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Fight Club (#110 of 5)

15 Famous Movie Love Triangles

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15 Famous Movie Love Triangles
15 Famous Movie Love Triangles

Hitting theaters today is McG’s This Means War, a frothy comedy that pits Chris Pine against Tom Hardy in the fight for Reese Witherspoon’s smiley affections (best of luck there, Chris). From Arthurian legend to Bridget Jones’s Diary, stories of smitten trios have flooded the popular landscape, each threesome casting its sinful shadow on boring old monogamy. For this list of 15 standouts, the door was open to hallucinations, inanimate objects, and even different species—which is not to say Ménage à Twilight was ever in the running.

Trauma Center: Blackout Haunted House

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Trauma Center: Blackout Haunted House
Trauma Center: Blackout Haunted House

Every Halloween season, a handful of boutique haunted houses turn shuttered storefronts into temporary funhouses for giddy friends looking for an unusual night out—and willing to fork over around $30 and up for a ticket. Blackout Haunted House, situated on a drab block in midtown, is not that night out.

If fear were a drug, Blackout would rate as some pharmaceutical-grade stuff. The producers have been tinkering with volatile ingredients over the past few years, trying each October to concoct the perfect recipe of shocks to rattle even the most jaded New Yorker.

The first scare is the daunting waiver you’re required to sign upon arrival. Patrons are also presented with a list of rules that rivals those of Fight Club. The first rule: “You must walk through alone.”

“If you want, you can leave your glasses here,” suggested one of hosts as I waited my turn to enter through a slit in a black plastic tarp. It was hard to imagine why my spectacles would pose a problem. Surely they accommodate for eyewear!

Oscar 2011 Winner Predictions: Cinematography

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Oscar 2011 Winner Predictions: Cinematography
Oscar 2011 Winner Predictions: Cinematography

The first wave of guilds—directors, producers, and actors—all supplicated down on their knees for The King’s Speech, all in near-simultaneity with the announcement of the film’s dozen Oscar nominations. If the impact of that sea change has had some Oscar bloggers stepping off of observation decks and into the paths of oncoming trains, a few of the more insular guilds have started to show signs that they’re not interested in laying down for another Weinstein sweep, and have taken the competition into their own hands—quite literally.

The Art Directors’ Guild couldn’t quite manage to sidestep The King’s Speech’s gimme in the category for best “period film” (presumably referring to a big blot of discharge Carrie White’s mother warned her about), but at the same time gave Inception a rather unexpected leg up. Now, the American Society of Cinematographers have continued momentum for poor little non-nominated Christopher Nolan’s epic and its chances in the tech categories by handing Inception the ASC award. Their slate of nominees aligned five-for-five with Oscar’s, so this marks one of the most high profile guild snubs for The King’s Speech to date.

Meeting Mid-life with Maturity: American Beauty, Fight Club and The Incredibles

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Meeting Mid-life with Maturity: <em>American Beauty</em>, <em>Fight Club</em> and <em>The Incredibles</em>
Meeting Mid-life with Maturity: <em>American Beauty</em>, <em>Fight Club</em> and <em>The Incredibles</em>

Between the ages of 17 and 18, still with so much growing up to do, I saw a slew of films that would redefine what the medium was capable of and completely change my world perspective. Some people read books about inspirational, anti-authoritarian figures that became a rallying cry for a generation; I saw The Big Lebowski. Shortly after, a simple laid-back attitude wasn’t enough, for I had witnessed Fight Club and American Beauty. Suddenly, I came to understand that getting good grades never really made me any happier—a temporary ego boost, perhaps, but never anything lasting. Further, I realized that getting Cs had never bothered me for more than a few weeks; by the end of a semester, I’d forgotten it ever happened. In fact, it seemed all of a sudden as though everything my Catholic college-prep high school was teaching me about life, outside of the spiritual realm, didn’t really fit into the kind of person I saw myself as, and more importantly, the kind of person I wanted to be.

The Conversations: David Fincher

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The Conversations: David Fincher
The Conversations: David Fincher

Jason Bellamy: Ed, earlier this year we had a lengthy and spirited debate about Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York. Encapsulating that exchange is difficult, but to nutshell it as best I can: I argued that Kaufman’s film is “complex for complexity’s sake” and that Synecdoche, New York’s inner themes aren’t worth the effort of their labyrinthine design; you disagreed and argued that the structure was “encoded with elegant metaphors.” Throughout our exchange, at my blog and yours, I’m not sure that the word “gimmick” was ever used, but thematically that was the bonfire we danced around.

I bring all this up because David Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, inspired by a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is a 166-minute exercise about a man (Brad Pitt’s Benjamin Button) who ages backward. He’s born, on the night after the end of World War I, the size of an infant with the physical maladies of an old man, and from there his body grows younger while his spirit and soul grow older and more experienced. Within the margins of this story are ankle-deep philosophical waxings about the aging process (body vs. mind), a fairly straightforward love story and a Forrest Gump-esque trip through American history. But I wonder: Is Benjamin Button anything more than a gimmick?