Hello, and welcome to Fincher Week at the Playlist. With the release of his frantically anticipated "Gone Girl" imminent, and the largely rave reviews (ours perhaps a little more muted, though still very positive) presumably doing little to quell your appetite, we're dedicating our features this week to all things David Andrew Leo Fincher. So you'll either be totally pumped and primed for whatever "Gone Girl" throws at you this weekend, or you'll be so sick of him that you won't go and we'll save you $40. Win-win.
As you probably know, before Fincher was an Oscar-nominated, immensely respected auteur, he was a Grammy-winning, immensely respected music video director. And he's now so recognized for his visual stylizations that we thought it might be fun to take a look back through his enormous back catalogue of music videos to see if we could spot elements of his nascent feature film talent. In fact, fun might be overstating it a bit (there are 55 videos in total and a disproportionate number of them are for Paula Abdul songs after all) but it certainly was instructive to mine these often quite mundane early works to find some nuggets of Finchery goodness.
Here, then, are David Fincher's 55 music videos, ranked in reverse order from worst to best. As ever with this sort of thing, we tried to leave aside our feelings about the particular songs or bands and just concentrate on the filmmaking, but we can't guarantee that some anti-Johnny Hates Jazz bias, or whatever, hasn't unconsciously steered our rankings. Feel free to leap to their defense in the comments, and stay tuned throughout the week for more exhaustive Fincher coverage.
55. Loverboy "Love Will Rise Again" (1987)
Ok, I know we’re trying to be all objective and insightful about the filmmaking (which in this video is probably exactly par for the course for that period), but seriously, this is hilarious. Big hair, leather jackets, a sexy laydee struttin' her sexy stuff… it's safe to say this is not Fincher's finest hour.
54. Rick Springfield "Dance This World Away"
After his feature debut, "Beat of the Live Drum," a concert doc for Rick Springfield, Fincher got onto the music video gravy train via Springfield. To be honest, his inexperience shows here, but so does his ambition, incorporating a fake children's TV show, a proto-Lynchian ballroom through which a rockets blasts off, and a post-apocalyptic landscape/pile of office furniture.
53. The Motels "Shame" (1985)
An early example off Fincher's fetish for Venetian blinds, unfortunately marred by that lilac color scheme that seemed the height of chic for ten minutes in the mid-eighties, creaky video effects as a billboard comes to life, and some really naff hats.
52. Loverboy "Notorious" (1987)
Back with Canadian Hair Rockers Loverboy, this with time less stadium footage, which is a good thing, but more motorbikes, miniskirts and hot chicks draped over sports cars, which is a bad thing, unless you're going for maximum '80s nostalgia/relief that it's not the '80s anymore.
51. Wire Train "Should She Cry" (1990)
Well, we're out of the woods of the bad and into the sorta mediocre with this, one of three Wire Train videos Fincher did because Wire Train were a band that had more than at least three songs. We knew that. You can start to see a little Fincher visual grunge in the warm tones and scuzzy fabric backdrop, and it's the first appearance on this list of an old-timey car, a motif that recurs all over the place.
50. Colin James Hay "Can I Hold You"
The first and least of many black and white performance videos which feature guys playing instruments in a big room. It’s not bad, but there are about fifteen more of these here, so no one will think less of you for skipping this one, unless you're a massive Men at Work fan.