Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Fincher's Flicks: Ranking The Films Of David Fincher

David Fincher has been one of Hollywood's most distinguished and best directors for over the last 20 years.  He's one of the best filmmakers to come from the 90s.  When you see just a hint of a scene from a movie, the guy has a distinct enough touch and flavor that you just KNOW its from one of his movies.  I've really been a big fan and love a large portion of his catalog.  Starting with Seven, the guy was kicking down doors and changing filmmaking with a loud voice.  His work is indeed inspiring other directors, studio and up and coming filmmakers.  A David Fincher film is always one you're setting time aside to see regardless of initial expectation.  You trust the guy at the helm will do something worthwhile.  

I do worry though, that Fincher's  path may be following the same one as Tim Burton.  Burton had a fantastic run of films, only to find himself in a land of doing "expected" kinds of works, stuff that resulted in self parody and sort of tired us of things we were so fond of and excited by in his earlier works.  That doesn't mean everything coming out is bad, it just means that sort of fire and explosion is gone and its just more of comfort zone material.  Who knows, I could be wrong.  Time will be what tells.  But it sure feels to me that Zodiac is Sleepy Hollow, Benjamin Button is Big Fish and Dragon Tattoo is Sweeney Todd does it not?

You may notice that we've ended this retrospective much earlier than anticipated.  That's because a movie tying into our next retrospective was bumped up with its release date.  And I have a pretty solid schedule for the next couple months of what I was doing, so the only option was to speed up the Fincher retro.  But, I doubt you're complaining as you've have solid consistent reading material the past couple weeks :)  Anyway, as always, thank you for reading.  It was great to run through so many good movies.  My ranking on this one sort of factors in the rewatchability of these along with quality and my own feelings.  I know people aren't going to agree with a little bit of it.

9.  The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (2009)

I'm just not a fan.  This one is really dour and boring to me.  While Benjamin is aging backward, I feel I've aged too many years forward watching the film.  I can respect the film for its technical merits, but this retrospective will probably be the last time I ever pick this movie up to watch again.  Never say never, but it'd take a special circumstance for me to revisit it.

8.  The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)

Aaron Neuwirth mentioned the editing being spectacular for this movie and I agree.  For as long as this film is, and as much content, it sure does blow by.  The film however doesn't really plead its case to exist very much.  And the novel's mystery has been too watered down and too obvious from the outset due to casting.  Rooney Mara shines big time in this movie and has become an actress that I enjoy a lot in movies since (she's never really in much).  But, if I feel the need to watch The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, which manages to accomplish this adaptation better I'll pop in the Swedish version and hang with Noomi Rapace (even if it doesn't have the Fincher style).

7.  Alien 3 (1992)

This is a film I personally feel is pretty underrated.  Its a solid sci fi horror movie in its own right.  Put aside your fan bias' of the first couple minutes to set up the film and what you get is actually a good movie (give that you watch the Assembly Cut of the film).  I gotta be honest, I've gone back to this film many times in the last 23 years and will definitely be revisited it in the future.  The two films it placed above?  I've only sat through both twice and don't envision myself returning to again.

6. Panic Room (2002)

A straightforward and fun thriller.  For fans of Hitchcock, this is a love letter in its basic premise, but its also an even bigger one in its technical prowess.  There are some great moments of suspense and a lot of good stuff happening in such a little space.  This one needs a Blu-ray release, damnit

5.  The Game (1997)

A really cool thriller that is a good thinker, but also helps if you just go along with it and turn that same thinking brain off at some moments.  Personally, I believe the fun, intrigue, excitement and Michael Douglas' performance outweighs any sort of negatives you can derive from nit picking plot holes in the movie.  The biggest thing The Game had going against it in its legacy was being sandwiched between Seven and Fight Club.

4.  The Social Network (2010)

Had I done this retrospective without going back through these movies, this one may have finished lower.  I forgot just how good this thing was.  There aren't many biopics that I could nab at as a "go to" film for a casual watch, but this is fitting of that bill along with Tim Burton's (there he is again) Ed Wood.  While this may be the story of Facebook from the ground up, even more its a Fincher film and a drama of starting a business and friendships forming and coming to an ugly end.  Its got a young cast that superbly performs the material and knocks it out of the park.  The score, the acting, the directing, the cinematography...this one has so much going for it that you really don't get from thinking about a biopic of "that Facebook movie".

3.  Seven (1995)

At one time in my life, this probably was my favorite David Fincher movie.  It floored me when I first saw it.  And its still a superb horror-noir film.  I guess just nowadays, it isn't as strong for me as it was back then.  Nevertheless is still pretty damn influential and has become somewhat of an iconic film.  It was a film that took chances I'd not seen other films take and seem to have these balls to go in directions I'd not seen.  Plus, it really introduced that Fincher style.

2.  Zodiac (2007)

I guess you could say Fincher has done 2 great biopics, because Zodiac can play both mystery-noir thriller and that at the same time.  This movie is a measure in precise calculations, realistic horror and a thrilling ride that also provides a kind of educational experience.  The cast is both an impressive lineup and rather stellar.  I've labeled it "Fincher's Masterpiece" before and I will proudly hold on to that declaration.  I don't think I'm alone on that though.

1.  Fight Club (1999)

If there is one film to full culminate and give you WHO David Fincher is, its this one.  For many years this film and I floated apart, but we reunited very strongly in 2014 for multiple views.  Fight Club is a fully loaded classic.  Its a film that demands you watch it over and over and over.  A film to be studied, go on easter egg hunts and to just be damn well entertained.  This is the best trio of cast members Fincher has put together and likely may never be topped.  Quote it, study it, debate it, marvel at it.  I'm not sure how people could be down on this movie or turned off.  While you might think its a "guy movie", if you look at what's really being presented on the surface of Fight Club and what's happening underneath, I don't think that's the case.  Recently when talking about this retrospective at a part and discussing potentially being busy with Why So Blu reviews, my sister said I could do Fight Club without watching or just watch a couple minutes and do it.  My response was "Have you ever tried to watch just a couple minutes of Fight Club?"  My friend, Puff wholeheartedly agreed with that statement.  This is a film that's worthy of its iconic status and hopefully is being embraced and thought of in the correct ways instead of the many wrong ones that came about around its first rise to popularity.

Our next series will be starting soon, and I'm pretty excited to cover it.  We are mid-September, so lets get our run of Fall Horror retrospectives in full swing, shall we?

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