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“We have been being raised by women our whole lives, I really don’t think another woman is the answer.” --- or something very close to that is the statement that I feel is at the very heart of what FIGHT CLUB is about.

But, I’m getting a bit ahead of myself.

Really, this review begins this evening out in the line for this film. It was Quint, Johnny Wad, Father Geek and I. We were looking at the folks in the line. A neck tourniquet wearing cell-phone-eared uptight screaming into his phone at some poor sap at the other end telling him that unfortunately he would not be getting his money transfer on time for an important mortgage payment. We felt that...

Wait... I’m still a bit ahead of myself, let’s go way back to the end of April. Columbine pops onto the map... I’m in the offices of Roger Ebert, we’re talking about how this incident was going to raise a billion phone calls and discussions about violence in cinema, and that was when I had my first serious conversation about FIGHT CLUB.

With Ebert we began talking about the cultural landscape at that point in time. We talked about ARLINGTON ROAD and FIGHT CLUB as being the next two blips on the radar screen in terms of raising the filmic issue of violence in cinema, and particularly how dangerous this would be with the current political climate. Both films were moved.

Months came by, ARLINGTON ROAD was released and closed with little more than a murmur... of course it also had a terrible advertising campaign and a very insignificant portion of society saw the film. It wasn’t aimed at the ‘hot spot’, the youth market. But as we move forward in time... it begins to become abundantly clear that FIGHT CLUB was being aimed at the exact generation that went nuts at WOODSTOCK 99. That raging generation that has scared the older crowd, made them suspicious and wary of this generation willing to answer the question, “what are you rebelling against?” with “What have ya got.”

And to feed to that generation a movie like FIGHT CLUB... well... my god, there’ll be riots in the street. Funny thing was... they said the same thing when films like REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE and THE WILD ONE came out all those years ago. Of course THE WILD ONE did cause some problems down in New Zealand at the time and the police there did end up killing a few kids that wore black leather coats like Marlon Brando’s.... though the black leather coat kids killed none.

The past 4 months have been an exercise in watching the sociological bomb that I believed was FIGHT CLUB, ticking beneath the sun-cracked picnic table of America. Was the film going to splinter this country into divisive sects? The older and the younger? As the ticking became faster and the moments till exhibition came closer... the fear became tangible. So much so... that the mere mention of the film sent me on a rampage of anticipatory doomsday crying. Screaming about Violence taxes and Cultural Committees and the destroying of the MPAA.

Then the film played at Venice. Three reviews emerged. Variety, Alexander Walker and our own Bosnian Witch Doctor. Variety and the Witch Doctor both loved the film with every fibre of their being, but Alexander Walker’s opinion was the one that most interested me. It was the kneejerk reaction I was looking for... awaiting... expecting.

Congress is filled with people like Alexander Walker that believe certain knowledge, sights and sounds should be available for the... educated of society. That the mass.... the teeming mob of common society hasn’t the glimmer to handle or grasp a film like this, they may run naked in the streets burning it all, and that we... the elite of society... should deal out the cards that they should be allowed to touch, for ‘their’ own good of course... Keeping all the spades for ourselves.

In England, there is already a push for this film to be banned. Similar feelings have been spreading here and there. Once again I got tense.

Screenings have continued. Recently the screenings in New York and Los Angeles hit and the word spread of social irresponsibility. That the film should not be allowed out. That 20th Century Fox has alot to answer for. The film was the talk of many lips at the Screenwriter’s Festival here in Austin this past weekend. I spent an hour or two with Scott Frank and Callie Khouri discussing this film. And everyone listening in... was a tad afraid of the reaction from the powers that be... from this film. Would it push through unnecessary rigid governmental controls or taxations? Would this be the excuse to shut the whole ball of wax down and melt it all to make standard candles instead of artful bronzes?

That brings me back to that guy on the cell phone leaning against the clear glass exit doors at the General Cinemas Barton Creek theater here in Austin, Texas this evening. Our little sect is sizing him up as being the unhappy worker ant following the scent in and out of the hive every day. Johnny Wad bemoans the fact that he may be another of those red and black ants, that upon seeing this film may become the embodiment of fire and rage. Tired of the daily grind and forced into reaction of some sort. As though this film has the possibility to change the very fabric of who you are. To release all that frustration and anger and channel it into a violent 2 minute bout of flying fists and fury.

The thought that this film will ‘incite the revolution and bring down this absurdist air of consumerism and enlighten the air around us enough to see the prison bars that encase our long dormant souls.’ This was the anticipation for FIGHT CLUB, this film which we are not to speak of. This film that will shake the pillars of our own foundations.

Is it really all of that?

Well, let me put it this way....

If.... If you are a part of the generation that has been raised without a father in the home and have gone out into the world a bit angry that you can’t talk to that girl at work for fear of sexual harassment. That fella that has to swallow his pride and shut down his own brain when the boss tells you that you are wrong and you will simply follow orders and... god you wish for just one moment, his jaw was smashing against the knuckles of your hand. If the whole life has been about a series of possessions and paying off of debts accumulated by all the window dressings of a so-called successful life, but when you shut your eyes... when you look into the mirror.... you still don’t believe you are quite the man your father or grandfather was.

Well... then this movie may shake you all the way down to the foundation.

But... to me. I love this film on all sorts of instant levels, and I adore the contradictory elements of making a film condemning consumerism and commercialism by putting in one of the more bankable hunks around, marketing the hell out of it and stuffing it down our throats... well...

One writer, Turk Pipkin, came out of the film saying that this was THE ANIMAL FARM for the GAP generation. I disagree... to me, this is more of Jonathan Swift’s MODEST PROPOSAL for the dissatisfied generation.

Our generation has this strange been there done that sense that, our fathers and fathers fathers have already done everything and lived the peak of civilization, and we are merely existing to retire when we are near seventy. In the meanwhile, we’ll buy this and that. And live the secondary safer life, knowing there was a road we wish we had gone down instead.

This film is about CONTROL. Especially CONTROL for the modern man. The film reaches out for that dissatisfaction with the size of our penises, the control in our lives... We are naturally programmed to be the aggressor, or so we are taught, but at every step of the game the control we used to think our fathers and line of manly men once had has been taken from us.... this film and Tyler Durden tells you to take that back.

This brings me back to the quote atop all these words. It comes after a little monologue about.... “When I graduated High School I asked my father, what do I do now? He told me to goto college, so I went. When I finished college, I called my father and asked him what I was to do next? He told me to get a job, and I did. 4 years later I call him up and ask what now, and he told me to get married. People don’t get married now.” and then the quote comes from the top of the page to here. “We have been being raised by women our whole lives, I really don’t think another woman is the answer.”

The film is filled with this... Characters that one way or another have been made less than manly. Be it through testicular cancer or that pushy boss at work. So much so that we wonder if our very own lives... our own minds are in control of what we do and who we are. Are we in control of ourselves... or are we even losing that?

Well... In Tyler We Trust.

This is going to be a very popular film in the 15 to 40 male crowd. This is that film for all of us. But... at the very same time it’s that deep dark satire that makes fun of the very need to be all of that. A wink and a nudge.... a flip of the acerbic wit.... Watching this film play, and listening to this college crowd react. I could see somewhere in the air floating about sentient and smiling, the very intent of David Fincher smiling. He had us. And he was smiling.

You see, this isn’t an incitful film. I’m no longer afraid of FIGHT CLUB because I have seen it. Yes, it’s disturbing and provocative. Yes, it raises thought and feelings and the option of anarchy. Yes, it’s a film filled with dangerous ideas and notions and God forbid we be allowed that apple from a tree. That we... the commonly created man be allowed to chew that fruit. We should be just left to fields to frolic and fuck.

Strangely enough, this is not a film about killing people or taking lives. It’s not a film about any of those thoughts. This is a film about that sense of inadequacy that lies in many men today... where do we go and how do we get there? And it should make you laugh that you even think about these things.

Yes, it’s bleak and black, but in someways that’s the way many see the world... this film causes us, those folks that wallow in the weird and off-stream and makes us laugh... while striking fear in the hearts of those that have completely accepted their lot in life.

Yes.... Though I once wanted to be a novelist, I am now happy and content in this position as dishwasher. At one point a gun is pulled to a person’s head, and he is asked whether or not he will pursue his forgotten dream or die. The real question is asked of the audience, will you pursue your dreams... or are you dead already?

This is the angle from which I see the film. It clearly talks about guns in the most derogatory manner possible, and you know... a gun is not needed to be a man, let’s drop this happy horseshit and go a few rounds. God, what a wonderful world it would be if them driveby fuckers of the world, would merely duke it out. Enough of this bang bang bullshit. What are we... insane?

If there is one thing that I am sure, we as a people... love it or hate it, will surely be breaking the first rule of FIGHT CLUB.... if you see it, you surely won’t be able to not talk about it.

The film is filled with issues and concerns. In a funny way it’s a mixture of AMERICAN BEAUTY and THE MATRIX by way of SHOCK CORRIDOR and THE WILD ONE.

Fincher has created a movie that quite honestly is breathlessly evocative and compelling. It forces you to have dangerous thoughts, confront them as you would any problem before you and expects you as a reasonable human being to come out with the right answers. At every single possible stage and section of the filmmaking process the movie is exquisite. This isn’t the seemingly random fury and thoughtless violence that people complained about in NATURAL BORN KILLERS. This was thoughtful violence, something that those folks in suits that get elected fret all the more about. However, all these fears and frets.... they are all based upon the assumption of a dim society of self-serving sheep, chewing away at the cud. I don’t believe that is necessarily the case today.

But I ask this one favor if you do come out of this film wanting to blow it all up.... when ya get caught.... Don’t Talk About Fight Club.

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