Directors worth keeping an eye on, part 1

Sometimes you don’t necessarily pay attention to the director of a movie, but there are some directors who have a habit of directing great movies — so you might want to know who they are. Each of these 10 directors has directed 4 masterpieces. There may be some off-by-one errors in my ratings for movies I saw many years ago, but this gives you a good idea of the movies I like.

Wes Anderson

Anderson’s movies are all similarly quirky, and I love them. Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, and Owen Wilson tend to show up in these movies — and sometimes Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, and Anjelica Huston.

  • Masterpieces
    • Fantastic Mr. Fox
    • The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
    • Moonrise Kingdom
    • The Royal Tenenbaums
  • Great movies
    • Bottle Rocket
    • The Darjeeling Limited
    • The Grand Budapest Hotel
    • Rushmore

Tim Burton

Although Burton’s masterpieces are from the earlier part of his career, his most recent movie Big Eyes is close to a masterpiece. Although he didn’t actually direct The Nightmare Before Christmas (he was directing Batman Returns at the time), it is often thought of as a Burton movie — he was producer and writer. His short movies Frankenweenie and Vincent (narrated by Vincent Price) are on the Nightmare Before Christmas DVD.

  • Masterpieces
    • Beetlejuice
    • Big Fish
    • Edward Scissorhands
    • Pee-wee’s Big Adventure
  • Great movies
    • Batman
    • Big Eyes
    • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
    • Corpse Bride
    • Ed Wood
    • Frankenweenie
  • Mediocre but still interesting
    • Alice in Wonderland (2010)
    • Batman Returns
    • Dark Shadows
    • Mars Attacks!
  • Not-so-great movies
    • Planet of the Apes (2001)
    • Sleepy Hollow

Terry Gilliam

Gilliam sadly often has trouble getting his movies made. Lost in La Mancha is a fascinating documentary about one movie that Gilliam tried to make but it fell apart. If you get the Criterion edition of the Brazil DVD you can watch the cut of that movie that the studio was going to release — it’s shockingly poor compared to Gilliam’s brilliant cut. His most recent movie The Zero Theorem isn’t quite a masterpiece but it’s more original than most movies you’ll see at the theatre.

  • Masterpieces
    • Brazil
    • The Fisher King
    • Tideland
    • Twelve Monkeys
  • Great movies
    • The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
    • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
    • Time Bandits
    • The Zero Theorem
  • Mediocre
    • The Brothers Grimm

Ron Howard

Famous as a child (The Andy Griffith Show) and young man (Happy Days) for acting, Howard made an extremely successful transition to directing. He’s also the narrator for Arrested Development.

  • Masterpieces
    • Apollo 13
    • Backdraft
    • A Beautiful Mind
    • Parenthood
  • Great movies
    • Angels & Demons
    • The Da Vinci Code
    • Edtv
    • How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
    • The Missing
  • Good movie
    • Willow

Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Jeunet is a French director whose first two movies were co-directed by Marc Caro. His biggest hit in the English-speaking world is probably Amelie but his other movies have the same quirky sense of humour. Alien Resurrection is worth watching for fans of the Alien series.

  • Masterpieces
    • Amelie
    • The City of Lost Children
    • Delicatessen
    • A Very Long Engagement
  • Great movie
    • The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet
  • Slightly less than great movie
    • Alien Resurrection

Christopher Nolan

Nolan’s most recent movie Interstellar is almost a masterpiece but had some issues of motivation and kitchen sink-ness. He also helped write the story for Man of Steel.

  • Masterpieces
    • Batman Begins
    • The Dark Knight
    • Inception
    • The Prestige
  • Great movies
    • Following
    • Insomnia
    • Interstellar
  • Slightly less than great but still interesting
    • The Dark Knight Rises
    • Memento

M. Night Shyamalan

His first four movies were brilliant, the fifth was mediocre, and the sixth was bad. I didn’t even see the seventh and eighth because they were widely regarded as terrible. However, he could still make another great movie.

  • Masterpieces
    • Signs
    • The Sixth Sense
    • Unbreakable
    • The Village
  • Mediocre
    • Lady in the Water
  • Bad
    • The Happening

Steven Spielberg

Possibly the best known director, Spielberg still has the ability to pull out a winner — as long as George Lucas isn’t whispering in his ear. He’s been a producer on many movies and TV shows. He wrote the story for The Goonies and served as executive producer of Terra Nova.

  • Masterpieces
    • Catch Me If You Can
    • The Color Purple
    • Jaws
    • Jurassic Park
  • Great movies
    • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
    • Minority Report
    • The Terminal
  • Good movies
    • Close Encounters of the Third Kind
    • The Lost World: Jurassic Park
    • Raiders of the Lost Ark
    • War of the Worlds
  • Mediocre movies
    • The Adventures of Tintin
    • A.I. Artificial Intelligence
    • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
    • Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull
  • Bad movie
    • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Peter Weir

Weir is an Australian director. His movies don’t seem to have anything in common, except that they’re brilliant. He hasn’t made a movie in 5 years, so it’s possible he’s retired.

  • Masterpieces
    • Dead Poets Society
    • The Truman Show
    • The Way Back
    • Witness
  • Great movies
    • The Mosquito Coast
    • Picnic at Hanging Rock

Robert Zemeckis

The Back to the Future trilogy should be watched all at once to get the full effect. Everybody seems to like Who Framed Roger Rabbit but I didn’t find it funny at all.

  • Masterpieces
    • Back to the Future
    • Back to the Future Part II
    • Back to the Future Part III
    • Forrest Gump
  • Great movies
    • Cast Away
    • Contact
    • Death Becomes Her
    • Flight
  • Good movies
    • A Christmas Carol
    • What Lies Beneath
  • Mediocre
    • Who Framed Roger Rabbit

This entry was posted on Thursday, July 23rd, 2015 at 11:03 pm and is filed under My thoughts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply