Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sunday Best: Directors of All Time - Who Didn't Make the List

When I started this list of best directors of all time I had a hard time cutting some people.  And as I published the different lists, I received feedback that was at times surprising or stunned.

There are a number of directors that are praised for their ability that did not make the list.  And there are others that I very much enjoy but also did not make it.  Here are a list of famous directors who did not make the list and why.


Jon Favrau:  The first Iron Man is a great deal of fun.  And Made is a great mobster comedy.  And Elf was the best Christmas movie to be made since Scrooged.  But none of these were able to bring put him on the list.

Sam Raimi:  He is a unique talent that always makes things visually intersting.  Even his underrated movies like The Quick and the Dead have got great personality.  He even showed some real subtle restraint in A Simple Plan.  He was just edged out.


I can only comment on the directing of those whose movies I have seen.  Even though I have watched over 2200 movies, there are still far more movies that I have not seen.  Some acclaimed directors who did not make the list are:

Cecil B. DeMille: I have only seen his amazing classic The Ten Commandments.

Orson Wells: The only one of his movies I've seen all the way through was Citizen Kane (and it is overrated)

John Ford: Not being the biggest Western fan, I haven't seen any of his movies.

David Lynch:  While The Elephant Man is an excellent movie, I couldn't bring myself to watching any of his other strange concoctions.

Elia Kazan: He is a director I would like to become more acquainted with, but I've not seen his classics like A Streetcar Named Desire, Gentlemen's Agreement, or On the Waterfront.


I said that to qualify for best director, they needed multiple great movies to show that they could summon their skill at will and that a single success was not a fluke.

George Lucas:  Since Star Wars Episodes 1-IV are all part of the same franchise, I consider them one movie.  And while the directing of especially Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope are excellent, Lucas's other movies don't make the grade.  THX-1138 is awful.  And American Graffiti is a great movie, but it has more to do with the writing than the directing.

Ridley Scott: I am not as impressed with Ridley Scott as everyone else.  Alien is excellent and so is Gladiator, but his other films leave me lukewarm at best.

Frank Capra: It's a Wonderful Life is in my top 10 movies of all time.  But the only other movie of his I have seen, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, is only truly significant because of Jimmy Stewart's amazing performance

Jeannot Szwarc:  Somewhere in Time is also in my top 10. And Jaws 2 is a worth successor to Jaws, but his other movies are sub par.

Oliver Stone: JFK is a fabrication from Stone's bungled read of history, but it is also a fantastic movie.  All of his other ones, though, are bloated, boring affairs.

Brian de Palma:  The Untouchables is brilliance.  Mission:Impossible is fun.  Beyond that, he's nothing too special.


There are some directors who are generally admired, but I have a different take on them.

Woody Allen:  I still have no idea why people see his movies.  They are humorless comedies about horrible people.

Stanley Kubrick:  I'm sorry, but he is a TERRIBLE director.  I know I am in the minority here, but Kubrick chooses not to tell stories but blind you with his cinematography.  All style and no substance.

The Cohen Brothers:  They came close to perfection with No Country for Old Men, but then spiked the ball with 20 minutes to go.  Their humor eludes me.  Their dramas bore me.

Ang Lee:  He's experimental, I'll give him that.  But his movies don't quite hit the right emotional note.

Quentin Tarantino:  I'm sorry, but he is just not a very good director.  His writing is also over-rated.  His movies are too long and lose too much focus.  Even his greatest movie, Reservoir Dogs, finds little of its success from it directing.

Clint Eastwood:  I don't understand why he's won so many Oscars for directing.  He is a great actor, but his directing style is minimalist with long, dark, boring scenes.

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