Fight Club A Lunch Community <![CDATA[ Fight Club: Post-Modern Castration Paranoia]]> NOTE: This was formatted for my blog, so just in case you plan to waste your time reading(as in the pictures and spacing won't be correctly placed) , follow the link :

"I am Jack's Raging Bile Duct."
Post-Modern Castration Paranoia

The 1999 film Fight Club is about..? Well what is Fight Club, here I am sitting on my sofa expecting a 2 hour blood fest of men beating one another within an inch of their life, yet I am served a cold, sardonic pitch upon ‘us’ - the consumer. Years ago, David Fincher served this oddity of a film to the mainstream audiences – ironically our beloved consumers and the impression left was not of the common film; controversy had spread for the films exploitation of filming style, often unconventional narrative structure and most importantly, the films ‘violent’ themes. Perhaps the most self-destructive effect Fight Club caused upon itself was the surprise audiences were given, not because of the films dark undertone, but the lack of violence and predictable plot; audiences were exposed to a film countering their original predictions with an insulting film, criticising the audience for their own admission. Now as time goes by, Fight Club reaches cult status, not necessarily just for its rich subtext, but its kickass approach which makes this film, for the lack of a better word, cool. We’re given a cool experiences which has created what many believe to be a guilty pleasure in filmmaking, garnishing the award for "50 Best Guy Movies of All Time”, perhaps the magazine itself doesn’t realize the misogynistic themes, insulting men’s lack of masculinity of the modern age often because of women and the removal of their endowments. Fight Club’s multiple subplots and themes, ask the viewer to see pass the surface, dealing with consumerism, emasculation and anarchy.  So let’s fall into the rabbit hole, which is Fight Club.


We begin with our protagonist, nameless – often referred to as Jack. Jack suffers insomnia from his modern lifestyle. The lifestyle he lives gives him very little reward for his boredom of an office job, requiring he endanger the lives of thousands (maybe millions) of people’s lives. Unhappy with his life in an office and buried in the IKEA catalogues; he searches for medical help, only to be denied help and mocked by a mocking doctor. Searching for a cure, Jack finds liberty in support groups for people with diseases. When he discovers crying at these groups results in his loss of insomnia, he becomes addicted because people “really listen”.

  Soon the introduction of a fellow female liar makes him seek other outlets of his suppressed emotions.  After meeting a ‘single-serving-friend’ on an airplane – Tyler Durden, a man who is the complete opposite of himself, strong, cynical and outspoken - Jack returns to find his condo has caught fire, as well as all of his possessions. From here, Jack moves in with Tyler, creating a Fight Club, for middle-aged men to express their oppressed masculinity.  Soon though, their ‘support group’ spirals out of control into an anarchist group – Project Mayhem. The group then spread anarchy throughout the cities of America, becoming a powerfully organised terrorist group. It is here when Jack confronts Tyler, discovering that Tyler is himself. Tyler was an alter ego created, so Jack could cope with his fears and depression. From here, he attempts to stop Project Mayhem, but only failing, resulting in the destruction of America’s credit companies.


So who is our humble narrator? Edward Norton plays what is only credited as ‘Narrator’. There has been large deliberation on what his actual name is, although some conclusions can be drawn in the novel (1), the film is a lot more complex in our protagonist’s identity. In addition, the mere existence of Tyler is a complex one, for it is questionable how many things occur throughout the film. First of all, the name of the Narrator is a debatable one. Never is the name revealed in the film or book, only speculation can be made upon it. Our protagonist is a living MacGuffin, to clear the air; Jack is not his real name. Jack is a way for the Narrator to describe himself. The only other possible known name is Tyler Durden. At one point it can be confirmed his name is Tyler, when he calls Marla asking her what his name was, she answers Tyler Durden. However, just because she knew him as Tyler does not mean that he had not created this identity by himself, and later grew it into an alter ego. Jack had used many fake names at his support groups, Cornelius for testicular cancer, perhaps Tyler is for Fight Club. In fact, numerous times throughout the film it is specifically said that he is not Tyler, but simply becoming what he had created. Tyler is an improved vision of himself, as he continues he becomes that vision.

“I am free in all the ways that you are not. People do it every day: they talk to themselves; they see themselves, as they'd like to be. Nevertheless, they don't have the courage you have, to just run with it. Naturally, you're still wrestling with it a bit, so sometimes, you're still you. Other times, you imagine yourself watching me. Little by little, you're just letting yourself become...Tyler Durden."

Such examples illustrate the slow transformation into another identity. The transformation itself is a long process taking “Jack” over a year to complete. Jack does not suffer insomnia contrary to his belief, but narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is the constant fatigue he suffers from his ‘insomnia’. However, Jack never has insomnia, instead he spends his nights as Tyler – working night jobs at the Pressman Hotel and as a projectionist, and most importantly making soap. All of ‘Tyler’s activities’ takes place while Jack is supposedly not asleep. “What about narcolepsy? I nod off, I wake up in strange places, I have no idea how I got there.” It is shortly after this when Tyler Durden begins to become an image, slowly integrating into Jack’s mind with short flashes leading up to their meeting. (4)  

Tyler’s lack of existence is obvious throughout the film (although these clues are not obvious until multiple viewings). There is a clever use of Pitt’s character throughout, some examples are:
One: When Jack and Tyler both go onto the bus, Jack only pays a fare for himself. As well as that, when a man walks past, bumping both Jack and Tyler, the man only apologises to Jack.
Two: Often Tyler will speak for Jack, and Jack will repeat himself, without the third party noticing Tyler. During the hospital scene, Tyler tells Jack exactly what to say, and Jack repeats himself. Furthermore, while at the Paper St. Residence Marla and Jack speak, but Jack is disrupted by the sounds of construction in the basement, which Marla cannot hear. Again, in this scene he is told what to say to the third party – Marla. 
Three: Jack attempts to call Tyler with no answer. Although, Tyler shortly calls him at the same pay phone he just tried to contact him. Tyler says he never answers his phone and he used ’69 to call him back. However, later the Paper St. Residence is revealed to have only rotary phones, which would not be capable of redialling, therefore, Jack had imagined the entire phone call. Later when Jack and Tyler finish drinking at the bar and go home, Jack asks where his car is, Tyler then replies, “What car?” It is then questionable how Tyler managed to get to a bar from such an isolated area – Paper St. 
Four: When Tyler finishes having sex with Marla, he opens the door to Jack who was ‘passing by’ and talks with him. Once Jack leaves Marla asks who he was talking to, since there was only two people in the house, this meant Tyler must have been talking to himself, or Jack was talking to himself.
Five: When Tyler (who is driving) purposely crashes the car, while recovering Tyler pulls Jack out of the driver’s seat, implying Jack had been driving the whole time.      
According to David Fincher, "We're designed to be hunters and we're in a society of shopping. There's nothing to kill anymore, there's nothing to fight, nothing to overcome, nothing to explore. In that societal emasculation this everyman is created."
Feminism is not a detrimental on society (although the film may say otherwise). Feminism in the latest decades has been highly successful in ‘Western Societies’ (I have a personal dislike for this phrase). It has lead to the equilibrium of sexes. Since feminism, many other minorities and groups of social change have arisen, debatably shaping the world into a better place. However, Fight Club’s message is not necessarily that all this is a bad revolution, but it is being done to the point of reversing the problem, this time suppressing men; or alternatively, Fight Club mat very well show that equilibrium is an impossible feet. Of course at the present woman are not as powerful as men in previous ancient societies, but the beginning of this process is leaving men more damaged than ever before. The emasculation of men in society is not only taking the previous tasks that were once theirs, but also taking away the primal instinct of superiority. (2)
It can be easily seen that males are made to be a superior sex. Males generally are physically superior and evidentially more inventive – although it’s debatable whether women were given the opportunity to make inventive and creative contributions to our societies. Perhaps the most powerful theme throughout Fight Club is not the irregularity of men assimilating to an equal level with women, but whether it’s possible. In almost all (if not all) societies of past and present have seen men superior. The ‘hunter-gather’ lifestyle saw men the most important and physically powerful sex. What Fight Club asks is whether it is possible to ever fully lose this instinct of ‘hunter-gather’, whether it is possible for men to ever truly become equal – or if woman will abuse their latest increase in power. If men were one day capable of removing the shackles of primal instinct, at what cost would it be? Will assimilation conclude in ultimate depression and self-loathing?            
It would be pure denial to say Fight Club is not a misogynistic film. The film screams of fear for the future of the male sex, predominantly at the latest ill attempt to reach equilibrium among the sexes – feminism. The fear manages to effectively mask any other theme of the film, by using hidden subtext, or obvious signs. Jack’s condo and ‘IKEA lifestyle’ is the essential emasculation of our protagonist, quibbling over the fine details which would only gain attention of women in the pre-60’s. 
"Like everyone else, I had become a slave to the IKEA nesting instinct. If I saw something like clever coffee table in the shape of a yin and yang, I had to have it. I would flip through catalogues and wonder, "What kind of dining set defines me as a person?" We used to read pornography. Now it was the Horchow Collection. I had it all. Even the glass dishes with tiny bubbles and imperfections, proof they were crafted by the honest, simple, hard-working indigenous peoples of wherever."
Our nameless protagonist (referred as his own third-person description of him - Jack) is not the quintessential heroic, rustic man known to a previous lifestyle. In the eye’s of Tyler Durden, Jack is whinging little man, engrossed in the superficial world of consumerism and emasculation. Self-described Jack falls into the ‘nesting instinct’, miserable in the conventions of modern society’s plan – equality. Jack is the model citizen, living to empty his wallet and die, "On a long enough timeline, the survival
rate for everyone drops to zero." At times Jack is shown wanting to be a women. Ever so sarcastically, we are given the obvious hints, "I want bowel cancer!"
The crippling disease is demonstrated in Jack’s zombie-like state of self-loathing lethargy. Jack’s miserable attitude is caused mainly by his work, often requiring him to rest on a lovely airplane seat. Physically Jack deteriorates with his inactive lifestyle, and the crippling insomnia. As an insomniac, he searches for the miniscule excitement that is his impulse spending, rewarded with almost no sleep. With no excitement or rest, Jack’s life becomes a slow debilitating death, not only physically, but also to his morale’s. Despite all his problems, he is not a wreck of a person, but a perfect person, "I am Jack's complete lack of surprise". Jack’s lack of existence leaves him as a boring person. Perhaps one of the many reasons for this film’s unpopularity too many is their narrator is a soulless bore spewing words of self-pity. Jack is non-existent to the point of having no name, credited only as ‘Narrator’. It is for these reasons why Jack has Tyler, to support himself and bring out his own primal instinct of masculinity and impulse. For another alternative, Jack escaped his miserable state in various support groups. During the support groups, he was able to release his built up sadness and cry. Although his reliance on these support groups was a gapping weakness, it freed him mentally.
Of course, Jack’s temporary enlightenment is put to an end, and you guessed it by a woman. As soon as Jack begun to escape his entrapment of consumerism and gain some of his primal manhood, a woman goes for a kick in the balls and throws him back into the even more pathetic state he originated. In this early stage of the film, there are two major allegories,
Our macho primeval. One: The main support group shown throughout the film is the support for testicular cancer. Here Jack meets Bob, "Bob, Bob had bitch tits." This is our introduction to the support group and semi-important character, Bob (Meatloaf). Already in the line above, our Jack uses a womanly insult ‘bitch’ to describe his now womanly assets – large male boobs. Upon that, Robert ‘Bob’ Pulson has a very soft, high-pitched voice, resembling a woman’s. He also has a very kind nature about himself and no balls; Bob is the trigger for Jack to cry. Much like the rest of the film’s metaphorical motifs, Bob is the example of a man hitting rock bottom. He had previously been a body builder, a profession that screams machismo, yet due to the modern use of steroids, becomes the womanly figure he is now. It is at this point, where the small manliness retained is destroyed by a womanly figure, causing Jack to cry and lose his composed self. The rest of the group is no better of an influence, for none of them have their testicles anymore. We hear a story of man, brought to crying because of his ex-wife. The support group itself is a pool of fear of women, and the slow transition to becoming one. Jack’s reliance on groups of this general nature of weakness reflects his own emotional stability. For Jack to free himself of the constant pressure of his ideal modern life, he must further degrade himself, asking for help he does not even need, "And then... something happened. I let go. Lost in oblivion - dark and silent and complete. I found freedom. Losing all hope was freedom."
Two: Marla Singer, our one and only real female character. "If I did have a tumour, I would name it Marla. Marla, the little scratch on the roof of your mouth that would heal if only you would stop tonguing it, but you can't." Marla’s entrance into the support groups (and introduction to the film) results in the ultimate hatred of our humbly broken narrator. Marla is represented as a pest, infecting Jack’s Zen with her mutual lies and constant smoking. Marla lives in poverty dresses darkly and is portrayed as an antagonist. Although she is no out spoken feminist (the enemy), she is the essentially the final straw of Jack’s sanity (or insanity?) leading to the creation of Tyler Durden.
To conclude, Fight Club’s message is not of hatred towards the female sex, but fear for the ‘Westernised’ males. Through capitalism and social revolutions, attempting totally equality has changed the primal role of a male. Our film suggests that this is perhaps impossible to ever achieve in a healthy manner. The broken Jack manifests his emotions until he reaches insanity – or potential enlightenment – forcing himself to create what he wishes he could be. This idol he creates himself is a force of inspirations, resurrections and jealousy, which extends to not only Jack, but also huge groups of men wanting to break free of their modern lifestyle, "Our generation has had no Great Depression, no Great War. Our war is spiritual. Our depression is our lives."  Fight Club is ultimately, what Tyler Durden is fighting for, the freedom of men, destructions of corporations and business, and the revival of the ‘hunter-gather’ customs.
According to Austrian neurologist, Sigmund Freud, the human psyche contains three main driving forces for our actions and desires. (5) Although rather complex, in short these three are what drives us to carry out what we desire - the Id, Ego and Superego. In Freud’s theory, we are all born with an id. The id is responsible for our basic desires, essential for infancy. Freud believes the id is responsible for our pleasure. To summarise, the id will want what is required at the specific moment, caring for no variables of the certain situation. When an infant is thirsty, the id wants water, thereby resulting in the newborn crying, regardless of whether water can be provided or the situation is appropriate for crying. The id can be describe as selfish as it cares not for anything else then satisfying its current desire. Therefore, the baby wanting water will cry until water is provided, the newborn doesn’t care for time, or if its parents are preoccupied or unable to satisfy the newborn, it will still demand water despite impracticality.
Our (and Jack's ) Psyche.
Freud believes that as a child further develops (age of 3) the ego will develop. The ego, theoretically takes into account the practicality of the id’s desire. The ego understands and analyses variables. The ego ultimately satisfies the id’s desires while taking into account other desires and the fallout its own.  
At the age of five, it is said we develop the final drive, the superego. The superego develops as societal customs and restraints influence the child. The superego is the moralistic aspect of a person, taking into account normative of society.  On whole, the id is responsible for our most primitive desires, taking in no consideration of potential hazards or impracticability. The ego controls the id with reason, and associates the superego, surpassing just logic to cultural preferences. The id is the aggressive and sexual desires, controlled only by modern civilisation’s customs, Freud stated:
 "Men are not gentle creatures, who want to be loved, who at the most can defend themselves if they are attacked; they are, on the contrary, creatures among whose instinctual endowments is to be reckoned a powerful share of aggressiveness. As a result, their neighbor is for them not only a potential helper or sexual object, but also someone who tempts them to satisfy their aggressiveness on him, to exploit his capacity for work without compensation, to use him sexually without his consent, to seize his possessions, to humiliate him, to cause him pain, to torture and to kill him."
Jack’s creation of Tyler and ‘change’ into him is explainable by the extreme differences in the superego. Jack had been raised in beliefs positive to consumerism. As the Freud theory surfaced, it was used by business to exploit the id’s desire, replacing id’s original desires (aggression and sexual) with the product being sold. Jack’s altered id was responsible for his desire to fill his void will products, “What kind of dining set defines me as a person?” With the id effectively buried under the control of advertisers, his environment easily influences the superego. Jack’s superego, or ideology leads him to believe his current life of depression and boredom is the typical ladder to stardom and wealth. The path he takes is what he is raised to attempt, fuelling consumerism. Tyler is the polar opposite to Jack; Tyler’s superego is the same as his id’s desires. Tyler’s superego is as primitive as the id, being our desires without the account of potential hazard or fallout. Therefore, Tyler’s ideology is pure to his ancestors design in thought, like in Freud’s statement; Tyler’s desires are violent and sexual. However, Tyler himself does not directly circum to primitive thinking without thought; Tyler develops a divine plan to do what he believes is correct and essential for the survival of civilisation, which is to restore our original ids – by returning to the dark ages. Of course, Jack’s superego and suppressed id does not agree with Tyler’s pure ideology, resulting in the creation of an alter ego – ego being the balance between the id and superego, with the conflicting beliefs and loss of balance, another ego must be created to support the psychological stress.
Fight Club’s intention was for the viewer to realise the change of nature and ‘controlled’ ids in our post-modern society. After the turn of World War Two, the “middle children of history” were bombarded with latest societal trend: 
“Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. we've all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.”
Aggressive tactics.  Tyler’s philosophy is the alter ego of Jack, conflicting with his original ego. His rebellion stems from his id, defying the damage that has been done to him by society’s fast-paced consumerism. Tyler’s desire is to return to ‘the beginning’. This involves anarchism to counter modern technologies. Tyler’s specific policy on government is never revealed. Capitalism is the opposition of Tyler. Capitalism is responsible for the surge of business and freedom to own and sell assets, resulting in the growth of consumerism. In this case, Marxism is the obvious approach as a direct retaliation to Capitalism, highly influenced by the Cold War. Tyler does use some Marxism for the sense of equality, but in the very same time includes Fascism and Anarchy. "You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everything else." Here Tyler’s words stay true to the sense of Marxism of ‘equality’ of all, but in at the very same time uses Fascist techniques to gain control. Through series of brainwashing and intense conditioning, Tyler exploits the men’s weaknesses to gain full control. Fight Club and Project Mayhem are strictly for men only. Remembering the insecurities of post-modern men, Tyler offers the outlet for desperate men, thereby exploiting their desires – Tyler does this by appealing to their suppressed ids. Furthermore, although Marxism and Fascism is used for control and some ideology, anarchy is the ultimate tool of execution. Project Mayhem gains influences by committing acts of vandalism, often seeming random and for the sake of ‘slowing progress’. However, beyond mere execution using anarchy, Tyler’s final wish on society could quite possibly be Anarchism – returning to the dark ages. In Tyler’s vision he speaks of roaming through ruins of cities, hunting wild animals are all signs of the vision of our now obsolete primeval lifestyles (in most parts of the world).  
The infamous pink soap, like many other aspects of the film, is a symbol itself. Throughout Fight Club, pink soap is often just ‘around’. The soap proves that not a single frame was wasted in this film, but everything shown has some level of subtext. The soap happens to be one of the most important motifs. When asked what he does for a living, Tyler identifies himself as a soap manufacturer, ignoring his other jobs as a projectionist and waiter at the prestigious Pressman Hotel. Soaps significance plays a crucial role, as Tyler states soap is, the foundation of civilization”. First, soap is used for the productions of nitro-glycerine, resulting in the explosives used for Tyler’s ultimate plan; with this comes to explosives used to destroy Jack’s apartment, which symbolises the beginning of Jack’s new life, “the first soap was made from the ashes of heroes”. Therefore, soap as Tyler describes is the root and foundation of society, and especially in this case, the actions leading to Jack’s anarchist regime: purification, cleanliness and enlightenment. Furthermore, soap is also a drive for their plans. In order to make soap, the two (one) must steal fat from a liposuction clinic; thus, kick starting the chain of vandalism and anarchy. The ‘soap’ is made into either explosives; or the fat created into soap for “selling rich women their own fat asses”. Beyond the sense of purifying the negative effects of post-modern society, in the department store its shown as higher class. Tyler and Jack selling women their ‘own fat asses’ shows a contempt for the higher class, placing Jack in a lower level. Therefore, soap is seen as form of purification and drive for Project Mayhem and differences in people by financial classes.
Upon our final scene, we are given a message. 3 minutes. This is it. Here we are at the beginning. Ground zero. Would you like to say a few words to mark the occasion?” (soon followed by the humorous remark, ‘flashback humour’.) It is this part of the movie, where it asks something of the viewer. The ‘ground zero’ remark brings up the thought of a beginning, asking men to understand the message and take action. Whether Fight Club intended for direct copycats on the film’s Project mayhem, or just for awareness to their consumerist lifestyle, we are asked to take some action.   
Fight Club’s overruling message has unfortunately been heard upon deaf ears. Its status as a Cult Film insists that only a select group truly understand what the film attempted to voice. It’s unfortunate that many have accepted Fight Club’s oddity as entertainment. Entertainment value of the film is quite powerful; although too many let the title itself discourage, many assume it’s a simple film about violence. And to be fair, Fight Club without its deep subtext is a whole bunch of seemingly random, far-fetched events, and this is how many see the film. Howard Hampton comments:
“. . . Fight Club generated no noticeably baleful side effects whatsoever. Are left-wing critics and right-wing politicians the only ones left who believe in the potency of "transgression"? What is the world coming to when a movie featuring charismatic performers revealing in anti-social behaviour and a host of semi-subliminal advertisements for the joys of chaos can't incite a single unbalanced loner to commit a kamikaze act of homage?”
Overall, Fight Club beckons many questions and ideology without ever fully creating awareness beyond a selective group. Fight Club takes on many challenging issues, expressing the fear post-modern society will have upon men. Although the film may not be anti-feminist, it does question whether it will be possible for men to ever adjust as society expects them. Through Capitalism, Consumerism and equilibrium we are denying our id’s desires to be met. Is it possible to deny our primeval drives and essentially evolve, or will our modernisation result in the deterioration of our sanity due to abnormal stress? Fight Club’s answer to this problem is to return to a simpler time, a time where primeval instinct ruled supreme. This may be our only options to retain not only our species sanity and survival, but the preservation of our future.      


(1)I have not read Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club, this writing is solely directed to the film; otherwise it may become a comparison. Therefore, any conclusions drawn are from the film only, even though it may contradict information in the novella.
(2)Any beliefs throughout the film may not be of my own thoughts and beliefs, although I will be writing what the film believes creating a biased style, I may at times put in my own opinions.
(3)Jack is not the real name of the protagonist; it is just a fake name replacing ‘Narrator’ (as it is credited). This originates from use of the phrase by the character himself, which he found in old medical books, “I am Jack’s cold sweat”.
(4) [Pictures of Tyler Durden]
(5) [Picture of Sigmund Freud’s chart],-Consumer-Psychology,-and-Redemption&id=905360

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<![CDATA[ "Drrr Adrin wut happind ind ere?"]]>
Really, I don't think I can sum that up better then faux Adrian.  Rocky V in 1990 effectively ended the Rocky series with an entry so weak and so uninvolving it wasn't even funny.

In the movie, we pick up right after the big fight in Rocky IV with Rocky rattled and hurt talking to Adrian.  Something is wrong with him that we will learn later.  Upon coming home to America, Rocky is immediately accosted by a slimy Don King lookalike to challenge his charge Union Cane (with bad Mike Tyson Tweety Bird voice) but Adrian tells Rocky to hold off after coming home still feeling the effects of the last fight. 

Getting home and seeing they're son, we learn that Paulie has made a bad money decision giving power of attorney to the wrong people and Rocky's money and robot is gone and it's back to the slums with no hope of fighting in the ring again since the last fight has left Rocky even more brain damaged then he was before.  Never mind any money that Rocky might have made from his fight with Drago or even doing some kind of endoresment deals for money. 

So if the eye issue in Rocky II wasn't enough of a reason that Rock shouldn't be in the ring, this is and Rocky needs to find something to do now.  Re-opening Mickies old gym, Rocky finds Tommy Gunn (love the names in the Rocky series) a promising new face who could go to greatness but Rocky can only get him so far before the Don King lookalike sinks his claws in him, not to mention Rocky's relationship with his son is affected by Rocky spending more time with Tommy then him.

This movie really falls in a few regards.  One Tommy Gunn is really charisma free.  He's too easily manipulated that you don't truly hate him but you don't care about him that much even when he's with Rocky.  The subplot involving Rocky's son is mish mashed with dealing with bullies at school and his relationship with dad who is still carrying on over Gunn and the whole movie just kinda meanders around.  With Rocky more or less out of action, he does feel out of place in his own story.  The movie only really kicks in with a street fight at the end with Rocky and Tommy tearing up an alley outside of a bar to settle they're differences and that is at the finale and too late to make an impact.

Rocky V isn't a horrible movie but it is the weakest of the Rocky movies.  It's heart is minor compared to the first one and even the second and third and the entertainment value is low compared to III and IV.  Rocky V does bring the dignity back to the series that IV robbed the series of and the movie isn't BAD but it really is a shame that the movie series ended on such a subdued and worn out way.  Maybe that makes it more real, but after the first movie ending on a high and with it's sequels ending similarly high or happy, the way Rocky V hits you like a fist in the face with the way we see our character's broke and ill it's a little disheartening.  Maybe that makes it more real, maybe the important thing is that the characters are happy but it somehow still feels sad.  Thankfully there is another..........]]> Thu, 18 Aug 2011 05:45:57 +0000
<![CDATA[Fight Club (1999 movie) Quick Tip by gotmilk]]> Thu, 5 Aug 2010 17:58:22 +0000 <![CDATA[Fight Club (1999 movie) Quick Tip by Brithepie]]> Tue, 3 Aug 2010 22:04:22 +0000 <![CDATA[Fight Club (1999 movie) Quick Tip by bmcintire4]]> Tue, 27 Jul 2010 19:45:40 +0000 <![CDATA[Fight Club (1999 movie) Quick Tip by forrest5]]> Mon, 26 Jul 2010 20:11:19 +0000 <![CDATA[ Fight Club!]]> "The first rule about Fight Club is..."

I LOVE this movie.  I love Palahniuk in general.  I saw the movie several times before reading the book but I loved the book equally as much.  It was pretty awesome how they didn't change too much between the book and the movie.  Both the book and movie contain tons of awesome quotes including my favorites:

"It is only after we have lost everything that we are free to do anything."
~Chuck (Fight Club)

"Without pain, without sacrifice, we would have nothing." 
~Chuck (Fight Club)

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<![CDATA[ I want you to hit me as hard as you can.]]> Who is edward norton. That is a question youll be asking yourself the whole time your watching this movie. The story follows a man named Edward norton as he goes from a inspection person for the auto industry to the leader of a fight club. And during this he gets caught up with a drug using girlfriend, a man who works as a projectionist at a theatre with a fondness for splicing porn into the movies. It messes with your mind, forces you to think, and then blows what you thought you knew to pieces.

]]> Tue, 20 Jul 2010 06:19:51 +0000
<![CDATA[Fight Club (1999 movie) Quick Tip by erin_arata]]> Tue, 20 Jul 2010 02:48:20 +0000 <![CDATA[ I am Jack's carpel tunnel.]]> FIGHT CLUB
Written by
Directed by David Fincher
Starring Edward Norton, Brad Pitt and Helena Bonham Carter

Editor's Note: They say the first rule of Fight Club is not to talk about Fight Club.  I'm actually pretty certain that this is also the second rule of Fight Club.  I am breaking both of these rules in this piece but, to be fair, I'm not a card-carrying member of Fight Club so I don't think I have to abide by the group's rules.  Anyhow, you have been warned ...

When David Fincher’s FIGHT CLUB was released in 1999, it was one of those movies that not only made you stop and take notice but had you wondering what the heck had just happened.  Even though the century was about to turn, people did not know what to make of it at first.  How could they really?  Here you have this violent, aggressive piece of filmmaking that is hellbent on literally blowing up most of the institutions that modern society has grown entirely complacent to.  More importantly, all of this unrest stems not from a growing revolt amongst the masses but rather the increasingly debilitating delusions of just one man’s mind.  
“This is your life and it is ending one minute at a time.”
The man in question is never even named.  He is simply The Narrator and he is played by the seamlessly talented Edward Norton.  Norton is the perfect choice for our hero.  His earnest face and effortless charm make him very easy to like and to relate to.  Our Narrator, who is not coincidentally reminiscent of Malcolm McDowell’s narrator in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, starts out just like us.  He has put in countless hours at a thankless job to afford his ideally located condo and to amass the multitude of perfectly suited furniture pieces to fill that space.  He has done everything according to the great design but yet he is in a constant state of unrest.  He can’t even sleep unless he has the chance to shed all of his pain in the arms of people facing their own mortality at nightly support groups for a variety of cancer patients.  He is an exacerbated version of who a great majority of us actually are.  And thanks to Norton’s uncanny ability to draw in his audience, our dormant anger grows with his.
“This chick, Marla Singer, did not have testicular cancer.”
Of course, The Narrator does not have testicular cancer himself but the fact that he actually has testicles at least suggests that he could.  Marla (Helena Bonham Carter) is something of a monster.  She too does not step in time with the rest of the world – chain smoke getting caught in her wildly untamed hair as she walks in and out of Laundromats stealing people’s clothing before walking directly into traffic without skipping a beat.  Marla is what sends The Narrator over the edge.  Her presence disturbs him but he cannot figure out how.  He just knows that he can’t sleep again now that Marla has made herself known.  It might have something to do his addiction cancer support groups.  He appreciates the sincerity of humanity when death is looming and Marla essentially wants to die.  Her death is close, or so she would like it to be, but, unlike her cancer patient friends, her death is one of her own choosing.  Where is the sincerity in that?  To be fair, I would probably lose a wink or two over that conundrum too.
“I know this because Tyler knows this.”
The pressure of life’s trappings starts to hit our Narrator a little too hard at this point and what was waiting patiently to emerge this entire time finally does.  Fincher has been giving us subtle hints; they’re blink and you’ll miss them moments but Tyler Durden, played by Brad Pitt in his prime, has appeared in frame a few times for split seconds at a time.  We don’t know it then, unless we’re super geniuses or have read the Chuck Palahniuk novel, but Tyler is a complete fabrication of the Narrator’s mind.  The impact of the story rests on the audience not knowing this bit of information until later because they need to believe the bloody reality of these two men beating each other rotten in the parking lot of some dive bar.  They need to believe this because it needs to inspire legions of other men to do the exact same thing.  These men and their nightly brawls are Fight Club.
“I want you to hit me as hard as you can.”
I am not a fighter but I, like the Narrator, beat the living crap out of myself from time to time.  The difference, or at least the one I am choosing to focus on right now, between the Narrator and myself is that I beat myself up under my breath when I don’t think anyone is listening.  He beats himself bloody and he does it right there for everyone to see.  And while he may be beating himself up, he is still fighting back for the first time in his seemingly insignificant single-serving life.  Aside from sincerity, there is something else the Narrator took from his life moonlighting on the support group circuit.  The imminent promise of death is a pretty good reminder for most that they’re still alive.  Pain, the intense kind that leaves scars and ringing in your ears while it drips your blood to the floor, has a similar effect.  This is especially true for those of us who don’t even realize we still haven’t slept in years.

For more BLACK SHEEP REVIEWS, just click the link.
]]> Sat, 12 Jun 2010 12:47:26 +0000
<![CDATA[Fight Club (1999 movie) Quick Tip by Lopez15]]> Fri, 4 Jun 2010 19:47:25 +0000 <![CDATA[Fight Club (1999 movie) Quick Tip by Count_Orlok_22]]> Mon, 5 Apr 2010 23:45:47 +0000 <![CDATA[UFC : Ultimate Fighting Championship Quick Tip by McMaster]]> Sat, 6 Mar 2010 11:41:59 +0000 <![CDATA[ Predictable Plot and The Fights Don't Really Soar....]]>
Movies about the shady world of underground fighting and gambling have been done to death; director/writer Dito Montiel’s “FIGHTING” is another entry into this overused genre. Ok, so what made me sit through this film? Well, I am a sucker for fight sequences and I do believe that such a stereotypical movie can shine when the fight scenes themselves take center stage. Channing Tatum may not be the best actor for the role and admittedly the man isn’t known for his acting skills, but he does ’look’ the role of the underdog; that, combined with the fact that Montiel brings a lively feel and look of a contemporary New York City--oh, I also like watching fight scenes.
Shawn McArthur (Channing Tatum) hails from Birmingham, Alabama who comes to the Big Apple to make a living selling bootleg books, CDs and DVDs. Shawn is desperate to make a big score and when he crosses paths with a more experienced hustler in the person of Harvey Broaden (Terrence Howard) after a fight with his associates, Shawn gets recruited to participate in bare knuckle fights for some major money. Somewhere along the way, Shawn meets up with Evan Hailey (Brian White); a man from his past who supposedly trained with him in his father’s wrestling school. Shawn is determined to make the big score; whatever it takes…
The film’s premise is undoubtedly unimaginative and completely routine. While Montiel does bring try to bring a lively atmosphere in this world of shady characters composed of hustlers, gamblers and underground fighters in New York’s shadowy corners, he has so little cards in his hands. Sure, he does bring the sights of New York in the composition as with “Saints”, but the characters in this film are pretty stereotypical and feel like mere caricatures of what they may have been. It is full of shady, intimidating dark figures that are in it for greed and angry heroes with issues complete with ‘macho-posturing’. It borrows heavily from elements established by “Lionheart” and the 1975 classic “Hard Times”.
Montiel attempts to bring the relationship between Harvey and Shawn into bear but he is severely hampered by the screenplay that offers little to no surprises. The problem is that the film telegraphs its punches way too soon, and it misses several opportunities; the subplot with Shawn’s father is never given any room to develop and the rivalry between Evan and Shawn isn’t fully utilized--they felt like they were just using the usual practices of machismo. The only good character that adds some twist is in the person of Zulay (Zulay Henao) who plays Shawn’s love interest. The script tries to promote a moody, realistic and seedy feel, and while it does on some level, it just couldn’t capitalize on what its got.
Ok, so this film isn’t going to win any Oscars, but a film like this can stay aloft when the fights are brutal and fresh. Well, Montiel does give the fights a somewhat realistic feel, they are messy and in this unrated cut, a bit more violent and longer (with 2 minutes of added footage). They are shot in a manner that keeps the action close, playing on the facial expressions of the fighters to express emotion. Some of the fights did manage to provoke my interest, as they became harder with more seasoned opponents but I thought the movie could’ve used more fights to serve in its build up and to invest on Shawn’s reputation in the fighting arena. Also, I thought Shawn’s fight with the Asian fighter was the best one. Still, being an action junkie, I have seen a lot of superb fight scenes; beautifully choreographed as well as simple realistic ones--the fights in “Fighting” offers nothing fresh and are just OK. But for a film that should focus on the brutal encounters, “OK” just doesn’t cut it. It left me nothing to look forward to, and I could just predict on how everything would turn out.
The acting is a mixed bag. Tatum is a good-looking actor, (or so my lady friends say) but his skills as a performer is mediocre at best. There is a subway training scene that gives his character some intensity but we’ve all seen it better. The chemistry between Howard and Tatum feels forced as all it seemed that the two shared are stares and a contest of who gets to mumble more effectively. Zulay Henao (I love that first name) is charming and very attractive; her love scenes with Tatum are filled with the usual ‘holding hands’ during love making. The idea of the twist as to what her relationship with Harvey had promise but it made no impact on its narrative. Evan Hailey (played by White) felt too averaged as the main antagonist and acts more like a high school bully than a fighter with a fearsome record.
“Fighting” should have been grittier and more violent to achieve the character’s depth as an underdog and for the hero’s fortitude to be felt. The film’s screenplay tries but never quite reaches its goal because of its weak script; you can just feel that it went on its journey but it never reached its destination. “Fighting” is just a bare-knuckled flick that would not inflict damage to other films in this genre. Overall, “Fighting” is a just a mediocre urban melodrama.
Rent it! [1 1/2 Out of 5 Stars]

]]> Wed, 26 Aug 2009 07:29:25 +0000
<![CDATA[ Give 'em one more round Rocko!]]> I think we can all agree that while Rocky V closed out the Rocky series with a little dignity it was still seen as the weakest of the Rocky movies.  After it came out, Sylvester Stallone went on a tear doing some pretty lame movies.  Some were better then others but most of them stunk.  When it was announced that ANOTHER Rocky movie was coming out, people were stunned.  Stallone had gone to the well with Rocky too many times in the past when his career was running on empty but at his age and over 15 years later, it would either be a fantastic film or further bury Stallone's most beloved character and his career further.  Thankfully it's in the former category.

Time has passed and Rocky is now a widower with Adrian having succumed to what Rocky called "Woman's Cancer" and now runs her restaurant where Rocky puts on a suit and entertains his guests with old fight stories.  He still lives in his old house and is getting by but he feels pain for his lost wife Adrian and the emptyness in his life.  Rocky is anxious to get back into the ring, much to the dismay of his grown son who is stuggling to get out of his dads shadow and make his own life.  Meanwhile the current heavyweight champ with one of those great Rocky names, Mason, "The Line" Dixon is losing his fans since no credible challegers and his pay per view buyrates are tanking.  Hearing that Rocky is wanting to pursue boxing again, Mason's agents arrange an exhibition with Rocky in hopes of boosting Mason's popularity and giving Rocky a chance to have one more match that he needs.

I never grew up watching Rocky and didn't see it until much later in life when I already knew about many of the movies nuances and thus didn't get the impact I should have had when I watched.  With this movie, thankfully I can see what the love of the first film had.  Seeing Rocky train and work to overcome the odds was a real satisfying feeling that I haven't felt in a while.  Mason is probably the best of the "villain" boxers in the Rocky series.  He's a guy who wants credability for his skills and doesn't have any traits that make you hate him either.  He's not a big mouth like Apollo or a bully like Clubber Lang, you want to see him get his rewards too.

The only regular back is Paulie who is still as much a curmudgen as he ever was.  Rocky befriends and even has a close relationship with Marie and her grown so.  You know Marie?  The girl he walked home with in the first Rocky?  The movie is smart to only hint at a love interest when it's smart enough to pull back and remind us Rocky still loves Adrian and Marie knows it.

Free of gimmicks and full of heart, you can tell Stallone labored over this to make it hit just right.  Rocky Balboa sweeps the embarrassing fifth film under the canvas and gives Rocky a nice and appropriate retirement.  I'd almost say I like it better then the first film and on par with the third.  Movies with long awaited sequels only wish they could go the distance the way Rocky Balboa does.  Absolutely.   

]]> Thu, 25 Jun 2009 06:23:46 +0000
<![CDATA[ Frightening and Real]]>
Frightening and Real

Amos Lassen and Cinema Pride

While not a horror film, "Bully" is one of the scariest movies I have seen and the reason that it evokes such fear is that it is a true story. Larry Clark directed this movie that is about teenagers that have absolutely nothing going for them. They have sex all of the time, they drink to excess, they smoke pot and drop acid and their lives are reckless and meaningless.
I am sure that many who see this movie are outraged and that seems to me to be warranted. To see kids behave like this is certainly not the norm. Marty (Brad Renfro) is the central character and he is involved in a sado-masochistic relationship with his "best friend", Bobby (Nick Stahl). Then there is Lisa (Rachel Miner), Marty's pregnant girlfriend. Marty is an average surfer bum and high school drop-out and Bobby constantly picks on him and rides him all the time. Lisa soon tires of Bobby's abuse to Marty and she tells Marty that he should kill Bobby. They go and see a hit man (Leo Fitzpatrick) and ask him to help put an end to Bobby and from that point on the kids start out upon a new path--one of lies, deceit, boasts, and guilt-ridden feelings about the deed they are about to perform. In the end, the teenagers get their just rewards but the cinematic buildup is highly intense.
The movie is accurate and true to life. Based on an incident that took place in Florida in 1993, it is an authentic retelling of what went on. The cast is sheer perfection. When the kids agree that Bobby has to die, the movie reaches its heights. Bobby was a bully and a rapist and an all around loathsome character. He seems to be somewhat of a closet homosexual as reflected by his obsession with gay porn. He drags Marty to a gay bar and forces him to dance onstage. His violent way of dealing with his own gayness is probably how he chose to deal with his repressed desires. He is a psychotic sociopath who has extended the limits of being tough. But his homosexuality is not the reason he is to be killed. There is no clear reason to why he must die. The actions against him are not motivated by revenge but by jealousy. He is due to go to college and to take over his father's business.
The movie utilizes a great deal of potent imagery as the film explores the youth of today during dark and troubling times. It hurts to watch kids behaving the way they do here and we hope they get what they deserve.
The movie will weigh on your mind mainly because it really happened. It is bleak and dark and extremely depressing. It is meant to shock and shock it does.]]> Sun, 22 Apr 2007 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ Very powerful, not for the squeamish]]> Pros: Performances in particular, but otherwise everything is a pro.

Cons: Nothing

The Bottom Line: Unfettered look at a slacker community and what their annomie can cause.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals everything about the movie''s plot.

Bully is the most disturbing film I have seen in a very long time—not since I watched the almost completely ignored Godmoney in 1998 I have felt quite the same sense of unease.

The film covers a real incident in Florida in 1993. A group of friends agreed, in a manner of speaking, to kill a Bully. Bobby, the bully, abuses his ‘best friend’ Marty. Marty’s girlfriend, Lisa, spearheads the movement to kill the hostile Bobby whose violence toward women in general and Marty specifically upsets the group of slackers who, very loosely, form a sub-community. The story follows the violence, the various plans to kill Bobby, his murder, and the subsequent guilt that wracks some of the members of the posse. Three of them spill the beans and it ends with all of them arrested. The film ends with the penal sentence for all involved.

As most reviewers have pointed out, this film is not for those made uncomfortable by intimate violence, nudity, sex, sexuality, or foul language—Bully uses each of these elements heavily. Some reviewers argue that one or more of these elements are used gratuitously; I respectfully disagree. The intimate violence is the reason for the film in the first place, so any amount of it is necessary. The nudity, sex, sexuality, drug use, and language are all part of the slacker sub-culture, so I think having much less of it would make the movie too hollow. This isn’t supposed to be pleasant; you aren’t intended to leave the movie feeling good, and each of these elements play into making the movie that much more (though I hate to use this word) authentic.

Every performance was superb. I have not liked some members of the cast based on their other movies, but in this one, everyone shines. Though it starts out focusing on Brad Renfro and Nick Stahl (Marty and Bobby), it quickly turns into an ensemble piece. I have no complaints or issues here.

The music fits the tone and topic very well. I really don’t like most of the music itself, but if violent and misogynistic hip hop isn’t the natural soundtrack for the film, I don’t want to be acquainted with music that is.

The emotions Bully induces are at the very least uncomfortable. It is difficult to feel sympathy for the ultimate victim. Still, everyone had a choice to reconstitute their band of misfits in such a way that excluded him. Bobby’s presence in the group is tangential anyway since he is college-bound and the rest of them are either serious underperformers or dropouts. Therefore, justifying a murder is all but impossible. Bobby’s behavior was borderline criminal and completely anti-social, but this avoidable person became the victim of true criminal behavior. How this happened is perhaps the most disturbing facet of this film.

Lisa manipulates Marty just as much as Bobby, but instead of using violence, she uses sex and the notion (true or feigned) of love. She carries this manipulation to include 5 others in the plot. Lisa keeps saying the same thing that I paraphrase minus the profanity: I don’t care; I just want him dead tonight. The film makes obvious the idea that the 3 males other than Marty don’t actually believe this is going to happen. They are going along for different reasons. One pretends to be quasi-mafia and becomes the leader of this crew because he talks the talk, despite later not being able to walk much of the walk. One just wants to fit in with what he sees as the ‘cool’ kids. And the most frightening of all is the one who goes along because he is constantly high and seems to have nothing better to do. Get even this group of late-teen males and their testosterone and their tongues flapping and someone is going to at least get threatened; throw a match on it in the form of an actual victim wanting revenge and someone is going to get hurt.

I am not a parent and never will be, so I cannot see this from a parent’s eyes, only from a broader societal perspective. That said, I can see why this film would be so much more disturbing for parents. Still, what I have to say about that is if you are frightened, then it is more unlikely that you will have a child that is going to be involved in something like the events covered here.

Bully is no morality tale. No solution is offered, so it leaves that to the audience to discover if they want to try. But the film does point toward a method of prevention if not solution: parents. When parents appear (with one exception covered in a moment), they are ineffectual or disconnected from the reality around them. The exception is Bobby’s parents, but here the whiff of abuse and control from the father is palpable even if only implied. Neither the bully nor the would-be vigilantes have a relationship with their parents that could be considered healthy. Not all truly dysfunctional families turn out criminals and not all relatively healthy families turn out angels; however, the pattern is generally true that the more involved a parent is in the lives of their children, the less likely it is they will run into serious problems.

Bully pulls no punches. It offers no overt explanation for any justification of the behavior, only implies a couple. So the movie points to the responsibility of the act squarely on the shoulders of those who bore it. But it also provides a passing blame to the parents. Society itself maintains no specific responsibility here and that is one reason why it is as powerful and as frightening as it is. Because if society isn’t at least partly to blame, there isn’t anything society can do to mitigate it.


]]> Mon, 3 Apr 2006 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ A Cult Classic!]]> As the movie progresses, we are not sure what is real and what is in the mind of one of the main characters.

There have been other movies that seem to depict fights in back rooms and garages (Jean Claude Van Damme did Lionheart). This movie is definately the best of the bunch.

]]> Sat, 6 Mar 2004 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ Hey, like maybe a classic... yuh know?]]> After almost 30 years, I still enjoy seeing Rocky but for different reasons than I once did. One is the use of humor. The first time around, I missed so many comic moments. Another is Rocky's relationship with Mickey (Burgess Meredith). The bond they eventually forge is credible, indeed poignant. And still another is Talia Shire's performance as Adrian. Only an actress of her talent could invest that role with the texture and nuances she does. (I think her talents were essentially wasted in the three Godfather films, especially in Godfather III.) The exteriors in Philadelphia are still effective as is the build-up to the fight during which Rocky and Mickey have few resources to work with except their imagination and determination. This may not be a great film but it was certainly great fun in 1976 and it still is. Yo!

]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2003 12:00:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ Ruined by a bout of Twister]]> So, on the strength of that, sans doubte, five stars: Norton is beautifully understated as the nameless narrator, Helena Bonham-Carter reveals the burned out sex-kitten side of herself that previously I could only fantasise existed, and Brad Pitt, always arch and aware, is as charismatic and magnetic as anyone I've seen on screen. Because he's so cool you tend to overlook the fact that he's an extraordinary actor as well.

But doubts began creeping into my mind the minute the first punch was thrown. They took a while to solidify - the game could have gone any one of a number of ways; the violence stayed intermittent and along with the punches there were some interesting (if, er, heavy handed) consumerism vs. individualism arguments getting thrown about, and there seemed to be a Brad Pitt as Jesus thread gathering pace, but suddenly everything went terribly wrong, the narrative ceased making any sense, and this clever, articulate and stylish film devolved into an ultra-violent, but otherwise pretty run-of-the-mill high-octane action movie.

What happened? Well, put some of it down to Curse Of The Twist. This is a phenomenon which really only started in earnest with the Crying Game, where the twist made the film; was followed (cleverly) by the Sixth Sense and (laboriously) by the Usual Suspects, and now seems to be obligatory way of finishing off a film where what seemed a great idea when it started turned out not to be (see for example the Shawshank Redemption, Signs, and A Beautiful Mind). Problem here is that the twist completely undoes all the good work done in the first hour of the film. A picture that was making some clever points in a pretty palatable way all of a sudden just doesn't any more. And all of a sudden there are lots of guns and lots of punching. Great.

And I'm not sure the twist even works (I'd have to watch it again, and to be honest I can't be bothered): the point of a twist is to give you a set of facts and imply that they should be interpreted in a certain way, and then to reveal the critical piece of information which reveals that everything must actually be viewed another way. I have a sense that some of the facts from the first half don't square with the revised scenario.

This was all immensely disappointing, because this could have been a great film - I still think the first 60 minutes is a great film, but I guess if they had stopped there then, on account of the lack of fighting, they couldn't have called it "Fight Club".

Olly Buxton

]]> Thu, 26 Dec 2002 12:00:00 +0000