DIRECTORS THAT GET MY DOLLARS

I’ll tell you right off the bat, Marty didn’t make THE LIST!!!

Let’s face it, Ladies and Germs, going to the theaters these days is getting more and more difficult. Ticket prices are getting so high, especially with all the IMAX and 3-D screenings (3-D tix in New York have risen to over $20 per), that for some movies I have to decide what I’d rather do… See a film or pay my electricity bill. A recent screening of Up, in 2-D mind you, with a moderate amount of snacks for my wife, kids and myself cost us about a hundred bucks. Even if my wife and I want to go alone, to see something with more mature content, we pay for a sitter and end up eating the cash either way.

This is part of the reason that I don’t do reviews on this site… well, that and the fact that I’m just such a film fan that I have a hard time disliking even poor films. So, I have resigned myself to seeing most films, in fact almost all films, when they come out on DVD. From time to time, a CG driven explosion fest, an interesting or critically acclaimed indie or a new vehicle for an actor I admire will get my butt in the seats. However, most of the time I don’t waste the time because I don’t really expect much from the films.

However, there are a few Filmmakers out there (under 10 probably) whose catalogue of work is so impressive that I know I can count on them to leave me feeling satisfied after shelling out a healthy lump of coin to see their films. For that, I thought they should be honored here, on what some are calling the greatest blog ever written (and by “some” I mean “ME”), with this week’s list: DIRECTORS WHO GET MY DOLLARS.

Here they are (in order):

SIDENOTE: I should preface this by stating that this is not a list of my favorite directors (though most would make my Top 10)… these are the guys who put my ass in the seat!

5. KEVIN SMITH.

I’m sure that Kevin Smith’s inclusion on this list over Martin Scorcese will lead to a healthy amount of death threats against myself and my family but, what are you going to do? It comes down to this… you’re either a Smith fan or you’re not. If you are, then you’re a huge fan. There’s really no in between. And I’m a HUGE fan of Smith and his View Askew universe. Now, I didn’t discover Smith until after Chasing Amy. In fact, Dogma was the first film of his I saw in theaters and I haven’t missed one since. I will say though that I am limiting this to HIS films… the ones he writes and directs. I haven’t seen Cop Out yet and, from what I’ve heard, am all the better for it.

4. STEVEN SPEILBERG.

I doubt anyone will really argue with me here. Spielberg is not only a filmmaker but a maker of classic films. I’m not sure anyone has more films on AFI’s top 100 than this man and he’s earned that distinction. I mean The Color Purple, Indiana Jones, Jaws, Schindler’s List, E.T., Jurassic Park… Come on!!! Even some of his films that aren’t quote-unquote classic films are classics to his fans (Minority Report, Hook, Empire of the Sun, Twilight Zone, etc.). Sure, there’s the occasional 1941 or The Terminal. Still, that someone could have such an extensive resume with so few flops is just amazing. Even more astounding is the diversity he shows while still managing to keep audiences, and your friendly neighborhood Kaiderman, intrigued.

3. PIXAR.

I realize that Pixar uses different directors even though, technically, Lasseter pretty much runs the show. However, Pixar is the closest thing I’ve seen to truly collaborative filmmaking so I don’t feel bad about lumping them together here. I will say that Pixar ended up #3 on this list because I wasn’t sure whether or not to put them at the top or the bottom. The fact that I have kids sort of skews the reasons why I go to see their films. However, I had seen the Toy Story and Bug’s Life films in theaters long before my kids were born. And, truth be told, I still get a little excited today when I see a new one is coming out soon… regardless of the kids. Not many animated films, or films in general, can have the range to attract kids, young adults, people my age and people my Mom’s age. Amazing! 

2. QUENTIN TARANTINO.

I’m proud to say that I was never a Q.T. hater. That is, one of those people who started bashing him when other people started liking him. Q.T. is the closest thing we have to a modern day maker of classic films. Films that will stand the test of time. Sure, he can be a bit self indulgent and a bit long in the tooth at times but Q.T. loves film… and it shows in his work… and it makes me love his films… and it puts my ass in the seat.

1. CHRISTOPHER NOLAN.

Probably the most underrated director working today. His first film, Following, is good not great. But, from his second film (Momento) on, Nolan has put out nothing but great films. Not a small task considering that recently included single handedly reviving the Batman franchise and putting out The Prestige (a GREAT film) in his down time. With Inception next on his filmography, Nolan shows no sign of giving up soon… which means I have no reason to not keep giving him my hard earned money.

That’s it for now, Movie-goers.

Please feel free to leave your comments below. Feel free to rip me a new one! I never edit any of the comments. Remember, this was meant to be an interactive site, as much as I love the sound of my own voice.

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Check back next Saturday as that is when new posts go up. I’m also going to try and keep the mid-week (Wednesday) posts going in the future so stay tuned. Have a great week and remember… Precious does not need to be seen in 3-D!!!

46 Responses to “DIRECTORS THAT GET MY DOLLARS”

  1. I don’t much like Smith. Dogma was good, but everything else is a bit overrated.

    Also, go QT.

  2. I have never really enjoyed Kevin Smith’s movie or his persona for one. QT is a no-brainer as is Nolan.

    My Top 5:

    5. Ridley Scott: Dude just produces every time
    4. Christopher Nolan: Great start to his career, hope he can continue on this path
    3. Terrence Malick: Quality not quantity
    2. Quentin Tarentino: Brainless pick
    1. Hayao Miyazaki: The God of animations

  3. Amen on the Nolan love. I got a bit of incredulity from the better half when I described him as “a modern Hitchcock” there on Friday.

    I’m indifferent to Smith. He’s yet to really grab me outside his “View Askew” series (which is amazing). Zach and Miri was just above average as films go, the rest weren’t even that good.

    Outside Scorsese, I can only really think of the Coen Brothers as truly essential film makers missing from your list.

  4. I’d agree with all of the above apart from Ridley Scott (the guys a director for hire and his films of late have been hit and miss) and Kevin Smith (who is not as funny as he thinks he is – I actually think that Jersey Girl is easily his best film. Yes it is.)

    …and spot on about Nolan – not someone who springs to mind right away but, despite Dark Knight being far too long, his films are great.

  5. Like I said, you even love Smith or hate him. He cracks me up… more so in life and Q&A’s than in his movies.
    As far as Nolan, he inspired this list. Not only does he not make bad films… he just plain makes great films. But, you’re right, his name doesn’t automatically pop to mind when you think of great or favorite directors.

  6. I’m on the fence with Kevin Smith and I don’t think I’ve been excited to see a Spielberg film since the 80’s. Can’t go too wrong with Pixar, Nolan or Tarantino though.

    Narrowing it down to five is a bitch! I think I’ve seen just about everything from Cronenberg, Coens, John Waters, P.T. Anderson and Tarantino in a theatre so they would definitely make the list. I could probably make an argument for at least a half dozen other directors too!

    I know I should be including at least one horror director, but all my favourites are either dead or haven’t made anything watchable in 20 years. And the rest make horror flicks that never make it to the big screen.

  7. haha… PTA is a great pick. He’d make my top 10. Guys like that benefit on a list like this because they make good films but also only do a film every few years. Guys like Spielberg suffer from putting out films every year!

  8. 5. Wes Anderson
    4. Martin Scorsese
    3. Kevin Smith
    2. Quentin Tarantino
    1. Clint Eastwood (damn can that man direct, and he writes and plays the original scores!)

    • Wes.. are you Wes Anderson? If so, is that why youre only at 5 in your list? Might it have seemed too obvious to put you higher?

      • hahaha… Clint’s a great choice but Flags, Iwa Jima and Gran Turismo didn’t get me to go to the movies.
        PS. Heard you got me Charles Fleischer’s autograph at Wizardcon… awww… you didn’t have to, man. THANKS!!!

  9. Of current directors I would say:

    5. Michael Mann
    4. Coen Brothers
    3. Martin Scorsese
    2. Ridley Scott
    1. Terrence Malick (even though I’ve never seen one of his movies in the theater)

    I want to put Fincher on there, but I’m afraid he peaked with “Zodiac” and everything that he is going to make from this point forward is going to disappoint.

  10. I gotta say, Fincher is the only one out of the directors you mentioned that gets me to the cinema. And if you’ve never seen a Terrence Mallick film in theaters, why does he get to be #1? I’m confused.

    • Basically, there is no chance I’m missing “Tree of Life” and anything else he is ever going to release from this point forward. That’s my logic there. If there was ever a director whose movies deserved to be seen in a theater, it is certainly Terrence Malick.

      If there was a theater showing one of his movies right now, I would go in a heartbeat… even though I own them all on DVD.

  11. Pixar’s been a more recent addition to the list, but Tarantino and Nolan are definitely a given for me. And as much as I love Clint, I still haven’t seen Invictus and I’m more prone to see stuff he’s actually in. Aronofsky might be my top choice though. Will see absolutely anything and everything of his and have loved every effort so far, even The Fountain.

  12. And Fincher, too. Good call on Fincher.

  13. Here’s Mine:

    QT, of course
    James Cameron
    Ridley Scott
    David Fincher
    and
    Spielberg

    who also would all make it into my top ten best.

    I’m not hating on you for having Smith. He’s your best bet for good comedy, save Cop Out. Yipes.

  14. hey kai, can you drop me an email – just finishing off a post you suggested and I wanted to make sure I’ve got the details right.

    madhatter(dot)21(at)hotmail(dot)com

  15. That’s a great list right there. All of those direcrtors tend to get me interested too.
    I’d put in a vote for Tim Burton too if I wasn’t worried that the Rosses would be on my back in a heartbeat.

  16. Love, love Tarantino too, but would probably have included Scorsese and Eastwood somewhere on the list.

  17. mcarteratthemovies Says:

    Your top two choices are faultless, good sir. I knew you had good taste. But what about the brothers Coen?

    And I’m going to take this as an opportunity to drop a crazy and controversial truth here: I’ve never really liked Spielberg. Off and on I’ve liked some of his movies, but overall he doesn’t wow me like, say, Joel or Ethan, and I don’t connect emotionally with his films the way I do with, say, Steve Buscemi’s.

    • Are you saying Tree’s Lounge is better than most Spielberg films… Aye-Che-Wah-Wah!!! I think Spielberg not only turns in steadily good work but he does it while jumping from genre to genre which amazes me. As far as the Coen’s, I’ve never seen one of their films in a theater!

    • Spielberg wows me when he’s on, but he certainly is guilty of many misses!

    • mcarteratthemovies Says:

      I’d have to say that just because a film doesn’t make it to theaters doesn’t mean it isn’t good — far from it. Look at “Idiocracy.” It got something like a 16-theater release NATIONWIDE and it’s brilliant. I think the problem the Coen brothers face is that their movies are so … out there, so non-Hollywood (some of ’em, anyway) that people don’t know how to react to them.

      I can’t say that Buscemi is better than Spielberg, since that’s a matter of personal taste, but I’ll say I connect more to his films. Except “E.T.” and “Schindler’s List.” Anybody who didn’t feel their heartstrings pulled at those movies is hopeless. 🙂

      • I didn’t say a film’s value is based on whether it got a release. I’m saying I don’t pay to see Coen films in theaters. I always rent their films.
        Ripley’s Game was a nother great film that never got a release due to a company going under prior to the film’s release.

  18. I agree with you except for Kevin Smith. Here are some of mine that you didn’t mention:

    Fernando Meirelles
    Julian Schnabel
    Jason Reitman
    Gus Van Sant
    David Fincher

    • That is an extremely eclectic mix… I think Reitman is deserving… he hasn’t really made a bad film… but I’m hit or miss with Van Sant.

      • I like Van Sant because he himself is eclectic … it’s not every director that can make great movies like “Milk” and “Good Will Hunting,” both totally different movies, and then make indies.

      • I agrre but then there’s also the Psycho remake and Last Days… UGH! Although I was a fan of Elephant and have been meaning to catch Paranoid Park… hope that one lives up. He just tends to be a bit self indulgent at times and it can be frustrating as a viewer.

  19. Aimee Henkel Says:

    Ok so QT by far one of my favs…come on…Kill Bill, Pulp, Jackie Brown- I friggin love Jackie Brown…Reservoir Dogs, Death Proof and Inglorious Basterds.

    You left out one Coen- Raising Arizona…great movie, I own it. Big Lebowski and Barton Fink…

    And I like Christopher Guest-Best in Show, Spinal Tap, Mighty Wind and Waiting for Guffman…

    Not saying they are the best…well QT is but just some more good ones!

  20. […] short but impressive filmography. As you know, Christopher Nolan was ranked #1 on my list of DIRECTORS THAT GET MY DOLLARS. The only filmmakers that come close in quality in recent years, in my opinion, again, are the fellas […]

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