“Another lesser known gem that I make it my job to champion to the masses. What’s so special about Choke? The original novel was written by Chuck Palahniuk, who as you may recall, is a member of my holy trinity. This is only the second novel of his to get adapted, and it took nearly ten years after the first. There’s always talk of another one in the works, but they tend to die down after a while.
The setup is strange and a little bit complicated. Choke is about Victor. Victor, played by Sam Rockwell, is a recovering sex addict and med school dropout. In order to pay for the medical bills for his ailing and mentally ill mother, he works at a historical theme park and also has this scam where he pretends to choke in restaurants so that people save him and then take responsability for him. Actually, the movie puts a lot less emphasis on the choke scam storyline than the book does. Here, I feel this is another that requires the trailer
What I love about Palahniuk, is that his work is pure dark satire. It’s messed up (a common theme amongst my faves, I know) but you find yourself laughing at it. And then you question your sanity because of your laughter. But it’s also very smart. There’s always some deep irony behind everything. Palahniuk has actually given the movie his seal of approval, even though it left out some of his favorite scenes. I saw an interview with him where he talked about how he felt it worked even without those bits, and then he went on to praise some of the scenes that were new for the film.
The team involved for this filmis phenomenal. The nearly criminal level mastermind behind the adaptation is Clark Gregg, who wrote, directed, and played the small but fun and scene stealing role of Lord High Charlie. Ya’ll prolly know him best as Agent Coulson in all the recent Marvel flicks. Our leading man is Sam Rockwell. Because of Choke, Rockwell is on that seemingly ever growing list of actors that I’ll follow to any movie (or Broadway show as was the case with Behanding in Spokane). Anjelica Huston is a goddess among women as the mother, and Kelly MacDonal has an equally impressive performance as Dr Paige Marshall.
The casting choice (or rather the connection) that completely blew my mind was Joel Grey’s appearance in the film. When I realized that was the Master of Ceremonies himself, I flipped out. Then I realized (some time later), the connection goes deeper. Joel Grey is father to Jennifer Grey who is married to Clark Gregg, the aforementioned mastermind of the flick. Whaaaaa? Most amazing family ever!
I have a homework assignment for you. Next time you’re in a bookstore, wander over to the fiction section, alphabetical by author, and find the P books for Palahniuk. Pick up Choke. Turn to chapter 27. This chapter is the \m/ funniest I’ve ever read. No contest my favorite chapter in any book, and my favorite scene in this movie. I’ve been scouring the internet for a clip, but Im not having any luck. Well, mostly because there’s only certain search terms I’m willing to enter, given that the scene is a pseudo rape scene. I know I wont even begin to do it justice if I try to retell it, but basically he hooks up with this chick who gets off on rape, but she has so many detailed and specific rules for exactly how it’s supposed to happen. It’s also the reason why one of my besties has earned himself the nickname “”Poodle””.
Actually, I’ll make it even easier for you. Look what I found online. Now go!”