“How much can you know about yourself if you’ve never really been in a fight?” Brad Pitt asks it of Edward Norton shortly after they meet, and people (particularly men) have been asking each other the question ever since David Fincher’s 1999 anarchic masterpiece was released. Based on the equally (and oddly quite wise) novel by Chuck Palahniuk. Fincher’s film is a unique and insightful look at the societal neutering of the American male. I’m going to write this from the standpoint of one…since that’s what I happen to be. Men are hard-wired for aggression. We want to punch stuff. We like to see things blow up, destroyed, and laid low. We’re hunter-gatherers at our core. Now we spend 40 hours a week in a sea of grey cubicles, and our weekends at Bed, Bath & Beyond. There’s something missing. We’re missing a key part of ourselves and it manifests in bottles of whiskey and Prozac. We don’t know ourselves, because most of us haven’t been in a fight. That’s why Fight Club (which didn’t do well in theaters) became a cult sensation. It touched a nerve with men. It was a revelation.
Continue reading My Favorite Scene: Fight Club (1999) “Welcome to Fight Club”
Next week the 17th installment of the MCU roars into theaters featuring a Thor/Hulk team-up in Thor: Ragnarok. Hulk has been one of the most troublesome characters in the MCU’s history in and out of the movie theater. The Incredible Hulk was the 2nd installment in the MCU, the first to feature characters crossing over between films (Tony’s post-credit scene with Gen. Ross), and the first to feature a casting change. Edward Norton was-whatever Marvel wants to call it-fired for complaining to the press about the cut of director Louis Leterrier’s final film. And he was absolutely right. Continue reading My Favorite Scene: The Incredible Hulk (2008) “Hulk vs. Abomination”
What Culture put together a great list that I never would have thought of on my own, but is so true: the best performances by actors who just gave up. Sometimes you can tell, clearly, that an actor is not at all pleased to be in a film and the performance comes across (Marlon Brando in Superman; Brando appears TWICE in a nine person list). Sometimes, the actor knows the movie is truly awful and decides to steal it with a legendarily good performance in a legendarily bad film (Alan Rickman in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves). Sometimes a great performance comes across despite an actor being miserable on-set (Chevy Chase in Community or Robert Shaw in Jaws), but whatever the reason, it’s always interesting to get a behind-the-scenes peak into what made a memorable performance so memorable.
It’s always fun when a director can insert a famous actor into their movie for a quick cameo in a way that doesn’t detract from the film. That’s a fine line to walk, but when you get it right, you usually find out about it afterward and it just makes you like a movie you already enjoyed all the more. The most famous recent example was the discovery that Daniel Craig was slipped into Star Wars Episode VII as a stormtrooper. It’s something that you can definitely notice if you’re listening for his vote, but I had no clue that James Bond was wandering around Starkiller Base until I found out after the fact. Screen Rant has put together a great video going over 10 similar instances in film history where famous stars or directors made a quick appearance in famous movies.
Collateral Beauty stars Will Smith as a man in the aftermath of an unspeakable tragedy. His way of coping of it is by writing letters. Not to the deceased. They tell you to do that in grief counseling and sometimes it helps. Smith is writing letters to Death, Love, and Time. And mailing them. This has his friends understandably concerned, but not as concerned as Smith when Death (Helen Mirren) shows up with one of his letters in hand. The film also stars Kate Winslet, Michael Pena, Edward Norton, Keira Knightley, and Naomie Harris, and has the daunting task of opening against the next Star Wars film when it debuts December 16, 2016.