Welcome to Earthling Cinema, where we examine the last remaining artifacts of a once-proud culture and try to understand what human lives were like before their planet was destroyed. I’m your host, Garyx Wormuloid. This week we examine Fight Club, a film directed by David Fincher and starring Edward Norton and Brad Pitt.
Fight Club (1999) | Directed By: David Fincher | Starring: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter
Written by: Ben Steiner
Analysis & Directed by: Jared Bauer
Starring: Mark Schroeder (@mark_schroeder)
Edited by: Ryan Hailey
Original Music by: David Krystal (http://www.davidkrystalmusic.com)
Opening Animation by: Danny Rapaport
Producer & Additional Artwork by: Jacob S. Salamon
Fight Club Analyzed By Aliens – Earthling Cinema
Greetings, and welcome to Earthling Cinema, where we examine the last remaining artifacts of a once proud culture, and try to understand what their lives were like before their planet was destroyed.
I am your host, Garyx Wormuloid.
This week’s film is Fight Club, starring the humans Brad Pitt and Edward Norton, and directed by David Fincher, presumably another human.
Insert: picture of old man Brad Pitt from Benjamin Button. Insert: picture of the Hulk from The Incredible Hulk.
The film tells the story of a human male, living on Earth.
The filmmakers forgot to give him a name, so let’s just call him Edward
Norton. At the outset of the film, Edward Norton has lost the ability to sleep, which is what humans call it when they recharge their bodies. Later, he meets Tyler Durden. They become friends and start punching each other, which allows Edward Norton to sleep. Soon other males want to punch each other too. They call it Fight Club, because why not? From there, Tyler creates Project Mayhem, which is like Fight Club, but with bombs instead of fists.
Unfortunately, Edward Norton discovers that he and Tyler Durden are the same person, because human brains are primitive and occasionally malfunction. Edward Norton shoots himself in the cheek…
…which destroys Tyler, because imaginary friends always live inside your cheek. In the end, Edward Norton fails to stop the destruction caused by his spectral friend, but he gets to hold hands with a girl, and that’s all that really matters to human males.
Now, on the surface, this might seem like a movie about punching. And that wouldn’t be a bad guess, since human movies are almost always about punching.
However, a closer reading reveals that Fight Club is a cathartic expression of frustration with American capitalist society. Capitalism was a system that allowed humans to purchase their identities, which was much more convenient than building one from scratch.
In this shot, Edward Norton reads his furniture catalogue as if it were laden with pornographic images, such as a man’s penis or a woman’s penis. Humans fetishized their comforts, and this left them feeling empty. As Edward Norton says, he has a “house full of condiments and no food.” The concept of ingesting nutrients through one’s mouth is obviously disgusting, but the point still stands. Human lives were full of ornamentation, yet had no substance.
It is Tyler Durden who shows Edward Norton a way out of his wretched existence. No, not with a starcruiser and coordinates to the Yajj Nebula. With fighting. By subjecting their feeble bodies to pain…
…the characters are reaffirming their humanity in the most visceral way possible. When Tyler puts the lye on Edward Norton’s hand, the scar looks like a human vagina… and bears a passing resemblance to the Trilaxian and Zorgian vaginas as well! Or… so I’ve heard. In the face of a society that makes them feel nothing, Tyler is offering rebirth through pain.
And with rebirth comes new life. Durden’s Project Mayhem is about destroying the false comforts of American society. They crush capitalist symbols, like the coffee shop and the computer store. They spray water on the bible, which was considered by many humans to be the best book of all time — one that should be kept dry at all costs. Durden corrupts wholesome family movies by splicing in frames of pornography, and ruins the pornography by rendering it incomplete.
At the end of the film, we see the successful demolition of several important buildings. The Earthlings have gotten what they wanted: to be free of their capitalist overlords. And yet, here we see a shot of a penis spliced into the wreckage, undermining their moment of catharsis. For even the film itself — a capitalist product after all — must be corrupted. Either that, or the filmmakers just made a mistake.
For Earthling Cinema, I am Garyx Wormuloid. Please be sure to observe one of the holiest of human traditions, hitting the subscribe button.