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[To fully or partially understand the references in this article, watch Fight Club. No spoilers.]


When I first experienced the changeover in Fight Club, my ears went hot. I felt embarrassed. But for whom? The characters? The actors? David Fincher (a director I highly admired at the time and, currently, appreciate for his passion for Mank; however, find myself having a stronger passion for sleep throughout his Netflix movie)? Chuck Palahniuk (an author I would admire later on, however, currently question after reading and returning the comic book Fight Club 3 to get it out of my house and memory)?

My son asked me why I was embarrassed upon my initial viewing of Fight Club. (I’d return for four more viewings during its theatrical release).

I didn’t have an answer for him. (He would watch the film again two days later, seeking his own answers.)

I’ve since accepted the movie’s changeover scene but clearly remember my physiological reaction to the shift in Fight Club’s story.

At the time, my brain perceived it as a lazy trick and not a necessary piece to what Palahniuk describes as “transgressional fiction.”

But what about my body and emotional reaction? I don’t believe hot ears is what Fincher and/or Palahniuk were going for. So, what was going on with me? How could I have such a split?

As a young elementary boy, I miraculously (less of a “miracle,” as the root word de-suggests, and more of a “wonder,” as the deeper Latin root word suggests) lost the ability to become jealous. Soon after that, when to become embarrassed entirely escaped me. What immediately followed were more human-emotion losses – a lack of nervousness or apprehension. Having no fear (which would later return with the urgency to protect my wife and children).

Over the years, I’ve experienced the increased heartbeat and cottonmouth a few times before I’ve taken the stage to perform (music, comedy) but I don’t fully possess the sensation of being scared. Jealousy also tried peaking its head once (that I can remember, in all my years) when an untalented local entertainer made headway (an observation that came more from confusion as opposed to competitiveness), but I don’t have that gut reaction to people.

My initial Fight Club reaction?

I felt duped. Stunned. Betrayal.

That was it. Betrayal!

But betrayed by whom?

It was the industry of entertainment. Cinema, specifically.

I’ve also realized how betrayal involves a lack of genuineness.

If I believe I’ve developed a friendly relationship with someone and someone else comes along and appears closer or more relatable to the first said friend, I may question my character. My purpose. My skills.

Is my lower status in the realm of friendship a poor (and possibly skewed) reflection of myself (a reflection I’m holding up in order to self-reflect)?

“I thought we were besties!” (Something I’d never say or think. I had to look up the spelling of the word.)

It comes down to the ego and perfectionism. Ironically, perfectionism is often a character flaw one has to learn to accept (doubly ironical).

Fight-Club hot ears occurred because I was invested. I was a confidant of Fincher’s and Palahniuk. And, then, I was sucker punched. (Hot cauliflower ears.)

I often recall a different type of disgust during There will be Blood when my fellow investors walked out of our shared theater and experience. Most of the viewers I’ve spoken to despised the film. I’ve had multiple conversations with people who related it to their disappointment during Punch-Drunk Love, unaware both films were written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. (Do we still call him P.T.?)

But that betrayal was different from that I felt during Fight Club, because I was literally losing my fellow-audience members during Blood. (It wasn’t my audience. What am I talking about?)

I don’t know, but I definitely felt like Martin Scorsese during Blood, how he was disappointed when cinema chased the blockbuster after the releases of Jaws and Star Wars. (I don’t know how Scorsese felt. I’ve never spoken to the man. He was in a documentary talking about it. I’ve recently read an article about his depression surrounding the French filmmakers of the 1960’s and how we no longer discuss initial reactions because we can watch and rewatch without the privilege of one theatrical viewing).

I know, the change of the theater experience comes up a lot lately. But the experience of losing something, or being betrayed by something or someone, is very real. (Okay, so are you saying you feel traumatized because of movies like The Avengers?) With Uma Thurman and Ralph Fiennes? (No!)

I’m saying …


I’m saying, I’ve lost a friend and his name is Cinema. He’s gone on to stream, and he’s become seconds long on YouTube. (You sound old.) I’m not. (Change with the times.) I’m not really saying that. (It sounds like you are.)


(Is this another article you should hold off on publishing?)

This article’s actually almost a year old already.


There have always been people pointing and shooting. (Oh my god! What are you talking about now?!) Pointing and shooting a camera. (Oh.) But when I was an aspiring filmmaker … (Are you still aspiring if you’ve made films?) No. That’s why I was using past tense. (Sorry. Go on.) When I was first thinking about making movies, it was common for me or others to say, “Everyone’s a filmmaker.” There wasn’t a lot of truth to it, but it seemed like everyone could be a filmmaker.

Now, everyone has a phone and everyone, literally, is a filmmaker. (That doesn’t make sense. There’s no film in a phone.) I mean … (And every person on the planet does not own a phone.) I know … (Then, why say “literally”?) Probably to continue this back and forth. (Got it.)

People sometimes have little to say. My son often asks, “Why?” when a movie finishes. He wants to know why so much money and time was wasted on a mediocre movie that serves no point. No entertainment. No message. No advancement in effort. No addition to the medium. Might as well make a short on a phone and try that out first.

As Auguste Gusteau in Ratatouille says, “Anyone can cook, but only the fearless can be great.”


Simon Sinek said, “Like parenting, everyone has the capacity to be a parent. That doesn’t mean everybody wants to be a parent. That doesn’t mean everybody should be a parent.”


Sinek also said, “Leadership is the same. We all have the capacity to be a leader. That doesn’t mean everybody should be a leader.”

(Who’s Simon Sinke?)

The picture with the guy and the circles.


What does this article have to do with Fight Club and my emotions?

(I don’t know. Why don’t you reread it?)

My son would ask, “Why?” by the end of this page.

(He’s right to. Because you need to have a point. You can’t just write something and have it incorporate some good points without polishing it. Because then you seem like you’ve lost your passion and applied some lazy back and forth between yourself only to disprove the very message you were … Oh. I see what you did there.)

Dan Jones

Author Dan Jones

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