Hitchcock, Fellini and Capra seemingly had their growing pains, but I was hard pressed to find a bump in their road (it doesn’t help I have not see all of their films). I tried to avoid any bias here, but occasionally it was difficult to separate myself from personal feelings about a particular film. Without further ado, below is my attempt to take some of the best directors (past and present) and find the lemon in their career . . .
Martin Scorsese (Kundun) – It’s difficult to watch Kundun knowing the man behind Raging Bull, Taxi Driver and Goodfellas is behind the wheel. The film about the 14th Dalai Lama is detailed, slow and doesn’t engage the audience unlike almost every other film in Scorsese’s arsenal. Perhaps it is a bit unfair, but nonetheless a strange entry in the Scorsese timeline . . .
Steven Spielberg (Tie: The Lost World: Jurassic Park & Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) – Even the king of Science Fiction is prone to making mistakes. The Lost World took the groundbreaking Jurassic Park franchise and turned it into a “Please Don’t Kill Dinosaurs” campaign. I hate not choosing just one film, but it’s hard not to include an Indiana Jones film that actually stopped fans from wanting another Indiana Jones film. Spielberg would be better off avoiding sequels for the rest of his career.
Francis Ford Coppola (Jack) – I bet a good portion of people who have seen Jack still do not know Coppola was the director. The strange dramedy finds Robin Williams with an aging disorder that makes him age four times faster than everyone else. Coppola’s brutal looking Twixt would have probably made this list if the studio didn’t put it on the shelf for awhile. Hard to believe The Godfather director would be on-board for this . . .
Quentin Tarantino (Death Proof) – Only Quentin Tarantino can make half a movie seem like the double the length of a normal film. Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez had fun with Grindhouse, but forgot to let the audience in on the joke. The last scene is entertaining, but far from enough to make us forget about the first ¾ of the film.
Clint Eastwood (Absolute Power) – Often we can suspend our belief for anything Eastwood wants to do, but the President murdering his mistress is asking way too much. Eastwood has become more than just a credible filmmaker, but he was not at this best here.
The Coen Bros. (The Ladykillers) – The 2004 picture has its moments, but when it comes to The Coen Bros. body of work, the film is just out of place.
Woody Allen (You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger) – Woody Allen’s filmography is a roller coaster of great, good, average and below average films. I subscribe to the theory that even his sub-par efforts have some brilliance in them. Therefore, You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger is my choice. The film is the most forgettable of Allen’s illustrious career. I have never wanted an Allen film to end so badly. I bet you haven’t even seen it . . . (and possibly most of his other 40+ films).
Ridley Scott (A Good Year) – Scott and Russell Crowe also worked together on Gladiator, American Gangster, Body of Lies and Robin Hood. The duo’s attempt at light comedy and drama is a boring affair. The man behind Alien and Blade Runner should never touch comedy again. Never . . .
Peter Jackson (The Lovely Bones) – Jackson’s 2009 picture proves not every best selling book translates into a decent film. The film is tedious, creepy and a misfire from the very capable director. I am sort of hoping he can figure a way to do Lord of the Rings films for the rest of his career . . .
Roman Polanski (The Ninth Gate) – Johnny Depp headlined this film about a rear book dealer. The film is quirky way, but never reaches higher than B-movie fare. Polanski is capable of making great films and this is his laziest work to date.
Tim Burton (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) – Charlie made $1 billion dollars at the box office and I have yet to meet a person who enjoyed the film. I am often the first to defend Burton’s style, but he is way off when it comes to Wonka.
Robert Altman (The Gingerbread Man) – Believe it or not, there is a John Grisham film worst than The Chamber out there. Grisham wrote this film (it was not a book) and no one bothered to see it. Altman is a master at handling a large cast, but Gingerbread is long and boring.
Mel Brooks – (Dracula: Dead and Loving It) – It’s no coincidence that Dracula was the last film directed by Brooks. The jokes seem old and tired. The master of spoof films (Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Spaceballs) is off the mark for the first time in his career. If you’re looking for obscure Mel Brooks films, rent Life Stinks.
Brian De Palma (The Black Dahlia) – De Palma has been an inconsistent director for over 25 years (Scarface, The Bonfire of the Vanities, Carlito’s Way, Snake Eyes, Mission to Mars). The picture, revolving around the “Black Dahlia” murder investigation, is boarded-line unwatchable. If I ever come up with a list of my 20 least favorite movies, Dahlia would get strong consideration.
Robert Zemeckis (Death Becomes Her) – Bruce Willis, Goldie Hawn, Meryl Street, the guy behind Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? . . . hard to believe 20 years later. I’m aware of the fact that this has a following . . . it’s still not a good movie.
Oliver Stone (Alexander) – Who would have thought 3 hours of your life and $155 million dollars later (yes…that was the reported budget) you would be yearning for Stone’s conspiracy theories. Any Given Sunday had crossed my mine, but the football drama is not in the same league as this hot mess. Even Stone’s below average films are entertaining.
Mike Nichols (What Planet Are You From?) – Gary Shandling’s first starring role was his last thanks to this one. It almost hard to believe the same director helmed The Birdcage, Primary Colors, Postcards From the Edge and Working Girl. You know there is trouble when the big joke is that the alien’s dick vibrates.
Sam Raimi (Spider-Man 3) – I am a big fan of Raimi and this might not be fair. In fact, he often delivers the goods (Evil Dead, Army of Darkness, Darkman, A Simple Plan). Perhaps the third installment of the franchise was such a let down because Spider-Man 2 is still one of the Top 3 comic book movies ever made. I’m pissed Raimi gave into Venom fans (and the studio).
Spike Lee (She Hate Me) – Lee made the film between 25th Hour and Inside Man. Both films were far superior than the 2004 that focuses on “a former biotech executive turns to impregnating wealthy lesbians for profit.” Lee is a risk taker, but this is him at his worst . . .
Richard Linklater (The Newton Boys) – The man behind Dazed and Confused, Slacker, Waking Life and School of Rock made this forgettable 20’s film about four brothers who become bank robbers.
Michael Mann (Miami Vice) – I still don’t know what the plan was for the Miami Vice feature film. No action, boring, slow . . . Could this really be from the guy who gave us Heat, Last of the Mohicans, The Insider and Collateral? I wasn’t a huge fan of Mann’s Public Enemies, but it was much more entertaining than watching Colin Farrell swooning over a crime bosses assistant for 2+ hours.
Robert Redford (The Legend of Bagger Vance) – Redford is a capable director (Quiz Show, Ordinary People), but Vance will go down as the cheesiest and most ridiculous golf film in cinema history.On a side note, how young does Matt Damon look in the poster?
GusVan Sant (Psycho) – Consider this one the ultimate unnecessary remake. Van Sant mirrored Hitchcock’s original shot for shot in an attempt to make the most unoriginal film in cinema history. It’s hard to believe this is the next film he made after Good Will Hunting.
Rob Reiner (North) – Reiner is capable of hitting homeruns (The American President, Stand By Me, This is Spinal Tap, The Princess Bride, A Few Good Men, When Harry Met Sally, Misery) and striking out miserably (The Story of Us, Alex & Emma,
The Bucket List). The story of a kid who leaves his parents grossed $7 million dollars and is considered one of the worst films of all time.
Jonathan Demme (The Truth About Charlie) – Remaking Charade ended up being a disaster for Demme and all those involved (including Mark Wahlberg). The filmed grossed $5 million dollars at the box office and people still have no idea the film exists. Therefore, I don’t know what else to say.
James L . Brooks (How Do You Know) – Brooks has directed just six films in his 23 year career (Terms of Endearment, Broadcast News, I’ll Do Anything, As Good As It Gets, Spanglish). Not all of them were great movies, but none were as boring as this 2010 flop.
Cameron Crowe (Elizabethtown) – Say Anything,Singles, Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous, Vanilla Sky . . . Elizabethtown? It’s not hard to figure this one out . . .
Source : CMP Original