Monday, June 10, 2013

Monday Matinee: An Ode to David Fincher - Part III

So I am back for the third week, talking about the merits of Fincher, my director of choice.  All of his movies are worthy of watching, and all have similar characteristics and themes running through them...maybe with the exception of "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", which I'll talk about in a minute.

One thing that some directors tend to do is gravitate towards their favorite actors (like Martin Scorcese with Leo DiCaprio for instance).  Fincher's pet is Brad Pitt.  Go ahead and roll your eyes, but I think the guy is way underrated.  He definitely brings an energy to the screen that is hard to match, and I think it is only a matter of time before he wins his Oscar.  And I think that is evidenced by the fact that my top three Fincher movies all star the man.  (That was totally not planned either...I just realized it when I was putting together these posts.)  I'm not saying I love him in every movie, but Fincher seems to bring out the best in him.

So here are my top 3.  Ask me on a different day, and I might have these switched around.  Just suffice it to say that all three of these are amazing.

#3.  Se7en (1995)

Starring:  Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kevin Spacey

This is one seriously dark and disturbing movie about two police officers pursuing a serial killer who conducts each murder according to one of the seven deadly sins (Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, Pride).  Each of the officers have their own personal burdens that they bring to the table, and their mettle is ultimately tested by the shrewd killer John Doe.  This movie is not your average crime thriller.  There is a psychological element that messes with your head the first time you see it, or the 10th, which is why the movie was not only a box office success, but one that has become a cult behemoth.  The ending is positively horrific, completely unpredictable, and classic Fincher.

#2.  The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

Starring:  Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Julia Ormond

Received thirteen Oscar nominations, and winning three (Art Direction, Makeup, and Visual Effects).

This is a grand, epic tale of a man who was born with a disease in which he ages backwards, all told by a dying woman in a New Orleans hospital.  Abandoned on the steps of a retirement home, Benjamin Button appears to be an infant with the countenance of an 80-year-old, but is raised with support and love from his African-American adoptive parents.  His entire life is interwoven with that of Daisy, the love of his life, but only for a brief moment in time do their ages (and appearances) align.  Benjamin meanwhile experiences and embraces all that life throws at on a tugboat, a brief affair with the British Trade Minister's wife, fighting in WWII.  This film is BIG in every sense of the word.  It's scope is epic, covering all of Benjamin's life and more, and runs almost 3 hours, which is initially intimidating but ultimately worth your time.  It is also a gentle, gorgeous, Southern film with impeccable acting and special effects that will rip your heart out.  While it is completely unlike anything Fincher has ever dark obsessions, no body count, no mind games...I would consider it to be his masterpiece.

#1.  Fight Club (1999)

Starring:  Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter

Named the #10 movie by Empire magazine in it's 2008 feature of The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time.

An edgy, self-conscious white collar drone and his flashy soap-making friend start an underground "fight club" as a way for the young repressed modern man to blow off steam.  The club spreads across the country and turns into an anarchist movement with long-reaching repercussions.  Considered a type of coming-of-age flick for 30-somethings, the violence that is often criticized in this movie is meant to be symbolic of the conflict between the "now" generation and Corporate America (aka "the man").  Initially, this movie flopped at the theaters and was highly polarizing and controversial (it was compared to Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange").  It has since become a huge cult hit, with quotable lines in almost every scene.  It is dark and uncomfortable and twisty and smart, and begs for multiple watchings because you catch something new each time you see it. If you decide to watch it, you have to sit back and enjoy the ride, and check your hang-ups at the door.

So there it is, my ode to David Fincher.  Have you watched any of his movies?  Do you love him?  Hate him?  Interested?


rhapsodyinbooks said...

Jim loves these movies but I consider them an occasion to leave the room!

Julie P. said...

Can you believe I've never seen any of these?

Peppermint Ph.D. said...

I loved Seven. The ending blows me out of my seat. Fight Club was good as well but I didn't go see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I may have to amend that. :)

caite said...

Seven..what a creepy, creepy movie. It has been years since I saw it and I still remember some scenes. That ending...eeek!

bermudaonion said...

The only one I've seen is Benjamin Button - the other two seemed too violent for me.

Iliana said...

I've only watched Seven and that was so good and creepy! I can't believe I missed the Benjamin Button movie but will have to check that out one day.

Heidenkind said...

I love Fight Club. Hard to believe it didn't do well in theaters but I think Fox wanted it to fail.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Fight Club is my number one as well! I've watched that movie way too many times.

Anonymous said...

Brad Pitt doesn't do it for me anymore. Not sure why. But I have seen all three of these. LOVED Se7en and enjoyed Benjamin Button a lot. It's been many years since I saw Fight Club and I didn't care for it, but I'm not sure that I'd feel the same if I saw it again. Maybe I should, my husband would love to watch it again :)