Joe’s Medulla Oblongata

I’ve been watching Fight Club a lot lately.  It seems an odd thing to say about a movie; it’s not like a series, where the plot changes and characters evolve, but it’s exactly the same, every time. In his 2006 TED talk, Tony Robbins admonishes those who watch the same movie again and again by telling them to, “Get a fucking life.” Fine, Tony, but I’m gonna watch this just a few more times first, just to make sure I don’t have one by your definition.


Fight Club is the epitome of the late 90’s, when I was in my mid-teens, and shares the same 1999 year as The Matrix, but with dark, gritty lighting, the grain of being shot on actual film, etc. Laptop screens aren’t bright enough for movies like this. From that time perspective, it resonates with my adolescence, when some of the harder family turmoil was still yet to come.


But despite all that, now that I’m nearly in my mid-30s, it’s far and away my favorite film still. To not echo and repeat the countless other writers and bloggers who talk about the life lessons, it is in fact exactly those, and the ways in which they’re presented, that keep me coming back. It’s also an exceptional film, filled with details and gall, standing so directly opposed to the dream lives and perfection in most movies.  I love that.


Today, I’m drawn toward quotes from several scenes in particular: the back of the convenient store, the chemical burn, the car wreck, the introduction of Tyler Durden on the plane, and Bob’s bitch tits.  No particular order.  Given my lack of will to type it all out, I’ll let these quotes stand for themselves.


“Stay with the pain.  Don’t shut this out.”

“This is your pain. This is your burning hand. It’s right here.”

“This is the greatest moment of your life, man, and you’re off somewhere missing it.”

“It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”


“There’s a sick kind of desperation in your laugh.”


“Hitting bottom isn’t a weekend retreat.  It’s not a goddamn seminar. Stop trying to control everything and just let go.”


“Losing all hope is freedom.”


What I want from these is to let go of perfection and envy.  Don’t crucify me for not having read the book yet; it’s on its way. I may elaborate more later, but don’t count on it, and if you noticed I sometimes use one space after a sentence, and sometimes two, watch the movie a few more times; this last quote is for you:


“The ability to let that which does not matter, truly slide.”

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