Tag Archives: generation x

BQB’s Classic Movie Rewind – Fight Club (1999)

The first rule of this review is don’t talk about this review.

The second rule of this review is don’t talk about this review.

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Fight Club.  It’s been on cable lately.  I’ve caught it a couple times and I’ve become addicted to it.  I saw it when it came out and I realized even then that it was awesome and revolutionary, but I feel like I have a greater appreciation of it now that I’ve gotten older.

The general plot:  Edward Norton plays a corporate office drone.  We never get his real name. He’s a mopey sad sack, depressed with his life.  Feeling no sense of purpose, he goes to work, comes home, and spends his money buying useless crap for his home.  Stuff that he doesn’t need.  He hopes it will make him happy but nothing makes him happy.

One day, the highly opinionated, ultra violent, doesn’t give a shit about anything Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) walks into Norton’s life.  Tyler browbeats Norton into starting “Fight Club” and the first rule of Fight Club is to never talk about Fight Club.

The club consists of grown men meeting in a basement and beating the crap out of each other.  I suppose that film critics could argue about what exactly that means but the gist seems to be that the more physical pain these dudes endure, the less shits they give.

“Stop giving a shit” is essentially Tyler’s message to Norton.  Tyler informs Norton that he needs to give up on the idea that he’ll live forever, that he must accept that he’ll die one day, that everything is in a sense of decay and people just waste their lives doing pointless shit and coming up with excuses as to why they can’t do what they want.

Millennials, you guys think you’re depressed?  Please.  You don’t hold a candle to Generation X and in many ways, this film captures the ennui my generation suffered in our younger days.

Take Tyler’s “Great Depression” Speech, for example:

“Man, I see in Fight Club the strongest and smartest men who have ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see it squandered. Goddammit, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables, slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man; no purpose or place. We have no Great War, no Great Depression. Our Great War is a spiritual war. Our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised by television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires and movie gods and rock stars. But we won’t; and we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.”

Shit.  I was just a youngster when I first heard Tyler say that.  I didn’t think much of it.  Many years later, I realize the meaning.  He’s right.  Generation X didn’t have World War II, or Vietnam.  Things were actually pretty good in the world and you’d think that’s a good thing but the problem that arises is when the people of a generation don’t have to worry about a great cause, or a big war or what have you, then they have time to focus on doing what they actually want…and sadly, it’s just human nature to come up with excuses to explain away why we aren’t doing what we want to do.  Even worse, try as we might, there just aren’t enough resources for everyone to do what they want to do.

Oddly, I’m in a weird place where I’m on the tail end of Generation X.  A few years later, I could have been a millennial.  Tyler may have been off a little bit.  Little did he know that two years after this movie, 9/11 would happen and that would change the world, especially people like me who were just becoming adults around that time.

In a way, the movie makes a lot of points about life and how its too easy to feel hopeless.  It captures the mood of Generation X well, but then again, after 9/11, it seems kind of sad that we felt bad that there wasn’t a great conflict.  Hell, I’d do anything to go back to the pre-9/11 days and be like Ed Norton with nothing to worry about but what useless crap to buy from the catalog.

Anyway, enough of the philosophy.  From a writing standpoint, the film is brilliant.  There are many twists and turns that are unexpected yet they blow you away.  The film also builds a formula and that it feeds on and uses to build itself.  Fight Club grows, the number of Fight Club members grow, they all become pawns for Tyler to move around in  the giant mental game of chess he’s playing.

Helena Bonham Carter stars as Marla Singer, a crazy lady loved by Norton but banged by Tyler, much to Norton’s dismay.

Meanwhile, a young Jared Leto appears in a supporting role as the platinum blonde Angel Face.  Even 1970s music legend Meat Loaf joins Fight Club as the large breasted Robert Paulson.

I dunno, 3.5 readers.  Check out the film.  There’s a lot of different meanings.  You can sort of get a sense of the purpose-less-ness (if that’s a word) that young people felt at the time, and then again, there’s the message of stop pursuing materialism, stop making excuses for why you aren’t doing what you want to do, stop living a boring life.  No, you don’t (and should not) start an illegal Fight Club turned widespread criminal organization, but you could realize that life is short and it is a shame if you don’t at least try to do what you want to do.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Generation X Got a Raw Deal

A brief primer on the generations…

THE GREATEST GENERATION – People who came of age during World War II.  Put their lives on hold due to Hitler’s epic douchebaggery.  Post-War, the country was prosperous.  Highways and infrastructure were built.  New homes and communities made.  They settled down and had…

THE BABY BOOMERS – The children of the Greatest Generation.  Many went off to Vietnam.  Others became hippies, embraced flower power and shit.  Turbulent times.  Assassinations.  Fights over civil rights.  Sid and Marty Krofft TV shows that blew kids minds and made people wonder if Sid and Marty weren’t taking a little something.

GENERATION X – The baby boomers’ kids.  I was born on the tail end of this so I identify as a Generation Xer.  We grew up in the 1980s, a time of relative peace and prosperity.  In fact, things were so good that we kind of got depressed about it in the 1990s.  With no wars or major events to bring us together, we just wore a lot of flannel and listened to incredibly boring alternative grunge music.

Typical lyrics were, “I am depressed…I’m sooo depressed, I am depressed about what will happen next.  I dress like a lumberjack, because life is no good, oh look at me I’m going to chop wood…chop wood chop wood chop wood chop wood!”

Be careful what you wish for though because just as we were getting our lives started as young adults, terrorists crashed planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon.  A whole new era of bullshit came to fruition.

Politics became nastier as a result.  Not that it ever wasn’t but the country split right down the middle.  Confidence was shaken.  Businesses went belly up.  The economy tanked.  I dare say we’re the first generation in a long time to not do as well as their parents.

And it’s our turn to take things over, isn’t it?  You’d think so.  But look at the presidential contenders.  Hilary and Trump are both about 70.  Those pesky baby boomers are just going to hang onto everything forever.  Thanks a lot, improved health care.

Except, not really.  The Greatest Generation knew when it was time to go to Florida and play golf and shit.  The Baby Boomers are going put their brains in robot bodies and still be running shit in 2100.

True, computers were pretty lame back when we were kids.  Having the Internet was considered like a weird, ham radio type hobby until I went to college and then it kind of exploded.  But Generation X embraced and popularized the Internet in its early days, Instant Messaging which would eventually be replaced by texting, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  You’re welcome.  Or we’re sorry, depending on your view of the Internet.

Actually, we will never apologize for Buffy.  Frankly, we’re wondering why in this new age of new life being breathed into old shows, why isn’t there a Buffy rehash?  Sarah Michelle Gellar and Alyson Hannigan still have their moves and honestly, Nicholas Brendon could use the work to keep him out of trouble.

I digress.  If you’re a Generation Xer, you feel like the world skipped you over.  Angst, angst, angst…SHIT AL QAEDA!!!  angst..angst…angst…  Such has been our lives.

I get a little offended when we’re lumped in with the Baby Boomers.  Watch the news and you’ll hear about Baby Boomers or Millenials.  Generation X is never mentioned.  Maybe because the plural form is the non-catchy “Generation Xer.”  Thanks, person who named our generation.

 

Even worse, I think the millennials aren’t aware of Generation X.  They just think everyone born before 1990 is a Baby Boomer.

Example, at my company, Beige Corp, the world’s premiere producer of beige products and supplies, millennials will look at me and be like, “Why can’t that BOOMER die already so I can have his job?”

And I’ll be like, “Jesus Christ!  I’m not that old!  You’ve skipped an entire generation!  People who liked the A-Team as kids are not ready to croak yet.  Shoo!  Shoo!  Go bother that guy in accounting who liked Lassie when he was a kid.  He’s going to croak any minute.”

Shit.  Generation X was really screwed over.  Which brings us to:

THE MILLENIALS – Have never known a life where you couldn’t think of a question and ask the Internet.  I get a little worried about them whenever they say things like “safe space.”  But the Baby Boomers hated my flannel.  And the Greatest Generation hated the Baby Boomers’ tie dye shirts.  And whoever the hell was before the Greatest Generation really did not like those…I don’t know.  Whatever the hell they had.

So go forth, Millenials.  Enjoy being relevant much earlier that my dear Gen Xers were.  And I’m just kidding.  You guys are great.  Please check my blog often and if I ever write a book buy several copies.  Snapchat it to your instatwitter.

But please try to remember that Gen Xers aren’t as old as the Baby Boomers.  Anyone who watched Buffy in her prime isn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet.

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Zombie Western – Introduction

Hello 3.5 readers.

I’m Bookshelf Q. Battler, moderately famous Internet celebrity and noted awesome person.

Nineteen days into January and I’ve broken all my New Year’s resolutions and then some. By the way, isn’t this a weird time of year? You’re still coming down from a Christmas high, you’re bored as shit, Hollywood’s putting out all the movies they produced because someone was owed a favor…

I digress. One of my resolutions was to stop trying to do a bunch of different projects at once and just focus on one.  Well, I tried. But I have the attention span of a hummingbird on meth.

Last October, as I interviewed the #31ZombieAuthors, I came to find there’s an amazing community of zombie fans on the Internet. And I was able to get a number of them to take a look at this blog.

A week ago, I started, just on a lark, to type away on an idea I’ve had for a long time about…well, I don’t want to give the title away just yet so lets just call it, “A Zombie Western.”

I’m a Gen Xer.  Millenials, my generation has made and left many awesome movies for you to discover on Netflix and streaming media.  You’re welcome.

The generation before me, yup, the Baby Boomers?  They left my generation a crap ton of cowboy movies.  Goddamn, did Baby Boomers love their cowboy movies.

Aunt Gertie and Uncle Hardass were big fans.  Most poignantly, Uncle Hardass kept his TV tuned to the all Westerns all the time channel (Bravo Westerns) as he made his untimely demise.  And now as a ghost, he has my TV on Westerns all the time.  I can’t escape it.

Anyway.  As a Generation X-er forced by decrepit Baby Boomers (who may be the zombies of our time because they just get older and older yet stay healthier and healthier and never want to relinquish control of shit) here’s everything I learned, or more accurately…

The Plot of Every Western Movie

  1. There’s a good guy.  His moral compass requires him to do good shit.
  2. But the Old West is a lawless place. The government really doesn’t have it under control, so the biggest jackass with the biggest gun tends to win.
  3. Good guy stands firm against bad guy.
  4. Wussy townsfolk turn on the good guy, declaring he should just step aside and let the bad guy win or else risk pissing off the bad guy into engaging in more destruction.
  5. Good guy can’t let it go.  Stands up for what’s right.  Shoots 900 bad guys with one six shooter that’s never reloaded.

People.  Here’s the thing.  I really, really, really want to publish a book this year.  I just want to put a book out so I can say I did one thing I wanted to do before I die.  Not that I’m planning to croak soon but I’d just like to accomplish one life goal.  Just one.  This one.

In the past week, I’ve rattled off 7000 words.  The plot?

THE TENTATIVE PLOT IN MY HEAD

U.S. Marshall Rainier Slade is a stoic figure who doesn’t speak much.  He prefers to let his deeds do his talking.  He is a man of action, after all.  Luckily, he can always rely on his trusty Deputy, Gunther Beaumont, whose advanced age has turned him into a model of practical thinking.

Rounding out the trio is Doc Faraday, a snake oil salesman who loves to hear himself speak.  Watch out, or he might just sell you a bottle of his Miracle Cure All.

Oh, and there will also be a shit ton of zombies.  But I’m not ready to talk about the zombie part yet.

3.5 Readers, I’m going to publish the first few rough chapters.  You tell me if its worth continuing.

If it is, my thought is I’ll give myself a deadline to finish the first draft and get it to an editor by March 1.  Then I can spend the rest of the year on Pop Culture Mysteries.  Then I can publish this Zombie Novel in October, just in time for Halloween and perhaps invite the #31ZombieAuthors (if they’re interested) to come back for a second round of interviews as sort of a promo for the book.

I know.  I’m all over the place.  But I really want to put a book out.  After that, I can work on spiffing up the Bookshelf Battle and Pop Culture Mysteries blogs forever.

So read on and tell me whether its worth continuing.

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