Ten years ago this week, “Fight Club” was released to theaters. I was there on that opening weekend, sure I’d see something special, and I wasn’t wrong. Like few movies in my life, “Fight Club” seemed to reach right down into my brain and scratch a nagging itch I didn’t know was there.

Ten years ago this week, “Fight Club” was released to theaters. I was there on that opening weekend, sure I’d see something special, and I wasn’t wrong. Like few movies in my life, “Fight Club” seemed to reach right down into my brain and scratch a nagging itch I didn’t know was there.

Don’t worry. I haven’t engaged in any underground bare-knuckle boxing or freelance demolition in the past decade. But I did connect with “Fight Club” instantly and deeply. I laughed at the jokes, marveled at the direction and agreed with the message, which I would boil down thusly: Take an active part in your life, but don’t be a jerk about it.

“Fight Club,” in case you’ve missed (or avoided) it all these years, focuses on an unnamed Narrator (Edward Norton) who can’t sleep but seems to sleepwalk through life. Looking to connect any way he can, he goes to cancer support groups (even though he doesn’t have cancer) and hooks up with a woman played by Helena Bonham Carter (even though he knows she’s trouble).

When neither of those works out, he meets Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt). And that’s when everything changes. Our Narrator’s life becomes a whirlwind of basement brawls, corporate mischief and freelance urban terrorism. It’s all very exciting and empowering, but eventually our Narrator realizes Tyler is way, way out of control, and he’s going to have to stop him.

When “Fight Club” hit theaters, it was met by hatred from respected critics. Roger Ebert called it “cheerfully fascist,” and Kenneth Turan called it “a witless mishmash of whiny infantile philosophizing.” But for younger viewers — and the growing army of online critics — “Fight Club” was a revelation. It was the movie Generation X had been waiting for, one that blasted the Boomers but didn’t let us off the hook, either. If guys like Ebert and Turan had been able to look beyond the bloodied faces, they’d see knowing smiles. That’s because “Fight Club,” first and foremost, is a comedy — and a darned clever one.

In a world where most movies are bland, I’m grateful for a movie like “Fight Club.” Sometimes, what I want more than anything is for a movie to hit me — as hard as it can.

To commemorate the 10th anniversary, 20th Century Fox has re-released the movie on Blu-ray. And if you doubt “Fight Club” is a comedy, just pop that new Blu-ray into your player and watch what happens. I won’t spoil the gag — except to say that it fits perfectly with the movie’s off-kilter sense of humor.

Will Pfeifer writes about DVDs for the Rockford Register Star. Contact him at wpfeifer@rrstar.com or 815-987-1244. Read his blog at blogs.e-rockford.com/movieman/.

Fire at Will: What’s the deal with all those DVD regions?

Gary Tiffany of Cherry Valley, Ill., writes in with a question about the confusing topic of DVD regions: “I want to purchase the four-DVD set of my favorite animated series, ‘Duckman.’ ... I’ve found the DVD set online that includes all 70 episodes at a number of shopping sites and at various prices, but the thing stumping me is that some of the sites advertise the DVD set as Region 1 only and others advertise it as Region-free. I understand that USA DVD players are set for Region 1. What problems might I encounter with a Region-free DVD?”

Gary, a region-free DVD is one that can be watched on any DVD player in any part of the world. DVD manufacturers have divided the globe into various regions (Region 1 is the U.S. and Canada; 2 is most of Europe, Japan and parts of Africa; 3 is Southeast Asia and Hong Kong; 4 is Mexico and South and Central America; 5 is Eastern Europe, Asia and parts of Africa; and 6 is China.) Region 0 — or “region free” — is designed to be played in all six regions. So you should have no problem watching it on your player. If it is some sort of international release, the quality may suffer a bit, but that depends on the DVD.

Do you have a question for Movie Man Will Pfeifer? Send it to wpfeifer@rrstar.com. Put “Fire at Will” in the subject line, and I’ll do my best to answer it in this column. Please include your full name, city of residence and daytime phone number (which isn’t for publication).

From the vault: Stirring up trouble

Here are four more films that angered audiences:

“Freaks” (1932): Hard to believe a 77-year-old melodrama could still feel controversial, but it does — mostly because director Tod Browning used actual sideshow freaks for his tale of twisted revenge. Those performers are the heroes of the movie, but it doesn’t make it any easier to forget that when the cameras stopped rolling, the makeup didn’t come off.

“A Clockwork Orange” (1971): Director Stanley Kubrick’s hyperstylized depiction of youth violence caused an uproar — and some copycat crimes — after it hit theaters. Kubrick pulled it from circulation in England in 1973, and it couldn’t be shown legally there until 2000, after Kubrick’s death.

“If … ” (1968): Malcolm McDowell was cast in “Clockwork” after Kubrick saw his performance in this movie. After a fairly normal first half, things change dramatically, and the film ends with a surreal burst of violence.

“The Last Temptation of Christ” (1988): Conservative Christians hated Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of a novel where Jesus imagines what life would be like if he hadn’t died on the cross. Actually, it’s a very spiritual film (no surprise coming from Scorsese), and the ending packs a wallop no matter your beliefs.

Make room in your home collection

Some DVDs out Tuesday:

“Angels & Demons”: Tom Hanks uncovers another evil conspiracy in this adaptation of Dan Brown’s bestselling novel.

“Cujo”: It’s been 25 years since Stephen King’s St. Bernard went rabid. Now you can see it on Blu-ray.

“Four Christmases”: Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn star in last year’s bad holiday comedy.

“Funny People”: Adam Sandler got serious in this story of a comedian contemplating his mortality. 

“The Golden Age of Television”: This boxed set collects classic TV dramas — and one comedy, starring Andy Griffith.

“The Jerry Lewis Show Collection”: Speaking of comedians on TV, this set shows why movie stars don’t always work as TV stars.

And CDs:

Rihanna, “Rated R”: Let’s hope this album puts the focus back on Rihanna’s music instead of her personal life.

Diddy, “Last Train To Paris”: If only this were a Monkees cover CD called “Last Train to Clarksville.”

Susan Boyle, “I Dreamed A Dream”: You loved her on YouTube, but will you buy her album?

Petula Clark, “This Is Christmas”: ‘Tis the season for long-forgotten singers to release holiday

Soundtrack, “Twilight: New Moon”: You’ve read the book. You’ve seen the movie. Now buy the CD.

Sources: dvdtalk.com, tophitsonline.com