No message... it's a nihilistic piece of shit.
April 21st, 2006 3:33pm
Because apparently it's a definitive piece of nihilistic shit. That which is definitive tends to draw adherents, good or bad.
Plus, I think it appeals to a certain personality. That personality being laid-back developers, who would LOVE to triumph at a fight-club venue. And who LOVE to posture like the fight-club actors.
Wake up Satish. Is your life that cute izod shirt you wear ? Is your life the flashy new version of Windows you covet?
Wake up and smell the corporate conquest of your life.
And isn't the "First Rule Of Fight Club" one of those rare, wonderful recursive kinds of phrases?
"The First Rule of Fight Club is: You don't talk about Fight Club!"
and what about the bipolar affective disorder? what significance does that have? that's like the lietmotif of the movie. if it were a nihilistic piece of crap, it'd be reductionist in philosophy, but it is quite loud, as though it wants to tell you something. what is that?
b, you're talking. tell me more. I am curious.
and what's izod?
Um, "Sometimes a movie is just a movie"?
It was made to make money. It's fictional. If it makes a useful point, so be it, but it's not a documentary or anything.
Have you been drinking again? Let's see, it's 3:45 PM Eastern Daylight Savings Time (EDT). You're in, what, Bangalore India? That's about 13 hours later? Holy cow, don't you EVER sleep?
I dunno what other people see it as. Nodoubt very different than what I do.
I stole my name from it in part due to the nihilism of it.
The idea I identified with is that no, people are not their khakis, their SUVs, their Gucci, Prada, or Luis Vitton. That stuff owns you, you do not own it. Greed and desire own you. People want to define themselves on these criteria because it is much easier to own great stuff than it is to actually be a great persona.
The fighting is doing what makes you feel good. Amongst men, it is a primal satisfaction. But it is allegory. Allegory for whatever it is that gives you life that the rest of society might not appreciate.
It's 1:17 AM. This is the time I feel the best. I can do whatever I like, which is mostly studying. But also wasting time reading the Web, user manuals of programming languages, writing small scripts, or bumming around forums etc. I do sleep. I sleep when I feel like, that is when I feel sleepy. I am in Noida, near Delhi, in the National Capital Region (NCR) of Delhi, Northern India.
> if it makes a point...
what's the point it makes is what I am curious about.
And "Izod" is a brand of shirt in the U.S. worn by yuppies (I guess). Its symbol is a little green alligator.
They tried to change their symbol a few years ago, but the new "crest" symbol didn't go over very well, so they went back.
A "Yuppie" is a "Young, Urban Professional" (a "YUP"-y). These are (or used to be) people in the U.S. that made lots of money in their youth (like lawyers, or marketing professionals), and could create a very comfortable life for themselves. A life with Izod shirts, and SUV cars, and golf on the weekends, and summers at the Hamptons (on Long Island, outside of New York City).
Now a little denigrated as people who made so much money they could insulate themselves from reality.
> The idea I identified with is that no, people
hmm! I dig it.
> And "Izod" is a brand of shirt in the...
hmmm! I dig it.
now, what about the schizophrenic dimentia?
It's relating the protagonist to everyone and helping to soften the allegory with the fighting and blowing shit up.
See, he's blatently insane... not evil.
"That personality being laid-back developers, who would LOVE to triumph at a fight-club venue."
Allan, this is NOT what the movie is about. They aren't fighting for pride or to beat eachother up, they're fighting to beat themselves up. It's not the lure of triumph that draws the recruits, it's the craving to escape a fully serviced life... or something.
I think the reason why nihilism resonates with so many men (myself included) isn't so much because nihilism is good as it is that what we have feels so wrong. I like Fight Club, despite it's silliness.
(It's funny, I was just listening to a song from an album called "No Sir, Nihilism Is Not Practical".)
SPOILER [but the movie's six years old - you're on your own]
For me Fight Club was what Sixth Sense was supposed to be - it surprised the living shit out of me. When the twist came it was so freaking out of the blue, so unexpected, so wonderfully obvious in retrospect that I just sat there staring at the screen with my jaw dropped. I *still* remember that moment.
Sixth Sense was supposed to be like that, but between the press, the ads ("I see dead people") and half the fucking country saying "I won't tell you the twist" (duh, if you tell me there IS a twist, I'll figure out what it is, you nimrod) it was just a movie.
But nobody ruined Fight Club for me, so it hit me from out of the blue. Wondrous.
April 21st, 2006 4:51pm
Yeah, fight club is about living life on your own terms rather than on the terms that are dictated to you by "the man." It starts with a character living a perfect corporate life - lives in a hi-rise apartment building, has all the proper furniture, and even has the perfect corporate job - calculating the value of human life.
At some point he meets someone who represents his subconscious. A very sort of Jungian idea, the "shadow" part of his personality that he's been suppressing all these years. The animalistic impulses that live inside all of us that are so repressed by society that they eventually explode in the form of...
Doing something dangerous to make yourself feel alive. Bunjee jumping, skydiving, driving too fast, risky sex, thoughts of suicide, spending too much, and fighting with others. Fighting is just a way of waking yourself up from the dolldrums of living up to the expectations of "the man." It's one of the most extreme ways to do it, and that's why they're doing it.
If you read through the IMDB quotes page, you'll see that nearly every single thing Tyler Durden says is along the lines of "How truly alive are you at this moment? Can you be alive in a life that's been dictated to you by others? What do you really want out of life, and what's standing in your way?"
"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 shit 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."
The main character has no name. The ultimate every man. Any one of us can be him, so to speak.
At the end they blow up the credit unions, which I think is a cheap cop out because it won't change anything, but it does make for a really cool visual at the end of the movie. (Cue The Pixies)
Read Noam Chomsky. Get the audio "The Attack on the Working Class" and read the book "Secrets, Lies, and Democracy." Both are probably available on p2p.
So in some respect, it parallels The Matrix in this sort of Eastern philosophy of "you are not your posessions, the world does not exist except inside your mind, life is about living in the moment." And in other respects, it parallels Noam Chomsky's view of corporate life, which is a little complex to go in and I wouldn't do it well, so go read those books.
The book was much better.
You know, Allan, the BOOK that the MOVIE was based on?
It was very well written. In a nice hardboiled noir style and very gritty.
April 21st, 2006 5:07pm
Yeah, everyone keeps telling me to read one of his books. The name slips my mind. Push, I think. And I was curious about the one he wrote about that-big-city-in-Oregon-whose-name-slips-my-mind.
But I so rarely read fiction nowadays.
Or, it's all about juvenallia; the adolescent desire to be an outstanding badass among badasses. It's postulating a world in which self-emasculated men who can't escape their own cowardice develop a psychotic personalities to compensate--all false dichotomies ans binomial options. Women are wreckage to be pitied or slampieces to be buggered; take your pick. Throw in a few haphazard, semi-coherent peans to stoicism and physical fortitude and boil into a steamy froth of easy generalizations, topped with unsympathetic (read 'asshole') characterizations and insipid dialog, and there you have it.
I hated this movie so much I wanted to throw bricks at it.
April 21st, 2006 5:34pm
Why can't it be both at the same time? Aren't all action movies juvenalia?
No. The macho, bullshit 'doing dangerous things to make you feel alive' trip should have died with Hemmingway--who died, it might be added, alone and full of self pity. It is material fit only for those with a crippling disablity to think, to use their imaginations for the betterment of their lives, rather than concoct immature domination fantasies in dingy basements.
Reading Chomsky, of all people, ought to give you an appreciation of the value of reason and simple courage. Nihilistic 'fuck the man' violence is not only morally reprehensible but doomed to failure, and tripe like Fight Club whic glorifies, while pretending to analyze, this self-destructive streak doesn't help either.
April 21st, 2006 5:46pm
I like the way John is insightful and openminded without doing things like jumping to conclusions, burying his head in the sand or only seeing what he wants to see. Too many people do that these days.
Wait... was this the 'say a nice thing' thread?
Apparently being judgemental and holier than thou is the next step in evolution...
April 21st, 2006 5:50pm
Seriously, John, you missed the point. You saw the surface and got no deeper.
But you are certainly entitled to your own opinion.
That's it, jacks... bike racks, after school!
April 21st, 2006 5:51pm
Now Jack's, you're doing it all wrong and prehistoric like; being able to allow for a difference of opinion.
John is showing us the way of the future - you have to dismiss his opinions as worthless and reprehensible, and act like you're better than him for believing differently.
Get with the program.
April 21st, 2006 5:52pm
And, let it be known to all, I'm not trying to change anyone's mind here. I've had this conversation too many times with Fight Club fanboyz to think it will have any such effect. I just wanted to go on the record as saying that not all male computer geeks like that movie.
April 21st, 2006 5:53pm
Darn, "Steel", since you changed your name, you're all intolerant and stuff. Mellow out, dude.
Jeeze. I'm going to call Dan Denman and tell him how to REALLY get this crowd's panties in a bunch.
Har har har to your Fight Club!
April 21st, 2006 5:55pm
I'm only intolerant of intolerance. I *hate* people who try to tell you why you shouldn't like something. (it starts with the "TV is drek" bigots)
April 21st, 2006 5:57pm
Hmm, I just read through all the posts.
Steel sez the 'twist' in Fight Club hit him out of the blue. I saw it coming a mile away. Maybe that's the REAL reason I didn't like it.
April 21st, 2006 6:00pm
I dunno, I'm willing to see John's point of view. In some respects, the movie is a stupid purile appeal to the more base aspects of human behavior.
Of course, from my point of view, that's the point of the movie - acknowledging the too-suppressed side of ourselves that will come out in destructive ways if we can't channel it constructively. Think of it as more of a warning of what's to come if society continues down the path it's currently pursuing.
"I saw it coming a mile away. "
I don't buy this. You're flat out full of shit, John.
April 21st, 2006 6:01pm
Funny, I log on to myspace, and what should I see, but an animated GIF of two roomates going at each other with boxing gloves.
I'll give you that, [x]. If that IS the point of the film, then they struck out trying to get it across (for me, at least).
You ever read Callenbach's Ecotopia? There was a similar, (and similarly unsuccessful) element of that story in which men, in order to manage their 'savage' side stage these ridiculous 'wars' on weekends. Women not allowed, and all men are... enouraged... to attend.
That part of the book, along with the blow-job dispensing nurses, really made me laugh. There were a few good ideas there, and then he had to ruin it with this bullshit. Oh well. Lennon and McCartney wrote what, 2300 songs together? There's bound to be some clunkers in there. Same with anyone who tries something different, I guess.
April 21st, 2006 6:06pm
"I don't buy this. You're flat out full of shit, John."
Fine, don't beleive me. Only Fight Club is far from the first narrative of this kind. In fact in drama it's been given a name: a 'Mirror protagonist'. I can't help it if you're so cultually deprived that this was new to you.
April 21st, 2006 6:10pm
I think acknowledging & accepting the absurdity of fight clubs, actually doing that to your boss (who didn't fantasize about that after seeing the movie) is part of it's charm.
It's all the things you always wanted to do, but x100.
If someone came along and said to you "write a novel about all of the things you're not doing, and don't hold back on any of the deep, dark secrets" what would that novel look like?
Oh, and the scene where Helena-Bonham Carter comes out of the bedroom and is talking to what's-his-name as if she'd slept with him and he's talking as if she slept with Brad Pitt--dead fucking giveaway.
April 21st, 2006 6:13pm
It's not that clear until a second viewing, though. In hindsight it's totally obvious.
April 21st, 2006 6:13pm
"If someone came along and said to you "write a novel about all of the things you're not doing, and don't hold back on any of the deep, dark secrets" what would that novel look like?"
It would be wretchedly violent and despicably cruel, and thus unfit for public consumption. I recognize that inside all of us are a number of traits, and some of these are decidedly unsavory. For me, the whole point of ethics is not to deny that such impulses exist; rather, it is in the full knowledge of their influence, choosing not to act on them that makes a person moral.
April 21st, 2006 6:16pm
"It's not that clear until a second viewing, though."
Look, I'm not out to dis anyone. It's just that I've sat through a LOT of psychodrama -- look up Jacob Moreno, etc... where characters are precisely drawn representations of societal and cultural phenomena as well as your 'shadow'. Fight Club is novel that follows in that milleau--it's been done before. Countless times.
April 21st, 2006 6:21pm
"For me, the whole point of ethics is not to deny that such impulses exist; rather, it is in the full knowledge of their influence, choosing not to act on them that makes a person moral."
Is there such a thing as being too moral? Completely denying your impulses?
Have you seen the movie Chocolat? I saw it the other day (the night before Easter, in fact). It had a similar theme, and I promise you watching it won't make you gay.
Yeah the twist didn't bowl me over either.
Do most people feel that the movie encourages nihilistic violence? Cause I didn't feel that way when I saw it...
In fact, I think at the end of the movie, it was pretty obvious that while Tyler Durden had a very strong point to make about the Wrongness we all accept, he still had to die cause that was his only fate.
And jeeze John, it's seems like you must have watched the whole movie defensively: "You think you're clever? Don't preach to me, you juvinile moron!"
Portland and Palahniuk. Ukranian sounding name.
Portland's an odd place for him to have found the themes for his book - it's like half hippies and half hicks.
Book is good.
I fell asleep during the movie.
[x], sure, there's 'too moral'. Just look at any of the self-appointed deacons currently enjoing cultural hegemony--Rev. Wildmon, Ralph Reed, etc. And Big Jigger is right--I DID get defensive watching the movie. Note: I saw this in college, long before I ever had an emasculating 'real' job. I'd never set foot in an IKEA, never wore a suit to a job interview. It wasn;t that it made me uncomfortable; rather, it was the (in my view) piss-poor way it exposed what I thought was bloody fucking obvious.
OF COURSE we have shadow sides. OF COURSE our culture is mush-headed, bland, and often dehumanizing. OF COURSE we'd like to feel that vital rush of adrenaline that comes from streetfighting... oh, wait, that's where it falls apart.
I've been in streetfights. Several. They suck. Aside from the pain, there's the sick feeling in your stomach when your fist connects and the other guy's teeth come loose. There's a certain sound that makes; one that the foley guys never get right. Ditto for busting a whiskey bottle over someone's head. That doesn't knock people out, it just pisses them off. It pissed me off, and it hurt like hell. And the glass and alcohol in my eyes didn't feel good either.
When people get hurt, really hurt, they don't pass out or skulk off like in the movies. They scream, they cry (you ever see a fully-grown man cry?) they puke, they shit their pants. It's fucking awful. When a knife gets jammed in someones' intestines... yeeech, the fucking stink alone is enough to make you puke. That's what I despise most about glorifications of violence--I know 9/10 of the guys who dig that shit have never been anywhere NEAR the real thing.
April 21st, 2006 6:44pm
Glad I could make *someone* happy. ;-)
April 21st, 2006 7:00pm
Do you remember that flash animation of that girl ragdoll falling through bubbles? It was just a cool little thing demonstrating minimal physics in a flash environment. (it had a russian name, as I recall)
Well, in one community I was in, one guy decided that beyond all doubt, the guy who created it was an evil misogynistic bastard. When pressed, he started to reveal more and more details - "look at the way she falls and breaks her neck between the 2nd and 3rd vertibrae, that's very specific, and only an evil misogynistic bastard would create something like that."
Turns out he had been in a horrible accident a few years prior and broke his neck. He assigned emotions to the animation that simply weren't intended by the author experienced by anyone else viewing the animation or because of his experience.
It sounds a bit like you're doing the same thing. I'm not saying "oh, you just don't like it because of your experience, and if you didn't have those experiences you'd see it for the masterpiece we all know it to be." I'm saying - as you point out - we all bring our own perspective and experiences to each movie we see, and we like or dislike it for our own various reasons.
I'm sure there are plenty of movies I don't really care for that the rest of the world loves (The Village stands out as having been completely fucking obvious to me), and movies I loved that the rest of the world doesn't like (I completely suspended my disbelief for The Blair Witch Project - I kept myself in an information vacuum before seeing that movie and believed it was real). Or how my girlfriend hated Fellowship of the Ring because she'd just read the book, or how my brother-in-law disliked he 9-11 imagery in War of the Worlds, which he was conscious of because he'd just read an interview with Spielberg in which he sated that it's use was intentional.
Also, as you point out, having been exposed to similar pieces of literature, you saw Fight Club as being a pale imitation. I've said that about plenty of movies before too. Or that the meaning was completely transparent and "duh" - well, I've said that about plenty of movies too.
The response I usually get when I say that is "Well just because it's not good enough for you, Mr. Braniac, doens't mean I can't enjoy it for my own reasons."
C'est la vie. To quote Groove Armada "If we all looked the same, we'd get tired of looking at each other."
Ha, I remembered the name.
Never saw that flash animation before. That's some weird shit.
Well, you're right, of course; we all bring our perspective to it. In much the same way that 'Blazing Saddles' had me rolling on the floor laughing at 13, and sratching my head wondering why I ever thought it was funny at 21, to finding it amusing again at 35. ("Spaceballs" on the other hand, has always been a wretched piece of shite). Heh, 'The Village' took about 1/2 hour before I figured it out; part of the problem with his movies is that you *know* there's a twist coming, and you suspect everything, and don't just *watch* the damn thing.
And, to be honest, some of my animosity to Fight Club may just be plain ol' Irish fuck-you don't-tell-me-what-to-think stubborness. Take, for instance, the recent discussion of Norah Jones. You couldn't pay me to care, because 1) I've heard her, and I just thought 'meh', and 2) there's this media machine telling me and my contempories 'hey, you're growing up, you should like this stuff.' Nah, I'll remain a pissed-off malcontent, thankyaverymuch.
April 21st, 2006 7:34pm
>> Nah, I'll remain a pissed-off malcontent, thankyaverymuch.
Suddenly, the last piece of the puzzle falls into place. LOL.
Back in high school we made fun of the punks who were obviously punk. "You're still reacting to the establishment by rebelling against it, conform to nonconformity."
I prefer to think I am who I am & I like what I like, somewhat independant of what I should or should not. I certainly don't ever watch MTV or listen to commercial radio.
But, you know. I like Fight Club & The Matrix, and yeah some of my furniture is from IKEA>
Well, I love IKEA. Thought the Matrix was retarded, in a sorta-kinda fun way, I guess...
April 21st, 2006 8:05pm
++That's it, jacks... bike racks, after school!
Haha... You're on! If I go down, be gentle. No face into the pavement stuff, ok?