Fight Club was released 15 years ago today. I’ve mentioned my love for David Fincher previously and Fight Club is the film that started that relationship.
In 1999 I was freshly 16 and working my first ever job as one of those kids in the movie theater with the red vest and bow tie that tears your tickets and cleans up all the popcorn you spill. My Mother had been diagnosed with cancer about a year prior and this was the first of many jobs I would hold over the next several years in order to help with various expenses. I was (and I still am) a nerd. Into comics, books, video games, and cinema in that all too obsessive way; still a decade or so away from the time when all of my passions would suddenly become accepted and mainstream.
Needless to say, Fight Club was aimed squarely at my forehead and boy did it hit its mark. I bought the VHS (I still had a VCR!), then the DVD, the special edition Blu-Ray, the other special edition Blu-Ray. I watched and re-watched endlessly, listened to the commentaries, spouted quotes as though I had written the words. I too was in a transitional phase of my life where everything seemed to be changing and I couldn’t control it. I too wanted more and better for myself but couldn’t figure out why. And yes, I too railed against advertising that told me what a “man” is and how I should look and dress. That this particular diatribe is delivered by Brad Pitt was somewhat lost on my, still developing, filmic sensibilities.
While I no longer have as much to rebel against (“My insurance is changing again?. Ugh. I’ll go beat myself up in the parking lot.”) Fight Club still holds up for me in a big, bad way. It was such a huge cultural milestone in my life in much the same way that Pulp Fiction was 5 years before (Yes, I saw Pulp Fiction in a theater when I was 11. But that’s another post. [Also, Happy 20th Birthday to Pulp Fiction!]) but at a much more important time in my life. I felt like I had so many problems, so much to act out against and here were adults, well one adult and one imaginary friend, that didn’t have it figured out either. They had jobs they hated and Dads that left them just like I did. For all of its absurdity it felt starkly real to me. I hope it still feels real in 15 more years.