Thursday, January 05, 2006

My Favorite Directors

1. Steven Spielberg
2. Gus Van Sant
3. Clint Eastwood
4. Lasse Hallström
5. Neil Jordan

I know, I know. How predictable is giving the crown to the great Spielbergo? As much as it feels like I’m selling out, he is responsible for so many of the iconic films in the last 30 years; “Jaws”, “E.T.”, “Close Encounters”, “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, “The Color Purple”, “Schindler’s List”, “Saving Private Ryan”, etc. etc. He knows how to put a film together, though I will freely admit that in the last 10 years, he’s had a problem finding the right time to end a film. Still, when you hear his name, the first thought should be quality … until he makes more “War of the Worlds” remakes.

Gus Van Sant is responsible for my favorite film of all time, “Good Will Hunting”. He is always on the edge of where other mainstream filmmakers even dream of going. From “Drugstore Cowboy” and “My Own Private Idaho” to “Gerry and “Elephant”, Van Sant has kept his fingers on the undercurrent pulse of society and refrained from selling out his indie sensibilities.

Clint Eastwood has put out amazing film after amazing film. He has been directing for over 30 years, starting back in his Western hey day with the likes of "High Plains Drifter" and "The Outlaw Josey Wales". More recently he has put out two of the better films in this era, “Unforgiven” and “Million Dollar Baby”. Look for his upcoming “Flags of Our Fathers” to be nothing short of amazing.

Lasse Hallstrom doesn’t make bad films. From “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” to “The Cider House Rules” to “An Unfinished Life”, his films convey heart and drama with conviction and expertise. While some may not like his lighter fare, like “Chocolat” and “Casanova”, I spit in the face of anyone who says they were poorly made.

Neil Jordan has been crafting deeply personal and dark stories for some time now. “The Crying Game”, “The Butcher Boy” and “Breakfast on Pluto” are not light material. It takes a bit of a stern countenance to face them but the emotion and depth of the stories are intense and works of finely crafted art.

  • Other notable directors:

  • Doug Liman
    Mike Nichols
    Susanne Bier
    Luc Besson

    Doug Liman is making a name for himself with such films as “Go”, “Swingers” and “The Bourne Identity”. Keep an eye on him. And forgive him for “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”, even I would sell out to watch Brangelina look pretty.

    Mike Nichols has a career than spans from “The Graduate” to “Closer”. Many of the finest actors put him at the top of their list for director of choice, which speaks volumes.

    Susanne Bier crafts some of the finest in foreign cinema under the radar of America’s mainstream. “Open Hearts” and “Brothers” are must sees for any fan of foreign and independent cinema.

    And Luc Besson may be one of the most outlandish filmmakers going, creating action films full of unbelievable and sometimes ridiculous feats of agility, but his stories are some of the most elaborate and touching in film. Whether it’s “La Femme Nikita”, “Leon: The Professional” or “The Fifth Element”, there’s both a sense of assured filmmaking and wonder mixed in with the whimsical elements.


    Blogger PowerSurgeon said...

    Have you really spit in someone's face, or was that just a figure of speech?

    7:23 AM  
    Blogger Hungry Hank said...

    Well, let's just say I'm glad no charges were filed ...

    2:16 AM  
    Blogger PowerSurgeon said...

    Well, I would have included Michael Mann, and maybe Richard Donner. Lucas would have made the list, but then he decided to take something beautiful and sodomize it with an Osterizer.

    2:59 PM  
    Blogger Hungry Hank said...

    I can definitely see including Michael Mann. And Donner has done some of my favorite films, like "The Goonies" and "Lethal Weapon" but I never think of him in the same revered light as some of these other individuals.

    12:24 PM  
    Blogger -jlaabs said...

    Michael Mann is the MAN! And Ridley Scott ain't half bad although I want to spit in his brother's face for making me watch Domino.

    2:47 PM  

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