During rehearsals, Brad Pitt and Edward Norton found out that they both hated the new Volkswagen Beetle with a passion, and for the scene where Tyler and The Narrator are hitting cars with baseball bats, Pitt and Norton insisted that one of the cars be a Beetle. As Norton explains on the DVD commentary, he hates the car because the Beetle was one of the primary symbols of 60s youth culture and freedom. However, the youth of the 60s had become the corporate bosses of the 90s, and had repackaged the symbol of their own youth, selling it to the youth of another generation as if it didn’t mean anything. Both Norton and Pitt felt that this kind of corporate selling out was exactly what the film was railing against, hence the inclusion of the car; “It’s a perfect example of the Baby Boomer generation marketing its youth culture to us. As if our happiness is going to come by buying the symbol of their youth movement, even with the little flower holder in the plastic molding. It’s appalling to me. I hate it.”
i don’t feel like either of them got what fight club was actually about
I feel like the movie is better because nobody involved seemed to get what Palahniuk meant it to be about.
What was it about? Because I couldn’t really read the book without like…hating it.
Which I feel like is the proper response. Palahniuk sees Tyler as someone to emulate, which is…wow. Basically, the whole “economic reset” plot is sort of beholden to the central theme of emasculation. Palahniuk is on some dumbass MRA shit, and while Fincher and Pitt and Norton saw Project Mayhem’s endgoal from this sort of punk rock anticapitalist perspective, Palahniuk saw his generation as a generation of men no longer in charge and the sort of social chaos resulting from an economic reset being the only way to make men and women equal again—obviously, a fucking stupid way to think.
The characters’ feelings and fantasies revolve around fighting and destruction and domination, traits he sees as both necessarily masculine and inherently positive. The sequence where Durden describes a Manhattan reclaimed by nature and men hunting together is a perfect illustration of Palahniuk’s thought process in writing Fight Club.
The way he writes Marla, the way the narrator describes the first time he sees Tyler, the whole thing is basically, “Girls are icky and bringing men down.” And the movie is a totally different interpretation of the material. Which isn’t to say the movie is without its flaws. But the movie only works because it abandons the primary structural and thematic elements of the book, managing to be simultaneously very similar to the book and entirely different.