Just Saw Choke in Carmel

Sundance was very good to Choke, the spiritual succesor to Fight Club and brainchild of author Chuck Palahniuk, so it was granted a limited release in theaters. I’ve been waiting for this movie since devouring all of Chucks books. And I wasn’t disappointed with this one.

As a Quick Intro, Chuck Palahniuk’s fourth novel Choke is about a med school dropout turned sex addict named Victor Mancini. Victor works in colonial Williamsburg as a historical interpreter (not a tour guide) although he also collects money from good samaritans who save him from choking to death in restaurants. Yes, he makes himself choke. And yes, the book is a masterpiece.  

Rockwell plays the role of Victor Mancini in Choke, adapted from book to film.

Rockwell plays the role of Victor Mancini in Choke, adapted from book to film.

The choice of Sam Rockwell was perfect for the role of Victor. Rockwell is just the right blend of snarky con man (think Matchstick Men) an forgivable sortie that makes you despise him and feel sorry for him at the same time. He also brandished the dirty facial hair that fits the role of the sycophant, which any Palahniuk main character always is.

For those who enjoyed the book, overall it kept pretty strictly to the story, much moreso than Fight Club did. I do think, though, that certain things like Victor’s obsession with being evil and his stomach pains late in the story were generally glossed over in order to fit the movie into a tight 90 minutes. This may have been due to thoughts that Fight Club was too lengthy (which, at over two hours is quite a sit down) or perhaps more likely to hit the common 1.5 hour limit for a comedy. Then again, nothing can translate flawlessly from book to movie, so I may be critiquing a bit harshly on that one.

The soundtrack for the movie is worth a mention all on its own. The hit is far and away Clap Your Hands Say Yeah‘s fast paced single Satan Says Dance. I honestly expected the music to play more of a role in the movie, though I only caught a couple snippets. The lack of music in certain scenes also contributed to it slowing to a lull at certain points, which really goes against the snappy to-and-fro I expected from this one.

Victor and Denny, played by Rockwell and Brad Henke, hanging out by the stocks in colonial Williamsburg.

Victor and Denny, played by Rockwell and Brad Henke, hanging out by the stocks in colonial Williamsburg.

Victor tries to get his sick mother (played by Anjelica Huston) to eat.

Victor tries to get his sick mother (played by Anjelica Huston) to eat.

It was great to see this one after waiting for it for a few years. Except for the driving two hours to see it. Since when are limited showings not happening in Fort Wayne? I need to find a cooler town, stat.

If you’re interested in catching Choke, or just learning more about it, here are some links that might help.

Good, dark, disturbing comedy. Palahniuk to the bone(r). And honestly, if you aren’t determined to read his books after enjoying both Fight Club and Choke, then what the hell has to happen for you to read them? Head over to Amazon and give him a shot.


And while we’re talking about movies (and you’re potentially in the mood to check out some movie trailers) here’s a look at what I’m looking forward to for the rest of the year. In early October I’ll see Blindness, one with Julianne Moore about a disease that causes blindness. Then comes Flash of Genius, about the guy who invented the windshield wipers and the company that stole it from him. Maybe even Eagle Eye, even though Shia LaBeouf is in it. Next week will be Religulous, a movie from Bill Maher about the (you guessed it) ridiculousness of religion. Then, a ways away yet is Quantum of Solace, the new Bond movie. I hear that Bond doesn’t say his catchphrase “Bond, James Bond” or “shaken not stirred” in this one. That one’s in November. Also in November will be Milk, a movie about the fight for gay rights in the 70s. I’m particularly interested in that movie, since I hope it might help to convict some who are still against equal rights in this area. One can always hope.

3 thoughts on “Just Saw Choke in Carmel

  1. I have been looking forward to seeing this movie for quite a while. Because of my recent injury it doesn’t look like i’ll be able to any time soon, but I do look forward to it. BTW, I am adding your site to my links section. Some great reads here.

  2. Hey Ryan Imel. My wife noticed your website while on one of her “google her husbands name” searches. I have an aunt that is reviewing family history. Just thought I would ask if you had any family in Idaho or Oregon. She tracked us back to 3 Imel brothers that came here as immigrants around 1780. They lived in New England for a while then moved to the midwest. Thought it would be interesting if you knew of any connection. And stop using my name for your website!! Thats copyrighted!!!LOL

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