Happy Birthday David Fincher – Ranking his Filmography

In honor of David Fincher’s birthday, I had planned on only ranking his movies. While he does have a smaller filmography then compared to most directors working, he does have quite the impressive one nonetheless. What brings his filmography to the next level is, without a doubt, his amazing commentaries included as special features. Yes, remember buying DVDs and going through special features? (I still do this now, please bring back commentaries!) Without further ado, here is my Fincher ranking + some golden quotes from his commentary.

10. Alien 3 (1992)

This film went through several scripts, directors, and production schedules. I don’t think this movie is bad by any means, but it just doesn’t hold up to the rest of the series. There are some incredible shots laid out here by Fincher, giving us an early glimpse of the filmmaker to come.

Fincher Commentary:

I don’t truly have any fun quotes from Fincher about Alien 3; he doesn’t seem to enjoy discussing this.

9. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

I admire this movie, but I have no desire to ever re-watch it. This film is a little too sentimental for my liking, but the story is beautiful to watch unfold. The chemistry between Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett is amazing. I love seeing Jared Harris in ANYTHING! I love seeing Taraji P. Henson and Mahershala Ali before they became the big-name stars they are today. Otherwise, the movie is just not my favorite Fincher flick.

Fincher Commentary:

“It took for-fucking-ever.”

“I don’t want to see anybody together. I want to see everybody as unhappy as me. Everybody in this movie dies. That’s how I was able to stomach the rest of it.”

8. Panic Room (2002)

Panic Room is something I’ve rewatched recently and just truly love. While, like the rest of the internet, I’m not a fan of Jared Leto’s hair (or just him in general – oops!). I do think this film is filled with Fincher’s styyyyyleeee and works so well. I love that Fincher always has you aware of the floorplan of the house, but it is still so tense.

Fincher Commentary:

“If you’re gonna pander, pander.”

“People get too caught up in the legacy that they’re leaving.”

7. Fight Club (1999)

I know this is a low ranking for Fight Club, but what can I say? Fincher just has too many good movies. This film does work so well still. The casting is superb. The twist is still shocking re-watching it now. I love thinking of this as brutal Office Space.

Fincher Commentary:

“Thanks to Pepsi for their donation of vending machines.”

“I have a philosophy in most movies you can see too much of the actors’ eyes, so we tried to really get rid of that in this movie.”

6. The Game (1997)

I know some people dismiss The Game as gimmicky, but this movie really works for me. Michael Douglas going through this elaborate, custom-designed game throughout the movie truly tropes on “what is real,” but on a different level. The bill at the end would be enough to make me go a little crazy, but boy, what a ride!

Fincher Commentary:

“Everything that’s a close-up is important, whether it’s important or not.

“The question is what don’t you do, not what do you do.”

5. Se7en (1995)

For Fincher’s first film after the Alien sequel, he set out to do something heavy loaded with stars. It’s truly one of the most unsettling movies I think most general audiences have seen. The conclusion to this film is brutal, uncompromising and for me, works better than Fight Club.

Fincher Commentary:

“What about Fight Club?”

“I don’t know what the fuck they thought they were gonna see, but I’m telling you, from the reaction of the people in there, they were bristling. They couldn’t have been more offended.”

4. Gone Girl (2014)

It hurt me to put this film this low, but I had to make some decisions. Gone Girl could have been just a hot seller turned into a movie we saw one summer and that was that. But Fincher, along with Gillian Flynn’s Oscar-winning script (oh, it wasn’t even nominated…my bad?), is one of the best movies of the last decade. Is this the best romantic movie released ever? Possibly. This film is perfectly cast in every role, I could go on for hours about Carrie Coon and Missi Pyle.

Fincher Commentary:

The scene behind the bakery “was the only time I ever shot on the backlot at Universal, and it was only because it ended up being much less of a nightmare than trying to shoot in Brooklyn.”

The anamorphic lens flares were added in post-production “just to fuck with people.”

“I love the idea of romance against garbage.”

3. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

I’m still waiting for the rest of this trilogy to be greenlit, but only time will tell I suppose. Everything about this film worked for me. I loved Rooney Mara as our Lisbeth Salander. I adore Daniel Craig in this film. The score is perfect. The cinematography is haunting. This is one of my favorite installments in Fincher’s serial killer-a-thon.

Fincher Commentary:

“I love Daniel Craig’s ability to be open about his disappointment.”

“I was very worried about this wardrobe with Rooney in this cowl because I thought she looked a little too much like a Jedi.”

2. The Social Network (2010)  

This is the best movie of the last decade and not even number one on this list; can you believe? The Social Network works on every level. The script is outstanding. The score is outstanding. The performances are outstanding. The two Armie Hammer’s are outstanding. The entire sequence of Facemash is something I’ll never get tired of watching. This should have been a straightforward biopic, but it’s much, much more.

Fincher Commentary:

“We looked for months to find two 6′ 5″ 220 lb twins.”

“So maybe there were tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of work that was unnecessary, but at least it was done impeccably.”

“Brenda Song is maybe five feet tall and the single most dominating force of character of any human being in this movie.”

1.  Zodiac (2007)

The best movie released in the 2000s is our # 1 Fincher movie y’all! We love to see it. Easily Fincher’s best film, while it was tough to choose my number two and three, I always knew Zodiac was my number one. Since the real Zodiac killer was never caught, we knew the movie had to be open-ended. The way Fincher created such an obsessive film about the men who worked on the case obsessing, trying to find the killer not only works but draws you into where you too become obsessed.

Fincher Commentary:

“Jake’s hands are very hairless and pretty.”

“This is Dermot Mulroney, who’s one of my favorite people in the world.”

“There’s no reason why that should take 25 takes, but sometimes it does.”

“The people who say there’s no conclusion to the movie aren’t watching the same movie necessarily.”

Happy birthday David Fincher! Please give us Mank ASAP! We miss you, your movies and your commentary.

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