david gordon green films ranked

David Gordon Green‘s career really isn’t that odd. He began his journey as an indie darling, directing intimate dramas with a slightly off-kilter tone. When Pineapple Express came out in 2008, his career took a turn, not a detour. But the director’s two major studio comedies that followed the success of his stoner action-comedy divided his fans. With perhaps one exception, whatever the final result, at least he’s always experimenting behind-the-camera.

After the jump, check out a ranking of David Gordon Green’s films.

The director’s new movie, Our Brand Is Crisis, which stars Sandra Bullock (Gravity) and Billy Bob Thornton (Fargo), opens in theaters this Friday. The film has received mixed reviews so far — which isn’t anything new to Green. Even his most accomplished film was highly divisive when it was released. The movies he’s been directing over the past few years haven’t been made with everybody in mind. Green usually does his own thing, which is one of the many things to admire about his thematically dense, laugh- and misery-filled career.

Here are all the other David Gordon Green films ranked:

the sitter

10. The Sitter (2011)

What’s saddening about the filmmaker’s worst movie is that it has none of his personality. All of his projects, no matter how different they are, are David Gordon Green films — with this one extraordinary exception. Even his dark dramas have his oddball sense of humor, while The Sitter has none of it. The babysitter comedy, starring Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street), feels like it was made by a committee with no sense of humor, not Green.

In trying to make a movie for everyone, the director made a movie for no one. A comedy with Jonah Hill, J.B. Smoove (Curb Your Enthusiasm), and Sam Rockwell (Moon) should’ve been far funnier than this. The tone is all over the place, Hill’s performance is oddly stiff, and none of the heart is earned. When The Sitter tries to pull at the heart strings, that’s when it really falls flat.

At the very least, the film gave us the Sam Rockwell-improvised line, “Put a quarter in my butt, let’s get this party farted!”

your highness

9. Your Highness (2011)

Not as bad as most people, including the film’s star, James Franco (This Is the End), say it is. Your Highness is a little hit and miss, but it does have a giant minotaur dick, a pesky mechanical bird named Simon, and a dick-less Toby Jones (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy). A good amount of Your Highness‘s humor lands, with the exception of all the jokes that rely on the word “fuck.” Saying “fuck” a lot isn’t particularly funny. Otherwise, Justin Theroux (The Leftovers) as a horny wizard and Danny McBride (Eastbound and Down) as an insecure prince are actually pretty funny, while the female characters, played by Oscar winner Natalie Portman (Black Swan) and Zooey Deschanel (500 Days of Summer), are left on the sidelines (as is often the case with comedies). But Your Highness isn’t without its charms, including some excellent puppetry and a handful of well-designed monsters. The pedophilic puppet, without question, is the highlight of Your Highness.

Manglehorn trailer

8. Manglehorn (2015) 

This isn’t an easy movie to recommend. It’s a long-winded, almost unrelenting film about loneliness — with very few light spots to counter the darkness. Green generally balances light and dark with his movies, but not so much with Manglehorn. There are some very comedic moments, like whenever Al Pacino and the director of Spring BreakersHarmony Korine, are acting together, but it’s mostly overshadowed by the excessively somber tone.

The film relies on repetition, so sometimes it’s all a bit too much. For the most part, though, Green paints an earnest and sometimes rewarding portrait of regret and solitude. Even most of the extras and bit players appear lonely. The character, A.J. Manglehorn (Pacino), sucks the life out of every room he walks in. Manglehorn is, at its best, a reminder of what Pacino is capable of when he’s given juicy material.

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