Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Entertainment Weekly's Top 50 Working Directors

Obviously I don't want to spend my lunch hour doing rewrites, so I've found a distraction: picking apart EW's List of the 50 Greatest Working Directors, of which they have only released their first 25. So here goes:

#50 Nancy Meyers

One of the most successful female directors? Check. One of the most innovative directors? I don't think so. It's Complicated and The Holiday were entertaining, but ultimately forgettable movies with a James L. Brooks fetish.

#49 Michael Moore

As a muckraking showman with a message, there's no one better. Unapologetic regarding his politics and wickedly ruthless against his enemies. Great documentarian, but as a fictional film director? Canadian Bacon. Do I need to say anything more?

#48 David Lynch

Highly originally and often hauntingly creepy, Lynch's films are like nothing else you're apt to see at the theater. Mulholland Dr., his trippy journey through the dream world, is his best, but check out the under appreciated Lost Highway and, of course, Blue Velvet, but you should have seen that by now. If you haven't, then shame on you.

#47 Andrew Stanton

Even though I've seen Finding Nemo so many times (easily 300 times;easily!), that it's burned into my brain for all of eternity, it's still a great movie. And WALL-E is just as terrific. Yes, better than Up.

#46 Wong Kar-Wai

He belongs so much closer to number one. Chungking Express? In the Mood for Love? Argument over.

#45 Mira Nair

Yes, Monsoon Wedding was wonderful and Mississippi Masala is a nice gem of a movie, but Nair can be very hit or miss.

#44 Mel Gibson

Drunken, anti-semitic asshole? Probably. One of the best directors of the past fifteen years? Absolutely.

#43 Spike Lee

Why doesn't Spike have a fucking Oscar already? It's because the man is keeping him down. Hey, makes about as much sense as anything else. Do the Right Thing is as great of a piece of American culture as Norman Rockwell or Aaron Copeland - only don't expect Spike to sweep the truth under the rug when he depicts American life.

#42 Richard Linklater

I'm on the fence about Linklater. He can be amazing (Dazed and Confused) or just plain pretentious (Walking Life).

#41 Roman Polanski

Rapist? You betcha! An amazing artist who continually proves what cinema is capable of? Unfortunately... because he's a rapist.

#40 Oliver Stone

Platoon, JFK, The Doors, Natural Born Killers. But what has he done for us lately? World Trade Center? W? Here's hoping Wall Street 2 is half as good as the original.

#39 Judd Apatow

Reviewing the best of the decade lists in the recent issues of Film Comment, Apatow is the Hitchcock of comedy - a popular America who's finding respect as a true auteur in European circles. With the exception of Funny People, which was an hour too long (an hour!), Apatow is possibly the greatest comedic director out there.

#38 Jon Favreau

Iron Man was awesome, but does Favreau deserve to be here? No.

#37 Mike Leigh

Ah, some indie love. Leigh's films require a certain attention from their audiences, but once you are sucked into them, you can't help but fall under their spell. Definitely deserves a spot here.

#36 Bryan SInger

The man did usher in the modern, realistic comic book movie with X-Men and X-Men 2, but he isn't always consistent.

#35 David Cronenberg

Christ, this guy belongs in the top 5, what the fuck is he doing at 35?

#34 J.J. Abrams

Huh? He's directed two movies: the entertaining Star Trek and the abysmal Mission Impossible III. Sorry, does not belong in the top 100, let alone ranked higher than Cronenberg and Spike Lee.

#33 Ron Howard

Overrated, but dependable.

#32 Sam Raimi

Always entertaining, but I think few people realize how much of a talent he really can be. A Simple Plan was a dark masterpiece that few people saw.

#31 Sam Mendes

Most people will name American Beauty when they talk about Mendes, but for me, The Road to Perdition was so much better. Revolutionary Road was an interesting mess that probably shouldn't have been adapted.

#30 Sofia Coppola

The good: The Virgin Suicides. The great: Lost in Translation. The utterly god awful: Marie Antoinette. She might be in the top 75.

#29 Woody Allen

Well, duh.

#28 Paul Greengrass

It may be easy to dismiss Greengrass as the guy who did a great job with the Bourne sequels, but United 93 proved that he is a filmmaker of the highest quality.

#27 Alfonso Cuaron

He made the best Harry Potter movie, but his adaptation of Children of Men shows he belongs here. Also, see his very intimate y tu mama tambie

#26 Darren Aronofsky

Wonderfully weird at times, wonderfully intimate at times. Requiem for a Dream was both. He's probably here because of The Wrestler, but his work before that film should have still earned him a spot here. Now give me the long promised Aronofsky Robocop already!

That's all they've released so far. Some I hope show up in the final 25: Spike Jonze; Michael Mann; Lars von Trier; Zhang Yimou; Martin Scorsese; Brian De Palma (fat chance); Joel and Ethan Coen; Soderberg; Tarantino; Miyazaki; Clint Eastwood; Michael Winterbottom (double fat chance); Paul Thomas Anderson; Alex Payne; Wes Anderson; David Fincer; Gus Van Sant; Ridley Scott (Is it too much to hope for Tony Scott as well?); Kathryn Bigelow.

1 comment:

Brent said...

What about Stephen Daldry? He's only directed 3 movies but they're "The Hours," "Billy Elliot," and "The Reader." Not bad!