The ending of “Fight Club” (1999) dir. David Fincher

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This has to be the strangest “happy” ending in film history … a declaration of mature love amidst massive destruction and mayhem … while the Pixies’ legendary “Where Is My Mind?” plays in the background. I realize this is a perverse selection here given my last entry about “United 93,” but to be fair, “Fight Club” was written / filmed pre-9/11. And just because some of the angst of “Fight Club” was rendered obsolete by the subsequent “war on terror”  doesn’t mean that “Fight Club” still doesn’t raise several excellent issues about our culture. If there’s a film that summarized my mental state in my early 20s, this is it. Fortunately, I saw this in my late 20s after I was married and settled down … so the film left me with the weirdest, most perverse grin on my face I’ve ever had watching a film. Especially during the “Sixth Sense” – level plot twist that occurs 3/4 of the way through.  Between this and David Cronenberg’s “Videodrome,” my all-time favorite film.

Sorry ladies … and maybe some gents … the infamous subliminal “pickle” shot has been edited out.

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Some random thoughts on “Les Miserables: The Movie” … tagline: “You will believe a 7-year old can cry!”

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1. Director Tom Hooper really likes the wide angle lens with extreme close-ups on people’s faces. At times, I didn’t know if I was watching “Les Miserables” or “A Clockwork Orange”

2. Russell Crowe does a fine job singing and acting. No, I’m not going to buy the 30 Odd Foot of Grunts box set, but Crowe brought it. End of story.

3. Anne Hathaway does deserve the accolades she’s getting. When someone dominates that early in the awards season, you almost want to root against them. But she’s great and if she wins the Oscar, it won’t be undeserved.

4. All of the performances are good-great, from Hugh Jackman to Sacha Baron Cohen to Helena Bonham Carter to pretty much everyone else.

5. This movie is LOOOOOOONG!!!! Not quite “A.I.” long, but close.

6. As much as I resisted, the final line “To love someone is to see the face of God” always brings on the waterworks for me.

7. As I was leaving the theater, I saw my 7-year old visibly distraught. I thought that maybe he got swept up in the emotional ending until he said, “My God, that was the longest movie EVER!!!”

Final verdict: I liked it a lot, but let’s face it, this is a film you’re either going to love or hate. Yes, it’s such a shamelessly manipulative tear-jerker, it makes Steven Spielberg look like Jean-Luc Godard. But seriously, what did you expect? Hooper does what he’s supposed to and totally delivers a shamelessly manipulative tear-jerker.

If you don’t think you’ll like this movie, there is nothing here that will convert you. If you liked or loved the play, the film is a fine adaptation and you’ll enjoy it. And on the slim chance it wins the Best Picture Oscar this year, it won’t be the end of the world. Not because it would beat out better films, but because watching people lose their collective s–t if it wins is going to be really, really funny. And shame on anyone who thinks the Oscars have credibility anyway.

As an act of contrition, I will watch another film this week about an unjustly condemned man: “Penitentiary 3,”, starring Leon Isaac Kennedy, Anthony (“Luke” of “Luke and Laura”) Geary, and The Haiti Kid, playing the Midnight Thud, the scariest 3-foot crack-smoking prison rapist in movie history.