art-linson

I Should Have Already Seen this Movie: #3- FIGHT CLUB

Hi, how are you I haven’t talked to y’all in so lo—GUYS I WATCHED FIGHT CLUB FOR THE 1ST TIME/ LIKE TWO WEEKS AGO/ THIS IS SOMETHING.

Why I should have already seen Fight Club:

  • I am almost not a teenager anymore so why haven’t I seen it already?
  • When I say that I haven’t seen Fight Club, a lot of people tell me that they want to watch me watch it so they can see my initial reaction.
  • To me Edward Norton = The Illusionist/ the guy who I never saw play the Hulk, and Brad Pitt = a bunch of sort of silly roles / that one lady’s fiancé, and Helena Bonham Carter = mismatched shoes.  I know that to everyone else these actors are “badass” or “absurdly talented” or “etc.” and have long felt out of this loop.
  • ALL of the references and ALL of the Tumblr posts and ALL of life.
  • But actually things that reference Fight Club: WoW, Neopets, things that are neither WoW nor Neopets
  • I have no reference point on Chuck Palahniuk at all despite the fact that I know he is important and I know that a movie is not the best way to familiarize yourself with a book-writer but still (but still)
  • I like the Pixies

THE PREMISE:

A nameless blue-collar guy discovers a cure for his insomnia through physical violence and starts an underground Fight Club with a stranger. (Hijinx ensue!)

MY FEELINGS:

As a whole, I liked the movie.  Somewhere in the middle of it, I decided that this must be the edgier Shawshank Redemption* or something.  Which is to say I can’t imagine anyone straight-up saying they dislike Fight Club.  It seems that everyone I’ve met—everyone who watched it with me, talked to me about it before I watched, or listened to me talk about it after I watched—either likes the movie a whole lot or thinks it’s a pretty okay thing.  Which is interesting—I get that it was a controversial movie in 1999 and that there are some messed up situations of kids trying to emulate the movie.  Also, it’s about an underground Fight Club.  

I think a lot of why people like it has to do with the acting.  Brad Pitt was good but I found his outfits distracting, Helena Bonham Carter was obvs intense, and Ed Norton was soo good and I really like Ed Norton now and yeah that’s it.

SPOILERS AHEAD, I guess… as I watched the movie, I came up with my idea of the movie’s “moral”.  And then two weeks happened, and I forgot what that moral I came up with was—I think it was something vague, like “Don’t be boring, and let out your anger/ God doesn’t really love you"—I didn’t completely get it at the time.  But I mention this because at the point halfway through the movie when I noticed the narrator was just repeating a lot of things that Tyler said and I asked if Tyler was just part of the narrator’s imagination and Beth and Ray just pretended to ignore me even though I was pretty correct, I wondered what becomes of the moral (or "theme" as regular adults probably call it).  I think it just stays the same but is just amplified, because it is not the narrator’s acquaintance giving him life lessons but rather it is himself.  On a personal level, though, I wasn’t sure that the theme was something I was into (because I want to be a special snowflake, gosh darn it!) and so I kind of molded it like playdoh according to my own needs, made it into a “Express yourself [through violence?]!” lesson, but moreso a “Consume [sometimes violent] pop culture” lesson. 

Idk.  I’m glad I watched it.

*Now I am imagining that maybe Morgan Freeman is just a figment of Tim Robbins’ imagination and he really escapes from jail all on his own and I don’t remember how that movie ends but do they play the Pixies at the end of it? PS:

As a final note, if nothing else, this.

Sean’s fierce integrity is truly, truly a rare quality in Hollywood. Everybody talks about it, blah-blah-blah, but with Sean, it’s in his DNA. And he maintains it, fiercely. So guys like that are important to all of us: he makes you want to do a little better.
—  Art Linson
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"You couldn’t invent someone like Carl Lazlo. He was a… he was one of a kind. He was a mutant. A real heavyweight water buffalo type…"

Where the Buffalo Roam (1980) dir. Art Linson

What Just Happened (2008) - Barry Levinson

“Vanity Fair named me as one of the 30 most powerful producers in the business. Power is an elusive term, but in Hollywood it’s everything, I don’t care what they say, you either have it, want it, or you’re afraid of losing it. Where you stand at these things, or who you may be standing next to, may not seem like the most important thing, but it really matters.”

Where The Buffalo Roam (1980)

Starring: Bill Murray, Peter Boyle, Bruno Kirby, Rene Auberjonois

Screenplay: John Kaye, based on Articles by Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

Director: Art Linson

Music: Neil Young

Art Linson has a long and distinguished career as a film producer, Fast Times At Ridgmont High to Fight Club and dozens more before, between and after. He’s not, however, a good director.

The life of journalist Dr. Hunter S. Thompson is rich and strange and hallucinatory, the latter being the approach Terry Gilliam used for the superior Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Technology and budgets being what they were in 1980, Linson tries to get by by filming Thompson’s embellished, “gonzo” anecdotes as if they were scenes from Animal House. Fair enough, only Animal House was much funnier, and very little of Thompson’s prose comes through. 

Bill Murray does all he can to submerge himself into Thompson’s persona, which is frustrating because if he was just being Bill Murray, stunts like spraying a campaign plane full of journalists with a fire extinguisher might be pretty funny. Instead, we get a Thompson who rants and rambles but is impenetrable. Is he in on the joke? We don’t know. This may very well be how Thompson really was to a lot of people, but it’s tough to get a handle on in a movie, especially when the filmmaking and the rest of the acting is so impoverished. Peter Boyle as mythical compatriot Lazlo brings a big personality but it doesn’t go anywhere. That’s maybe the point—a slim section of the film concerns Thompson first mourning his friend’s apparent death, then rejecting him when he interferes with his journalism career. It’s a thin thread of seriousness amid the hijinx. Again, one might argue Thompson’s serious journalism was itself a small portion of his oversized life, but again, it’s tough to hang a film on. 

Murray fans will admire the performance, as will Thompson fans, who will also appreciate the Ralph Steadman titles, and probably, Neil Young farting around with electric guitar variations on “The Star Spangled Banner.” But mostly it’s just unconnected scenes of Thompson’s worst behavior that will require the help of illicit substances to seem funny, much less meaningful. An apocryphal scene in an airport men’s room with President Nixon is one of many fumbled opportunities.