Today’s Classic Movie Blog is of David Fincher’s Fight Club. In 1999, when this film was released, projectionists played a very important part in every cinema. Almost all movies on the big screen now are digital. But back then, they were on film. “So you see, the projectionist had to be there to switch the projectors at the exact moment one reel ended & the next one began. He would watch for little dots (called cigarette burns) in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. They were his cue to make the reel changes. He flipped the projectors & the movie would continue seamlessly. We still sometimes show films for the Classics Series where I work, at the Rave Cinemas Buckland Hills 18+ IMAX in Manchester CT. They’re held on Sunday afternoon at 2:00 and Wednesdays at 2:00 & 7:00. Go check it out if you get a chance. But be forewarned: Sometimes our Classics projectionist splices in single frames of naked chicks into the movies. If this offends you, his name is Michael Dymski! His name is Michael Dymski! His name is Michael Dymski!”
Anyway, Fight Club stars Edward Norton as an insomniac 9-5’r who hates his job. Desperate for sleep, he sees his doctor (Rosanna Arquette’s brother, Richmond) looking for meds to alleviate the problem. The doctor refuses & tells him to go to the testicular cancer support group on Tuesdays at the First Methodist if he wants to see real pain. He decides to go & it works – his insomnia is relieved. He’s already addicted to support groups when he clashes with another phony, Marla Singer (Helena Bonham Carter). They agree to split up the groups between them to avoid one another. Then one night, while on the return flight from a business trip, he meets Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), a hip hand soap salesman who gives him his business card. When he gets to his apartment, he finds it destroyed by an explosion. He calls Tyler & they meet at a bar for drinks. On their way out, Tyler invites him to stay at his place and requests that he punch him in the face to release stress. They throw down right there outside the bar, and so starts their Fight Club.
The movie’s sound effects are so great that, despite its reputation as a cult film, it was nominated for that Oscar in 2000 at the 72nd Academy Awards. Jim Uhls adapted the screenplay from Chuck Palahniuk’s novel of the same name. While camping one weekend, Chuck got beat up by neighboring campers when he objected to the volume at which they were listening to music. When he returned to work, no one even mentioned the bruises & the idea for his book was born.
The Fight Club trailer is embedded at the bottom of the Blog. You’ll notice early on that it contains a lot of product placement. The movie itself is teeming with it. While most people think this is a new way of funding films, it dates all the way back to the beginning of the art form. In fact, when films were first introduced to the public at fairs, side shows, and after auditorium concerts, most were just advertisements. In 1897, a 30 second ad called Admiral Cigarette was released. In 1903, the short Streetcar Chivalry was produced & released by Edison Manufacturing Co. In it, men give up their seats for attractive women but not for an ugly one. The streetcar’s placards are ads for Edison’s products such as Kinetoscope, a motion picture viewer the genius invented. The marketing idea worked & continues to today: The first Best Picture Oscar Winner, Wings, had a Hershey’s chocolates plug; It’s a Wonderful Life included a National Geographic magazine; and 2012’s Skyfall raised $45 million from product placement, the most money to date. So come up & see some of our Classics at at the Rave Cinemas Buckland Hills. But don’t expect to see any of Michael Dymski’s spliced in nudies: I made that part up! But we did show David Fincher’s Fight Club, which I gave 4 Stars! Go to your local library & borrow a copy. You will too!