Director David Fincher is nabbing all sorts of acclaim for his new film “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” –the Daniel Craig-Rooney Mara starrer enjoys an 94 percent “fresh” rating on movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.
The “Social Network” Oscar contender has established an awesome filmography in the last 15 years, including box office hits like “Se7en,” cult faves like “Fight Club” and award-nominated behemoths like “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” But for those who don’t know, he got his start directing music videos for artists like Madonna, Paula Abdul, the Rolling Stones, Iggy Pop and Aerosmith. Some of the clips he turned out in the late-80s and early-90s, in particular, have become iconic and genre-defining.
Below are, in our estimation, Fincher’s five most iconic videos.
PSYCH! We had to go with six … Madonna threw a wrench into things.
Madonna, TIE: “Vogue” and “Express Yourself”
Fincher’s relationship with the Queen of Pop ran deep. He directed four of Madonna’s most well-known clips, including two of her most influential and, arguably, best – “Vogue” and “Express Yourself.” It was so hard to pick between the two that we ultimately had to celebrate both. Inspired by Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis,” the video for “Express Yourself” was, at the time it was filmed, the most expensive music video ever, while the black-and-white clip for “Vogue” was inspired by old Hollywood glamour and was one of Madonna’s biggest hits ever (which is a STATEMENT).
George Michael, “Freedom”
The video for “Freedom” is notable for a few reasons. It features the destruction of the three items featured in the clip for Michael’s smash “Faith” that he felt symbolized his career at that point: his leather jacket, jukebox and guitar, but does not feature Michael himself. Instead, supermodels Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Tatjana Patitz, Cindy Crawford, and male models John Pearson, Mario Sorrenti and Peter Formby mouth the words to the track.
Aerosmith, “Janie’s Got a Gun”
“Janie’s Got A Gun” was groundbreaking for its use of gruesome, realistic scenes in its explicit depiction of the incest references in the song. Early in the video, the actor playing the father is shown exiting his daughter’s room, and the clip cuts to a shot of the girl writhing in her bed, crying. The video won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Rock Video as well as the Viewer’s Choice VMA. The song itself won Aerosmith their very first Grammy Award.
Paula Abdul, “Straight Up”
Like “Vogue,” Fincher shot the iconic, dance-centric video for Abdul’s No. 1 smash in black and white, and Abdul choreographed the video herself. “Straight Up” won four 1989 MTV VMAs for Best Female Video, Best Editing, Best Choreography and was the first Best Dance Video award winner.
Nine Inch Nails, “Only”
Fincher hadn’t directed a music video since A Perfect Circle’s 2000 vid for “Judith” but returned to the format that helped create his career to take on Nine Inch Nails’ “Only” in 2005. Relying almost entirely on CGI, “Only” features various objects in an executive’s office coming to life with the propulsion of the song, focusing mainly on Trent Reznor’s face appearing on the novelty Pin Art that sits on the desk.