Posted in Wednesday Warriors

Tyler Durden

“I want you to hit me as hard as you can.”

If that sounds like the craziest line you’ve ever heard from a movie, you’re probably right. Then again, the character who said it was pretty crazy. So it’s understandable why anyone would think that.

Brad Pitt is Tyler Durden
Brad Pitt is Tyler Durden

Released in 1999 and directed by David Fincher, Fight Club soon went on to become a cult classic among film buffs. I know, I was one of them. That’s why for Wednesday Warriors I’d like to talk a bit about Tyler Durden played by Brad Pitt and what he means to the average viewer watching the movie for the first time.

I’ll try not to spoil it, but I will make a few references to the film’s content that may seem like I’m spoiling it—I’ll try not to. I promise.

A lot of folks have heard about Fight Club‘s rules. If you haven’t, I’ll lay down the first two as a starting point for this post:

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!

The movie begins with The Narrator (Ed Norton) who’s sick of his corporate day job and wants to change his life but isn’t sure how to do it. He’s living a miserable existence, possessing miserable things, and taking part in miserable activities as a way to buy his time until he dies and leaves this miserable world.

The Narrator then meets Tyler.

Tyler Durden's perspective.
Tyler Durden’s perspective.

Tyler has a different perspective on things. He believes people should break free from their depressing schedules in order to truly experience a meaningful life. He believes those stuck in their pitiful routine have given up and need a shot in the face to snap them out of the rut.

Enter Fight Club.

Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden in Fight Club
Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden in Fight Club

“I want you to hit me as hard as you can.” Tyler says to The Narrator. Of course, The Narrator will do no such thing. To sucker punch someone because they ask? It doesn’t make sense. Yet Tyler insists, wanting The Narrator to make sense out of the nonsense. This is how Fight Club comes to life—two guys beating the crap out of each other until someone says uncle.

Yet, what Tyler wants The Narrator to understand is it really isn’t about the fight. Anyone can pick a fight. Anyone can also beat someone senseless. The whole exercise is about feeling alive again. Doing something beyond oneself as a means to feel every bit that kid again before the establishment got a hold and knocked the kid out of them.

This is what Tyler says:

Listen up, maggots. You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else.

You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your khakis. You’re the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.

It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.

Tyler may appear antiestablishment and may give the impression he hates all forms of authority. In reality, he’s quite the opposite. He’s the type of person who wants to push people to question their beliefs, think about their morals, and tempt them to understand who they are as a way for them to become stronger than they think they are on their own individual merits.

Tyler is not antisocial either. He is very much the people person no one expects him to be. A leader. An instigator. Different. And it’s that difference that sets him apart from other leaders to light the flame of independence in an effort to stir a crowd to action.

Tyler Durden. Rabble-rouser.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.

Have you seen Fight Club? What do you think of the Tyler Durden character?

Posted in Freedom Friday

1999

I am convinced that 1999 was one of the best years in film. I didn’t notice this until one night when I was looking through my DVD collection and came upon The Matrix, a movie about a reality within a reality. Flipping the box, I came upon the date and remembered Fight Club came out that same year. This led me also to note American Beauty and Magnolia released that year, too.

Brad Pitt in Fight Club
Brad Pitt in Fight Club

I have a few minutes, grab a chair, and let’s talk movies for Freedom Friday.

Did you know The Mummy and Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace came out in 1999? Both mega-blockbusters took in just under $1.5 Billion. That’s a lot of money, especially for back then.

What thrills me, though, is not the blockbusters, but the movies that have become annual events here at my home. Movies like Drop Dead Gorgeous, Analyze This, and Payback get a yearly viewing from me. Why? They’re fun movies! Whenever I’m bored, which happens more often than you think, I grab one of these movies, ease into my couch and let the story carry me away. I’m like a little kid wanting to watch the same movie again, even after having watched it twice already in a row. I never tire of these.

The Matrix
The Matrix

Anyway, about 1999—the world held its breath wondering if the lights would go out because of that supposed nasty Y2K bug that would have otherwise crippled North America’s very capable power grid. Of course, Y2K came and went with not even so much as a whimper. But the movies remained and the stories tempted their audience to be different. The majority of films imposed the message on us that we humans are unique, different, and filled with hope, and that we should go ahead and fulfill our dreams.

Here is a list of movies that hit theaters that year and why I feel they merit more than an once-in-a-lifetime viewing:

JanuaryThe Thin Red Line: A military movie gone crazy. So many cameos hit the film that I can hardly keep up including George Clooney, John Travolta and John Cusack.
FebruaryPayback: Mel Gibson as the bad guy out to settle a score. Notable mentions go to October Sky, Office Space and 8mm.
MarchAnalyze This: Robert De Niro spoofing his mob boss roles from the past. Hilarious. Notable mentions go to Cruel Intentions, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and The Matrix, of course.
AprilGo: One drug deal, three different points of view. Incredible.
MayThe Mummy: A mummy comes back to life and eats people’s body parts. Sounds like a modern zombie movie. Notable mentions go to Election, and Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
JuneTarzan: Disney’s animated version. Great song by Phil Collins.
JulyDrop Dead Gorgeous: A mockumentary about teen beauty pageants. Notable mentions go to American Pie and The Blair Witch Project.
AugustThe Sixth Sense: The kid sees dead people. Scary as heckfire. Notable mentions go to Dick and The Iron Giant.
SeptemberAmerican Beauty: Kevin Spacey has a midlife meltdown. Awesome! Notable mention goes to Double Jeopardy.
OctoberFight Club: Don’t talk about Fight Club. Notable mentions go to Mystery, Alaska, Three Kings, and Bringing Out the Dead.
NovemberDogma: A loophole in Catholic dogma may undo creation. Hey, anything with George Carlin is funny. Notable mentions go to The Bone Collector, The Insider, Sleepy Hollow and Toy Story 2. You didn’t really think I was going to forget this one, did you?
DecemberMagnolia: Multiple plotlines that all intertwine somehow. Notable mentions go to The Green Mile and Man on the Moon.

Quite a list, isn’t it? Can you believe these great movies came out all in one year? I suppose the fear of the Y2K bug consuming civilization made for a situation where creative juices flowed freely.

Speaking of which, I have to head off. I think later tonight I’ll pop in Fight Club and have Jack’s complete lack of surprise engulf me.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

What 1999 movie do you remember as the one you cannot forget?