The Curious Career of David Gordon Green

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We tend to define filmmakers by their bodies of work: Terrence Malick is an artful filmmaker, Christopher Nolan is a blockbuster filmmaker, Judd Apatow makes comedies, and James Cameron makes action films. But as an auteur, David Gordon Green is nearly impossible to define.

As he kicked off his career at the turn of the century, David Gordon Green was immediately on every movie connoisseur’s radar. Often billed as “the next Malick,” Green’s films were beautifully stylized and expertly crafted. Focusing mostly on modest, rural life, his films were intimate tone poems and gentle investigations of humanity. Green quickly established himself as one of the most artful filmmakers in the business.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Green made the stoner-action-comedy Pineapple Express. Despite shell-shocking the film world with his drastic transition, the film was well received and remains a beloved comedy classic to this day. Green followed Pineapple Express with two more comedies, Your Highness and The Sitter. These, well, they weren’t as beloved. Green seemed to have traded in poetic voiceovers and sublime camera movements for stoner humor and toilet jokes. He was now a comedic director—and then, all of a sudden, he wasn’t.

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