Can you believe it's been 10 years since Tyler Durden graced the silver screen in arguably the coolest film in a decade that otherwise brought us too many remakes and lots of visual crap from over-sized Hollywood studios?
If that question was gibberish to you, it's a reference to Fight Club, the movie that, in my opinion, confirmed Brad Pitt and Ed Norton to be very good actors.
I have always been just a little scornful of people who ramble on and on about finding themselves. Really, I've just never gotten any pleasure out of listening to Tony Robbins-esque folks giving lectures about discovering the "real you." I figure I am who I am, and I will grow or shrink according to my willingness or lack of inspiration, respectively.
Fight Club, however, was a breath of fresh air to me, 'cause as a 20-something single guy at the time, I related to the angry, frustrated characters, who were gainfully employed and therefore "contributing" to society, according to the most narrow definition, but who were often unsure of themselves. And in that sense they were aimless, wanderers.
So Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) creates Fight Club, and guys who are dissatisfied with the sameness of their lives, "join" the club and let off steam by beating the crap out of one another. And they all walk away bruised and sometimes bloody, but rejuvenated, feeling some purpose, and oddly happy.
Sounds silly, I know. But ladies before you say as much to your husbands or partners, remember that turnabout is fair play next time you want him to come with you to watch a film about some guy driving a 1950 Ford pick-up truck, taking photos of bridges in some rural county, where he falls in love with a lonely woman...or something like that.
Most famous quote from Fight Club, courtesy of Tyler Durden: "Welcome to Fight Club. The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is: you DO NOT talk about Fight Club! Third rule of Fight Club: if someone yells "stop!", goes limp, or taps out, the fight is over. Fourth rule: only two guys to a fight. Fifth rule: one fight at a time, fellas. Sixth rule: the fights are bare knuckle. No shirt, no shoes, no weapons. Seventh rule: fights will go on as long as they have to. And the eighth and final rule: if this is your first time at Fight Club, you have to fight."
There's more to it than that, but in case you haven't seen the film, I don't want to give too much away!
Anywho, following is the greatest quote from Fight Club. It is the quote that embodies Tyler Durden's role as a younger, hip version of Howard Beale. It is Durden's explanation of the "spirtuality" of Fight Club: "Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God d%^ it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy sh!t 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."
All this said, unlike a couple of knuckleheaded friends of mine and other young men I read about later in news accounts, I never engaged in a homemade Fight Club after the movie came out. As deep and thoughtful as the film was, if you can see past the black eyes and bloody lips, it was still just a movie. And times haven't gotten so bad that I'm going to voluntarily fight a stranger to to make myself feel better. That can get you locked up, committed to a padded cell, or hurt.
I'm already too pretty to go to jail. I'm definitely too pretty to let myself get knocked out...in order to find myself.
Whatever. Go rent Fight Club.
PS. Follow me: http://Twitter.com/jamesburnett.