Even great artists stumble every once in a while. No matter how talented they may be or what great track records for quality they may have otherwise built, even the best of directors drop the occasional stink bomb. This week’s Roundtable is all about ferreting out the worst movies from filmmakers capable of so much better.
For many years, I used to call ‘Wild at Heart’ David Lynch’s worst film. Yet even that movie has some degree of interest, some measure of watchability, and a few individual scenes that are among the best that Lynch ever directed. However, after what was likely his last great success with ‘Mulholland Drive’, Lynch spent too much time puttering around on his personal web site, getting lost in his own head, and making dreadful short films and animated sketches that no one but his most fervently die-hard loyalists could possibly defend. The culmination of that time came with the astoundingly awful ‘Inland Empire‘, a three-hour rehashing of themes he’d previously covered better, and a regurgitation of all the worst ideas rattling around in his brain that had no other outlet.
‘Inland Empire’ is everything that Lynch’s critics had long (falsely) accused him of being. It’s tedious, repetitive, nonsensical, weird just for the sake of being weird, and wholly without point or purpose. Having recently split with his longtime girlfriend (and short-time wife) Mary Sweeney, who had edited all of his films for the previous decade and a half, Lynch’s work here suffers a complete lack of structure or coherency. It’s not so much a movie as it is a collection of random nonsense thrown together, and it drags on forever.
With ‘Inland Empire’, David Lynch not only jumped his own shark, he turned around and jumped it again for good measure. And what is this once-great artist who gave us the brilliant ‘Blue Velvet’ and ‘Twin Peaks’ doing today? This is what he’s doing now.
The man is totally lost.
Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)
One of the smartest buys I ever made throughout my many years of obsessively collecting movies was the Alfred Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection that Universal released on DVD back in 2005. The bulk of my favorite Hitchcocks are a part of that set, and I try to make it a point to watch all the films in the collection at least once a year. Well, all the films with one small detour, at least. ‘Topaz‘, a Cold War-era political thriller filmed near the end of Hitchcock’s career, is unwatchable.
Aside from one arresting setpiece – a purple dress flowing outward as if a pool of blood – Hitchcock’s trademark visual flair is altogether absent. Although ‘Topaz’ sports a terrific supporting cast, its lead, Frederick Stafford, is aggressively bland and wooden. The film’s dialogue is cringe-worthy more often than not. Topaz is easily the most poorly paced of Hitchcock’s films, meandering around aimlessly throughout its bloated two and a half hour runtime.
Perhaps Hitchcock was hoping to turn his favorite premise on its ear. Rather than pitting ordinary people against extraordinary situations, he’d explore the banality of an international spy’s daily routine. But the end result is a political thriller devoid of any thrills. Hitchcock never had a grasp on the material. The screenplay is convoluted and unfocused, the movie putters along without any energy or intrigue, and Hitchcock fumbles desperately to find something resembling an ending. On the upside, the back-to-back failures of ‘Torn Curtain’ and ‘Topaz’ inspired Hitch to make ‘Frenzy’, and I’d argue that’s his last great film.
Although I don’t like many of the films that Clint Eastwood has directed, there’s no denying that the guy is strong filmmaker – but he often just makes bad movies. In particular, ‘Flags of Our Fathers‘ is a terrible film. Although it plays out like an ensemble piece, it ultimately tries to be a single person’s story. The characters are unlikable, and the only one you actually empathize with is the one who’s never given any closure. People complain about the multiple endings of ‘Return of the King’, but ‘Flags’ has so many false endings that it makes ‘Return of the King’ feel positively brief. The repetitious 4-note score melody is also nauseating. I could go on forever bashing on ‘Flags’. But then you have its companion piece, ‘Letters from Iwo Jima‘, which is the same story told from the Japanese perspective. ‘Letters’ is focused, solid and emotionally moving. Everything that ‘Flags’ gets wrong, ‘Letters’ gets right. What’s the difference? The screenplays. They’re both well directed, but ‘Flags’ is simply a bad movie. It is a shame that Eastwood usually picks such bad screenplays.
I know that Peter Jackson made silly B-movies before making a name for himself, but even before the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, Jackson directed the very capable horror film ‘The Frighteners’ starring Michael J. Fox. ‘Lord of the Rings’ was his opus, and quite possibly the best film trilogy ever constructed. After ‘Rings’, Jackson went on to remake ‘King Kong’, which some people trashed, but I loved. Then came his stink bomb, ‘The Lovely Bones‘. I hated this movie so much that for a minute I forgot it was made by the same man who gave us the masterful story about Middle Earth.
Few directors are as good as Steven Spielberg. He’s been nominated for six Best Director Oscars, won two (with another win on a producing credit), and his films have earned countless acting and editing and effects nominations to boot. Spielberg has directed fourteen films that have passed the $100 million mark, and had a few more falling just a hair short. Four of the mentioned fourteen films have involved the same character, Indiana Jones. As soon as I said that, you just knew what I was going to say next, didn’t you? For a man as talented as Spielberg, there’s absolutely no excuse for ‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull‘. None. Ninteen years had passed since ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’. That’s almost as long as the gap in time that takes place between ‘Revenge of the Sith’ and ‘A New Hope’.
I can’t say that everything about the film is awful. I loved the credits…. Ok, I lied. I just love what the credits symbolize: the end of the suffering. The movie is a bloated, hideous mess that sullies the legend of one of the silver screen’s most beloved characters. With the ridiculous casting of Shia LaBeowulf as the bastard child of the whip-wielding treasure hunter-slash-professor, and the lack of any memorable villain, the film has nothing going for it. Admit it, the scenes that are “memorable” are that way because they’re that fucking stupid. Refrigerator, big ants, and aliens. Spielberg’s résumé is damn near flawless when you remove this unintentional parody of a film. I wish I could just blame George Lucas on this one, but sadly, there’s enough blame to go around and sully everyone.
There’s one guy who came instantly to mind when I heard this topic, and that’s Steven Spielberg. He’s been a favorite of mine since I first saw ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ as a kid. Flicks like ‘Jurassic Park’, ‘Schindler’s List’ and ‘Jaws’ have only cemented that love. No, I’m not going to fault him for ‘The Crystal Skull’ – I feel like that was a group failing. I will, however, call out one of the first Spielberg movies that managed to disappoint me. ‘The Lost World: Jurassic Park‘ is a painful and shameless cash-in by Spielberg, who is at least partially responsible for the second book being created as well. It’s boring and mindless, and watching it robs the original of its power and excitement. Spielberg’s better than this movie, and he’s far better than the last ‘Indy’ flick. Let’s hope for good things out of ‘Tin-Tin’ and even better out of ‘Lincoln’.
Those are our choices. Now it’s your turn to call out the worst duds from directors who ought to know better. Tell us all about them in the Comments below.
All right! My choice made the header for the Roundtable.
Stupid ‘Lovely Bones’. What a stupid, stupid movie.
I liked what ‘Lovely Bones’ was trying to do, but it definitely lost focus. I liked the Tucci stuff, but hated the heavenly disco party business.
Yeesh. It’s a melodramatic mess of a movie. Tucci looked like the quintessential kiddie diddler, which I never thought was a great acting performance. He looked the part, but just kind of slunk around acting pervy.
The thing I really hate in ‘The Lovely Bones’ is its complete disregard for its main character. Here’s a girl who is so smart and intellectual that she opines about her life in poetic verse, and yet she’s dumb enough to follow a skeezy dude into a hole in the middle of a cornfield. At no time before that did she ever give any inclination that she would do something as bone-headed as that, or even be interested in a “play house”.
Like I said, stupid, stupid movie.
What I hated was that our “main character” was hardly in ti and never did a thing to help her dad find her killer.
I don’t think “The Lovely Bones” gets a fair shake. I thought it was an okay movie, certainly not “great”, but I *might* even be willing to call it good.
Every criticism of the movie I’ve read always center on integral elements of the plot. Elements that are part of the book.
Yes, I’ve read the book. Well, actually listened to the unabbrievated audiobook but same difference.
Half of the negative reviews I’ve read basically say, “A young girl gets murdered. That’s awful. Therefore it’s an awful movie”.
As to her eloquence… but naviety… the story is being from her her perspective as a flashback. She’s had time to reflect on things who knows how time has even passed for her? Maybe she’s spent centuries dwelling on these events? Intellectually she’s no longer the little girl that fell into the trap.
I think a fair criticism is that the movie isn’t nearly as captivating as the book. With the book I was hanging on every word and wondering what was going to happen next. The movie…. notsomuch. However, I already knew having read the book.
In fairness, I realize my position is biased and it’s quite possible when I watched the movie I was “filling in the blanks” because of things I remembered from the book that maybe they left out (and I didn’t realize it). So I think there’s still room here for legitamate criticism, but I haven’t read one that wouldn’t require a change contradictory to the original story… and that doesn’t seam right to me.
Good pick with ‘Topaz!’ Terrible, terrible movie. I remember reading that Hitch’s wife pretty much pulled that production together in an attempt to get him working again after a long period of depression.
If you’re gonna pick a terrible Spielberg movie, I think ‘Hook’ is the best example of the director at his worst.
Wish I’d had time to write something up this week!
Spielberg has had quite a few terrible movies. My pick would be A.I. Or, oh dear god, The Terminal. I’ve tried to purge that one from memory.
I think I sense a poll topic coming up. 🙂
Yeah I was going to mention AI also. I think both Crystal Skull and Lost World better than A.I.
AI is an unusal film, spielberg wasn’t trying to make his movie, he was trying to make the movie as if Kubrick had been there directing it the way speilberg felt he would have directed it. And while the movie definitely has it’s problems you have to admit that there are certain scenes that truly feel as though he was channeling Kubrick. A.I. all being said is a truly unique film.
How about Under Capricorn for Hitchcock? So bad most people probably haven’t heard of it.
Hitchcock didn’t have all that many kind things to say about Under Capricorn either. I have to admit that I’ve never seen it myself, though.
Ron Howard’s The Dilemma
Ron Howard makes a ton of crap movies. For every four bad ones he makes one good one.
Nate "the boss" Boss
Ron Howard makes more crap movies than good movies. He does not apply in this thread.
I agree with Jurassic Park 2 (but not Crystal Skull) as one of Spielberg’s worst. However, I think Eastwood has directed much worse films that Flags of our Fathers…like Blood Work and The Rookie. I actually don’t think Jackson’s got enough good work to fall into the “good” directors list yet. I’ve only liked two of the three LOTR movies (the last one was an overblown mess – sorry!), and disliked pretty much everything else he’s done (although I have NOT seen Heavenly Creatures).
But to pull off a trilogy as beloved as LOTR and make it into a near perfect movie series requires a good director, long body of work or not.
Jackson was pretty great from the get-go:
Scorsese’s “Gangs of New York” and “Age of Innocence”
Francis Ford Coppola’s “Jack” and “Peggy Sue Got Married”
Oh my god, I’d forgotten about Jack! Yes, yes, and a thousand times yes to that pick!!
That opens up a whole different topic of good actors starring in bad movies. Unfortunately, that list may simply be too extensive to discuss effectively.
I LOVE Gangs of New York!
‘Gangs’ is flawed but it still rocks. ‘The Age of Innocence’ is Scorsese’s BEST movie… that’s a certifiably insane pick.
Worst Scorsese? ‘The Color of Money’, probably.
I recently watched Gangs of New York again. It is like fine whine. It just gets better and better with age. My opinion of it has evolved from hating it to the point of almost walking out of the theater, to loving it so much that I feel it might be one of Scorsese’s 3 best films. I feel that anybody who is trying to say it is weak needs to watch it now. It plays much better right now, in the film era we are currently in, than it ever has in the past. I think people would be surprised by just how superb it is. If that film would have came out in the last few years, I don’t think it would have ever received any negativity. That film was just a victim to being released at the wrong time.
I’ve watched Gangs of New York a couple of times since it was released on Blu-ray. It’s still an incredibly flawed movie and one of Scorsese’s weakest. The movie is very unstructured and unfocused, and spends far too much time on the lousy love story with Cameron Diaz that absolutely no one can possibly care about. It also has one of the worst musical scores ever composed for film.
The movie has moments of genius within it, but as a whole, it’s a mess.
I can certainly see — and somewhat agree with — your points about the love story with the Cameron Diaz character. However, the film is most definitely not unconstructed and unfocused at all. Actually, it is quite the contrary. 90% of the film is highly focused and practically methodical. Don’t mistake bloated or overly long as unfocused or unconstructed. True, it does go off track a few times, including the Diaz character subplot, but overall, it is anything but a mess. It has just enough genius, and more than enough absolutely brilliant aspects that it can’t be called a mess. Flawed? Sure, I’ll give you that. But a mess? Absolutely not! A mess is a term you would use to describe something like A.I. or even the latest Indiana Jones.
As far as your comments about the musical score go, I’ll just say that I disagree. I feel like you are mistaking weird for poor quality. I actually felt the same way you do during my first viewing of the film, but each time I watch the film again, the score becomes more affecting and strangely brilliant each time. It is definitely an odd musical score, but I don’t think that necessarily means that it is bad. It fits the peculiar nature of the film.
We’ll have to agree to disagree. I’m pretty sure that even Scorsese himself has said that he wished he could have had more time in the editing room with Gangs of New York.
And I will NEVER like that musical score, nor the wretched U2 tune that comes up over the end credits. 🙂
I’m with you 100% when it comes to the vile U2 song playing over the closing credits!
We can also agree that the film could have certainly used more time in post production; Especially when it comes to editing.
I also heard Marty talk about wishing he had more time in the editing room. I guess I just feel that there’s so much genuine genius, and the film is so unique, it’s easy to look past the flaws.
I’ll take flawed genius over flawless mediocitry any day of the week.
I think I’ve mentioned on the forums before that I’m a big Michael Bay fan. Say whatever you want about him, but walking into a Michael Bay movie, I always know that I’m going to see every stinking penny of his enormous budget up there on the screen. I like the overblown action, the quip-filled scripts, the explosions, the teal and orange, everything. “The Rock” remains in my Top 5 of all time.
But I cannot, will not, must not forgive him for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. I loved the first Transformers movie. It made me feel like a six-year old again. But Revenge of the Fallen took all of that childlike innocence, ran it through a blender, and tossed in an open sewer.
Yeah even he admitted disappointment with Transformers 2. Let’s hope part 3 makes up for it. I really hope he sticks to his promise of no more dorky humour.
Michael Bay is a liar:
I think we should see how they are portrayed in the movie before making assumptions and pronouncing judgment based on a toy.
For me Chrystal Skull made Phantom Menace seem amazingly awesome.
I’m not sure that I agree. For me, “Crystal Skull” was like having lunch with a friend from High School (assuming you’ve been out of High School for a while). It’s fun enough, and it’s great to see them again, but it’s just not the same.
I definitely don’t agree…you can see the Lucas “influence” on Crystal Skull, but there’s enough Ford and Spielberg in that movie to make it enjoyable.
Nate "the boss" Boss
This should not be hard.
The Phantom Menace *is* amazingly awesome. Especially if you skip, dare I say, the podracing scene.
I really hope that’s sarcasm, because if not, then I say sir you are on the wrong website.
Nate, I too and very curious to know if you were serious or sarcastic when you posted this comment. Do you really think that The Phantom Menace is awesome?
Impossible, I would watch Crystal Skull a thousand tims before I’ll watch Phantom Menace fully ever again. That kid is just god awful, at least the actors in Crystal Skull could actually act.
I think I DID purge The Terminal from my memory. That movie was pathetic.
Interesting how so many people immediately thought of Spielberg movies.
I love James Cameron movies. But Avatar was just awful.
I think Josh is crazy. Inland Empire is beautiful, and I also really liked Wild at Heart. Lynch’s weakest movie is easily Lost Highway, and even that is a 6/10. Lynch hasn’t ever made a bad movie, and considering his career as a filmmaker is probably over, he’ll leave behind a legacy of greatness.
My pick would be Blood Simple for the Coen Brothers. I understand that it was their first movie and not every director has a Citizen Kane, but it’s just straight bad. I remember scenes stretching on for a dozen minutes at a time with nothing at all happened, either visually or plot-wise or anything. Just boring nothingness for minutes on end. There were no characters worth paying attention to. It flowed like a dried-up river bed. Just terrible. Awful bad terrible. And I fucking LOVE the Coens.
*with nothing at all happening
“Intolerable Cruelty”, “The Ladykillers”, and “Burn After Reading” by Joel and Ethan Coen stand out to me as fitting this post. I would include “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, but it wasn’t bad, just derivative and stuffy.
Nate "the boss" Boss
I LIKE Intolerable Cruelty and Burn After Reading.
The Terminal, been brought up a few times, not the best, but FAR, FAR, FAR from the worst, in my eyes.
More Spielberg negatives in here than anything. Somewhat telling!
I actually liked the Terminal quite a bit myself.
Scorsese’s Bringing Out the Dead. Putrid.
When looking at a director’s œuvre, it can be difficult to decide whether it’s a good director who made some bad movies or a bad director who managed to make some good movies.
For example, are The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith bad movies from a good director? or are THX 1138, American Graffiti, and Star Wars good movies from a bad director?
…or for another example, since it keeps popping up in this thread: Are Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, A.I., and The Terminal bad movies from a good director? or are Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, and Saving Private Ryan good movies from a bad director?
Sorry dude, but bad director’s don’t make “Jaws”, E.T., Saving Private Ryan, Schindlers List, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom, Jurassic Park, Close Encounters, Empire of the Sun, Amistad, Munich. Even his lesser films have strokes of pure genius sprinkled throughout, The burning train in War of the Worlds, The spider bots in Minority Report.
I won’t even try to list all of the amazingly fun films he has produced. Take a look at IMDB, it’s pretty much a list of all the great films I remember growing up. I’ll throw out just some of them here, Poltergeist, Gremlins, Back to the Future, Young Sherlock Holmes.
George Lucas by comparison really only has Star Wars and the Indy Movies.
You really cannot claim Spielberg is a bad director. He simply has so many movies that yes you can pull 4 or 5 of them out and say they are bad, but even the bad ones have those moments that can sometimes really wow an audience. When he’s firing on all cylinders though, he makes other directors look like amateurs.
Producing or doing other work on a movie without directing it muddies the issue, and so I’m not going to address Spielberg’s and Lucas’ non-directorial credits here.
While I personally don’t consider Spielberg to be, in general, a bad director, I do believe it’s possible for bad directors to make outstandingly good films. For example, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere (below) in this thread, I think of Ed Wood as a bad director and of Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space as a really good movie—one that is coated with the fingerprints of a subpar director (with many subpar collaborators), to be sure, but one that nevertheless transcends its flaws to make a highly entertaining and even thought-provoking work of art.
Still—although one might quibble about the specific Spielberg films you both listed and omitted—the creation of several films of unironically good quality would seem to be beyond the ability and luck of a bad director. Or is it? What if a bad director happens to repeatedly make films with other personnel—producers, writers, actors, DPs, editors, whomever—whose talent carries the bad director along? Could a bad director make numerous good movies?
I think it’s how the person is remembered overall. When we hear Steven Spielberg we don’t automatically think, ‘Oh man that guy stinks at directing, except for a few movies’. Over all Spielberg is remembered as good director.
Good point. Of course, periods often feature in how people remember an artist’s output. In Lucas’ case, there is a very clear line some 22 years wide separating his well-received films from his, um, less well-received ones.
In Spielberg’s case, I think there is an early period which is looked upon quite favorably, and then there’s the period since then. Unlike Lucas, Spielberg’s periods are mixed. Still, there’s a period in which 1941 is critically an anomaly, contrasting with a period in which the same film would have been just another Spielberg flick.
To expand a little bit: I consider Spielberg’s “golden period” as director to have run from Duel in 1971 up through E.T. in 1982. I’m not a fan of every one of his movies in that period, but I consider it a very strong period for his directorial work. I’ve seen every Spielberg-directed film of that era; but if somehow it turned out there was one that I’d missed, I would want to see it, solely on the strength that it was a Spielberg film from an excellent period of his career.
On the other hand, I’m not so sanguine about his career since then. I’ve seen several of his post-1982 films; I’ve liked some, but his directorial credit is no longer enough to draw me in.
So, for me there are two Steven Spielbergs to remember. I don’t automatically think Spielberg generally stinks; but I think there’s a Spielberg who was generally quite good, and there’s a Spielberg who is generally so-so.
While Spielberg’s superb record from 71 to 82 is undisputed, please remember that his two great masterpieces, “Schindler’s List” and “Saving Private Ryan” came after that period. Not only that, but E.T., Temple of Doom, Last Crusade, Minority Report, Amistad, Catch Me If You Can, and Jurassic Park are all after 1982, all of which are splendid films. I can’t remember off-hand when Close Encounters came out, but that’s definitely on the list as well. Yes he’s had some hiccups, but a weak Spielberg film (A.I, Munich) is still usually better than most of the other rubbish in the cineplex.
Lost World (the last 45 minutes, cause everything up to that is pretty cool) excepted. We all know that one sucked.
E.T. is from 1982 and Close Encounters is from 1977; so, both films fall into the era “from Duel in 1971 up through E.T. in 1982” that I described as Spielberg’s “golden period”.
I do not agree that all the various post-1982 films you called “splendid” really are splendid. For example, in my opinion Temple of Doom has too great a hole in its center—and indeed that’s how I prefer to watch it: by skipping from the discovery of the temple to the heroes’ escape from it. I would agree that there is a lot of splendor in the film, but I consider the overall experience a little too flat.
But my division of Spielberg’s career (thus far) into two periods is not meant to say that Spielberg cannot make and has not made any superlative films since 1982. Rather, it is my opinion that Spielberg used to be a very good director who sometimes made so-so films, and now he is a so-so director who sometimes makes very good films.
You can’t be serious when you call Munich a weak film! Can you?! I would love to know how you came to feel that it is anything other than a masterpiece. It is easily Spielberg’s best film in the last decade; At the very least.
Well when you put it that way, and the fact that he produced Howard the Duck as well, it all adds up to him being a terrible director. His first three movies were when he was at his youngest and most visionary although there are some really glaring examples of how much of a thief he was of other peoples intellectual property. Some people might remember a little while ago an example came up where george had basically taken a piece of art from (I believe a now famous comic artist if I’m remembering correctly) and gave it to McQuarrie, who in his own right is very talented. Basically it shows (if true) that Lucas simply stole the design for Chewbacca from someone else. Quite ironic since he is pretty much a modern era disney in his fierce determination to control all things Star Wars and go after any one who attempts to illegally use his creations in any way.
Basically as Lucas has grown older he has proven to be truly unfit as a director of what should have been the most amazing set of movies since the first three star wars. While there are some amazingly created special effects sequences in the prequels it brings to mind a very apt quote. “Don’t be too proud of this technological terror you’ve constructed!!”
Now I know why Ben Kenobi looked so forelorn in Star Wars, he was thinking about how sucky his old life was.
I’m not a huge Spielberg fan, but Minority Report stands out as a Bad Movie from a good director. I’ve always felt that the effects were recycled from AI and that the story is a huge mess despite excellent source material.
Ridley Scott seems to be making the same flawed big picture, big budget, big stars but weak story over and over again. (Robin Hood, body of lies, etc.)
I was really disappointed by Polanski’s Ghost Writer.
I love Chris Nolan’s movies, but Insomnia is hard to even watch, and I really enjoy the original.
Gangs of New York is one to walk out on- the scene where Cameron Diaz’s character is just staring through the door sums up the flaws of that bloated production.
Any Given Sunday… fail. Fail plus several hours.
Not a fan of Barry Lyndon.
Benjamin Button aka Forrest Gump the pretentious. Panic Room…
I do like Burn After Reading but not O Brother Where art Thou.
Death Proof has cool elements but just doesn’t pull together for me and was the weak part of the Grindhouse experience.
I have no love for 12 Monkeys.
And of course, Showgirls.
Paul Greengrass’s Green Zone, I hated that movie so much that I almost walk out of the theater. Up until this movie, I’ve enjoyed all of Greengrass’s films.
Also, Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood and Body of Lies, two bad films in a row for Sir Ridley Scott. Let’s hope the Alien prequel will be a good one.
Nate "the boss" Boss
I’m no fan of Greengrass, but I do agree:
The Green Zone is *not* that great, not at all.
you know that ed wood was a heck of a director , but he really made two bad films in my opinion. bride of the monster and plan nine from outer space. not his best work.:(.
I agree that Wood was a heck of a director—a heck of a bad one. But I think he was a bad director who sometimes made good films. For me, his best would be Plan 9 From Outer Space (sorry) and Glen or Glenda.
I’m torn… There are so many supposedly ‘brilliant’ directors, who I’ve never really been that fond of, to be honest. Scorsese, Coppola, for example.
Others rank somewhere in the middle, Spielberg I’ve always admired, but rarely warmed to his films as the kind you can watch again and again, except for the Indy’s, maybe Jaws. I think he has moments of brilliance, in films that are overall not always that great, or heavily flawed in at least one or two ways.
Lynch, again, visually a wonderful director with a great sense of the weird, but all too often sidetracked into the pointlessly bizarre (Nothing wrong with bizarre itself). I only really love Dune (Which I know isn’t one of his favourites lol!) and the 1st series of Twin Peaks.
Kubrick, again, love his visual style, and 2001 is my favourite of his, with Spartacus a close 2nd(even though he didn’t like it) while the others I enjoy but would probably never rank in my top 20.
Cameron… well, Titanic and Avatar say it all…
John Carpenter… I’ve enjoyed almost all of his movies, even Ghosts of Mars, which most people slam. But I just saw The Ward, which was his most mediocre film yet. It was like a slightly better directed version of Shutter Island, with better acting and a less intrusive score.
I think you just have to go on a film by film basis… Certain directors up the odds on a film being good, but they by no means guarantee it.
Munich is a masterpiece! I can’t believe anybody included it when discussing Spielberg’s weaker films.
Well I for one HATED Munich, boring, drawn out, no memorable characters to speak of, I had a hard time even remember who anyone was from anyone else in that film, will never watch it again
I’m more of a fan of Speilberg when he’s doing Jurassic Park, or AI or Minority Report type movies, I’m not a huge fan of his dramas, people rip on AI all the time for being too Spielberg at the end, well that I can handle because its a very small part of the movie, his entire movies that are dramatic are sometimes painful for me to watch (excluding Private Ryan)….isnt differing opinions wonderful?
Lucas is a bad WRITER, lets get that in perspective, his directing ability was perfectly fine for Star Wars and the later prequels but everyone knows how terrible the scripts were for those films, if someone else had written the scripts (hence why most people like Empire and sometimes Return of the Jedi better than Star Wars), I think the prequel trilogy would have turned out pretty damn sweet, now me being a HUGE Star Wars geek still makes me like those movies even with all the problems, I think thats because Lucas cant write for shit, NOT because he cant direct
The Coens I havent watched enough of their stuff to really say, I love No Country, Big Lebowski and even Burn After Reading (hilarious movie) but I havent seen much of their other stuff since I only started watching their later films first
Scorcese is the same way, really liked Shutter Island (besides the stupid music that would play over NOTHING), but everything else I really havent seen, I own the Departed on Bluray but never watched the damn thing yet 😉
The Departed is quite brilliant. Give it a spin!
Jane Morgan Peters
If you want to know why Spielberg makes so many bad movies, read ‘The Men Who Would Be King’ by Nicole LaPorte, about the rise and fall of DreamWorks.
It’s the most brutally honest book about Hollywood ever written, and illustrates in detail how any movie, regardless of potential, can be swallowed by the Hollywood beast and end up in theaters as a pile of shit.
I did not understand even a fraction of the complexity of the business until I read that book. It also has a great story about what happened with Michael Bay and “The Island.”
Welcome back, Jane. Haven’t seen you comment in a while. 🙂
Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve added this to my must-read list.