The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Director Dirty Dozen

Powdered Toast Man inspired this list of some of my favorite directors.  Not much more to say except here are some of my favorites:

Stephen Spielberg  -- The films he has directed don't miss.  They have all been pretty darn good and cover a wide range.  Some of my favorites are War of the Worlds (2005), Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and the amazing Empire of the Sun.

Tim Burton --  His films have shown a lot of diversity and he gives them a unique world view.  Some of my favorites are Pee Wee's Big Adventure, Batman, Big Fish, and, one of the most optimistic movies ever, Ed Wood.

Joel and Ethan Coen -- I have been a fan of the Coens since the beginning.  My favorite films by them are Raising Arizona, Fargo, O Brother Where Art Thou?,  A Serious Man, and most of all No Country For Old Men because it is a faithful version of the novel by my favorite author Cormac McCarthy.

Christopher Nolan  --His string of great films include  Memento, Insomnia, InceptionBatman Begins, The Dark Knight, and my favorite The Prestige.

Roland Emmerich -- Laugh if you want, but I think his films have been just plain outright ridiculous fun.  Really this is one of the reasons I watch movies--escapism.  And his films have some pretty cool special effects.   I especially enjoyed 2012, The Day After TomorrowIndependence Day, and, one of my favorite films, The Patriot.

Ridley Scott---He has a fine list of films that he has directed, including Kingdom of Heaven, Black Hawk Down1492: Conquest of Paradise, Blade Runner, Alien, and, from my list of favorite films,  Gladiator.

Alfred Hitchcock --The master who had it down so well his name has been attached to a film genre.  A few of his greatest films include The BirdsSpellbound, Psycho, Rear Window,  and Vertigo, which is my personal favorite Hitchcock film.

Roman Polanski  -- If you get past his scandalous reputation, you have one of filmdom's greatest directors.  Some of my Polanski favorites are The Tenant, Chinatown, Bitter Moon, The Pianist,  and the very creepy Repulsion.

John Sayles  --  If Roland Emmerich is the master of over the top entertainment, John Sayles is on the opposite end of the movie making spectrum.  Sayles makes films that are quiet, intelligent, and thought-provoking.  My favorites are Sunshine State, Limbo,  Lone StarMatewan, and  Men with Guns. It's difficult to say which is my absolute favorite.

Francis Ford Coppola --This legend in film-making is the director of films like Peggy Sue Got Married, The Godfather Trilogy, The Conversation, and one my top favorite films, Apocalypse Now.

David Lynch -- The genius behind the notorious TV series Twin Peaks directed great films like Blue Velvet, Lost Highway, The Elephant Man, The Straight Story, and  the mind-bending Mulholland Drive.

Federico Fellini -- My all-time favorite director is Fellini.  His films are more than just movies.  They are dreams captured on screen.  His vision has had the greatest influence on my appreciation of film as an art.  Some of my favorites are Ginger and Fred, Clowns, La Strada, and Roma, which I would rank in my all-time five top favorite films.

           And there you go.  That says a lot about me as far as movies go.  Do you have any thoughts about any of these directors?  Any directors you'd like to toss into the mix?

31 comments:

  1. I used to be an avid film goer as a child and up until my second child was born. I loved Alfred Hitchcock best of all. as for all the others I don't know much about them , I have heard of a few by name but for their actual work I am not familiar with,

    Have a good day.
    Yvonne,

    ReplyDelete
  2. You saw my list and I agree with several of those. Fellini did some wild stuff, too.

    ReplyDelete
  3. oh Polanski's movies... I can watch them all!! Fellini is extraordinaire!
    And Lynch's when I am in the right mood.

    Alex, I guess I haven't seen your list. Gotta rewind... :-))

    Doris

    ReplyDelete
  4. I thought you were just copying my list until I got past the first few directors. Good list. There were 2 or 3 I need to check out.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Arlee, what did you think of Emerich's "10,000 BC" film? :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have a hard time with Roman Polanski movies, they all seem to have one underlying theme. It's a turn off for me. Though with David Lynch, I have to admit, I was hooked on Twin Peaks, and I did watch Blue Velvet. I am a big fan of Alfred Hitchcock, I still watch and rewatch his movies, and one of my favorites, though not shown as much as the others is "The Rope". I hadn't realized who directed 2012 (which I thought was suspenseful all the way through), Independence Day(Will Smith made this movie!)by Roland Emmerich and of course, one of the better Sci-Fy moves Blade Runner, by Ridley Scott. As a movie goer, I guess I don't pay attention to the director as much as I should, I just know what movies I like!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I would only add Martin Scorsese and Stanley Kubrick, but otherwise this list is golden!

    ReplyDelete
  8. As I said earlier I don't know directors. I dont' pick or reject movies based on the dirctor (however I would reject any and all Polanski movies). I recognized some names and more so the movies they did and have enjoyed many of the movies.

    I would have included Ron Howard.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Yvonne --For me watching movies was easier when I was younger. Now I don't make as much time for watching movies as I used to because I feel like there are so many other things I should be doing instead.

    Alex -- Yes, I could have probably used your list.

    Doris -- Yes, the three you mention fit more into my preference for surrealistic vision. Unlike some directors, they recreate surrealism with a certain coherence if one dwells upon what one has seen.

    PTM -- Your list was so good that I had to duplcate some, but I also had to include my absolute favorites.

    Dezmond -- As I recall 10,000 BC had the usual fine effects, but was more incredibly stupid than he usually gets. I want to watch it again though.

    Judy -- I don't remember a lot of directors, but if I really like a movie a lot I will often check to see what else the director has done and seek some of the films out to watch.

    Matthew -- Sorcese and Kubrick were in my top 15. They have made some excellent films.

    Gregg- Ron Howard was also in my top 15. I've like every movie by him that I've seen.

    ReplyDelete
  10. r-LEE-b ~
    You and I certainly do have very different tastes in movies. Some of the movies you list as reasons for praising a certain director, I downright detested.

    I know that often in the course of their careers, directors and actors will find themselves involved in a project solely because "it's work" (and they may need the money). As a result, the careers of even some of the greats are littered with some real rubbish. This is one reason that I am not so much a fan of directors (and very few actors), but more a fan of individual stories.

    However, if I were to name a few directors whom I feel did some work that really stands out (i.e., made at least a couple of movies that I consider truly masterful), the names that first come to mind for me are:

    MILOS FORMAN: 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest'; 'Amadeus'; 'Hair' 'Ragtime'.

    JOHN FORD: 'The Quiet Man'; 'Mr. Roberts'; 'The Searchers'; 'Stagecoach'

    ALFRED HITCHCOCK: Of course. 'North By Northwest' and so many others.

    FRANK CAPRA: Of course. 'It's A Wonderful Life'; 'Mr. Smith Goes To Washington'; 'You Can't Take It With You'; 'It Happened One Night'

    GEORGE CUKOR: 'Born Yesterday'; 'My Fair Lady'; 'Gaslight'

    GEORGE ROY HILL: 'The Sting'; 'A Little Romance'; 'Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid'. But then he gets demerits for 'Slap Shot' and 'The World According To Garp'.

    ROBERT ZEMECKIS: 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit'; The 'Back To The Future' trilogy. But then again, Zemeckis is also responsible for 'Forrest Gump' - one of the world's most overrated movies. So, ya see what I mean. A director can be brilliant one year and lose his bearings the next.

    Anyway, those are the names that come to my mind first when I think "director".

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    ReplyDelete
  11. Actually, LEE, my favorite director of all time is ED WOOD. Although he never directed a comedy, he made some of the funniest movies ever!
    :o)

    ~ "Stephen Or Stephanie"
    (aka D-FensDogg)

    ReplyDelete
  12. StMc -- I can't argue with any of those directors or films-- all excellent choices.
    I think you hit upon the main difference we have when you say that you are a "fan of individual stories."
    Since the art of film is so visual I tend to remember a film more by it's images, certain dialogue, and overall sensory impact upon mind.
    I often don't remember a story of a movie, but certain images will stand out or I will remember certain sequences.
    That is why I like Fellini so much. The story in his films is secondary to the symbolism and the visual art. I like that.
    Apocalypse Now has a basic story line of government assassin goes to illegal operations area to kill rogue officer. The movie could have been done in many ways, but for me it was not memorable because of the story, but for the symbolic sequences like the bridge under attack, the village raid, the cult leader's domain, etc.

    I enjoy stories and they are good escapism, and I certainly have no qualms with great story telling in film. But my thoughts seem to dwell longer on things that are puzzling, thought provoking, and unusual to see. To me film is primarily a visual art and the medium that can come closest to recreating dreams, which is a realm of the mind that totally fascinates me.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Lee-

    In an era where we've sworn off lists, this is a good list anyway!

    Someday I will have to watch a Fellini film.

    A recording artist I like a lot, Fish (former lead singer of Marillion) released a solo album a while back called "Fellini Days," and since I have never seen one of his films (Fellini's, not Fish's) the allusion is lost on me (if in fact, allusion is the right choice of words).

    LC

    ReplyDelete
  14. I don't usually pay much attention to directors (terrible I know) but there are a lot of movies on your list I enjoy! :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh, I love Hitchcock! I like the others as well but I love the art of making us think about an imagine and not hitting us in the head with the meaning. :D

    Good list, Lee.
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

    ReplyDelete
  16. Oh, the Cohen brothers...yes. I remember laughing and then feeling bad that I was laughing while watching Fargo.

    Great list!

    ReplyDelete
  17. LEE ~
    When I say I'm a fan of individual stories, by no means am I restricting myself to the mere plot points and general theme of a movie. Story means not just "what happens" but "who does it?" and "why?" In other words, characters and motivations. I want it all put together well and memorably. I want it meaningful! (Or at the very least, highly entertaining.)

    Yes, certainly film is primarily a visual medium (hence the famous movie motto: "Don't tell it! SHOW it!") But images that I'm not emotionally tied to in some way do nothing for me. Which is one reason I am not a fan of many "action" movies. If I don't really CARE about the character(s), then I won't give a darn about how sensational the images involving that character are.

    The images appearing on the screen need to tell a "story" that I genuinely care about (or at least make me laugh my damn fool head off).

    Any producer who's bragging about his special effects budget or how many cars he's going to blow up in his next movie is almost certainly making a movie for someone other than me. I sometimes think computer graphics were the worst thing that ever happend to moviemaking. (That and martial arts as subject matter.)

    Some of the movies and moviemakers that seem preoccupied with bizarre images and strange situations strike me as being overly pretentious. So much of what passes for "deep" thinking in movies these days is really just the silver-spoonfed shallowness of college educated brats. Oh, I like to think about what I'm seeing, and I like to search a movie for its symbolism, but it STILL must relate to a story and characters I can like and root for. Flashy images and hidden symbolism just for the sake of flashy images and hidden symbolism is not my idea of "storytelling" on the silver screen is all about.

    Well, you will not be surprised when I tell you that I go to a movie theater maybe once every three or four years. Love my NetFlix though, love my old black and white classics and, of course, my OLD Westerns.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    ReplyDelete
  18. You missed James Cameron - avatar, Titanic

    ReplyDelete
  19. LC -- Fellini takes a special taste in film. My wife watched a few of his films with me, but I can't get her to watch any more. Now watching Fellini has become a solitary experience.

    Jemi --I don't pay attention to a lot of directors either--only if a film has really impressed me, then I like to know whose vision it was.

    Jules -- I like films that surprise and leave me thinking about them for a good while afterward. The pure entertainment films can be fun, but they are often soon forgotten.

    Raquel -- I like the dark humor of the Coen films.

    ReplyDelete
  20. StMc-- Actually you've inspired a post for the future with your comments. I've started it and scheduled to have it post sometime in Sept. It interests me how people's tastes can be so different--it would take a book to really examine it thoroughly, but a post on the topic might be kind of fun. Thanks for the inspiration. Your royalty check has been donated to the Republican Party.

    Lynda -- I didn't really miss James Cameron. I have really enjoyed some of his films, however Avatar is one that, though spectacular, rather annoyed me with it's storyline.

    ReplyDelete
  21. well, Steven Spielburg undoubtedly has the best movies ever imho. Alfred Hitchcock always scared the tar out of me.

    i think Tom Hanks is not only a great actor but is also becoming a wonderful producer in his own right.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Stephen Spielberg has indeed done some great filmmaking. I've been a big fan of Tom Hanks as well.

    ReplyDelete
  23. >> Your royalty check has been donated to the Republican Party.

    DOH!!!
    (I'm-a kill ya!)
    :o)

    ~ D-FensDogg

    ReplyDelete
  24. Top of the list has to be the Coen Brothers, although I haven't watched a lot of the classics for years and years and would probably be blown away by them if I watched now with adult eyes.

    I'd probably add Tarantino because he has the confidence to take you in one direction and turn you back on yourself - he makes me aware of my own reactions.

    One to watch: Martin McDonagh, who was nominated for a dozen awards for In Brugges (including Oscar nomination and BAFTA win for screenwriting)

    ReplyDelete
  25. Brokenbiro-- In Bruges was a really fine film and I'll have to keep my eyes open for McDonagh. Tarantino was on my top 20 list, but got sacrificed for some that were bigger favorites. Thanks for visiting!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Three of my all-time favorite movies had wonderful direction: Hugh Hudson for Chariots of Fire (1981); Mark Rydell for On Golden Pond (1981) and Albert Lewin for the classic 1945 film The Picture of Dorian Gray. Other than my three additions Lee, you put together a terrific list!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Can you believe I've never seen any of those movies? And I'm not familiar with the work of those directors. I'll have to check them out.

    ReplyDelete
  28. A lot of these movies I've seen with you or you recommended them to me. I liked growing up and having movie nights on Fridays. It really open my eyes to different genres.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Emilee -- We still have movie night most Fridays but we miss our girls watching them with us.

    Love
    Dad

    ReplyDelete
  30. We share a lot of the same favorite directors.

    It actually makes me mad that Roman Polanski's films are so darned good.

    To this list, I'd add M. Night Shyamalan and Danny Boyle.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I think I have a pretty quality list. Polanski has had a crazy life, but his film direction has been masterful.

    ReplyDelete

Go ahead and say something. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
I normally try to respond to all comments in the comment section so please remember to check the "Email follow-up comments" box if you want to participate in the comment conversation.

For Battle of the Bands voting the "Anonymous" commenting option has been made available though this version is the least preferred. If voting using "anonymous" please include in your comment your name (first only is okay) and city you are voting from and the reason you chose the artist you did.

If you know me and want to comment but don't want to do it here, then you can send me an email @ jacksonlee51 at aol dot com.

Lee