Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My Favorite Directors

This is a list of my favorite directors (they are in no particular order):

  • Christopher Nolan - My favorite new director. His Batman Trilogy is just one part of his brilliance. Watch Memento or Inception if you don't believe me. Anything he directs is something I look forward to. 
  • Martin Scorsese - I don't like the "actor-dependence" some directors have. I could swear that Tim Burton and Johnny Depp are Siamese twins because they are working together so often. But whether it's Leonardo Dicaprio or Robert DeNiro, Martin Scorsese gets the best out of everybody regardless of how many times he works with them. If it wasn't for Scorsese I probably would have zero respect for Dicaprio as an actor. But once I saw movies like Gangs of New York, The Aviator, and The Departed my mind was changed completely. Plus he's made two different movies where Joe Pesci gets whacked. 
  • Sidney Lumet - His first film was 12 Angry Men. Talk about setting your feet down with a authority! The man's movies are very diverse. Hell, he even directed The Wiz. But it is with movies like The Hill and The Verdict that really draw me to his work. 
  • Clint Eastwood - Okay, he has a few duds both as an actor and a director. But anything he has a hand in, on the screen or off, is something I'd like to watch at least once. I even sat through The Bridges of Madison County, by God. Not that it is a bad movie, but it sure as hell ain't a man's movie. Just sayin'. 
  • Hayao Miyazaki - Quite possibly, this man is the king of the stand-alone anime film. In fact, I know he is. I'd recommend his movies to anybody. 
  • Shinichiro Watanabe - No, he is nowhere near as prolific as Miyazaki, but he has directed Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, and two segments in the Animatrix movie. Anything he is involved with is something that has my interests. This man is proof that quality is much more important than quantity. 
  • Stanley Kubrick - Stephen King fans may hate his version of The Shining, but I think it is brilliant. Of course, I watch that particular movie for more than just the (in)accuracy of the adaptation. All of Kubrick's films are a real experience, visually and mentally. I like that. He only directed thirteen movies, but he's got a pretty damn good hit-or-miss average with me. 
  • Alfred Hitchcock - This is a gimme. Of course, he would be on this list. 
  • Steven Spielberg - Another gimme. 
  • Sergio Leone - Another director of very few movies, but most of them are pretty darn good.
  • John Ford - Once he found his voice he became a huge force to be reckoned with. 
  • Frank Capra - If for no other reason than Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. But trust me there are plenty of other reasons too. ;) 

I'm sure I've left off a few, but the ones we often think of first are the most important.


  1. I might leave reams of comments on this subject. I'm always fascinated by good directors. A director is like a building contractor hired to do a big project. The director has a big crew, lots of sub contractors and has to know something about everything from construction to cameras to music and has to be able to deal with whiny people and big egos. I love listening to the director commentary tracks on dvds as they explain how they put the whole movie together and all the issues they had to deal with. Anyway...

    One not on your list that I love is Ridley Scott. I'm always impressed with how good Ridley's movies look. All of his movies look great no matter the subject. He can have a great looking sci-fi set like Blade Runner or the gorgeous scenery of Thelma and Louise. Whatever kind of movie he is shooting, it's always a visual wonder.

    Kubrick is another whose films are like pieces of art. I think I could watch The Shining with the sound off and still love it. I don't really understand the SK fans who don't like that movie. Sure, it's not a by the numbers adaptation but it's a great movie. Kubrick's job was to make a great movie and he did that. Film and novels are two separate art forms and you just can't make a carbon copy of a novel in movie form. Why would someone even want that? The people that don't like it want a carbon copy and are totally missing the beauty of that film. I loved Sidney Pollack's quote about The Shining the first time he saw it. He said, "I'm not even sure I liked it but I couldn't stop watching it." I have seen that movie countless times and it is one of the most mesmerizing movies ever. You can't stop watching it.

  2. Quentin Tarantino is another favorite of mine. I watched Jackie Brown again last night for at least the 9th or 10th time. I absolutely love this movie. It is certainly Quentin’s mellowest movie and it contains many of his great qualities and techniques.

    He is one of the best at casting and THE best at casting actors who have been thrown on the Hollywood scrap heap. In Jackie Brown, he takes two actors, Pam Grier and Robert Forster that were B-movie stars of the 70s drive-in flicks and give them starring roles and they knock it out of the park. I remember being blown away by Pam Grier’s performance the first time I saw this. I had no idea she could be that good. She was a drive in movie star that was more known for her brick house body and the ability to pull razor blades from her afro than for her acting.

    One technique he uses that is very cool is replaying a scene multiple times from different points of view. In Jackie Brown, he uses that brilliantly in the money exchange / dressing room scene. We get to see the exchange go down from 3 different perspectives.

    Every time I see this flick, I like Robert DeNiro’s performance more. The first time I saw it, his performance was the one I wasn’t too crazy about but I think that was just because of my expectations of what he is supposed to be like in a crime film. After I saw Jackie Brown a couple of times, I realized he was playing a guy who probably used to be a good criminal but had lost it. The Sam Jackson character trusted him because of what he used to be and that ultimately was a big mistake on his part. When Sam Jackson kills him he says, “what happened to you man, we used to be great.”

    One more thing he does in this movie that goes against the Hollywood grain is there is a romance that doesn’t really go anywhere. Max Cherry is crazy about Jackie but he seems to realize that it just isn’t possible and never acts on it. Jackie seems to like Max but you’re never sure if she’s just using him or not. It’s a very cool movie romance but no one rides of into the sunset with anyone at the end.

    Anyway, this rambling review of Jackie Brown is just to highlight a few of the things I like about Quentin.

    1. I need to see that one and the two Kill Bill movies, too. I've only seen Inglourious Basterds, Pulp Fiction, and Reservoir Dogs and I liked those a lot. Jackie Brown is another of those that have been on my radar, but I haven't had the chance to see it yet.

      And I agree that what little I've seen of Ridley Scott's material is quite good. I really liked the Hannibal movie. I still haven't seen Blade Runner either.

      I think I forgot to add Frank Darabont, too. I think most folks forget that he directed The Majestic, but I like that movie. It actually made me realize Jim Carrey could act.

  3. I didn't realize you hadn't seen Jackie Brown, so I apologize for telling a little of the story above. Just forget anything I said. I didn't give away anything too serious.

    I have the hardest time saying what I want about movies because it's impossible to say why you like something without giving some of the plot away. That thread on SKMB about what's the latest movie you've watched is an example. I have all this stuff I want to say about why someone should see it and end up with "yeah, it was really great" because I don't want to give anything away. While I'm on the subject, don't you hate trailers that give key plot points away? Most trailers do, I try to avoid them until after I've seen the movie.

    Well, Jackie Brown is on the way and I suggest you watch it immediately after opening. Oh yeah, I can't believe I didn't mention it above but this is Bridget Fonda's finest hour. You're about to find out why I make such a fuss about her - XD.