MOTW: Let's Talk: Five Fun Things about "Fight Club"

Movie Description(Click Here To Hide)
A ticking-time-bomb insomniac and a slippery soap salesman channel primal male aggression into a shocking new form of therapy. Their concept catches on, with underground "fight clubs" forming in every town, until it starts an out-of-control spiral toward oblivion.
Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
August 27th, 2013

MOTW: Let's Talk: Five Fun Things about "Fight Club"

Although it wasn't well-received at the box office upon its theatrical release, "Fight Club" became an enduring cult classic. More people realized just how awesome this Brad Pitt and Edward Norton mind-bender was when they checked it out on DVD. The attraction stems from gritty acting, compelling characters, a sympathetic story line, and stunning visuals and art effects. The film also masterfully laces details that reward those who pay attention. Let's break the first rule of "Fight Club." There are a lot of fun things to talk about, but five factors really stand out.

Many might consider the film unworthy of a re-watch once the twist ending is known. The truth is so many things are going on in the background of each scene it's impossible to catch them all during the first watch. Many of the touches are actually elements that foreshadow what's coming in the end of the film. For instance, the character of Tyler Durden (Pitt) is seen in short frames during several scenes with the narrator (Norton) as the insomniac goes about his day at work and with the support group. If you blink, you'll miss them; however, they establish a sort of mental link between the two characters. There are also hints in the scene where Tyler and the narrator fight; the crowd looks amused, likely due to seeing only one person fighting.

Of course, the film was based on the novel of the same name by Chuck Palahniuk. Some of the scenes in the book were quite descriptive, and the accuracy is high. The chemistry used for the soap-making business was sound, so much so that plans were scrapped to have Tyler recite an actual recipe for explosives although the book detailed this information. The filmmakers certainly didn't want to have a few copycat "Project Mayhem" incidences to contend with. Even so, the author enjoyed the film version of his work and stated it was an improvement on his book.

The actual work of filming and set dressing has some interesting facts associated with them. The love scene between Tyler and Marla was filmed using the same camera techniques pioneered by "The Matrix," which helped in setting up a wild tone for this scene. Another interesting fact involves some of the film's product placement. Starbuck's cups are all over the place and in almost every scene, yet when it came to the climax of the film—the exploding corporate offices—Starbuck's didn't want its logo to be seen on the coffee shop as originally planned. Other scene tidbits come in the form of the fat suit worn by Bob (Meatloaf), which was filled with birdseed in order to make it hang more realistically like saggy flesh.

The make-up artist had her hands full as well. She had no experience with realistic fight wounds, so she studied UFC fights to get an idea of what they looked like. This extra care resulted in the realistic bruises, scrapes, and cuts seen in the film. It also helped to achieve the disgusting wound on the narrator's hand during the soap-making scene in which caustic lye was poured onto his flesh.

Speaking of UFC, the actors also studied many of these fights. Pitt and Norton also received instruction in boxing, grappling, and taekwondo. Pitt went the distance in obtaining a chiseled muscle look. For many months before filming started, he went on an extensive diet and exercise regimen to prepare for the role, and the work paid off as many men sought to emulate his body after they saw "Fight Club." Norton wasn't a slouch, but he didn't need the lean, muscular build Tyler was required to have.

Even with the best films, there are bound to be some mistakes and bloopers, and "Fight Club" is no exception. For instance, during a scene that shows how other fight club members are paying back others in society, one of them sprays a priest in the face with a water hose. The camera man apparently laughed so hard the camera shook during filming, and this stayed in the final cut of the film. There are also a few places where a stuntman is obvious instead of the star. Many parts of the film show exposed equipment, and even Meatloaf's (Bob) fat suit gets a little screen time. One really has to be lucky to catch these or really try to find them.