‘Fight Club’ to receive 20th anniversary screening
Were the 1990s the best decade for movies in the history of Hollywood?
The 1930s, the 1940s and the 1970s were golden ages, too, but the 1990s did produce a remarkably vast number of pictures that were both critical and commercial hits, including “Pulp Fiction,” “Shawshank Redemption,” “Titanic,”
“Forrest Gump,” “Fargo,” “Good Fellas,” “Schindler’s List” and “Silence of the Lambs.”
One of the most provocative features from that decade is 1999’s “Fight Club,” which is receiving a 20th Anniversary screening at the Frank Banko Alehouse Cinemas on Aug. 17.
For those who haven’t experienced its punch, “Fight Club” pivots on a travelling salesman and insomniac (Edward Norton) who befriends a slippery soap salesman named Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt). Unsatisfied with his life, Norton winds up joining Durden in underground fight clubs, where men channel their emotions by beating the crap out of each other.
Eventually, fight clubs begin springing up all over the country, with Durden pushing an anti-materialism and anti-corporate agenda. As the resulting organization, dubbed “Project Mayhem,” edges closer to violence, Norton and his sometime-girlfriend (Helena Bonham Carter) attempt to halt the group’s progress.
There’s a hell of a twist that instantly elevates “Fight Club” into the pantheon of great films. And the movie’s themes, which deal with alienation and the harmful effects of advertising, still feel relevant today.
In the end, though, “Fight Club” emerges as a particularly resonant coming-of-age film, which is why it is often described as a modern-day
“The Graduate” or “Rebel Without A Cause.” Essentially, it is about re-invention, or “self-empowerment through drastic means,” as screenwriter Jim Uhls once noted.
Producer Ross Grason Bell admits that, at the heart of the movie, is a message about the importance of growing up. “What really drew my attention was the underlying theme that you have to break yourself apart to build something new,” he noted when the film was re-released on DVD in a special-edition package.
“It’s only when you realize that you’re not your lousy hair or your bad debts or your fears that you’re not good enough that you can actually create a new life for yourself.”
Tickets are $10 for regular admission, $8 for seniors and students and $7.50 for Artsquest members. For more info, go to https://www.steelstacks.org.
New on DVD: In the documentary “To A More Perfect Union: U.S. V. Windsor” (2018, First Run, unrated, $20), you can experience Philadelphian Edie Windsor making history. When the Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, setting the stage for the legalization of gay marriage, the heroes of the day were two lesbians: Windsor, who initially sued when her marriage to her partner of 40 years was not recognized by the IRS, and Edie’s tireless lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, who argued the case.
Director Donna Zaccaro expertly tells the story of both of these women, while also offering a thumbnail sketch of gay rights history from the Stonewall Riots and the AIDS crisis to President Obama calling the Supreme Court decision “a victory for America.”
Amy Longsdorf is a contributing writer.
Edward Norton and Brad Pitt in “Fight Club.”