Weekend Roundtable: Good Movies from Bad Directors

As the old adage goes, even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while. This week’s Roundtable is a flipside to last week’s discussion. Instead of highlighting the worst movies made by otherwise good directors, we’re looking for those rare good movies that were made by directors generally known for crap. It may not happen often, but it does happen!

Josh Zyber

When his brilliant debut ‘Donnie Darko‘ was first released, it looked like the emergence of a new cinematic visionary in director Richard Kelly. The movie played sort of like David Lynch crossed with John Hughes. Although the surreal story may not have made sense logically, it absolutely made sense emotionally. It’s such a beautiful puzzle that you don’t mind that not all of the pieces fit.

Unfortunately, it would appear that the film was one of those incredibly rare occasions where all the elements in the universe lined up just perfectly to produce something transcendent that could never be duplicated. By the time he recorded his three audio commentaries for DVD, it started to become clear that Kelly didn’t really understand the movie he had made. He babbled on and on about how it was a “superhero” story (wha…??!!) about a boy who saves the universe, which just has absolutely nothing to do with anything that the rest of us saw on screen. And then Kelly made his Director’s Cut of the movie that tried to “fix” the story by explaining away all of the beautiful ambiguity that made the film so compelling in the first place. His explanations were cheesy and inane, and opened up huge plot holes that hadn’t been there before.

Kelly followed this up with ‘Southland Tales’, a nearly three-hour apocalyptic road movie/comedy/musical that was literally laughed off the screens at the Cannes Film Festival. Its reception was so disastrous that Kelly cut out a good chunk of footage before its regular theatrical release, which was just as badly panned and was a huge box office flop. With his third film, the astoundingly silly and moronic sci-fi thriller ‘The Box’, Kelly demonstrated that the achievement of his first movie was an incredible fluke that he’ll probably never live up to.

I still think that Kelly has some talent as a director, and really just needs to give up the writing side of the filmmaking process. If some studio could pair him up with a really good script from a decent screenwriter, Kelly may just redeem himself yet.

Aaron Peck

Director Renny Harlin has churned out a lot of crap. ‘Cutthroat Island’ is one of my guilty pleasures, but I can admit that it’s a nearly irredeemable movie. Harlin’s track record, for the most part, screams schlock. ‘Mindhunters’ was mind-numbingly awful. ‘Deep Blue Sea’ is another guilty pleasure, but is by no means a good movie. Seriously, we’re talking about the guy who directed ’12 Rounds’ with John Cena. The man who brought us ‘Driven’ with Sylvester Stallone. His entire filmography reads like a list of movies you’d use as enhanced interrogation. That is, until you see ‘Die Hard 2: Die Harder‘ on that list. In my opinion, ‘Die Hard 2’ is one of the best action movies ever made. It’s a nearly flawless demonstration of what the ’80s and early ’90s action movies aspired to be. It’s the Michael Jordan of action movies. Roger Ebert even gave it three and a half stars, praising its director by saying, “Harlin has taken Hollywood commercial moviemaking, shaken it and given it new energy.” Granted, Ebert didn’t know that Harlin was going to continue making terrible movies afterward, but that’s quite the compliment.

Nate Boss

I know I’ll get shit for admitting it, but I’m a pretty big Uwe Boll fan. Yes, he’s somewhat inept, especially considering the amount of films he’s made now, and he’s probably as famous for beating the living hell out of his critics in a series of boxing matches as he is for adapting random video games into film (see: ‘Bloodrayne’, ‘Alone in the Dark’, ‘Dungeon Siege’, ‘House of the Dead’, ‘Postal’, and so on…). But even this entertaining yet somewhat blind horse can find water if it searches long enough. Boll definitely hit the mark with ‘Rampage‘. His career arc has been moving more towards exploitation and shock cinema, as the upcoming ‘Blubberella’ perfectly symbolizes. With each movie, he pushes the envelope of acceptability and taste more and more, and this film was made by the right director at the right time in his career.

‘Rampage’, even in its edited cut (I still cannot get my hands on the uncut Blu-ray from Germany, hard as I’ve tried), is unforgiving, unflinching, yet not all that unrealistic. After the series of school and job shootings that have been sensationalized ever since Columbine in 1999, the idea of a movie focused solely on a man going through town mowing down random people seemed somewhat impossible to make, realistically. Yet here’s Boll, actually making an entertaining, if deplorable, film that actually has a point and a message buried beneath all the bodies and bullets. Star Brendan Fletcher, who has gone on to be in many more Boll films, is a solid casting decision. The action and story elements are spaced out perfectly to get viewers interested and keep them there for the duration. It starts rough and ends on a flat note, due to some of Boll’s amateurism that has yet to fade, but the rest of the film is the antithesis of Boll’s career to that point.

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

I genuinely dig Stephen Sommers’ revamp of ‘The Mummy‘. It’s a summer blockbuster in the proudest, kick-back-and-munch-on-fistfuls-of-popcorn tradition: a whirlwind of masterful visual effects, gobs of swashbuckling adventure-flavored action, and an infectiously breezy sense of humor. Like Indiana Jones before it and ‘Curse of the Black Pearl’ not all that long afterwards, ‘The Mummy’ is just fun. It’s exactly the movie it sets out to be, and audiences the world over ate it up… so Sommers retreaded the exact same thing, only louder and dumber, with ‘The Mummy Returns’. The masturbatory CGI sensory overload of ‘Van Helsing’ was even worse. By the time he limped to the unwatchable ‘G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra’, you kinda get the sense that Stephen Sommers is a seven year old with a box of toys making it all up as he goes along, only someone’s right behind him scribbling out checks for tens of millions of dollars to throw at every half-thought-out whim. He’s like the kid who writes ‘Axe Cop’, only someone’s willing to fork over a $175 million production budget.

Luke Hickman

Brett Ratner is one of the worst directors (somehow) still making movies. When his black/white buddy flick ‘Money Talks’ failed, he simply changed the recipe to include karate with a black/Chinese duo in ‘Rush Hour’ – which he milked three terrible times. When handed the third ‘X-Men’ film, ‘The Last Stand’, he completely drove the franchise into the ground. But amidst the forgettable heap of crap in his list of credits is a prequel that I love: ‘Red Dragon‘. While many complained that it was nothing more than a carbon copy of ‘The Silence of the Lambs’, I found it just as chilling, mesmerizing and intriguing as the original, and far superior to Ridley Scott’s failed chapter, ‘Hannibal’. Edward Norton, Emily Watson, Ralph Fiennes and Anthony Hopkins all gave fantastic performances from a strong, well-written screenplay. Aside from the fluke ‘Red Dragon’, Ratner has never made a movie worth a second viewing, or maybe even a first viewing.

Dick Ward

Kevin Smith tops my list when it comes to bad directors with movies that I actually like. He clearly has no idea what he’s doing and he’s said as much himself, but still he’s managed to create a few solid films. My favorite of his is ‘Mallrats‘, which combines his witty writing, crude humor and unconventional characters into one great flick. Sure, he complains that the studio took control, but that conflict made it a better movie overall. It doesn’t drag like ‘Chasing Amy’ and it’s not over the top and silly like pretty much everything after ‘Chasing Amy’.

One quick note before we go: The Bonus View will be taking Monday off for the Memorial Day holiday. We’ll see you all back here on Tuesday. Have a great long weekend!


  1. I would say Cabin Fever by Eli Roth. I was excited when that came out thinking that finally someone out there understood why we like horror movies, then Hostel happened and proved that was not the case whatsoever.

  2. Alex

    I’m going to go for “Tombstone” by George P. Cosmatos. Granted, it’s a bit of cheat, since Kurt Russell supposedly ghost-directed it, but George still get the credit. Yes, that’s right kiddies, the guy who directed Cobra and First Blood: Part II also directed my favorite western of all time.

  3. i’m going with bob clark and a christmas story. the man never made only one good movie in my opinion. porks was dumb , rhinestone nuff said but a christmas stoy is one of the great films of all time with ralphie and his quest for the red rider bee-bee gun. classic.

    • EM

      I agree: A Christmas Story is one of the great films of all time—and an unusually good film film from its director.

      But I do not agree that it’s the only good film Bob Clark ever made. I would say that, while not nearly so iconic nor even one of my favorites, Clark’s other Christmas story, the original Black Christmas (1974), is pretty good in its own right, an effective little slasher-thriller.

  4. vihdeeohfieuhl

    I’m going to be bold and call John Favreau a bad director. I know that not everybody will agree with me, but in my opinion, he has never done anything to prove himself as even a decent director. With that said, my first selection for the roundtable is Iron Man.

    Iron Man is a very solid film. It’s probably in the top five comic book films made to date. I am extremely surprised that Favreau was able to pull it off; Especially considering how middling the sequel is.

    I know that a lot of you are going to come out and say that Elf is a very good film. However, Elf doesn’t succeed because of Favreau, or the directing in general. The unique script, and Ferrell’s performance were enough to push it past Favreau’s shortcomings.

  5. BostonMA

    i’m gonna go out on what may be the furthest limb in this weekend roundtable and note Alphaville, an excellent, excellent film by Jean Luc Godard, an incredibly pretentious, garbage filmmaker.

    Godard is looked at as arguably the greatest director in cinematic history by many film scholars, but in my eyes, he’s the ultimate snob, one whose style is inline with bashing pots and pans together while high on crack.

    Alphaville though, is pretty much his lone masterwork. others like Masculin Feminin and Contempt are strong films that feature some percentage of talent but still own up to much of his junk.

    before anyone raises the red flag up high, i’ll of course note that he is not a flat out BAD director in the normal use of the term (like Renny Harlin or those two Antichrists that helm the ‘Movie’ movies), but someone who is way too lauded, so much so that he’s my pick for this.

    • Ian Whitcombe

      I enjoy “Breathless” and “Pierrot le Fou” about as much as “Alphaville”, but I share your general stance about Godard.

      I’m really hoping that I’ll find “Weekend”, “Vivre Sa Vie” or “A Married Women” to be some of his best work.

  6. Okay, come on, I can’t believe no one else has said this yet. M. Night Shyamalan! Had two good movies, The Sixth Sense, and Signs, then a ton of crap movies! I think its safe to say that those two are the exceptions!

    • vihdeeohfieuhl

      I think a lot of us would argue that The Sixth Sense, and Signs were both pedestrian movies; Especially Signs. Nonetheless, I do concur with your selection of The Sixth Sense as good film made by a bad director.

      The Sixth Sense is a good enough film, and in turn, Shyamalan is a bad enough director, that it makes it a great selection.

      How did such an awful, downright despicable director make a film as decent as The Sixth Sense?

    • Luke Hickman

      I didn’t list him because I actually really enjoy his first four feature films. It’s the last three (four if you include ‘Devil’) that sucked. He started off good, but then his ego got in the way and has destroyed his credibility.

  7. vihdeeohfieuhl

    … and I know, I know, a lot of people are going to come back and say that Shyamalan is a bad writer, but a good director. I hear this defense of him all the time, and my response is always the same… Give me one example, other than The Sixth Sense where he proved himself accomplished as a director.

    You simply can’t do it.

    • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0796117/

      Pretty much completely agree – just about everything he wrote, he directed. I think the only exception was Stewart Little, and I haven’t seen that one.

      What it seems has happened here is that you have a one-trick pony who had a good idea, Sixth Sense. Signs, while not as good as Sixth Sense, was still good enough that it got him some recognition. So, after that, all they have to say is “From the writer / director of Sixth Sense” or “From the writer / director / producer of Signs” and then they just throw money at him. The fact that he is writing, directing, and producing his own movies pretty much means he is being given free reign to do whatever he wants.

      That being said, I kinda liked Last Airbender. By no means am I saying it was a good movie, but it was fun going to see. It had so much potential. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it here – if the movie had of been about 30-45 minutes longer to better develope characters and Storylines, this movie would have been awesome.

  8. vihdeeohfieuhl

    Is anybody going to be audacious enough to say The Lord of the Rings trilogy, or Spider-man 1 and 2. I know that we’ve had a lot of comments from people in the past that say both Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson are crap directors that got lucky with those particular film franchises. I don’t agree with this assessment at all, but it might stoke some interesting conversations.

    • I agree with Sam Raimi. His only good movie was Spiderman 2. Peter Jackson, though, is a good director, IMO. King Kong wasn’t that bad. His directing was good, it was just the editing of it was bad.

      • I agree – I think Jackson would have been a better choice last week – he had a crap movie or two, but for the most part, his stuff is pretty good. As for King Kong, the story, screenplay, directing and special effects were great. It is how you said, it suffered from bad editing. However, as director, Jackson would have had to approve the edits, right? So I guess you can kinda blame him for that.

        On Raimi, I agree 100%. He seems to be a good producer, though.

  9. Waldon

    I agree with Josh Z. about Richard Kelly, I can’t stand that man. He made one decent film but then his last two were garbage. I met him in person once in a film festival, I think he was promoting Southland Tales at the time, he’s probably the most pretentious people I’ve ever met in the entertainment industry and there are a lot of them Hollywood but he belongs on the top.

  10. besch64

    How has nobody said American Graffiti or Star Wars yet? Lucas is the first person I thought of when I read the topic title.

    • Luckily, Lucas Has only had like 3 directing credits in the past 30 years, and those were the prequels (unless you want to count a couple of shorts). And even before then, a lot of his movies are shorts. So, as far as director, he pretty much has 3 great movies and 3 crap movies. As such, I am not sure that I would classify Lucas as a bad director quite yet.

  11. Jane Morgan

    This list of one-hit wonders is sponsored by ‘The Hangover 2.’

    Old School – Todd Phillips
    Aliens – James Cameron
    Rango – Gore Verbinski
    Adventures In Babysitting – Chris Columbus
    THX 1138 – George Lucas
    Frost/Nixon – Ron Howard
    Bound – Mr & Mrs Wachowski
    Braveheart – Mel Gibson
    Get Shorty – Barry Sonnenfield
    Das Boot – Wolfgang Peterson
    Aladdin – Ron Clements
    Ghostbuusters – Ivan Reitman
    Ed Wood – Tim Burton
    Nixon – Oliver Stone
    Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon – Ang Lee
    Sex, Lies & Videotape – Steven Soderbergh
    The Empire Strikes Back – Irvin Kershner

    • Josh Zyber

      Let’s count off some of the movies that Jane has dissed with this comment, shall we?

      The Terminator, Terminator 2, American Graffiti, Star Wars, The Matrix, Das Boot, In the Line of Fire, The Little Mermaid, Stripes, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, Platoon, Wall Street, Born on the Fourth of July, JFK, The Wedding Banquet, Eat Drink Man Woman, Brokeback Mountain, Out of Sight, Traffic, and Ocean’s Eleven.

      And those are just the most glaring. There are a bunch more that I would say are at least debatable. I mean, c’mon now…


      • Jane Morgan

        Some people like fast food, some people like foie gras.

        I make my own pizza with leftover gyros and a seven-day sourdough crust.

        Movies are twice as subjective as food.

        By one-hit wonder, I meant one-to-three hit wonder.

        These 17 filmmakers have their names on, like, 300 weak films.

        But the kicker is, most of the time when a film fails to meet the potential of the story it’s based upon, it’s seldom the director’s fault.

        • Ron Clements … ah, come on …

          The Great Mouse Detective, The Little Mermaid, Treasure Planet … brilliant, brilliant, brilliant

        • EM

          Some people like extreme, provocative statements; some people like honest, accurate ones.

          • Jane Morgan

            Let’s have some respect for gender, experience, and level of investment.

            While girls tend to like boy movies more than boys like girl movies, you can’t expect a girl who studied drama at university to hold up Schwarzenegger movies as High Art.

            Casual audiences, political cinephiles, and wannabe filmmakers all have different definitions of “good movie” and “bad director.”

          • EM

            Indeed, let’s have some respect for gender, by not blaming a confusion between the quantity 1 and the range of quantities 1–3 on a person’s vagina. Surely even Barbie “Math is hard!” Roberts isn’t that addition-addled.

          • Jane Morgan

            The Top 100 highest grossing movies of all time include only one movie by a female filmmaker.

            Can anyone, off the top of their head, list the 10 Best movies directed by women?

            I agree that sex organs have a minimal effect on artistry, but what about brain chemistry?

          • Josh Zyber

            The lack of great movies from female directors has more to do with the lack of opportunities for women to direct than anything else. It’s an unfortunate fact that filmmaking is still mostly a “boy’s club.”

          • EM

            I’m sure that whatever effect brain chemistry has on histrionics and misrepresentation, those traits are not gender-specific.

          • Jane Morgan

            Steven Spielberg subscribes to the theory that a working filmmaker should be ranked by MLB batting average.

            In professional baseball, a batting average of .300 or higher is considered excellent. An average of .200 or lower is considered unacceptably poor.

            Mr. Spielberg gives himself a .375.

            I give Ridley Scott a .157.

            I consider Mr. Scott to be a director of more commanding artistry than Spielberg will ever achieve.

            My rhetorical question is this.

            (1) What is the batting average of your favorite auteur?

            (2) Am I allowed to claim that the greatest movie ever made, by a woman, is American Psycho?

        • vihdeeohfieuhl

          I tried to refrain, but I just have to join in and add that I can’t believe how pretentious this entire post is!


          Are you just trying to stir up comments? Or do you truly believe that none of these directors ever made more than 1-3 good films?

          By the way, for some of these directors, you didn’t even get their best film right when you made this statement.

          • Jane Morgan

            I cannot, accurately, be called pretentious, as I have a Michael Bay fetish.

            But I balance that out with a David Mamet fetish.

            I recognized 17 good movies.

            I agree that these directors have made many popular movies of average and above-average quality.

            Everything else is semantics.

            Chaz has the sensibility I admire. He likes what he likes and the world can fuck off.

            High-Def Digest, Box Office Mojo, and Metacritic can give us ideas. To deviate from.

            But the customer is king.

            I’m not going to lick Roger Ebert’s balls, no matter how sexy I find his new chin.

          • vihdeeohfieuhl

            My apologies. I wasn’t calling you pretentious, just your post. I think that post was the epitome of something that would be described as pretentious.

            You recognized 17 good films, but discarded and crapped on probably twice that many.

            While you agree that the directors you mentioned have made many popular films that are of above-average quality, you were still wrong about which of their films is best for many of them.

            You named the movie Bound in your post. I think that doing this alone is the very definition of the word pretentious.

            The customer is king, and they should use that power to the best of their interest. The 34+ films — at least — that you disrespected in your post are proof enough that you are no taking advantage of the liberty of being king.

            You don’t have to lick Roger Ebert’s balls, but you might be encouraged to give them a little caress every now and then, you know, simply on the off chance that he might actually right once every decade. 😉

          • Jane Morgan

            ‘Bound’ is a perfect example.

            Growing up, as a shy little lesbian, in a household of religious fundamentalists, I didn’t get to see much TV or movies.

            I don’t have the baggage of nostalgia, for popular works, that most of my peers have.

            ‘Bound’ was the first movie I saw with lesbian protagonists, and I saw it on my first date with my first girlfriend before my first ticklefuck.

            You can’t detach the opinion, from the individual, and declare it truth.

          • vihdeeohfieuhl

            There’s not much I can say in reply to all of that.

            I concede. I forfeit.

            Jane Morgan is the winner.


    • Ok, that list is ridiculous, I’m sorry but Mel Gibson, Chris Columbus, Steven Soderbergh, Ron Howard, Gore Verbinski, Tim Burton, Wolfgang Peterson and James Cameron have EASILY made more good movies than that!

      The problem being is that all these posts are pretentious opinions, everyone is going to think something was a good enough film to take any one of these directors off the proverbial “shit list”

      Of those listed I can easily name another movie that IMO keeps them off the list, especially Cameron and Burton

      • Agreed! I think all those directors are more suited for “Good Directors who have released bad movies” rather than this discussion. This is a list of some of the greatest directors of our time. I mean, just off the top of my head, Jane threw out Passion of the Christ, Willow, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Batman, Sleepy Hollow, A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13, Harry Potter, Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Cocoon.

        I do understand that Jane is saying that movies are subjective, but I think many of us can appreciate a movie being good even if its not our fortee (unless it just REALLY rubs us the wrong way – there is nothing anyone can do to convince me that Pulp Fiction, for example, was a good movie). Shoot, I don’t like the PeeWee movies or Adventures in Babysitting, but just because I don’t like them doesn’t make them bad movies.

    • Wyatt

      Jane Morgan, you’re one funny man or woman. Ha ha.

      Wait what? You were serious? Wow!

    • vihdeeohfieuhl

      I would say that unless you were really taken with The Hurt Locker, or you just can’t get enough of the Alvin and the Chipmunk films, or Twilight, you are allowed to say that your favorite work from a female director is American Psycho. 🙂

  12. Jon D

    I’d put out Francis Ford Coppola. Outside of the Godfather films and Apocalypse Now, he has helmed pretty much solid failures (and the more I learn about Apocalypse’s filming, the more I think it’s one of the biggest happy accidents in film history). I still don’t understand why everybody thinks Dracula is so great……

  13. EM

    In last week’s roundtable Ed Wood’s name came up. Wood has been called the worst director of all time, and his Plan 9 From Outer Space has been called the worst film of all time. I do not agree with either charge.

    I do agree that Wood was a lousy director. He was also a lousy writer, producer, editor, and actor. (Have I left out any of his credits?) But I have seen films more boring and/or offensive than Plan 9, and so it cannot be the world’s worst movie, and therefore its…auteur cannot be the world’s worst director. Yeah, a lot of the movie’s entertainment value does come from a recognition of the film’s ineptitude, but there is more to the movie than that. A lot of the elements are really cool!! (Bela Lugosi! Vampira! Tor Johnson! flying saucers! gravestones!) And the film actually has some decent sci-fi ideas (e.g., the notion that Man must end his bellicose ways before threatening the cosmos with them—sort-of a poor man’s Day the Earth Stood Still). Despite its many, many flaws, I consider the movie a pretty good one, certainly one of my favorites. Wood was not a good director—not even on this film—but this was a good movie by Ed Wood.

    I also enjoy Wood’s Glen or Glenda, albeit to a lesser extent.

  14. As I just replied to Jane, the problem with these is that everyone will see another movie that most likely removes them from the “shit list” everyone is putting them on, since all our opinions are our own….

    Richard Kelly for me is an awesome director and writer, despite the “problems” behind Southland Tales it was still a great mind fuck of a time, I loved it….The Box I bought right away, another great Scifi time, I’ve loved all his movies to date and I hope he keeps making more like this

    Uwe Boll haha, while I love the B movies he’s done (I get a big laugh out of most of them) Rampage was surprisingly really good, everything about it was on another level compared to his other work and it amazes me that he pulled something this good off, but I fully admit his movies are shit, doesnt prevent me from enjoying them though 😉

    Everyone else makes sense too Brett Ratner I almost forgot existed, after the amazing X2 we got his piece of shit, while I enjoyed it as a pure action type movie, it was super far removed from the quality of Bryan Singers efforts before it, shame he didnt return to do the third

    Stephen Sommers, oh lord, LOVE The Mummy, its something I always enjoy watching and like was said the epitome of a summer blockbuster popcorn popper, how he went from writing and directing this to doing so much shit is beyond me, Van Helsing is one of my most hated movies, its a gigantic joke from start to finish and GI Joe while I liked a lot for a few things (mainly Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow) was filled with horrible dialog, awful acting (Channing Tatum blows) and some really really bad CGI in places, I seriously hope he doesnt make too many more movies 🙂

    Renny Harlin I cant agree with, I’ve liked most of his action flicks, he has a certain feel that only he brings, most are cheesy yes, but highly enjoyable. Long Kiss Goodnight comes to mind, Mindhunters is fantastic IMO, Cutthroat Island I grew up watching and still find it a very enjoyable action movie, and he directed my favorite Nightmare on Elm Street movie, Nightmare 4 the Dream Master…..so to me he is far from this list

    So as this goes on I’m sure we will run into tons of opinions that collide, what one finds highly enjoyable and a good movie is far different from most others, Jane’s list I have to say was crazy, so many other good movies that most of those directors made which should easily leave them off the list

  15. I know this is controversial, but I’m tempted to say the Coen brothers (Though admittedly, I haven’t seen that many of their films).

    The Hudsucker Proxy was their best film, quirky, well acted, nuanced, thoughtful, stylish, funny… Big Lebowski was pointless and boring. No Country for Old Men is the most pointless and empty film I’ve seen in a long time. So empty, but full of long ‘meaningful’ pauses, that people can read whatever the hell they want into it, and see it as deep and meaningful high art. Emperor’s New Clothes, if ever I saw them. Burn After Reading was a pointless waste of time. Intolerable Cruelty… Sheesh…

    So unfortunately I haven’t been willing to waste the time to see their other films. With the track record of what I have seen, I don’t wish to waste more of my life. 😛

    • Sounds to me like you just arent a Coen Bros. Fan, plain and simple, if you arent a Big Lebowski Fan and you hated No Country for Old Men, I think you have no hope of liking most of the other stuff, Lebowski is comic genius, No Country was an amazing Drama, Fargo is also a dark comedy drama classic, they’ve had a TON of great movies, I also loved Burn After Reading, not as good as Lebowski or others but it was still damn funny, Brad Pitt was fantastic in that!

  16. Peter Jackson. Heavenly Creatures was a wonderful mix of artful, human storytelling and down-the-rabbithole, surreal effects work. That film got me genuinely excited about the possibility of using CGI to serve real narrative purpose in non-blockbuster filmmaking. Beyond HC, Jackson has made goofy splatter films, the most ponderous, overblown, overhyped trilogy of all time (each installment getting progressively worse), and a pointless, painful remake of King Kong, an affront to the original (the best monster movie of all time). Jackson managed to make the natives in his KK more offensively stereotyped and less human those in the 1930’s original.

    • Thats not a good example IMO, he’s widely known in horror circles as one of the best, Dead Alive is one of the all time best gore flicks and its directed with style just like the rest of his stuff, its one of the best horror/comedies out there

      As far as Lord of the Rings goes, sounds like you just arent a fan, winning NUMEROUS awards and like 13 academy awards including best director would easily make up for anything else, I know a lot of people who arent huge fans of Lord of the Rings (or fantasy for that matter) but that certainly doesnt make these bad movies by any means, any other bad movie thats been mentioned never even close to being even nominated for any kind of awards

      • I like fantasy when it’s done well, which honestly is pretty rare, however LOTR was a huge disappointment. This is of course my own opinion, but winning awards doesn’t mean much. Let some time pass and the excitement die down, and LOTR will be reassessed as a risible failure. Grim characters staring off into the distance, saying grave things in ponderous monotone. Oceans of CGI orcs washing over the CGI landscape like dirty scrubbing bubbles. Elves surfing on shields. Dwarf tossing. Stephen Merchant put it well, “Nine hours of my life wasted!”.

  17. To piggyback off of the Uwe Boll piece, Paul W.S. Anderson – Event Horizon.

    Mortal Kombat is a guilty pleasure but I would’t say it was GOOD film making. And the only other notable movie he did, Resident Evil was garbage. Event Horizon took space horror to a whole new extreme that I still have not seen anything that can compare. The Dead Space videogame might be the closest thing to the effect that movie had. High hopes for the new Musketeer movie.

  18. Jeannot Szwarc, who helmed such disasters as “Jaws 2”, “Supergirl” and “Santa Claus: The Movie” (and a bunch of bad TV since then), directed by all-time favorite film: “Somewhere In Time”.

  19. Aaron C

    I bet I’m going to take a lot of heat for this, but I really enjoyed Terminator Salvation by McG, which I feel is argueably his best movie. Granted, it’s no T2 (or even T1), but so much better than T3 and I wish they would finish out this “prequel trilogy”.

    • Yeah, Salvation was pretty good, wasn’t it. I guess as far as Terminator movies (and series) go, everything gets compared to T2. They were all good movies and shows (except for T3), but none of them even come close to the awesomeness that is Terminator 2.

      I guess that is true with anything, though. If you make something that is awesome, its just really hard to make another movie that meets people’s expectations.

  20. Mattedscreen

    I’d have to put up Joseph Sargent on this list. The man has 84 director credits to his name, and for every Sybil or the original Taking of Pelham one two three, there are twice as many Jaws The Revenges on the list.

  21. EM

    At the crux of this discussion is a question that is hardly being acknowledged: what constitutes a good director or a bad director?

    I asked a related question in the “Bad Movies From Good Directors” thread; Aaron Peck suggested the importance of how the director is remembered overall. If a director directs a lot of good movies, he’s a good director; if a director tends to direct stinkbombs, he’s a bad director. Sounds simple enough: judge by the overall results.

    But is that right?

    Modern thinking about film directors is heavily steeped in auteur theory. The idea is that although moviemaking is almost always a collaboration, one can identify the director as the overall “author” of the film, the person most responsible for shaping the film—a very useful concept for criticism, particularly for comparative purposes.

    While auteur theory can be quite useful, it ain’t everything. Knowing that a particular film features the character of James Bond would likely tell you much more about what that film’s experience will be like than would the director’s résumé.

    In the “Bad Movies From Good Directors” thread, I suggested the possibility of a bad director repeatedly making good movies, simply because he was surrounded by talented personnel who could carry him along. Is this possible? Perhaps not, if you judge by results: since he keeps making good films, he must not be a bad director. Similarly, if you judge by results, a director who never makes a good movie must not be a good director.

    But I’m tempted to think that overall final results can actually distort the issue. Perhaps a good director who is constantly beset by ridiculous scripts, undertalented actors, shoestring budgets, uncoöoperative weather, etc. will end up making few or no good films. Perhaps a valid test of directorial ability is simply to make a movie that is not so lousy as the circumstances would seem to dictate.

    My tastes tend to direct me to films in which special effects often play key parts, since science fiction and horror often interest me. But as special effects have gotten more plentiful, bolder, and more realistic in the age of CGI, I have become more skeptical and weary of special-effects movies. Often I find myself preferring the wire- and zipper-laden extravaganzas of yore. I think that’s because I have cultivated some appreciation for the work of creating the illusion, even when the illusion is imperfect. When a modern-day director touts modern technologies as allowing him to achieve anything he imagines, my interest fades. When I know that the filmmakers had to work hard (perhaps pray hard, too) to bring me their vision, I appreciate the end result more, even if the end result shows more flaws than a production whose challenges were not so great.

    Just food for thought.