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Piercing Truths: Fight Club

Fight Club dares to

comment on the selfsacrifice fueling American males. Fight Club is a broad, mass-marketed, movie star driven critique of commercial culture. How do you tell a commercialized, numb, psychological culture that the things you own end up owning you? The director, David Fincher, created the abundant groundbreaking music videos and advertising spots of the past decade. In Fight Club, he tries to destroy the world he created.

He admits, Im extremely cynical about commercials and about selling things and about narcissistic ideals of what were supposed to be. I guess in my heart I was hoping people are too smart to fall for that stuff. For a cynic (A person who believes all people are motivated by selfishness), Fincher shows a lot of faith in humanity.

most important movie in Hollywoods most spiritual year. It was the first film of the next century. An anti-New Age satire of both the dehumanizing effects of corporate/ consumer culture and the crazy excesses of the mens movement. Fight Club is the next generations most hurtful critique of the lies and empty ideas handed down by the older generation. It shows us the hypocrisy of a society that continually promises us the impossible: fame, beauty, wealth, immorality, life without pain.

Fight Club was perhaps the

The movie teaches that you are not your job, you are not your pants, you are not what you have in your bank account (1:24:30) When shopping serves as the new hunting and gathering, what is a real man-child to do? (39:30) The symbolism in the film tells us what these men do and how they suffer. The acid Tyler (Brad Pitt) pours on Jacks hand in Fight Club tells us a lot about young peoples hidden pain. (1:01:17)

Starbuck's coffee cup shows up a lot in the movie, as well as Apple Computers; the characters live in cultural wasteland dominated by product branding and corporate control. Perhaps surprisingly, given the film's criticism of consumer society, major corporations including Starbucks and Pepsi Co. paid the filmmakers millions of dollars for product placements like this one.

Tyler challenges Jack to move past therapy, to be in the moment, to truly live. Jacks chemical burn shows that our fathers were our models for God. If our fathers left, what does that tell you about God? In all probability, he hates you. Were Gods unwanted children, so be it (1:03:12) What an open, defiant appeal for love, for meaning, for divine intervention. The movie is not about the idea that men are creating fight clubs to know what it is like to live. That is not the message of the movie. The real message is why these men have a fight club in the first place. Why they need violence?

After starting Fight Club and moving into the Paper Street house, Jack tells us that "By the end of the first month, I didn't even miss TV." In addition to giving up television, Jack also stops going to support groups.

Why do young people (males especially) have earrings, a tattoo, or a pierced tongue. Is it really to rebel? To those tired of being numbed by shopping or modern living, piercing can serve as a wake up call, a connection back to a more primal time. Suffering, even for a short time, becomes a means of feeling, an occasion for caring. Fight Club is probably the most violent, cruel, negative, pro-life movie ever. Pro-life? For a generation created from the suicide of its primary poet, Kurt Cobain, statements of faith start in the pit of hopelessness.

A continuous symbolism is the crisis of masculinity. Bob is the largest example of this crisis. He is a bodybuilder who took steroids in order to conform to a hypermasculine ideal. Instead, the drugs resulted in the loss of his testicles and the growth of breasts. Like Bob and Jack, all of the men in the film are searching for something that can give their lives meaning. Fight club will become their answer, and it is prefigured here by the "subliminal Tyler" who appears for a split second behind the (5:46) support group's leader. (6:34)

Viewers must look closer at the desperate acts of desperate men as a desperate cry for help, a plea for life, for meaning, for community, for significance, within a culture that has stripped them of God-given humanity. Fight Club has the strongest smartest men whove ever lived. They have a lot of potential, and they waste it. An entire generation is pumping gas, waiting tables, slaves with white collar shirts. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy stuff we dont need (1:09:48).

We are the middle children of history. No purpose or place. We have no Great War, no Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our Great Depression is our lives. Weve all been raised on TV to believe that one day wed all be millionaires and movie gods and rock stars. But we wont. Were slowly learning that fact. And were very, very angry! This is a shocking sermon kids are desperate to hear. In a society created by, for, and about selling soap, Fight Club offers a plea for something much more spiritual.

Tylers Theology

Author Chuck Palahniuk has suggested that this theology is also central to the story's larger meaning:

"My hope was that the film would demonstrate the themes of the story to a larger audience. It would offer more people the idea that they could create their own lives outside the existing blueprint for happiness offered by society.

One central question raised by the film as a whole: Should we accept Tyler's philosophy as our own?

Morality in Pain

Fight Club, although violent and reflects anything but morality is full or morality When Tyler burns the hand of the narrator, he says, "It's only after we have lost everything that we're free to do anything, which is similar to "Blessed are the poor in spirit

After the narrator's apartment explodes, he shares a quiet drink with Tyler mourning the loss of his possessions, to which Tyler replies, The things you own end up owning you (29:14). (Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth. . . Just before Tyler allows the car he is driving to go off the road into a parked car he yells at the narrator, Just let go! (1:37:47) (Release your stress) Finally, Tyler verbally attacks modern society in his speech to the members of Fight Club, which is useful to illustrate the uselessness of the selfgratifying lifestyle.

The Theology of Fight Club

The movie, Fight Club, has many scenes that mainly deal with the materialism in modern society and its limits on the freedom, which the characters are trying to obtain. The main character/narrator dislikes his life, even to the point that he is unable to sleep. He hates his life, is unhappy and does not understand why. And in order to feel anything he has to make a lot of bad choices to change his life. Sound like someone you know?

This transformation originates through his interactions and dealings with Tyler Durden, his alter ego and his imaginary friend. The main character remains without a name until in the end you, as the movie watcher, are lead to realize that he (the main character) and Tyler are the same person. However, he goes without a real name because he is supposed to represent how he could and is Any Man, anybody, and everybody.

But after he, Any Man, has made all these bad choices he has to run around and try to undo all the horror he has caused. Any Man started Fight Club, which matured into Project Mayhem, which then caused the collapse of their society. In many ways this movie is an extreme moral movie, with the battle between good and evil happening within a person. Even though, in the end the bad guy dies, it is only the good guy's sense of the bad guy that is killed. The bad guy never really existed to kill off.

The movie is really about the causes of violence and is in fact anti-violence, although it acknowledges those impulses in human nature. Fight Club is a symbol for the extreme materialism of our current modern culture and the rebellion against it. It presented one approach to solving the problem. It was an insightful reminder of what we must constantly do to fight off the pressures of the environment in which we find ourselves and to, instead, hang on tightly to the Truth.(44:49)

The movie should be viewed as trying to see the Tyler inside of you. The person inside of you that does everything you could not. Tyler can be viewed as sin, the hate towards everything that has built up over years of suffering. Then seeing that sin and almost embracing it as an outlet for your suffering. As it slowly starts to take you over you realize its power and destructive nature. From there it is up to you to confront the evil and overcome it.

A movie like this makes you think, and in some areas it plays the devils helper. Its not like you can watch Fight Club to grow in your understanding of society, but it can make you think about your relationship with yourself and others, and how you live your life. This is what it means to look closer.

Fight Club Analysis

Author Chuck Palahniuk says that Tylers theology is central to storys larger meaning.(pg. 31) Should we accept Tylers philosophy as our own? What is the meaning of the opening title shot? Is this movie ever meant to be taken literally?
Are we supposed to believe it is a real movie That we are voyeurs watching reality?

The insistently emphasized Starbucks coffee cup begins a recurring motif


Product branding Corporate control

What is the film trying to say about consumerism? Why would corporations spend millions of dollars to get their products on a film that is negative toward their goals?

Another motif: the crisis of masculinity Bob:

Bodybuilder

(on steroids) Tries to conform to hypermasculine ideal

BUT
Drugs

result in the loss of his testicles Growth of breasts Loss of masculinity (3:01)

All the males in the movie are searching for something that can give their lives meaning Why is Fight Club the answer to their search? 39:30

Dreaming of plane wreck that will end his terrible existence, Jack wakes suddenly. (19:31) Why is Tyler there? What is the significance? How does their discussion of the emergency procedures card fit into Tylers overall philosophy?

Soon after starting the Fight Club & moving to the abandoned house Jack says By the end of the first month, I didnt even miss TV Have you ever gone a month without TV? Do you think you ever will? Do you think you might think or feel differently after a month without TV? After a year?

In addition to quitting TV, Jack stops going to support groups What does Fight Club offer Jack that replaces both TV and support groups?

In the movie, Marla asks Jack to help her do a breast exam In the movie, Jack finds nothing In the book, she has two lumps She decides she would rather die than put herself through the misery of Medicade-sponsered What role does healthcare Marla play in the How does Marla having cancer relate to the major films version of themes of the story Tylers Whey did the filmmakers philosophy? decide to cure Marla?

How does the demolition of the World Trade Center affect our viewing of this scene? (2:09:36) Do you think this movie would have been released if it had been finished after 9/11/01 Should this movie have been released after 9/11?