By George Rose
June 9, 2009
Edward Norton is "the narrator", a young professional who is bored to tears with his life and seeks comfort for his insomnia by attending local support groups. While there he meets Marla Singer (Helena Bonham Carter), an equally distressed and lost soul. Life continues as usual until the narrator meets a traveling soap salesman named Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt). Together they form an underground fight club, form a group known as Project Mayhem and start terrorizing the city with anti-capitalistic vandalism. Marla falls into the mix again after beginning a sexual relationship with Tyler, creating a hilarious love triangle that threatens to harm his friendship with the narrator.
The film isn't poop-joke funny but rather one that relies heavily on a satirical view of our society, which we probably deserve. The stars and director deliver their best and prove why they're all on the A-list, even if Helena is often overshadowed by her more-famous husband, Tim Burton. For those who haven't read the book, the movie delivers quite a twist. I didn't see it coming but afterwards, it makes perfect sense. Towards the end it starts to drag but the overall film is worth the experience. What's the first rule of Fight Club? Rent it.
Stranger Than Fiction (2006)
Poor Will Ferrell. He has such potential yet seems to have hired the worst casting agent in Hollywood. Of all the TV shows to base a movie on, he first chose Bewitched? Okay, raise your hand if you were part of the Bewitched crew that learned your lesson and decided to stop chasing the money in exchange for hunting down better scripts. Not so fast, Will. Land of the Lost, really? I know of only one person who saw it and they walked out, opting to sneak into the next show of The Hangover instead. That decision redeemed my friend's day.
Rather than jump on the family-movie bandwagon, Ferrell needs to either return to his raunchy comedy roots or try his hand at another serious film like Stranger Than Fiction. In it he plays Harold Crick, a monotonous, boring IRS agent who is out to audit Ana Pascal (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a baker. The real entertainment kicks in when Harold begins hearing the voices of a narrator who is telling the story of his life. He soon learns that this voice isn't imaginary and belongs to an author (Emma Thompson) who is writing a book that happens to coincide with his life. When he discovers the story leads to his own death, he begins his search for the author with the help of a professor (Dustin Hoffman).
Despite the its serious nature, the movie is quite funny and touching. Ferrell delivers his deepest role and shows that he can actually act (he was nominated for a Golden Globe). While he is known for comedy, this might very well be my favorite movie of his. It's a beautiful love story that's about more than just changing the fate of the main character but also those around him. Ferrell needs to learn his Land of the Lost lesson and go back to trying his hand at new, unique projects. His new film may earn more than Stranger Than Fiction at the box office (barely) but it sure hasn't brought him any accolades.