There are a ton of themes at play in Fight Club, David Fincher’s cult classic late-‘90s film adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s novel of the same name, from the nature of the Narrator’s relationship with Tyler Durden to examining the effects of insomnia. Above all, Fight Club is a political statement about consumer culture.
The story of “Project Mayhem,” culminating in the destruction of a bunch of major banks, has been viewed as a rallying cry to all the anarchists in the world, but it’s deeper than that. Here are 10 Satirical Movies To Watch If You Like Fight Club.
The message behind Danny Boyle’s pitch-black comedy about the trails and tribulations of a group of Scottish heroin addicts is summed up in Ewan McGregor’s opening voiceover narration, in which he parodies the “Choose life” anti-drug campaign by listing the alternatives to heroin addiction: “Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a f**king big television. Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin openers.”
Trainspotting takes a satirical jab at society’s indifference towards drug users by looking at society through the eyes of the drug users themselves. It’s not without its harrowing moments, either – it’s mesmerizing.
9 In Bruges
Martin McDonagh’s directorial debut In Bruges explores a lot of big themes with its simplistic premise. The movie starts off with a pair of hitmen, played by Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, being sent to the eponymous Belgian city to lay low after a job gone wrong.
As the characters face cosmic trials through their encounters with strangers, it becomes apparent that the story’s seemingly insignificant and dull setting represents Limbo. These characters have been sent here to be judged. The man judging them, a gang lord played hilariously by a foul-mouthed Ralph Fiennes, ultimately realizes the hypocrisy in his system of judgment, and decides to hold himself to the same standards that he holds other people to.
8 Burn After Reading
After the dark themes and harrowing drama of their neo-western masterpiece No Country for Old Men, the Coen brothers decided to do something lighter and breezier with their next film. Burn After Reading is a hysterical pastiche of spy thrillers, with Frances McDormand and Brad Pitt starring as a pair of gym employees who try to blackmail an ex-CIA agent (John Malkovich) after finding his flash drive in the men’s locker room.
They think it contains government secrets, but it actually contains the agent’s memoirs. Burn After Reading is an incisive movie that subverts audiences’ expectations at every hysterical and shocking turn.
7 Office Space
Mike Judge had spent a lot of time working in offices that demanded all employees to act like cogs in a machine, doing banal tasks such as T.P.S. reports, before he channeled it creatively into his hysterical, underrated corporate satire, Office Space. It’s about a workaday office drone who, one day, decides to just stop going into work.
He stays in bed, ignoring every call that comes through from his bosses, and when he decides to return to the office, he continues to ignore his bosses and their threat to fire him. When he gives up the rat race, his head is finally clear.
6 The Cable Guy
In a disturbing satire of America’s obsession with the media, The Cable Guy stars Jim Carrey as a cable TV technician who is determined to befriend one of his customers, played by Matthew Broderick.
The titular character arrives at Broderick’s new apartment after his girlfriend has dumped him and gives him some channels for free, then uses that little favor to blackmail him into jousting with him at a medieval-themed restaurant and hosting a karaoke party at his place. The story is given context with the ongoing murder trial of two brothers, both played by the film’s director, Ben Stiller.
5 American Beauty
It’s a shame that this movie is tarnished, thanks to Kevin Spacey’s sordid history, because it just might be one of the greatest movies ever made. Sam Mendes’ American Beauty has the uncomfortable setup of a seemingly mild-mannered husband and father, played by Spacey, falling for his daughter’s underage best friend.
But this premise is used as a gateway to exploring the sexual frustrations of marriage, the mundanity of suburban life, and the misery of the corporate lifestyle, all viewed through a satirical lens. Six Feet Under creator Alan Ball wrote the script with the same sharp wit that he’d bring to his HBO series.
4 A Serious Man
The Coen brothers’ dark comedy A Serious Man opens with a short film that’s only related to the plot of the movie itself by theme. It’s a fictional fable that establishes the complicated and sometimes unfair balance of good and evil in the world.
This leads into the 1960s-set story of a man living in the Midwestern suburbs whose life falls apart in spectacular fashion over the course of a tragically eventful couple of days. On the whole, the film mirrors the Biblical tale of Job, who had everything taken away from him by God in order to test his faith to prove a point to the Devil.
3 Falling Down
On the way to his boring office job, stuck in gridlocked traffic, Michael Douglas just decides to get out of his car and leave it on the highway. He wanders off with his briefcase, and after a violent encounter with some gang members, he acquires a gun. As we learn more about this character’s life, we discover that he has nothing left to lose and he’s had it with life kicking him to the curb.
With his gun in hand, Douglas finally starts getting his way with the little things in life that bother him, like the poor quality of fast food restaurants and the strictness of their breakfast cut-off times.
Shot and edited to look like one continuous take, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman is a dark satire of the entertainment industry. Michael Keaton stars as Riggan Thomson, a has-been movie star who was once known for playing a superhero in a blockbuster franchise and has since been forgotten about.
In a last-ditch bid to claw back credibility in the eyes of his peers, Riggan has mounted a Broadway play based on a Raymond Chandler story, but he’ll face obstacles from his ex-wife, his pothead daughter, and a critic who has it out for him. For good measure, Fight Club fans, Edward Norton has a supporting role in Birdman.
1 Natural Born Killers
Although its connections to real-life violent incidents have made it one of the most controversial movies of all time, Natural Born Killers is virtually a masterpiece. (The theatrical cut is great, but the director’s cut is even better.)
It’s a critique of the American media’s obsession with killers, as a Bonnie and Clyde-esque couple (Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis) go on a killing spree, inspiring hundreds of cult-like followers across the country. Drawn from an insane script by Quentin Tarantino that was injected with a political bent by Oliver Stone, Natural Born Killers is a must-see for any fan of satirical thrillers.