Fight Club has been my favourite movie since I first saw it not long after it was released in 1999 - almost 10 years ago! 10 years is a long time for 1 movie to hang on to my number 1 spot, especially because I'm a bit of a movie buff and I'd never had a favourite before Fight Club. But there's something about this movie that resonates with me so much that no other film has ever come close to knocking it out of the number 1 spot.
Wait, actually that's a lie - Secretary topped Fight Club for about 2 weeks after it's 2002 release, but I got over that pretty quickly. I must have a soft spot for weird saucy women. Thankfully Tyler Durden is a forgiving chap when it comes to weird saucy women too because soon enough Fight Club was back on top.
I am Jack's complete lack of surprise.
That's a fan joke. I'm a nerd.
If that's not enough, Chuck Palahniuk (the author of Fight Club) is one of my favourite authors, and David Fincher (the director of Fight Club) is one of my favourite directors. I've read all Chuck's books and I love Fincher's films like Se7en and Benjamin Button, not to mention that Fincher worked on visual effects for my favourite fantasy movie (generally I have favourite movies grouped by genre, but Fight Club is my overall favourite) The Neverending Story.
Yes, I am a Fincher nerd too!
Anyway, for quite a while, I've been trying to find the perfect Fight Club tattoo. It's something I've always imagined going terribly wrong. Furni logos and Project Mayhem have put me off the idea several times. I went through a period of thinking the best option would be the Tyler Durden quote, "It's only after you've lost everything that you're free to do anything" - the idea that the things we own end up owning us, and that it's only when we let go of these things that you are able to choose to live life freely. But since I'm on the verge of finalising my divorce, I felt that it might seem like I was looking for a way to free myself of the shackles of marriage by getting this tattoo - especially over the past 12 months!
The irony is, despite what you might believe Fight Club is about, according to Chuck, and a bunch of others who argue the point, the story is about the journey a man takes to reach the point where he is ready to commit to a woman.
'How the hell does that work?' I hear you ask. A blink-and-you'll-miss-it piece of overlooked dialogue at the beginning of the movie pretty much gives it away. Remember the opening scene, where Tyler (Pitt) is holding a gun to Jack's (Norton) mouth, and Jack says "Somehow, I realize all of this — the gun, the bombs, the revolution — is really about Marla Singer."
Read this essay by Jennifer Kesler to get a much more detailed account of the theory.
So theoretically the reason for all the sexy fisty-cuffs, the death of bitch tits and Project Mayhem is actually the sauciest doctor shopping minx you'll ever meet - Marla. Kesler says Marla represents "caring about someone more than you care about your duty, your honor, yourself"'.
This theory got me thinking about what Fight Club means to me. Why do I really feel such a deep connection to a movie that from a superficial perspective is so violent and misogynistic? On a far deeper level, Fight Club respresents the awakening of those who have been numbed by reality. And arguably, Marla is Jack's catalyst to wake up.
So maybe it's because I want to be the catalyst.
In the scene where the police rush into Marla's building to save her after she overdoses on Xanax, Marla goes on a rant about herself, "the girl who lives there used to be a charming, lovely girl, but she's lost faith in herself. She's a monster! She's infectious human waste! Good luck trying to save her!"
Good luck trying to save her - perhaps Marla means saving herself from caring, no matter how cynical she might be on the surface.
I think I finally found my Fight Club tattoo.
Read Jennifer Kesler's essay I am Jack's Vagina.