David Fincher -- c/d?

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Panic Room is on TV right now, and I'm struck by the fact that it's a very well-made, well-acted, great-looking movie that doesn't amount to much. He has this problem often. In conversation the other day, I compared him to Trent Reznor -- someone who's very technically proficient, but whose content is usually silly at best. (They even have the same blue-black color scheme, in my mind.)

Are there any exceptions? Is Fight Club a good movie, or a brilliant exercise in mood and craft? I've always contended that the third act is a godforsaken mess.

Tonight at ten (kenan), Saturday, 18 September 2004 00:30 (sixteen years ago) link

FUCKING DUD!

ex-jeremy (x Jeremy), Saturday, 18 September 2004 00:32 (sixteen years ago) link

But all his movies are soooo good to look at! Even Alien 3 is pretty enough to be watchable!

Tonight at ten (kenan), Saturday, 18 September 2004 00:33 (sixteen years ago) link

# Panic Room (2002) -- Trite, by the numbers, uncompelling.
# Fight Club (1999) -- Button-pushing, corporate-movie faux-take on anti-corporate sentiments calculated for a 14-year's mood and knowledge level.
# Game, The (1997) -- Ehh, this one was okay.
# Se7en (1995) -- Is ther anybody who didn't get the gag in this about ten minutes in?
# Alien³ (1992) -- Need I say more?

ex-jeremy (x Jeremy), Saturday, 18 September 2004 00:34 (sixteen years ago) link

# Game, The (1997) -- Ehh, this one was okay.

Funny, because that's my least favorite. It has that awful Mamet plot resolution, where it's a double cross! No, it's a triple cross! No, it's a quadruple cross! No, it's... oh, face it, this is ridiculous.

Tonight at ten (kenan), Saturday, 18 September 2004 00:38 (sixteen years ago) link

the game sucks. panic room kinda sucks. fight club is gross and pretty dumb. um, alien 3 made him hated by everyone in the world. except me, actually. i didn't mind it. i liked the sound of it. in fact i went back to the theatre and taped the movie with my tape recorder and then played it for weeks on my walkman when i walked to my midnight shift at the supermarket in new milford, connecticut. then i contemplated suicide. seven was gross and rainy, but okay for a laff. he's a moody motherfucker. probably fancies himself a bit of a tough guy and a rebel. i dunno if this means he has a small weewee or not. his blues are pretty blue alright. would like to see him work some red in. trent and him play d&d at sharon tate's house i think. which is cool. i can't remember which one is the troll.

scott seward (scott seward), Saturday, 18 September 2004 00:39 (sixteen years ago) link

I was stoned when I saw it, so I might be excusing its Fincherian (new word! coined!) shittness on the grounds of atmosphere.

ex-jeremy (x Jeremy), Saturday, 18 September 2004 00:39 (sixteen years ago) link

someone mentioned it another thread, Se7en supplies one of the few truly-scary moments in recent film (the dead-NOT DEAD!-guy). Also very nice to look at and Morgan Freeman is fun to listen to

Fight Club is fun until it gets serious. Helena Bonham-Carter's last good role?

miloauckerman (miloauckerman), Saturday, 18 September 2004 00:44 (sixteen years ago) link

The first third of Fight Club is so brilliant I can't stand it. There's just nothing like it. That's all thanks to Palahniuk, though.

Tonight at ten (kenan), Saturday, 18 September 2004 00:45 (sixteen years ago) link

(Who, BTW, has never written anything as good since. He's turning into the Stephen King of anger and disillusionment.)

Tonight at ten (kenan), Saturday, 18 September 2004 00:46 (sixteen years ago) link

The one bit of Fight Club I liked when I finally saw a huge hunk of it was Edward Norton beating himself up in that one guy's office. You could just put that on an endless loop and I'd be amused.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Saturday, 18 September 2004 00:47 (sixteen years ago) link

The cancer-bonding group is a little meh, the bitch-tits gag is so forced.

I'd like to see Palahniuk's cult-leader novel turned into a movie.

miloauckerman (miloauckerman), Saturday, 18 September 2004 00:47 (sixteen years ago) link

I love the idea of him getting addicted to other people's pain. That's sick and dark and *hilarious* and has a whole lotta weight, too.

Tonight at ten (kenan), Saturday, 18 September 2004 00:48 (sixteen years ago) link

I do dig the Ed Norton self-fight bit in Fight Club. But the whole film's a bit too ... cleverly masturbatory ... and never really manages the wit it supposes itself.

ex-jeremy (x Jeremy), Saturday, 18 September 2004 00:49 (sixteen years ago) link

Who, BTW, has never written anything as good since. He's turning into the Stephen King of anger and disillusionment.

Have you read the new introduction to the book? Oddly enough, the UCI library didn't have a copy of the novel at all, from any printing, and I ended up ordering it for a class that wants it on reserve. I read through the introduction when the book arrived and it was balanced between what I thought was the agreeably casual and the almost-suffused-with-self-importance -- he seemed both bemused and arrogant regarding the cult around book and movie.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Saturday, 18 September 2004 00:49 (sixteen years ago) link

Well, it did make him, and make him big. But try reading "Lullaby" -- this guy is so angry he kills people with his voice. Oh, so angry! Man is he ever angry! and with a flimsy premise!

x-post I didn't much think of "bitch tits" as a gag. I thought of it as this horribly weak and unfortunate person that this even more weak and far more fortunate person has decided to draw energy from. It's just the damndest dynamic. I couldn't have thought of it.

Tonight at ten (kenan), Saturday, 18 September 2004 00:52 (sixteen years ago) link

I was actually amused by his author photo on the book because the first person I thought of was Albini (if he didn't wear glasses).

Ned Raggett (Ned), Saturday, 18 September 2004 00:53 (sixteen years ago) link

BUT BACK TO FINCHER, then. A tosspot.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Saturday, 18 September 2004 00:54 (sixteen years ago) link

Is that like a tossup?

Tonight at ten (kenan), Saturday, 18 September 2004 00:56 (sixteen years ago) link

Or like a bucket of spunk?

Tonight at ten (kenan), Saturday, 18 September 2004 00:56 (sixteen years ago) link

It's like a saucepot, but worse.

ex-jeremy (x Jeremy), Saturday, 18 September 2004 00:58 (sixteen years ago) link

trent and him play d&d at sharon tate's house i think.

OTM.

which is cool.

Not so OTM.

Tonight at ten (kenan), Saturday, 18 September 2004 01:03 (sixteen years ago) link

Fight Club's the only one I can say I quite liked.

Eric H. (Eric H.), Saturday, 18 September 2004 01:07 (sixteen years ago) link

I loved Seven.

Fight Club is great if you watch it as a black comedy and nothing more (It's at least a lot better than the book, which I didn't much like at all). It does sort of fall of apart towards the end but it's still pretty funny.

The Game and Panic Room sucked.

Alien 3 I like, it's certainly no classic but it's not that bad of a movie.

I guess the best thing that can be said about Fincher is that on the visual/technical level he's one of the top Hollyood directors around.

The faux-nihilism schtick he specializes in is a love-it-or-hate-it thing I suppose.

latebloomer (latebloomer), Saturday, 18 September 2004 02:30 (sixteen years ago) link

I really like all his movies! I think Panic Room is underrated. Yeah it looks amazing but I think it is genuinely tense and suspenseful.

kyle (akmonday), Saturday, 18 September 2004 02:46 (sixteen years ago) link

and I love the Game because he made San Francisco look so gorgeous

kyle (akmonday), Saturday, 18 September 2004 02:47 (sixteen years ago) link

I read some great freudian take on Panic Room I remember that made it much better and more hitchcockian.

The Game was good for its slickness too.

The others are trash.

Sterling Clover (s_clover), Saturday, 18 September 2004 02:59 (sixteen years ago) link

he reminds me of jeunet

amateur!!!st (amateurist), Saturday, 18 September 2004 03:03 (sixteen years ago) link

i like trash!

kyle (akmonday), Saturday, 18 September 2004 03:07 (sixteen years ago) link

The Jeunet comparison is really interesting. Is it the sensibility that makes you say that, or just the color scheme?

Tonight at ten (kenan), Saturday, 18 September 2004 03:10 (sixteen years ago) link

I've liked 'em all, esp. Fight Club, which is one of my fave movies (and books) and except Panic Room, which I haven't seen. I liked Palahniuk's Choke, if only because of its many absurdities (like the anal beads gag - literally).

B.A.R.M.S. (Barima), Saturday, 18 September 2004 19:31 (sixteen years ago) link

Fincher gets good performances out of his actors. Ironic, since more often than not they're totally wasted.

manthony m1cc1o (Anthony Miccio), Saturday, 18 September 2004 19:34 (sixteen years ago) link

I haven't seen the Game or Seven since I saw Fight Club and Panic Room, so it's possible I wouldn't like them as much if I saw them again.

manthony m1cc1o (Anthony Miccio), Saturday, 18 September 2004 19:34 (sixteen years ago) link

You're right in that he normally knows how to pick/work a cast.

B.A.R.M.S. (Barima), Saturday, 18 September 2004 19:39 (sixteen years ago) link

God knows, seeing Leto's face become a mashup was something I never considered wanting before I saw it. Now it's compulsive viewing.

B.A.R.M.S. (Barima), Saturday, 18 September 2004 19:40 (sixteen years ago) link

Jeremy, I think the script to Panic Room is quite brilliant. Have you read it?

I like Fincher well enough. he's not as visually interesting as he is often made out to be but incredibly slick (in a good sense). I enjoyed The Game and Panic Room much more than I did Fight Club or Seven, which were good in parts.

adam. (nordicskilla), Saturday, 18 September 2004 19:46 (sixteen years ago) link

He's better than Aranofsky, of course.

adam. (nordicskilla), Saturday, 18 September 2004 19:47 (sixteen years ago) link

I think I'll have to agree with you on that last point!

Ned Raggett (Ned), Saturday, 18 September 2004 19:49 (sixteen years ago) link

Let's face it - if there is anyone here that doesn't, we should probably just shoot them.

adam. (nordicskilla), Saturday, 18 September 2004 19:50 (sixteen years ago) link

Like the grouse that they are.

adam. (nordicskilla), Saturday, 18 September 2004 19:50 (sixteen years ago) link

I'm beginning to understand your current state of mind.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Saturday, 18 September 2004 19:52 (sixteen years ago) link

aronofsky is better than you think.

cºzen (Cozen), Saturday, 18 September 2004 19:59 (sixteen years ago) link

do you like films, cozen?

adam. (nordicskilla), Saturday, 18 September 2004 19:59 (sixteen years ago) link

films is OK.

cºzen (Cozen), Saturday, 18 September 2004 20:04 (sixteen years ago) link

I wonder that about all of you a lot of the time.

B.A.R.M.S. (Barima), Saturday, 18 September 2004 20:05 (sixteen years ago) link

God knows, seeing Leto's face become a mashup was something I never considered wanting before I saw it.

you get to see this in 2 Fincher movies, right? I hope it happens in his next one too.

kyle (akmonday), Saturday, 18 September 2004 22:43 (sixteen years ago) link

(waay xpost) no, adam; but I should take a look at it... no?

ex-jeremy (x Jeremy), Sunday, 19 September 2004 02:16 (sixteen years ago) link

three years pass...

Fincher slated to direct adaptation of Charles Burns' "The Black Hole". I am excited.

Shakey Mo Collier, Thursday, 21 February 2008 20:45 (thirteen years ago) link

wowwww

s1ocki, Thursday, 21 February 2008 20:47 (thirteen years ago) link

Ha! Well done.

SQUIRREL MEAT!! (Capitaine Jay Vee), Monday, 7 December 2020 06:27 (five months ago) link

he knew i had terrible taste
i have no regrets

but i miss him like crazy

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 7 December 2020 06:41 (five months ago) link

this was so dull I turned it off after 20 minutes

joni mitchell jarre (anagram), Monday, 7 December 2020 07:55 (five months ago) link

"has mcbride ever heard this do you think"

this makes me want to see a Mank where Danny McBride plays Mank and yeah I guess Jody Hill or David Gordon Green directs too

charlie brown from outta town (GM), Monday, 7 December 2020 08:25 (five months ago) link

This is a fascinating interview w Ren Klyce the sound designer on Mank (who’s worked on most/almost all of Fincher’s major movies)

The minutaie layed out here is incredible - and lol at how much of the story is Fincher asking for the moon & then getting annoyed at how long it takes to achieve his wild asks

https://theplaylist.net/mank-sound-design-ren-kylce-interview-20201207/

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 8 December 2020 00:40 (five months ago) link

While never dull, Mank mistakenly gets too ambitious; it's the most unwieldy picture of Fincher's career. I'd have wanted a movie about his support for Upton Sinclair.

Patriotic Goiter (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 8 December 2020 00:49 (five months ago) link

Good details about the fact/fiction of that here, by Greg Mitchell who wrote “Campaign of The Century” about Sinclair’s run

The Mank connection to Sinclair is heavily fictionalized it seems, but the studio involvement in scuttling Sinclair’s win was pretty true, if not watered down

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/07/movies/mank-upton-sinclair.html?smid=tw-share

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 8 December 2020 01:00 (five months ago) link

I think Fincher maybe tried to have it be about ~too much~ and Mank the character gets a little foggy between timelines

But I think Mank’s change of heart in wanting credit is the heart of the movie, and the movie writer in The System is where the richness is

I’ve watched it a couple of times now & don’t believe Fincher is waging any kind of war against Welles the way wellesians make it seem. I think the thought exercise of viewing Welles & Kane through Mank’s gimlet eye makes it hard not to seem like jabs are being intentionally thrown. as Mank says in the movie (paraphrasing) he *is* capable of being serious ... about things that are funny.

The movie is telling this creative undertaking through Mank’s experience of it and trying to underline that whatever Mank wrote, once it was written, was something he was proud of, and willing to stand for, which is something he had never really done, and what a seachange that is for a man who never held his own work in much high regard at all.
I don’t think it’s trying to challenge any accepted facts or say that Welles did less or whatever. imo.

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 8 December 2020 01:14 (five months ago) link

Mank sank by script that's rank

Ward Fowler, Tuesday, 8 December 2020 15:07 (five months ago) link

I would have probably like it more if I was an Old Hollywood nerd

lol all the old hollywood nerds I know HATE this movie

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 8 December 2020 15:20 (five months ago) link

A leaden mess. Stick with a topic and develop it: the '34 gubernatorial race, carousing with Perelman, Hecht, et. al, the writing of CK.

The film can't take a "side" because it's an overloaded buffet.

Patriotic Goiter (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 8 December 2020 15:25 (five months ago) link

I would have much preferred another season of Mindhunter. Maybe watching this with low expectations helped and despite some of awful dialogue I found it quite enjoyable as far as Netflix productions go!

calzino, Tuesday, 8 December 2020 15:30 (five months ago) link

I'd rank his films thusly.

Patriotic Goiter (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 9 December 2020 03:23 (five months ago) link

i feel like you nailed the best two; i'd switch around a bunch of stuff below them, mostly bc i'm the only huge fan of panic room and i actually really love the way he adapted gone girl

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Wednesday, 9 December 2020 03:37 (five months ago) link

I remember panic room being a lot of fun

it bangs for thee (Simon H.), Wednesday, 9 December 2020 03:41 (five months ago) link

it’s so fun

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Wednesday, 9 December 2020 03:45 (five months ago) link

I found the cast unattractive but it's been so long.

Patriotic Goiter (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 9 December 2020 03:48 (five months ago) link

Gone Girl and Zodiac are basically tied for me lol

it bangs for thee (Simon H.), Wednesday, 9 December 2020 04:41 (five months ago) link

the social network is very good

flappy bird, Wednesday, 9 December 2020 19:22 (five months ago) link

i probably need to see gone girl again but i had read the book before i saw the movie and didn't really feel like the movie added much that wasn't already in the book. i remember it being a fine adaptation but not a special movie beyond that. i'd be curious to hear more from fans of the movie about what it is that appeals to them about it as a movie. this is not a challenge, again i haven't seen the movie since it first came out.

na (NA), Wednesday, 9 December 2020 19:33 (five months ago) link

I found it obvious and cloddish. No surprises except when Tyler Perry was onscreen. I wish Verhoeven had directed.

Patriotic Goiter (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 9 December 2020 19:38 (five months ago) link

i read the book first too! i thought the movie basically removed everything i found annoying about the book

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Wednesday, 9 December 2020 19:39 (five months ago) link

i'm not sure how to counter "obvious and cloddish" but i found it visually awesome and appropriately creepy and cold

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Wednesday, 9 December 2020 19:40 (five months ago) link

also idk the book has a binary structure right? and fincher had to make that more like an unfolding narrative and i think he did a great job of threading everything together

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Wednesday, 9 December 2020 19:41 (five months ago) link

Not having to read Gillian Flynn’s sentences makes the film an immediate improvement

Chuck_Tatum, Wednesday, 9 December 2020 19:43 (five months ago) link

lol essentially yes

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Wednesday, 9 December 2020 19:44 (five months ago) link

the only thing I'd want excised is the Scott McNairy character/scene

it bangs for thee (Simon H.), Wednesday, 9 December 2020 19:45 (five months ago) link

also, v good Fincher commentary track

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIJXB1jfB2o

it bangs for thee (Simon H.), Wednesday, 9 December 2020 19:48 (five months ago) link

Maybe the novel (I've only read Sharp Objects) offered interior monologues or a narrator who made Pike's character less...transparent? She practically twirled a mustche. idk this played like a movie whose developments were obvious and took a long time time getting to the denouement.

Patriotic Goiter (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 9 December 2020 19:49 (five months ago) link

idk maybe knowing the twist inoculated me against noticing any mustache-twirling, pike seemed to nail the "presents a cool surface beneath which roil the thoughts of a high-key sociopath" 2 me

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Wednesday, 9 December 2020 19:53 (five months ago) link

the book alternates the two main characters as (unreliable) narrators iirc

Number None, Wednesday, 9 December 2020 23:19 (five months ago) link

That's helpful. Maybe Fincher, trying to compensate, emphasized Pike's villainy as a way of reflecting the explicitness of the text.

Patriotic Goiter (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 9 December 2020 23:24 (five months ago) link

well this was a crock of absolute shit

Babby's Yed Revisited (jim in vancouver), Tuesday, 15 December 2020 18:22 (four months ago) link

Be crueler.

Patriotic Goiter (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 15 December 2020 18:25 (four months ago) link

Wouldn't go that far but this was too unfocused. Script needed a lot of work. I like pretty much everything Fincher's done but couldn't get into this one

Vinnie, Wednesday, 16 December 2020 00:34 (four months ago) link

Gary Oldman's vocal tics started to grate on me too

Vinnie, Wednesday, 16 December 2020 00:35 (four months ago) link

the performance grated for me. my main issue was that I was constantly thinking "why am I watching this?" throughout the film, which is always a bad sign. I am favourably inclined towards fincher, and the film looks fine, but I think the script just sinks this thing.

Babby's Yed Revisited (jim in vancouver), Wednesday, 16 December 2020 00:40 (four months ago) link

Bill Nye as Upton Sinclair was a nice surprise. Would watch that biopic.

swing out sister: live in new donk city (geoffreyess), Wednesday, 16 December 2020 01:03 (four months ago) link

also i was watching with headphones and i maybe i'm crazy but it sounded like the dialogue had an effect on it to make it sound like you're watching a movie in a theater - a very slight echo/reverb

I noticed this too! It was fairly disorienting thru my terrible tv speakers.

swing out sister: live in new donk city (geoffreyess), Wednesday, 16 December 2020 01:13 (four months ago) link

_also i was watching with headphones and i maybe i'm crazy but it sounded like the dialogue had an effect on it to make it sound like you're watching a movie in a theater - a very slight echo/reverb_


I noticed this too! It was fairly disorienting thru my terrible tv speakers.


Was that not fairly obvious for most people? Sometimes my sound system craps out and I have to resort to TV speakers and the Mank sound design was very similar to what it sounds like if I accidentally have the TV speakers and system playing simultaneously. Did make me check my set-up early on.

circa1916, Wednesday, 16 December 2020 02:35 (four months ago) link

well this was a crock of absolute shit


also lol

circa1916, Wednesday, 16 December 2020 02:37 (four months ago) link

Was that not fairly obvious for most people?

I would imagine so. Mostly just reminded me how much better it would've been at a theater.

swing out sister: live in new donk city (geoffreyess), Wednesday, 16 December 2020 04:19 (four months ago) link

three months pass...

my main issue was that I was constantly thinking "why am I watching this?" throughout the film

spot on

G.A.G.S. (Gophers Against Getting Stuffed) (forksclovetofu), Monday, 5 April 2021 17:36 (one month ago) link

yeah, I kinda enjoyed it while watching but have thought of it 0 times since

intern at pepe le pew research (Simon H.), Monday, 5 April 2021 18:12 (one month ago) link

three weeks pass...

very confused at the casting of 62-year-old gary oldman to play someone who was in their 30s and early 40s during the majority of the story, especially when you also have to make him look like shit.

beyond that, what everyone else said--it's a bad script.

call all destroyer, Saturday, 1 May 2021 19:24 (one week ago) link

have you seen photos of the real mank

he looked like he was 80 when he was 30
oldman was a good choice!

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 1 May 2021 19:35 (one week ago) link

if anything oldman looks too young lol

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 1 May 2021 19:37 (one week ago) link

i feel like if this movie were internally consistent mank would have written his hitpiece script about louis b mayer

call all destroyer, Sunday, 2 May 2021 04:04 (one week ago) link

a bad pun ignored develops into a long, slurring ad hom attack, digging up stuff from the past. Mank is an ilxor.

If you value Vox, we have an axe (Sufjan Grafton), Sunday, 2 May 2021 18:55 (one week ago) link


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