As usual, a little something before the reviews begin. These two movies, despite not being what any normal person would call a comedy, are among the funniest things I have watched this year. Neither take themselves too seriously and that is a cause I can get behind. These are also two of the five resurrections, so which ever one I knock out stays out. Stakes, as we all know, are important. Now, to the reviewmobile!
I told the rat that I would watch this one first because that sometimes gives an edge to a film. Sometimes it doesn't. As I stated earlier, my mom hated this movie with a passion. She has written off any suggestions I may make in the coming months and years because she sat through this movie. I tried to tell her that she probably wouldn't like it but since I didn't know exactly what was going to happen I couldn't be convincing. Anyways, I'm not sure I could tell her exactly what was happening even as I watched the film. I know it was about a man and his wife and his doppleganger who is the person she is seeing on the side. There is an exterminator who apparently gets hired to another film halfway through, though that doesn't stop Sodaberg (intentional) from showing us those other parts.
The thing I liked the most about this film was the way it played with language. Whether it was a well written line ("I know that if for an instant I could have you lie next to me, or on top of me, or sit on me, or stand over me and shake, then I would be the happiest man in my pants.") or the playfulness with which Sodaberg uses abstract conversations (speaking in meanings instead of words or using different languages entirely) to illustrate the communication problems we all face, I found myself constantly entertained and sometimes bewildered. Although, according to Sodaberg himself, "In the event that you find certain sequences or ideas confusing, please bear in mind that this is your fault, not ours. You will need to see the picture again and again until you understand everything." I think I got the gist of what Sodaberg was telling me and I think I enjoyed his presentation. The characters were fun and, as I said earlier, the script is brilliant.
You should also listen to Sodaberg's commentary on the DVD if you do decide to watch this film. It is as hilarious as the film is, if not more so.
I have seen this movie several times, but never without knowing the twist. If you don't know what the twist is you probably shouldn't continue reading this. Or you can keep on keeping on. I still love this film even though I was never surprised by the last 30 minutes. Anywho. This is one of the darkest comedies I have ever seen. It's crazy dark. This didn't stop me from laughing my ass off several times, though. One of my favorite scenes comes around halfway through the film as Brad Pitt's Tyler Durden gets his ass kicked by some mobster named Lou. Here, watch this:
His laugh is hilarious.
I find myself conflicted, however, when it comes to the message (or messages) of this film. I understand anti-consumerism, but I like owning things. I understand the goals of Project Mayhem, but I like the way the world is now (for the most part). I guess what I'm trying to say is that I can get behind these goals but I don't like when anybody takes ideas to their extremes. Sell all of your stuff if you don't want to be a part of the machine, but don't blow up mine. Perhaps I am misunderstanding this. I realize that by the end our Narrator is in the same position as me. I completely identified with him the entire time (not a small feat for an Ed Norton performance) and by the end he is as anti-Durden as anybody can be. But I also liked Durden. Brad Pitt is one awesome man and I can see how the Narrator gets taken over by him. I guess what I am trying to say (again) is that I agree with the ideas if not the entirety of the means of getting to the ends.
This was probably the toughest match I have had. Fight Club has always been a favorite of mine (although Fincher's Se7en and Zodiac are better) but the third or fourth or whatever viewing this was began to make me think more about how and why I respond to it like I do. That's a good thing, perhaps. And Schizopolis was like nothing I had ever seen before. It is unique and funny, although it sometimes errs on the side of too out there, too absurd. Some of the little things didn't work for me (most of the exterminator stuff could have been better) but the idea of viewing and revisiting scenes from three different perspectives was pretty great, especially when tied in with the extreme playfulness that Sodaberg brings to the table.
I think Schizopolis will move on. I was sure that Fight Club would win after watching Schizopolis on Saturday but now that it has had time to ruminate in my skull and now that I have rewatched and have been surprised at the (little but important) love lost for Fight Club, I am almost certain that Schizopolis is the more deserving picture. It takes risks and hits all the sweet spots for me. Nothing in Schizopolis is as good as Brad Pitt's crazy performance but I think the sum of Schiz is better than its parts.