talk about our consumerist culture, who would shop at Hot Topic, who would listen to Black Flag, who would smoke in the church parking lot across from the school no matter that both smoking and shopping at Hot Topic are the antithesis of anti-consumerism.
I had never been in a fight in my life, but I wanted to harness his sheer masculine power, inspiring anarchy and admiration in other men. I wanted to break the shackles of our sanitized, isolated society and feel something.
I wanted freedom. These are all natural things for an angsty teenager who knows nothing of the real world to feel when growing up in a Middle American suburb.
Hell, kids in my high school, bored out of their minds, literally started their own Fight Club in parents' basements.
Fight Club popularized a version of toxic machismo that has been co-opted by online trolls and the alt-right. But, beyond that, is it an effective film?
Is it worth any sort of lasting adoration, dated as it may be? The movie was released a little over a month before the Seattle WTO protests—the Battle of Seattle—led by various anticapitalist groups. This was the time that Starbucks was exploding across the world and the early days of the internet.
In many ways, the largely peaceful Occupy Wall Street protests of the s were idealistically opposite the violent anti-capitalist movement of Fight Club.
The fear of demasculinization turned into Trump-era toxic masculinity. That longing for a bygone era of the tough guy is an image being actively rejected by the youth of today—a myth and image that is now obsolete and regressive.
The second thing they talk about is politics too. Third and fourth come questions of male identity and violence which are also, arguably, political questions.
That idea of placing the blame for our discontents on society rather than ourselves is exactly the type of attitude of basement-dwelling incels. Fight Club was an easy outlet for frustrated Americans.
But we won't," Durden says at one point in the film. And we're very, very pissed off.
They smash in car headlights, they beat the shit out of each other, they demagnetize VHS tapes in a video store, they terrorize a liquor store clerk. It's all meaningless, pointless garbage masquerading as enlightenment in modern America. It spoon feeds easy soundbites that sound like wisdom about our sanitized society, but ends up saying nothing at all if you really think about it for longer than it takes to give yourself a chemical burn.
Messaging aside, do we need to remember Fight Club for the movie-making itself? During my re-watch, I tried to reanalyze it as a film, politics aside. Since Fight Club, David Fincher has become one of the most well-regarded American directors—whose Oscar-winning The Social Network is often considered one of the best films of the s.
But, beyond that, his talents are better showcased in his earlier work, like Seven, released four years prior. Fight Club is a joyless two-hour mansplaining of modern capitalist America.
Stylistically, the film is, at times, very cool. Is Tyler Durden a hero or a villain?
The visual storytelling is misleading and the actual satire is confusing and ineffective. Has anyone ever stopped to think about how, exactly, Norton's character framing his boss for beating him up would work?
Wouldn't it be obvious his boss had zero signs of getting in a fight? Fight Club is also, most noticeably, miserable to look at.
The house that Norton and Pitt are squatting in is a hilariously unbelievable shithole. The greenish filter over every drab scene, the aimless horror of corporate America, the dangers of conformity—these are all better represented in The Matrix, which was released seven months before Fight Club.
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