Friday, October 10, 2014

Two Tickets For... Ranks David Fincher's Films!

Andrew: Hello dear readers! Earlier this week Sarah and I posted our review of David Fincher's latest directorial effort, Gone Girl, and because his new film also happens to be his tenth feature film we decided it was the perfect number to do a rankings post! As we mentioned in our review, we both love Fincher's stuff. In fact, we own all of his movies except for Gone Girl, but when it does come out on home video you can bet we'll own it. And owning a film is the highest compliment we can pay one.

Sarah: Instead of each posting our own rankings like we do for our Marvel Cinematic Universe rankings, we decided to do this one similar to how we ranked our Most Anticipated Films of 2014. We each sat down and ranked Fincher's films, wrote up what we thought of them and why we ranked them where we did, and then we combined those to come up with this compilation!

A: And we just know that you're going to find some of our ranks kind of interesting. This is probably one of the best examples of how sometimes we think alike, and sometimes we think differently about films. So without further ado, listed below are the official Two Tickets For... rankings of David Fincher's Films!


10.) Alien 3 (1992)
Individual Rankings - Sarah: 7th  Andrew: 10th 

A: In all fairness to Fincher, his first feature-film directorial effort was a studio-interfered CF of the highest order. He was brought on late, had to start shooting with an unfinished Frankenstein-esque script, was overruled on many things by the studio that he eventually walked away before editing the film. So even the finished edit isn't Fincher's. And I can’t blame him. While there are flashes of the kind of director he would become in this film, it’s best to just say it’s not even really a Fincher film.

S: I love the Alien franchise. Aliens is my favorite of the bunch, so naturally I take issue with the third installment. They completely negate my favorite of the films in such a violent and unnecessary way. Killing off all of Newt and Hicks at the start of the movie was poor decision-making. But that's not where the bad decisions end. There are scenes where we have the great man-in-a-costume/puppetry xenomorph and then there are the moments where it's terrible CGI. At times it's so bad that the alien is actually green. It's. Just. The worst. The only compliment I have is that I liked the cast. But that doesn't matter and you can't get attached because of course they're all gonna die! Fincher can't be blamed for it all, though. With multiple writers and no say in the editing, it was bound to be a tough freshman film.

9.) The Game (1997)

Individual Rankings - Sarah: 10th  Andrew: 6th 

A: While most people think of The Game as one of Fincher’s worst, I don’t think that’s necessarily fair. It’s very underrated. It is a very well-made movie that’s anchored by a very strong starring turn from Michael Douglas. It is probably the first film that really looks like a Fincher film, with the help of the great, late cinematographer Harris Savides, whom Fincher would team up with again for Zodiac.  The biggest knock on it is that this was Fincher’s follow-up to his immediate classic, Se7en, and that if you think about the plot too much there are some logic holes. But I have fun whenever I watch this movie.

S: I hated this movie. It freaked me out in the worst way imaginable, and then to find out that the whole thing was like a big joke on the main character?! I mean, how awful is that?! I was so mad at this movie at the end! Maybe that’s what Fincher was going for, but it just really wasn’t my cup of tea.

8.) Panic Room (2002)
Individual Rankings - Sarah: 8th  Andrew: 7th

S: This is the last of Fincher's films that I'm not so keen on. This one was, once again, technically executed to perfection but I just really did not like the cast. I can only handle Jodie Foster in one movie, and that’s Silence of the Lambs. I feel like one can only handle that voice for so long before it just becomes grating on the nerves. And then there’s K-Stew. It’s good to know that she didn’t just start off in the Twilight  films as an angsty pain in the ass, that she’s always been that way. I just felt like this movie was lacking for me in the thriller vein. I know I will probably be very argued against on this point but it just fell flat for me.

A: Yeah, I know you hated this film, Sarah, but I really enjoy. Part of it is sentimental value, as this was the first Fincher film I saw in theatres, when I was 14. And now that I think of it, it was probably the first Fincher film I ever saw, period. And it floored me with how slick it was. The great camera movements through the house, the look and feel of the film, the tension between Jodie Foster and the three burglars (including two future Oscar winners in Forest Whitaker and Jared Leto)…I loved it. It’s probably the most short-and-sweet film Fincher has done, except it’s not truly sweet. I remember being bummed as a teenager that it took five years before Fincher would release another movie after this one came out.

7.) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

Individual Rankings - Sarah: 5th  Andrew: 9th

S: When I first saw this movie I had no idea it was a Fincher film. It’s an interesting character study with a little bit of fantasy thrown in. Once again we have another phenomenal cast that just knocks it out of the park. It’s technically well done, and while the story drags at times, I think that the technicality shines through as a strong point. It’s not one of those movies I’m going to stop on every time I see it on television, but it’s beautifully done.

A: This isn’t my favorite David Fincher movie, and it’s by far his most “Oscar bait” kind of movie, but I think the CGI is phenomenal and the cast is pretty great. It runs a little long for my tastes, to the point where I’m actually okay not watching it again in one sitting, but it looks great, it sounds great, and it’s a very touching movie, which helps it stand out from the rest of Fincher’s filmography.

6.) Zodiac (2007)

Individual Rankings - Sarah: 9th  Andrew: 4th 

A: I struggled with my ranking of Zodiac if only because whenever I watch it I feel a little incomplete. And when I thought about it, that’s exactly how I should feel, because the investigation into the Zodiac killer was never resolved. One of Fincher’s hallmarks is obsession, and no other movie of his tackles it as strongly as this one. Another great cast (taking chances on Jake Gyllenhaal to shoulder the film and on a pre-Iron Man Robert Downey, Jr. panned out in spades), it’s another fantastic looking film, and I remember being scared of this film in the final act with the basement scene the first time I saw it. While I have it ranked fourth, I can understand why some people might list this as his best film.

S: I’ve actually never been able to finish this movie. By about halfway through I was bored and confused. It’s not one that I have been wanting to get back to, either. I’ve really had no desire to pick it back up. I hear that it ends well; I guess I’ll have to take people’s word on it.

5.) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

Individual Rankings - Sarah: 2nd  Andrew: 8th 

S: This movie bothered me. And it should have. The book was disturbing and haunting. This came through perfectly on the big screen. Once again we had the addition of the music to really bring things to life. It created a tense feeling throughout the entire film that made you squirm in your seat. The cast was inventive and housed a lot of familiar faces, which really paid off for the viewers and the filmmaker.

A: The only reason I have The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is ranked as low as I do is because I think all of the others have higher rewatchability. That’s not a slight to Dragon Tattoo, it’s just that it can be a difficult movie to watch because of the source material. The cast is great (Rooney Mara’s transformation into Lisbeth Salander obviously standing out), it looks amazing (I always feel cold watching this movie), and the score by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross is sublime. I understand the criticisms people have about it being too faithful to the book, and the fact that it came so soon after the Swedish versions starring Noomi Rapace, but I think those are nitpicks. You can say Fincher sold out with this film, but it’s still a trademark Fincher film nonetheless (maybe save for the lack of underlying humor).

4.) Gone Girl (2014)

Individual Rankings - Sarah: 3rd  Andrew: 5th

S: We just posted our review of Gone Girl so I don’t really need to say too much about it here. It was another Fincher film cocktail that hit all the right notes. He really has his formula down.

A: Fincher’s latest lands a solid spot in my personal rankings, right smack dab in the middle. And really it’s only that low because the other four I have ranked ahead of it are SO strong. As we mentioned in our review, Fincher cast the HELL out of this movie and he directed the hell out of it, too. This film stuck with me for days after we saw it and I can’t wait to see it again. It also makes me very excited to see what Fincher does next.

3.) Se7en (1995)

Individual Rankings - Sarah: 6th  Andrew: 1st 

S: This movie. Woof, it was a doozy. It really took the basic human fears and just amplified them. You would never guess that Brad Pitt could take such a silly line and really put in an amazing amount of fear and panic. That’s what this movie does. It is quite twisted at times and that really bothered me. While it’s a great thriller and horror movie, there’s an amazing twist at the end that you never see coming. It’s a little jarring, which is the point, and it is so well-executed.

A: I have personally have Se7en ranked as my number one Fincher film, and it was a tough call between this one and the two films we have ranked ahead of it in our combined rankings. The fact that it was only Fincher’s second film helps its cause because it shows just how a good a director he was at a young age. Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt and Kevin Spacey are all terrific in this film. It was never scary to me, but I can see how others are scared of it. The level of detail involved with the film is mind-blowing, too. All those notebooks that John Doe had in his apartment? All meticulously filled with random ramblings, even though you only ever see just a few of them open. And maybe the best thing going for Se7en is that it has one of the most famous scenes in movie history and people still claim they saw Gwyneth Paltrow’s head in the box, even though you never do. That’s powerful filmmaking.

2.) Fight Club (1999)

Individual Rankings - Sarah: 4th  Andrew: 2nd 

A: I mean, duh. Of course Fight Club is this high. Brad Pitt and Edward Norton knock it out of the park, it’s a scathing satire of masculinity and consumerism, it’s imminently quotable, and it has one of the best twists in movie history. That twist carries more weight than others because Fincher throws in hints to the true nature of the film the entire time. It’s funny, it’s smart, and it’s great that the exact same studio that interfered with Fincher so much on Alien 3 is the same one that let him make this gonzo film.

S: I don’t care what anyone says, this movie is a classic. It’s one of those that you will always remember the first time you watched it. It always sticks with you. It’s also one of those movies that you are always learning something new from. Every time you watch it, something new pops out at you. How many movies can you say that about?! It’s crazy cool.

1.) The Social Network (2010)

Individual Rankings - Sarah: 1st  Andrew: 3rd

S: I love this movie. Everything from the cast to the music in this movie is just perfection. It was one of the first times that I watched a Fincher film and went, “Oh yeah…I get it now.” It wasn’t the first Fincher film I saw but sometimes it can take me a bit to truly appreciate a true artist in the film world. I really, REALLY love the cast in this movie. Jesse Eisenberg was a revelation as Mark Zuckerberg and it really brought him to the forefront of Hollywood. That, and you throw in an unknown like Andrew Garfield and give pop music star Justin Timberlake an incredibly important role into the mix? It was genius, and really told us a story that we thought we knew and put it on its head.

A: Plain and simple, I thought back then and I still think now that The Social Network should have won Best Picture over The King’s Speech. Whoever would have thought that the story of Facebook would be so riveting? Obviously the fantastic screenplay by Aaron Sorkin gets this one of to a strong start, but again with the casting, the mind-blowing special effect of turning Armie Hammer into both of the Winklevoss twins, again with the look, the well-deserving Oscar-winning score by Reznor and Ross…I could go on. Maybe more than any of his films, this one will stand the test of time because it’s such a phenomenal look into the beginning of the social media boom and Silicon Valley in the mid-aughts. 

S: Okay readers, so that's our combined rankings of David Fincher's films! We're sure you might have some agreements and disagreements, so let us know in the comments what you think!

Photo Courtesies:, 20th Century Fox, New Line Cinema, Columbia Pictures, PolyGram Film Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, MGM

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