Year: 1999 Directed by: David Fincher Written by: Chuck Palahniuk (novel), Jim Uhls (screenplay) Stars: Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, Helena Bonham Carter, Meat Loaf Quote: You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your fucking khakis. You’re the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.
When it comes to movie quotes I’ve always felt stick with me, there are two, from the same movie, delivered by the same character.
(And I know some of you guys are going to make jokes about it, but that’s because you met someone who said they love these quotes and don’t live by them.)
Here they are, in video form:
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to read two books by Chuck Palahniuk. One was a short story collection of oddities and unique horrors wrapped up in one overarching story called “Haunted”. The other was “Diary.”
No one has really read Fight Club since the film came out. Fight Club, as a film, gives you much of what you’ll pick up from Palahniuk’s writing, Even Palahniuk himself approves more of the film than his novel. Here’s a quote from an interview asking him his feelings about the movie:
“Now that I see the movie, especially when I sat down with Jim Uhls and record a commentary track for the DVD, I was sort of embarrassed of the book, because the movie had streamlined the plot and made it so much more effective and made connections that I had never thought to make. There is a line about “fathers setting up franchises with other families,” and I never thought about connecting that with the fact that Fight Club was being franchised and the movie made that connection. I was just beating myself in the head for not having made that connection myself.”
Most people who laugh at those who value the ideology of Tyler Durden and his lessons laugh because they feel people who recite them just want to be “tough” or “edgy.” Like with most of the media I cover on Night Mind, I come to say they’re missing the point entirely by seeing the surface and not the inner workings.
The actual Fight Club and the character of Tyler Durden are not about fighting, or “men being men,” or male pride, or anything macho and ridiculous like that. It is, instead, about the meaning and intent behind Tyler’s words (and the intent behind a certain character responsible for Tyler being on the scene we don’t know about for quite awhile in the story).
Potential squandered. Slaves with white collars. An eternal pursuit of material objects for the temporary satiation of a hunger that can’t bed fed by physical items. Working jobs you hateto buy shit you don’t need, working jobs you hatejust to stay alive so you can one day taste freedom.
An entire generation raised on TV to believe we’d all one day be millionaires and movie gods and rockstars who, once it’s too late to escape from the vices built by the generations who designed the trap, realize that’s not going to happen and they were sold a lie.
You are not your job. You are not the car you drive. You are not your fucking khakis. You are the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world–which is to say, you are not special just because you exist, none of you people are, no matter what Mommy and Daddy told you. And no material possessions, no job, no amount of money or condoms in your wallet will change that.
You are not special because you were born. You are not special for what you come to own. You earn being special by what you do and what you inspire in other people.
Tyler Durden is, of course, a character that becomes less of a hero as the story develops, due to the nature of the same mental compulsion that led to our character meeting him. All things in moderation, especially powerful things.
It is extremely easy to lose sight of what it means in this world to actually stand for something and be something, to be special, when the entire world around you sells that concept pre-packaged, with a full flight plan for obtaining “special.” Buy into that plan and you lose sight of the mission.
And why does society want you to lose sight of the mission? Well… Tyler’s behavior towards the end of Fight Club explain that, as long as you can see the intention behind his actions.
Really, Fight Club is one of the first movies I ever saw that I could claim was Night Mind material. It fits the criteria very nicely. It’s not a “macho man” film–it’s every bit as much a work of art as Alantutorial, Unedited Footage of a Bear, and This House Has People In It.
(And now, I’ll make a separate post for favorite movies, because WHEW LAD THIS POST IS LONG)
Do I really need to explain why I love this ending? Just like the rest of this movie, it’s perfect. I know a lot of people prefer the book ending, but this makes for a very nice movie ending, don’t you think?
You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your fucking khakis… This is your life; and it’s ending one minute at a time.