Dec. 29, 2021

Midweek Mention... Fight Club

Midweek Mention... Fight Club
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We're breaking the first two rules of Fight Club this week as we talk about the very thing you're not supposed to talk about.

Fight Club was released in 1999, directed by David Fincher and polarised critics and audiences alike. 

We've revisited it to see how it holds up after all these years.

Let us know what you thought of this one. You can reach us on Twitter - @dads_film or our website -



Fight Club

Sidey: We're going to talk about fight club,

Dan: We shouldn't be talking about that. He's in that role. Number one,

Sidey: Do you remember the rules?

I've got

eight rules.

Dan: Well, number one is you don't talk about fight club. Number two. If you don't talk about fight

Sidey: Yeah. So we're going to break rule one and two rule three. If someone yells stop goes limp, taps out. The fight is. over. That one was added for the movie. It wasn't in the book. rule for only two guys in fight rule five, one fight at a time Roll six, no shirts, no shoes, ROS seven fights, go on.

As long as they have to rule eight, if this is your first night at fight club,

Dan: you have to

Howie: well, this sounds very much like the rules of this man-cave especially the no shirts and shoes thing.

Sidey: no trousers and no pants.

Howie: the first first rule about pegging club is no trousers.

Sidey: I got the impression how are you from your messages that this might have been your first.

Howie: I hadn't seen it for a very long time, very long time. I think it was one of those disjointed watches

because what year was this? Yeah, so that's uni time, which means if I was watching it.

If I was watching that film, I might not have been fully concentrating

Dan: knows what condition you were in

Howie: could have been in a horrible student room sweating

Sidey: I didn't say in 99,

but probably not too long. after I saw I had on DVD. This is one of the films that.

I watched. I liked it so much. I've watched the DVD commentary, you know, that pointless feature. that they put on DVDs. this is one of the few that I did actually.

listen to.

Howie: What I I've only ever watched the DVD commentary for one film and that's big trouble in little China because it's Kurt Russell pretty much drunk talking over the top. And it's very funny and that's the only one I've seen. So what insights did the


Sidey: It's Fincher, Brad Pitt and ed Norton, I think, on the commentary. So that was the main the main cast. And all I can remember from it is that there's a scene where ed Norton throws himself down the stairs, and they made the stunt guy do it 12 times

But, but Use

the first one,

Dan: just to be sure though.

Sidey: cruel. Should we get.

into it?

Dan: Yeah. Well, I mean, if you haven't seen this, you've had 22 years or so to get around to it. So most people have it's army.

Sidey: Can you

Dan: Brad Pitt right at the top of his game. Chuck Paula, Paula, Paula, Nana. Nick.

Sidey: can you pronounce his name?

Dan: there is

Howie: that's the man.

Sidey: Palin, Palin, Rick,

Dan: Chuck pollyannic he's the boy he's done a couple of books. Not just this one. He's he's a writer. That's what they do. They write

Howie: The thing I picked up immediately was from watching this, I remember how much of how underrated is ed Norton. I feel in terms of, oh, I'm going to get this wrong, but where has he been?

Sidey: Yeah, He's interested Well, he did Birdman And

I don't

recall a lot of other stuff. I don't know if he's just sort of

taken a back seat or people don't

want to use him. I don't know

Howie: because was this about the time that he was starring as the Hulk?

Sidey: that was few years later,

Howie: he is later, cause he was kind of like, he was one of those actors that's named around that time. He was like I said, not in yet big American history, X, things like that. And

Sidey: good. But this is this, I think this is his best role for sure.

And it's peak Brad Pitt, that This, the film opens with he's just an, a writer. And I didn't notice that the first time I watched it until the credits came up, but he's unnamed. He is named in the script. I think his name's Jack. isn't but he is.


Car recall Especially, he deals with,

Dan: guy.

Howie: new owner. He analyzes the elements of risk involved in either recalling

Sidey: he goes into specific detail in the film about someone dies in a car crash.

We work out how much it's going to cost to recall all of those cars

versus the potential claim. And then

we'll record it,

Dan: So he's in an absolute soul shredding job where you're putting people's lives and their welfare against numbers and money for that for a company you don't really

Sidey: know And he has chronic insomnia.

so too, he finds a way of coping with insomnia by going to these.


Self-help groups,

or support me to support meetings

Dan: Any support meetings in the end.

Sidey: Yeah.

he goes he has a calendar and it's like, oh, Tuesday is testicular cancer. blah, blah.

So Yeah.


get an introduction to some of the other characters that for these meetings. And one of them is meatloaf who plays Bob, and the first line way is. she says Bob had bitch tits and he's got enormous tests.

Howie: Cause he's, he's at his testicles removed, given too much

Sidey: He was a powerlifting. And he was he says one of the drugs and he's like, hell, they use that on race horses.

So he's

this kind of really pitch black humor. But it's helping him to cope with his insomnia in some way, shape or form until. Marla singer played by Helena Bonham, Carter starts turning up And she clearly shouldn't be there because they're all.


Dan: Well, she she's in it. Just as deep as ed Norton

Sidey: is.

Dan: And she's full of shit herself.

It's a really funny line. It's a really funny scene actually that when they, they realize this and they confront each other and they have the conversation and they start dividing up the self-help groups say right.

Cancer on a Tuesday. Okay. I'm going to have testicular cancer and she's like, no, I want that you can't fucking have that. And there's tons going on. It's the characters in this a top-notch I mean, this is what makes it a fantastic book and fantastic film.

Howie: well, the role of the narrator that he plays leading up to that point is it shows the mundane triviality of his life.

And it's leading up to this message of consumerism, where they do the clever piece about the Ikea, where they, where he put, he plans out his house, his

Sidey: Yeah as he walks through

you can See the sort of names and the prices.

appear on the screen and

Dan: which is why this is a great film to be reviewing around Christmas because it is an anti consumer is. Film really. I mean, just going through all the stuff that we use and that we, we take for granted and we just kind of have around.

So we have tons of that at Christmas. I think the world is starting to, you know, get better at selecting what they want, but it's still a ton of shit

Howie: Yes. I mean, that's the message that the filmmaker is trying to convey and that's when we get introduced to

Sidey: whether he meets, he meets Tyler Durden on a flight back on a flight back from some business trip that he's been on. He's a soap salesman. It's very odd. He's very sort of, snazzily dressed. He makes a comment about the safety card in the, in the airplane, you know, the illusions of safety, you know the session about the oxygen just makes you high. So you'll just die peacefully.

you know? And then as he gets out, he says crotch or ass, you know,

and it's clearly like, you know, cut from a different cloth to to a narrator. When he gets back to his apartment building.

he realizes that it's

Blown up.

Howie: Yeah, the condos. And then he, he imagines more. It could have been it gas leak,

Sidey: fridge,

the pilot light

turned on and there's a gas leak.

Howie: and his biggest concern is the fact that all the contents of his con of his condo are on the floor around.

And he goes, gosh, what do people think when they just see a fridge with condiments, but no food. And that's his, that's his primary.

Sidey: And

Dan: Lines in the film. Again, just get in people's minds on the, on the consumerism and things. It's only after we've lost everything where we're free to do anything and, and little kind of pearls of wisdom that thrown in and littered all throughout this film.

Howie: ed Norton says. To Brad Pitt's character, his name is Tyler dead. And he says to him, oh, I nearly had it. I had like a wardrobe we've designed a closing and I was nearly complete. I think he says something like it was nearly complete or something. And it's this whole thing that he is determined by putting up appearances by being part of.

The B being part of emotion to just own, to consume, to not,

Sidey: well, no matter what, I've got the couch situation. sorted, you know, I've got

the table, you know, it's that sort of, that sort of taken

Dan: almost like you own the things, but in the end they own you

Sidey: he says that doesn't entitle dad and says

Dan: and they use that line as well. And you know, it's, your life is ending one minute at a time. And these little kinds of things that just gives people.

Pause to think about the bigger issues. Cause you don't do you just kind of plod on and you take one step forward and one step again and you buy something

Sidey: else that you can

Dan: carry on a bike again. And he's just questioning everything. And Tyler Durden is the man that just makes him reevaluate part of it through necessity his apartment blowing up and everything, but part of it, because he's been he's ready to hear this kind of stuff anyway.

Sidey: It was effectively homeless.

Dan: Yeah.

Sidey: So it's got a, you know, what, call the insurance company will find some live instead, he has Tyler's business. cards, So it gives him a call and they go for a drink at some Boozer or somewhere. And that's where Tyler gives him all these pearls of wisdom Like the ones that you've just said that they leave go behind


bar and Tara says, we're hit me, hit me, in the face, hit me in the head.

And he's like, what? No. And he eventually does this. sort of week. of yeah, isn't it. yeah. And then they just, they have that fight fight, Cub is born and they have this scrap and people were sort of looking over like, what the hell is

Which obviously when you get to the end and you see it back.

what it was is great. Yeah. So

Dan: still is still great though. It's still a you know, two friends have left the bar and they're fighting each other proper fight in punching in the face.

Sidey: Yeah. They're not mad at each

other. There's No disagreement. It's just a fight for the sake of fight, and just to feel something. I guess he was so numbed from

His shitty job is nothing.

Life is

just This is there any way that he can actually feel anything.

So eventually he does move in with Tyler to.

this sort of


Howie: this place made me creep. It's just so filthy

Sidey: taps or the wars brown. It comes out with having a bath and

Dan: feels like there's slime on the walls and

Howie: And when they, and they go in every Wednesday or something, when it rains, we got to turn the power off and there he's fucking standing ankle deep in the water. I just hit in a trip switch and you're just like

Sidey: I think he brushes his teeth. and one of his teeth falls out from fighting and stuff It goes down.

the transit. But.

he gets a phone call from Marla who's overdosed she, she phones for help.

But At Norton's Nebraska just ignores it. So Tyler picks up the phone and they, they start having a sexual relationship. Which is very,

yeah, but it's, it doesn't fit well with, with ed Norton. I'm going to say Jack I'm sure that's what his name is in the script.

Howie: does. Is that, is that a sexy and I'm sure where he sort of spires through the crack of the door.

Brad, Pitt's got a rubber glove on

Sidey: yeah.

They, One of the things that, I read,

Dan: how do you do it? If you don't have a glove, you're doing it

Howie: first for all five fingers.

Sidey: they spent three days recording orgasm noises.

that were never used in the film, Just for the hell of it. There's a line

Dan: file or somewhere

Sidey: there's a line from after this, The, you just see them sort of collapsing in a heap on the and Marla said, And the original car, she says, I want to have your abortion And when the studio saw that though, like, no, that's fucking got to go, Like, that's absolutely got to go. And they're like, okay, fine. But whatever we put in his final edit, we're not fucking changing it.

They're like, okay, Fine. So she


Dan: be worse than that.

Sidey: says, I haven't been fucked like that since grade school.

oh fuck. no, that's got a gun. I know. sorry. You said you know, you, you agreed that there was.

And so that's what stayed in the film, which is also fucking, really dark. But this the relationship. It doesn't fit. Sit well with ed Norton. He doesn't like, he's very jealous.

But things do start to escalate behind the, scenes there. The fight. club has much bigger. there's loads of people is. He walks into the, the bar. They all just go straight through the bar, downstairs to the basement to have the fights. Gerald there there's all sorts of other

Dan: th th they're kind on nodding,

Sidey: Yeah. They just look

Dan: with people in and around the town at work in restaurants. They would see the telltale signs of somebody having been in fight club through the cuts and bruises or. Recognize

Sidey: the Meatloaf's in there. and

Dan: they don't say anything. They just kind of give that knowing nod.

Howie: Imagine if you did a lot of contact sport, nothing to do fight club and just walk around town and put, and just cause you've had, like, I know you've played NFL or rugby or something and got a bit of a car.

It's got people nodding at you. What the fuck's going on. Fuck. Are you,

Sidey: it starts to escalate to more than just fighting. They've got this sort of subversive sort of terrorist gang.

Howie: capitalism,

Sidey: project mayhem going on, which is largely just graffiti and

just yeah, disruptive activity rather than, flat out kill him, You know, they're not blowing stuff up yet. Eventually there is a botched sort of sabotage operation where meatloaf has killed. Bob. Robert Paulson is killed and they're all, they're all, anonymous in the game. And had Norton starts to freak out now because shit, you know, people are dying. This is, this is not what we intended.

And he says this guy's name is Robert Paulson and they they take that as some sort of his name is Roman putting in this, like chanting his name

Dan: Well, he's become almost a cult now for

Sidey: yeah, it's, flat out cold.


Dan: People have stopped listening to sense and they're reading more into anything that ed Norton says as they've identified him as the leader.

Whereas he always thinks it's Tyler, but so. Gets to the point where we find out who Tyler is.

Sidey: Yeah. Someone from project mayhem caused him Mr. Darden. And he's like, what

the hell? So he calls Marla and she is also really confused. Like, yeah. your. fuck, he's he's got a split personality.


Dan: Yeah. Well he realizes, and we realized for the first time that Brad Pitt and ed Norton are the same people. They're the same character. And. Then, and this is a great bit about this. So you start reflecting all those scenes that he's he? Yeah, he he's fighting. He's fucking, he's just moving around the, and I've had conversations with people and you realize that this is him, like

Sidey: it's when he can't sleep When you think Susan insomniac that he becomes,

Dan: Someone else. He just comes into this, this and Tyler is the opposite of him. He's confident he's he knows exactly what he's doing. He's got with

Howie: Boundaries.

Dan: boundaries.

Sidey: He has a great scene where he blackmails his boss, which is I really enjoyed Cause his boss,

Fucking ass.

Dan: Well, yeah, he has another scene where he says, if you're not on your way, becoming a vet in six months, you will be dead. He just kind of shakes people from their, the monotonous life and their every day in. And you know, I think that's at one stage he's gone to a convenience store is, and he says, what the fuck are you doing here?

And he'd go, no, I want it to be a bit, if you're not a vet in six

Sidey: months,

Dan: we're going to kill you. And so he goes that guy's and he justify it himself. That guy's lives changed for the better. Now, you know, he's going to go out there and do something with his life and yeah, it was you find out that ed and Brad, that was just aid.

That was just Jack.

Sidey: Now that he's realized what's going on, he discovers that there are plans to. Do something a little bit more severe. and They are going to blow up all the credit or the credit card buildings and their associated record debt records to free everyone from this life, of

Howie: which I was thinking that wouldn't do anything.

Sidey: I wouldn't do it.

because it would be in their worst, so should not be in the cloud anyway,

Anyhow. That is their plan. And this is this is clearly too. much. He tries to warn the police

but they're also

in on it because that police officers are now men members of project. mayhem

Howie: you

told us that you'd try and do this?

Dan: Always thought of everything to outdo himself, knowing that he may have second thoughts later.

And he wasn't giving himself a chance to get out of it was a covenant.

Sidey: she's going to try and attempt to disarm the bombs in these buildings himself, but he, he he's back to fighting with Tyler now and this goes back to, I think it was actually the very first scene in the film is where he says about he's got a gun in his mouth and Tyler, but it's him has him a gunpoint with a gun actually in his mouth.

And he shoot, he actually

Himself through his cheek, which kills Tyler and frees him in his mind to be just the narrator. But they, the rest of the project may hem have kidnapped Marla and bring her along to the building. And it fucking blows up. and It has the Pixies. Where was your mind? I think playing over, which they, nicked that in Mr. Robot, which. I thought. Lazy and cheap.

It's great. You just see all the buildings around them start to blow up and you realize where they're fucking doomed now gone. Now

Howie: the well, I think the message from the film that we've. Stated it initially is the fact that it's meant to be, people need to let go of the consumerism and do the things that they wish they would do is that kind of, that kind of thing.

But unfortunately, a lot of the film has been taken over and misrepresented by and it was saying, I thought immediately upon rewatching it of the incell movement of men, the, the people that take the whole. We need to be aggressive. We need to fight. We need to be dominant. We need to show our AlphaSights, not the message of satire that the original the writers have given towards it, but also the message of being less.

We're constrained by market forces and finance, which we all are. We have no matter what

Dan: Yeah, no, it a message. We have a movie, a movie with a message,

Howie: the movie had the message, but it's been misinterpreted quite a bit and people. And if you look up all the stuff about the in cell movement and people refer to fight club as being one of their seminar pieces, which is really unfortunate because this is a great film, but unfortunately, like everything. It's almost ironic that a film about a cult has actually been taken on by people who are part of a

Sidey: Yeah. It is a problem. And it's similar in the film. I'm probably a nominate for midweek, which is called like orange

and that

they had that withdrawn from distribution because of it is that people go, they're attracted to the violent side of

Howie: it,

Sidey: Yeah. the violence.

and. Got work oranges the first, third, maybe max, of the firm, after that, it's all the, the aftermath of had you how'd You deal with it. How do you create your free will and all that. So it same in this the message, you know, it's not glorifying the violence, or they, for a lot of people, that's what they take away from it. So it's, it's difficult. I love this

Howie: film.

Sidey: But yeah, like you say, when people just. start, I don't know. It's difficult one.

Dan: Yeah, I

Sidey: is really clear.

Dan: I think you can enjoy this movie without even reading too much into it, just for the acting performances, for the action in the, in the film itself. And and just for you know, that top layer that you see is what you get, but there is plenty.


that as well. If you want to dig a bit deeper there, there's some really interesting messages and themes that this talks about, but whatever Brad, Pitt's looking his absolute fucking

Sidey: Man, there's one bit where he like

to say, it's the fight coverage rule, number six, he's not wearing a shirt and he's just in these

Dan: Asia's looking

Sidey: low cut jeans and he's looking so

Howie: irony in that though, because there's a bit in it where they point to a billboard and go, is that what a man should look

Sidey: it's on there on the train and

Howie: You traumas.

Sidey: and he says, Self-improvement is masturbation, This

Howie: but I was like, Brad, you actually looked like

Sidey: Yeah

Dan: looks way better actually, but yeah, he's, he's got that and that's I mean a huge star,

Sidey: has never looked bad

Howie: Oh, well you're saying snatch, he's pretty ripped,

Dan: and ignore it. And again, a fantastic performance. I mean, art, first time I saw it Norton, he was as the choir boy in the Richard Gere film.

primal fear.

Sidey: is

he, is he in sleepers as well?

Dan: don't, I don't think he's in, in sleepers.

Maybe I'm no it, but I remember sort of seeing, seeing him in this afterwards and I'd probably seen him a couple of other things, but this again, just cemented his star really. And, and how, you know, he was alias proper alias. Cause he's there with. Brad Pitt. And he was stealing scenes and things, a fantastic actor.

yeah. Yeah. She's looking incredibly hot and messy and crazy. And all the

Howie: all the things that she tends to do.

Dan: that you expect for my character of

Howie: The, sorry, the thing I just remembered.

I was amazed by the fact that despite knowing the plot twist, if you like it didn't ruin the film, like

the sixth sense.

Dan: Well, I, yeah, no, it's,

Sidey: sense

Howie: Yeah.

Dan: there's so much more about it then.

Just the plot

Howie: so, so whereas you could watch that one ago go from the star. Bruce Willis is dead spoiler. Fight club has more to it

Sidey: Well, they, they do some nice.

sort of twist with the subliminal messages. They're saying there's, I think there's Three or four times where Brad Pitt is just in it for a

Howie: Yes. Yes That's what I was going to mention. that

Sidey: Fez a message at the end of the credits.

Howie: and I didn't look today.

Sidey: wait.

Howie: If you've got it, that'd be awesome.

Sidey: There's there's a copyright warning. There's another one on the DVD. This warning is from Tyler Durden And it's only there for a second. It says if you're reading this, Then this is a warning for you. Every word you read of this is useless. Fine. Print is another second of your life. Don't have any other things to do Is your life. So empty that you can honestly, can't think of a better way to spend these moments. Are you so impressed with the authority that you give respect and credence to all those who claim it?

Do you read everything you're supposed to read? Do you think that everything you're supposed to. think. By what you're told you sh you should want get out of your apartment, meet a member of the opposite sex. Stop, the excessive shopping and masturbation. Quit your job. Start a fight. Prove you're alive. If you don't claim your humanity, you will become a statistic.

You have been warned Tyler,


Dan: not saying I'm. This is where this should end.