FilmExodus Battle Royale: Tarantino v Anderson v Fincher

First Rounds are over. Redemption has taken place. Now, the only thing left is the final Battle. “Let Them Fight!”, the series where we pit two directors with similar backgrounds against one another, has transitioned into the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Where all the previous winners duke it out, and only one director can be left standing when the dust settles. This is FilmExodus Battle Royale.

For an overview of past fights and what’s coming up, click here .

What to Consider

Obviously, which director do you think is better than the other? But what film of theirs proves your point. Remember, it isn’t so much about which film made the most money or was a critical darling, but in your mind which Director is better than the other in terms of style, risk, scope, etc.

How I Tally the Votes

I look at the comments posted (only first comments, no replies) to see who they picked. I don’t count comments that don’t give a clear answer on who they chose. If you want your comment to count make sure it is not a reply to someone else’s comment and has a clear definite winner.

Now on to today’s fighters: three men who’s works were so strong they knocked out competitors like Robert Rodriguez, Edgar Wright, and Paul Thomas Anderson. These directors are Quentin Tarantino, Wes Anderson, and David Fincher.


Quentin Tarantino

Date of Birth: March 27, 1963 (age 54)

Highest Rated Film: Pulp Fiction (1994) – 94% RT

Lowest Rated Film: Four Rooms (1996) – 14% RT


Wes Anderson

Date of Birth: May 1, 1969 (age 48)

Highest Rated Film: Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) – 93% RT

Lowest Rated Film: The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) – 56% RT


David Fincher

Date of Birth: August 28, 1972 (age 55)

Highest Rated Film: The Social Network (2010) – 96% RT

Lowest Rated Film: Alien 3 (1992) – 46% RT


Only one can move on to the semi-finals, so FIGHT!

Previous match-ups: Spielberg v Kubrick v Scorsese, Hitchcock v Gibson v Nolan.

  • Tarantino, Tarantino, Babyyyyyyy.

  • William Dhalgren

    Done

  • TheDeadFellow
  • William Dhalgren

    Yep.

  • TheDeadFellow

    BTW, do you have a Letterboxd account? Could always use more followers.

  • William Dhalgren

    That’s what is most insidious about the ideology – that it appears to derive itself from a place of benevolence. It’s why it has survived and seems to be enjoying a renaissance despite being utterly discredited in the last century. Its ideas aren’t sound, but it entices people in with promises of progress and utopias. Socialism, beginning some time in the late 40s and early 50s, was often packaged together with hedonism. It’s smart branding. But it’s smoke and mirrors. It’s Logan’s Run. As an aside, I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that so many writers who write dystopias generally find themselves well left of center and yet seem to completely miss the fact that leftist political theory often leads to totalitarianism – more so than Western democracies at any rate.

  • William Dhalgren

    Yeah, I know about tumblr and I avoid it. I’m sadly very narrowly-traveled online. I don’t get around much.

    It’s the live action one I was talking about. And, yes, it was a wasted opportunity, but the reviews I’m talking about are unfair and ridiculous. I didn’t hate the movie, tbh. I felt very disspointed, because there were moments when I thought to myself that I could see this movie becoming a cult classic. There’s something there…couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Atmosphere? I dunno. But it’s faults are too numerous and not even endearing, so…

  • TheDeadFellow

    Stay far away from tumblr as much as you can, then.

    The 1995 original or the 2017 one? Frankly, as someone who adores the franchise, the latter deserves as much as shit as it can get, even if its in ways that even I wouldn’t approve of.

  • William Dhalgren

    Marxists (even fucking Maoists and Stalinists) are all over the internet. And I have read a lot of activist reviews on Letterboxd. The reviews for Ghost in the Shell are amusing (probably not the right word), to say the least.

  • TheDeadFellow

    Basically, yeah. It’s not a half bad philosophy on paper, but due to the sheer dickery of human beings, it’s not something that will never work in real life.

  • DryButSoupy

    I think communism itself is the best argument against communism there is. It’s funny how the most vocal proponents of communism never seem to have lived in a communist state. They’re people of privilege who live in Western representative democracies.

    That person on Letterboxd is probably a 21 year old dorm room revolutionary.

  • DryButSoupy

    “revolution and unrest of late are the byproducts of a wealthy, contented society. That’s pretty goddamn cynical, and, if true, terribly depressing.”

    Amen, brother.

  • TheDeadFellow

    There’s this one user I’ve encountered on Letterboxd who has a real stick up her bum about Communism. Hell, she even self identifies as a Marxist and called a movie like Atomic Blonde fucking “Anti Communist Propaganda”, among other things.

  • William Dhalgren

    The American left (in as much as such a homogenous group even exists) has come to not only sympathize with communism, but romanticize it. It’s bewildering to me that this toxic, utterly repugnant ideology yet lingers in the West after all of the pain and death done (and continues to be done) in its name. I heard some professor of something say on a podcast recently (can’t remember which or who) that talks of revolution and unrest of late are the byproducts of a wealthy, contented society. That’s pretty goddamn cynical, and, if true, terribly depressing.

    I also had a friend whose dad was in Vietnam, and I was told not to ever bring it up. This was back in the 80s when Vietnam was heavily in the pop culture and every kid wanted to be Rambo. I’d end up writing an essay if I tried to describe my thoughts on Vietnam. It’s complicated. I hate war. I also see the foothold Marxism has gained once again in political discourse, and it makes me wonder at how easily we have dismissed the concerns of Western leaders of the time.

    I got pretty interested in WWII for a while, too, but I find WWI utterly fascinating.

  • Indianamcclain

    I don’t know why that film had to be three hours. It certainly didn’t feel like the story warranted that runtime.

  • DryButSoupy

    On the subject of modern war I was a WW2 buff first and not nearly as well-versed in Vietnam. I should clarify that when I call it a bullshit war, I don’t mean it the same way as a dumbass liberal at the time might mean it. Or the way a college kid protesting it might have meant it. As a younger person (a teen) I was more sympathetic to the notion that stopping communism in a broad sense was always a noble endeavor. I still have no love at all for communism. For all the death and misery that system has caused I fail to understand why the American left still has a degree of sympathy for it. It’s no more “good” than Nazism….and one could argue that over time it ended up being worse if for no other reason than communist dictators ended up murdering more people than Hitler ever did. I’ve become very non-interventionist the older I’ve gotten. Every country has the right to determine their own form of governance, even if they’re making bad decisions about it. You’re right that it’s much easier to look back now and make judgments. When I call it a bullshit war it’s because I’m saddened and disgusted that so much death and destruction occurred for, ultimately, no positive outcome. The whole of Vietnam went communist anyway. And we ruined a generation of men by fighting it half-assed.

    The father of one of my best childhood friends was a Vietnam vet. He drove an armored personnel carrier. As a kid I, stupidly, asked him about it once and he flatly told me that nothing happened over there that he cared to remember. That stuck with me. It certainly helped me realize that Vietnam was entirely different from the romanticized notions of WW2 I had at a young age.

  • William Dhalgren

    Have you read Stallone’s liner notes for the Rocky Soundtrack? The guy is no slouch with words. He’s spent years seemingly trying to hide the fact that he is no dummy, and that somehow makes him a more compelling personality to me.

    I used to have pretty much the same opinion on Vietnam as you. It’s a subject that has interested me since I was a young boy. I wrote a few papers on Vietnam in high school and have stayed interested in it as an adult. As with all things, my opinions on the war have changed as I’ve gotten older. They’re no longer as straightforward as they once were. My views on foreign affairs tend toward the non-interventionist end of the spectrum. But I think it’s easy to look back and second guess the decisions of the leaders at the time, and it’s even easier to do so from where we sit on this comfortable side of the Cold War.

  • Poppity

    The white flag means that it’s a draw, not a win! Grrr …. I have as much persistence as you though am perhaps slightly more sleep-deprived. No chance I’m giving this to you!

  • sailor monsoon

    That’s how i win every situation.
    Persistence!

  • Poppity

    Alright, I wave the white flag because you’re never going to back down and I’m never going to give him a chance. It’s an impossible situation!

  • sailor monsoon

    It’s one of the best performances of all time

  • Poppity

    Seeing part of it doesn’t count, eh? Well, I’d say for my mental sanity, I would prefer to it to remain that way because there is no way I’m sitting through 2 hours of Cage, mind you in dual roles. 🙂

  • sailor monsoon

    It’s pretty coincidental that the two people who are slamming cage haven’t seen adaptation…

  • Kemosabe

    The anachronism itself didn’t bother me, just that I felt there were songs that didn’t go well with what was on-screen.

  • DropYourLinen

    Tarantino, hands down.

  • Poppity

    Not the whole thing but I can’t take Cage seriously enough to do a full viewing. :-/

  • sailor monsoon

    Have you seen adaptation?

  • Poppity

    YOU, GUILTY!! 🙂

  • Poppity

    Weak material and Nicolas Cage go hand-in-hand. 🙂

    I mentioned above (sorry, I wrote that before seeing your comment) about Nic’s “batshit crazy” act and he does it all the time, whether the movie *needs* it or not. In all seriousness, he’s ruined many a film for me because of his acting. Going back to Peggy Sue Got Married, I detested his performance throughout the film and to this day hate the ending because the embodiment of his character deserves zero redemption.

    Let me just put it this way, there are a few actors that just get under my skin and drive me bananas, such as:
    – Will Patton
    – Richard Dreyfuss
    – Charles Grodin
    – John Travolta (Saturday Night Fever is his only lifeline.)
    – Vincent Cassel
    – Jennifer Lawrence
    – Natalie Portman

    Nic is not particularly one that will make me cringe like the folks above but his acting is subpar. How he ever got decorated with a Best Actor statuette is beyond me. His performance in Leaving Las Vegas is once again over the top and as a viewer, I have zero compassion for him and his character’s demise.
    Conan O’Brien has a running joke on his show about Nic and his dismal (current) acting career. It’s nothing personal, Sailor, because my dislike of Nic is rather long-standing. However, it’s amusing to see you defend him so ardently and like I said before, I respect your fidelity.

    @DukeMyNameIs:disqus – I think the debate over Nicolas Cage’s acting abilities, or lack thereof, needs it’s own page. It may very well take over the whole site. 😀

  • Poppity

    And without ever changing his facial expression aside from the random moments when he opens his eyes so big that they literally pop out of his face all the while doing the “I’m batshit crazy” Nic Cage thingy.

  • Poppity

    How interesting, I never would have guessed that about Reznor. I love random tidbits like that. 🙂

  • Joe Newman

    Hard choice, but I’m going with Tarantino.

  • *blank stare*

    Tarantino’s just got that much more cultural influence so I vote him.

    And I say this as a person who still can’t believe that because of Fincher, Trent Reznor is an Oscar-winning composer. Every single day is a little bit brighter knowing that fact.

  • Joshua Martyniouk

    Tarintino because he is a bad motherfucker who loves gore!

  • William Dhalgren

    Hangouts DM forthcoming.

  • DryButSoupy

    I commented on other comments, but I didn’t vote. Tarantino. Even the movies of his I don’t care too much for, there’s stuff I really like. Fincher is good…but he hasn’t blown me away the way Tarantino has at times. Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction were two significant films in my development as a movie lover. They affected my tastes and my ability to appreciate film profoundly.

  • DryButSoupy

    Those two movies, and Copland, demonstrate that he’s more than just an 80’s action hero. As much as I dig me some 80’s Ahnold, I would argue that he NEVER did anything approaching the quality of Stallone’s best stuff…not in any depth, anyway. First Blood was more than an action flick…sure, it is probably seen as the genesis of the whole supercommando/one man army cliche, but that movie was ABOUT something. It was made at a time when America had just enough distance from Vietnam to be able to consider what it did to the men who came back. It was a mainstream action movie in some ways, but it made America look at what it was doing to its vets. Men were sent off to fight in a bullshit war only to come back and find out they were hated for it. Our country ruined them and then spat on them when they returned. I’ll get off my soapbox, but I’ll say this: even as a pre-teen/teenager watching that movie, I knew it was ABOUT something. And it made me angry in all the right ways.

    I kind of went off on a rant. Rocky, of course, is every bit as good or better at telling the story it had to tell, too. In the late 70’s/early 80’s Stallone had just as good an insight into what America was as any other pop culture icon….better, really.

  • sailor monsoon

    Trump is president.
    I believe anything now

  • William Dhalgren

    It’s nutso to think that places like Venezuela, North Korea, and Myanmar exist in the world in the current year, innit?

  • sailor monsoon

    Apparently Burmese freedom fighters love that film.
    So yes, it’s propaganda but it’s refreshing to see propaganda that’s not rah rah go America.

  • William Dhalgren

    I can’t get past the exploding body parts and CGI globules of blood. Such a waste.

  • sailor monsoon

    I still love Rambo for all its faults

  • William Dhalgren

    It’s an easy thing to do. Pop culture remembers both of those characters in a way that is pretty much anathema to the way in which they began. I always, always loved First Blood, but Copland was what made me turn a critical eye on Stallone and try and look at him apart from what he had come to symbolize in pop culture. Aside from that, the guy is no dummy. He’s a gifted writer and, I’d be willing to bet, pretty well-read. It’s too bad Copland didn’t begin a reniassance for him as an actor and artist. I REALLY wanted Rambo to be more of a drama about a washed up vet, preferebaly set in the States. Something along the lines of Rocky Balboa. But whaddyagonnado?

  • sailor monsoon

    I think people take those characters and performances for granted.

  • William Dhalgren

    Or Rocky. Or First Blood. He’s a guy who sacrificed artistry on the alter of ego and stardom.

  • sailor monsoon

    Anyone who’s seen cop land and doesn’t think Stallone is a fantastic actor, is blind or crazy

  • William Dhalgren

    I don’t begrudge you your love of Cage. I think Stallone is brilliant and misunderstood, but I don’t think many people would agree.

  • William Dhalgren

    Hateful Eight didn’t leave much of an impression on me. I’m trying to remember what I thought about it, but am struggling. I want to say that I kept thinking that an incredible amount of detail went into the film, but it’s fuzzy. That’s usually not a good sign for me in terms of a film’s importance to me.

    I guess that last sentence was kind of obvious.

  • sailor monsoon

    I think it holds up.
    The casting is pitch perfect
    The set is incredible
    And the music is catchy as fuck

  • sailor monsoon

    Watch that film and if you don’t think he’s amazing in it, I’ll never bring up my love of cage again.

  • William Dhalgren

    I will not lie to win an argument. I have not seen that movie.

  • William Dhalgren

    Dude, it has been years. But it does have one thing: Robin Williams.

  • William Dhalgren

    True story.

  • sailor monsoon

    So his performance in raising Arizona is the same as adaptation?

  • Tanis11

    Tarantino for this guy.

  • sailor monsoon

    “I know I’ve talked about hating cage but just between you and me, i totes love that guy. He’s the modern brando but waay more sexy”
    Direct quote from a Mr. William Dhalgren.
    7-28-17

  • William Dhalgren

    You do! Have to be careful with what I tell you!

  • William Dhalgren

    The guy is tone deaf. He acts the same in every movie. He’s basically H.I. from Raising Arizona in every movie.

  • sailor monsoon

    The original is very close to masterpiece territory in my opinion. But more importantly, it’s one of the definitive cult classics.
    The cage one is the only remake of a cult classic that itself is also a cult classic. And that’s all thanks to cage’s performance.
    You never, ever forget the new wicker man.
    The bees
    Him dressed as a bear punching women in the face
    Screaming about how a doll got burned.
    It’s terrible but cage knew it was terrible and leaned right the fuck in

  • sailor monsoon

    He is amazing in grease.
    Bad actors don’t give amazing performances.
    Jessica Alba will never accidentally give a great performance.
    She’s consistently passable.
    That’s her range.
    Travolta has range but can’t pick a script to save his life

  • sailor monsoon

    What are your thoughts on the live action popeye?
    A lot of people lump that film into the misfire pile but i think it’s fantastic

  • sailor monsoon

    I remember

  • sailor monsoon

    I have no idea what that means because cage doesn’t do one genre.
    He can do drama
    He can do comedy
    He can do action
    So i don’t know which genre you think he can only do

  • DryButSoupy

    I liked the original Wicker Man. That movie deserved a much better remake. The original is good, but dated. The basic story is great, though.

  • William Dhalgren

    Fuck that. He’s amazing in Grease.

  • William Dhalgren

    Sailor. You’re anything but dense. You know what that means.

  • William Dhalgren

    LOL!

  • William Dhalgren

    Yeah, I was telling my son today that it is deeply flawed, but so, so interesting. I’ll try to get my thoughts down on it and publish.

  • sailor monsoon

    Yeah but what does that mean!?

  • William Dhalgren

    Cage is kinda like Kurt Cobain to me. He’s great if he’s singing punk or grunge. Otherwise forget about it.

  • sailor monsoon

    I love lynch.
    But Dune is one of those glorious misfires only truly talented directors can make.
    Like the wiz and 1941.
    You can still see the talent behind the strings but something doesn’t work

  • sailor monsoon

    Because i know you don’t like it

  • William Dhalgren

    Yeah, it’s been a looooong time since I last saw it. I have many thoughts…

  • sailor monsoon

    Is he bad in those movies?

  • William Dhalgren

    At least Joe wasn’t on your list of Cage bona fides.

  • sailor monsoon

    I’ve been meaning to rewatch that.
    It’s been awhile.
    I still can’t believe Villeneuve is doing an adaptation

  • William Dhalgren

    Btw, I’m currently re-watching Lynch’s Dune (started it last night). Might add this to my list of write-ups to do (if I can ever make the time).

  • William Dhalgren

    Lots of sucko actors are in good movies. This proves nothing.

  • sailor monsoon

    I’ll take wicker man over the new death wish any fucking day.
    Over the top Cage isn’t a lack of talent on his part, it’s a purposeful decision to elevate the material.
    You watch the making of ghost rider and he’s not phoning that crazy in.
    He’s got hoodoo pendants and skull paint on. He’s fully committed to the crazy.
    Bruce Willis will just be Bruce Willis.
    He can be great but he hasn’t tried since 2012.
    And travolta is an incredible actor.
    You don’t accidentally give a performance as great as his in blow out. Bad actors can’t do that.
    His problem is and has always been, he has no idea how to pick projects.

  • DryButSoupy

    I don’t think Travolta gets a pass. He’s been in some good movies…even done a good job in them (Pulp Fiction, Get Shorty) but I think he’s a bad actor, plain and simple.

    With WIllis, he’s definitely had some stinkers. I think Cage gets singled out because he’s so batshit crazy. When he’s bad, he’s HORRIBLE. When Willis is bad, he’s just bad. Even at his worst he’s basically just bored and smirky. Whereas Cage, well, Wicker Man.

  • sailor monsoon

    Adaptation
    Bringing out the dead
    Valley girl
    Raising Arizona
    Moonstruck
    Wild at heart
    Honeymoon in Vegas
    Red rock West
    Leaving las Vegas
    Face off
    8MM
    Matchstick men
    Lord of war
    The weather man
    World trade center
    Bad lieutenant
    Kick ass
    And that cameo in grindhouse
    And those are just the great performances.
    He’s still got a ton of crazy shit that’s amazing

  • William Dhalgren

    You and I are rarely at odds with one another, but today we are polar opposites. Cage sucks big ones!

  • William Dhalgren

    I hate his movies, dude. I’m not sorry.

  • sailor monsoon

    Here’s the thing about nic cage.
    If he’s working with a great director (Scorsese, herzog, scott, jonze, coen bros) he’s great.
    If the material is weak, cage is going to try and save it by going crazy. He’ll intentionally go over the top to save the film.
    It’s the 3rd cage that’s not so great.
    That’s the bored cage.
    It doesn’t happen often but once in awhile we’ll get a left behind or a Bangkok dangerous and that’s auto pilot cage.
    Travolta and willis have way more stinkers in their filmography than cage but for some reason they get a pass.

  • sailor monsoon

    I love pulp fiction and it’s probably why I’m a cinephile (i hate that phrase) but i think basterds is his masterpiece.
    The farmhouse and tavern are two of the best directed, best edited, best written scenes ever committed to celluloid

  • sailor monsoon

    When the it elevates the material.
    So essentially, if the thief makes the material better, it’s fine.
    I only consider it theft when it’s a blatant cash grab like those epic movies or those asylum films

  • (This is almost worthy of its own post)

    Maybe if the homage doesn’t read as “taking something from someone else but still having its own flare or touch” and instead is “so obviously stolen that it’s ridiculous perhaps”

  • DryButSoupy

    Question for discussion: When does an “homage” become “ripping someone off?”

  • DryButSoupy

    I hate stupid hipster faces. But I will admit that I did enjoy Moonrise Kingdom.

  • DryButSoupy

    I think Basterds has the best scene he’s ever put on film (the French farmhouse) but overall I’d still rank his first three films as his best.

  • Poppity
  • sailor monsoon

    The music never bothers me because his films are a mixtape of homages.
    If it was a legitimate drama about slavery, it would feel odd but it’s a revenge fantasy and the tone justifies its anachronistic soundtrack

  • sailor monsoon

    Yeah city of angels was a misfire but you can tell he was at least trying.

  • Kemosabe

    I thought Django was a miss for him. And the way he used music in that movie bothered me.

  • Poppity

    I learned to appreciate Trevor Howard so I consider myself pretty bendable to reason. That being said, I was restraining myself from mentioning little Nicky Coppola. I loved him in Raising Arizona but even back to Peggy Sue Got Married, he overstretched it. Don’t get me started on City of Angels though I will say that the leads in that films were equally as talentless.
    From this point on, I will be ducking in front of my computer screen so that the flames won’t directly hit me. 🙂

  • sailor monsoon

    90% of the time.
    Except when it comes to cage.
    He’s a goddamn genius poppity and i won’t hear a word against it

  • Poppity

    Not always! 🙂

  • sailor monsoon

    Hateful eight is my least favorite of his films but Django and Basterds are incredible

  • sailor monsoon

    Always the voice of reason.

  • Poppity

    Tarantino

  • Indianamcclain

    I’m wondering if the passing of Sally Menke has anything to do with that.

  • DryButSoupy

    I agree. I think, for the most part, Tarantino’s movies have gotten progressively worse. The closer Hateful Eight got to the end, the harder it became for me to watch.

  • Indianamcclain

    Tarantino. However, I will say as time goes on his films are becoming increasingly self indulgent. I liked Hateful Eight the first time I saw it, but I found it difficult to sit through at home.

  • Fincher

  • Claudio Sanchez Hair

    Tarantino

  • sailor monsoon

    Tarantino

  • sailor monsoon

    Bleach that fucking mouth!

  • King Alvarez

    Fincher

  • Cap_N_Jack

    Oop, that’s what I get for skimming. My answer is still Fincher

  • Kemosabe

    Tarantino.

  • Tarantino.

  • William Dhalgren

    I’ve tried watching a few of his films. They make me uneasy. I can’t stand them.

  • I hated Anderson too but then I watched his films and they’re pretty good. Artistically beautiful and stylistically original to what else is coming out these days.

  • TheDeadFellow

    Wes Anderson for me. I love works like Se7en and Kill Bill as much as the next guy, but something about Anderson’s work makes me smile.

  • William Dhalgren

    Tarantino over Fincher, but not by a lot. I dislike Wes Anderson so much. Look at his stupid hipster face. It is just begging to be punched.

  • Quentin Tarantino or Wes Anderson. The choice is difficult. But alas Anderson’s films have more rewatch value for me. And they’re stylistically beautiful.

  • Pssst it’s Wes Anderson not PTA. I ain’t ever watched a half baked Anderson film before.

  • Cap_N_Jack

    David Fincher by a landslide. I am familiar with the work of all three, but I only truly love the work of Fincher. PTA makes interesting, challenging films, that feel to me like half-baked fever dreams that aren’t about much of anything. Tarantino is a little too self-absorbed and has never topped his first two films. Fincher has created a few of my all time favorites (Se7en, Zodiac, Social Network, Fight Club) and is always worth watching.