Dime Store Nihilists

I suppose the fact that I spent the money I did on the Mondo release of the Fight Club S/T would put me in bad graces with the film’s titular angry imaginary best friend Tyler Durden(oops, spoiler. If you haven’t seen the film by now you obviously don’t have internet on the compound in which you live so it doesn’t really matter.) Anyways, I don’t really care what Tyler Durden thinks because I have a vinyl problem and when I saw the nifty unpackaging video Mondo posted I was pretty much a goner. “Here’s my digits. Where’s…my…vinyl?!” If you haven’t seen that exquisite piece of marketing, here you go:

Okay, so I feel like kind of a sucker about this whole thing, but man the Dust Brothers completely went above and beyond for this score. Truth be told, I didn’t even remember the music from Fight Club. In fact I’d pretty much written off the movie altogether after trying to watch it around 5 years ago. It had been years up to that point since I’d last seen the cult-ish hit by auteur David Fincher and on a night when the wife and I didn’t know what to watch I thought I’d throw the two-disc special edition DVD into the player for fun.

I loved the movie the first time I watched it, which was June of 200o. We were newly anointed parents with an itch to spend some money and get out of the house, so we headed to Best Buy and bought two new cameras(one digital and one 35mm film) to document our happy, exhaustive, mentally draining, but ultimately happy first years as new parents. A quick browse through the movies and I found the Fight Club Special Edition DVD so I grabbed that, too. Cause you know, nihilistic violence and a middle finger to consumerism was what I was all about as I was checking out at the Best Buy.

Anyways, this movie knocked me on my ass then. The deadpan gallows humor, the creative cinematography, the middle finger to corporate America, and the overall bloody smirk the film shoved down our throats was just what an overweight, new father and employee of the “machine” needed to see in June of 2000. Fincher had(and still does) a knack for framing a shot and creating something unique for the  big screen. Everything about Fight Club just screamed “This is the future of film, people!” I was already a fan of Fincher prior to Fight Club. Se7en was one of my favorite movies of the 90s, and The Game was another visceral movie experience with Fincher’s unique dark cinema color palate. Fight Club was proof to me that Fincher was bound for great things. Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter, Jared Leto, Meatloaf, and a slew of other great actors came together and made this movie the monster that it was.

So, back to 5 years ago.

About 30 minutes into Fight Club I shut it off. I’m not sure who I was back in 2000 when I watched it, but that guy and me five years ago would’ve disagreed wholeheartedly on our interpretations of the film. I was kind of appalled at what I was watching five years ago. The gallows humor just seemed tasteless. The middle finger to corporate America just seemed empty and shallow; more like a wink and a smirk than actually raging against the machine. The direction, cinematography, and acting were all still good, but the overall vibe just made me a little sick. The irony of spending the extra cash on a Special Edition verison of a film that extols the virtues of nihilism, chaos, and the complete rejection of consumerism was a little too much for me to bare. I even took a shot at Palahniuk’s book to see if maybe there was something deeper within the pages that the movie could explain. Maybe I’m just not jaded enough to get it anymore. Maybe had there been more of an emphasis of the ridiculousness of it all I could appreciate it more.

Or not.

dsc04992So here I am, five years later with the Fight Club S/T spinning on the turntable and not an ounce of irony is touching me. Why? Because even though this is the score to Fincher’s flick, this is also a hell of a trip hop album by two guys that changed the game in terms of innovative album building and production.

The Dust Brothers(aka Michael Simpson and John King) have helped to create some of the most iconic albums of my youth. Odeley by Beck pretty much told the world that Beck Hansen was more than just a one-album wonder. It really sort of defined Generation X, for better or worse. The record was solid start to finish. It was also a huge success. Or “yuge”, in the Trump age. Anyways, this wasn’t the album that made me a Dust Brothers fanboy. No, that distinction goes to Paul’s Boutique, a record that Time Magazine rated as one of the best records of all time. I really can’t argue with that. It took three Jewish punks from New York and turned them from drunk Frat guys to stoned and trippy harbingers of the new musical frontier. There was still the college humor and sophomoric goofiness that defined them on License To Ill, but the production had turned into this labyrinthine cacophony of dusty samples and enlightened fart jokes that sort of sounded like Yauch, Diamond, and Horovitz having their heads opened up to the universe for the first time in their lives. The work Simpson and King did on that album is this massive patchwork of funk and rock samples carefully sewn together with THC resin, LSD, cheap beer, and a drive to push things to the next level. I don’t think this album could be made today with all of the licensing issues, so it stands as this shining beacon of creativity and an album from simpler era.

dsc04985Having said all of that, why wouldn’t I buy The Dust Brothers’ score to Fight Club? It really seems to be a no-brainer. Who knows, maybe I’ll sit down and watch Fight Club here soon. It’s been 5 years. Maybe seeing it with newer eyes I might not find it as reprehensible. Stranger things have happened.

9 thoughts on “Dime Store Nihilists

  1. OMG that’s beautiful. Officially jealous!

    I think even at the time the story’s conceits didn’t fool any of us. I read the book first (I always do, if I can help it), and I think they’re part and parcel of the overall project. I like Palahniuk’s work, though not a constant diet. Too much else out there!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I try to read the book first, too. In 2000 I just wasn’t privy to his work. I’d just come off Ed Norton’s ‘Primal Fear’ performance and was stoked to see him in this. This is a case of great technical filmmaking but just half baked ideas.


      1. The only time I’ve ever come across a case where the movie was better than the book was jaws. Man, Benchley’s novel was pretty poorly done… Haha but the movie ended up a classic, so there ya go.

        Liked by 1 person

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