Monday, February 12, 2007

The Shitlist: Five of Hollywood's Worst Working Directors

Hollywood gets its fill of fleeting successes, would-be winners, and directors who disappear after making a momentous debut, but for some reason it always seems like the worst filmmakers manage to stick around the longest. Why is it that these guys get the billion dollar budgets when someone like Darren Aronofsky or Spike Jonze can't get funding to save their own lives? Chalk it up to 'marketability', I guess..

Here's a list of directors who I wish would simply go away:

Michael Bay
Crimes as a Director: Bad Boys I & II, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, The Island, this summer's Transformers movie
Crimes as a Producer: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, The Hitcher remake, The Amityville Horror remake, and a slew of other unnecessary classic horror flick remakes that no one wants.

"I make movies for teenage boys. Oh, dear, what a crime." - Michael Bay

Michael Bay is a bad director because he feeds off audience stupidity. You can tell you're watching a Bay film by these tradmarks: excessive explosions, lack of a coherent narrative, scantily clad women, curt one-liners, and a complete disregard of logic, historical fact, or the laws of physics. The majority of his movies make absolutely no sense. Take Armageddon, for example: the film hinges on the astronautical training of a group of oil drillers. Of course it would have been more logical to teach astronauts how to drill, but Bay doesn't need logic to make a movie work - just an audience with a strong willful suspension of disbelief. He's also managed to destroy almost an entire genre via 'modernized remakes'. All of his movies (except The Island, no one gave a crap about that) have passed the $100 mil mark in box office reciepts, so don't expect him to disappear anytime soon.

This video is one of my favorite examples of Bay working in high gear. It doesn't matter that it's in spanish - explosions are a universal language.

Ron Howard
Crimes as a Director: Da Vinci Code, The Missing, A Beautiful Mind, Splash, Ransom, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, EdTV, Backdraft, Cocoon
Crimes as a Producer: The Alamo, Curious George, The Doors

"I'm not a caterer. I just have to stay with my creative convictions. At some point, you have to just get past the special-interest groups and do what you're there to do, which is make a movie." - Ron Howard

One of the most consistently mediocre filmmakers of the past three decades, Ron Howard has infiltrated cinemaplexes with his brand of bland for way too long. Sure, he may have been America's Favorite Ginger and star of beloved sitcom Happy Days, but those days are over and it's time to admit that his movies suck. There may be no other director in Hollywood today who could take such controversial issues as religion, racist meta-math geniuses, reality television or old people and make them so goddamn boring. I mean, of all the movies he's directed - A Beautiful Mind included - he has not done a single thing, directorially speaking, that is inventive, innovative, authoritative, or even interesting. Last time I checked, being barely competent at what you do doesn't get you an award. Except for in Hollywood, I guess.

Also, may I never see anyone slaughter a perfectly good children's book that already has a perfectly good animated movie version as bad as he has ever again. And, let's face it, his narration was silmutaneously the most distracting and tiresome part of Arrested Development.

This is a music video made from clips of Ron Howard's Backdraft. It too is in spanish. I hope it still can convey how bad this movie is.

M. Night Shyamalan
Crimes as a Director: Lady in the Water, The Village, Signs, Unbreakable,
Crimes as a Screenwriter: Stuart Little

"If you're not betting on me, then nobody should get money. I've made profit a mathematical certainty. I'm the safest bet you got. Except for Pixar, I have made the four most successful original movies in a row of all time." - M. Night Shyamalan

Most people don't know that M. Night Shyamalan wrote the screenplay for the Michael J. Fox version of Stuart Little. You remember, that crap with the computer animated mouse skateboarding and crap. Yeah, no one wanted to see that. He wrote it to fund his pet project, The Sixth Sense, which is, in all honesty, a pretty good movie.

The Sixth Sense works because Shyamalan gives us all the information we need up front, so that when the twist comes, he's not actually changing the storyline or adding anything new, but simply playing on how we interpret information and our assumptions as an audience. It's a smart trick, and pretty hard to pull off. Needless to say, it doesn't quite work in any of his subsequent films. Rather, Shymalan reverts to deliberate misinformation and coincidence to create his twist endings. Duping the audience is one thing; showing them something and then later saying that it's something completely different is just lazy.

This would all be fine if Shyamalan weren't such an ego-maniac. Newsweek once hailed him as the son of Hitchcock & Spielberg, and he totally played into the bit; I guess out-right stealing motif's from classic filmmakers is considered homage nowadays. When critics and audiences scoffed at his adult fairy tale Lady in the Water, he claimed people just didn't get it. Truth is, he can't write, he can't act, and he can just barely direct. Whatever his next movie is, here's to hoping it bombs.

A No Bullshit interview with Shyamalan. Good example of his character.

Uwe Boll
Crimes as Director: Alone in the Dark, House of the Dead, Bloodrayne, Postal

"You see what happens when people get hit in the head? They like my movies!" - Uwe Boll

Do I really have to elaborate on why this guy is so awful? I mean, really - look at those titles. It's like every videogame I thought was cool in like, 6th grade. Only worse, cause they're movies. Also, thanks to some screwy German tax laws, he makes more money off a flop than a hit. So he's actually trying to make bad movies. You can read all about the fight to stop Uwe Boll here.

In 2006, Boll challenged some of his biggest critics to a boxing match. Here it is.

Brett Ratner
Crimes as a Director: Money Talks, Rush Hour I, II, & III, Red Dragon, After the Sunset, The Family Man, X-Men III
Crimes as a Producer: Codename: The Cleaner, Double Take

"Why do I need final cut? Final cut is for artistes quote unquote--directors whose movies don't make a lot of money. Maybe Scorsese should have final cut because a guy like Harvey Weinstein or a studio might change it to make it a little more accessible or a little more commercial and he has a vision of what he wants it to be. He wants it to be four hours long or whatever." - Brett Ratner

Brett Ratner represents the worst of NYU Film alum - a crass, self-promoting whore who cares nothing about the films he makes except the revenue they bring in. He coasts from studio project to studio project, releasing high profile sequels that do nothing to improve upon their originals because he brings nothing to the table. There's no spark, no sense of care taken in his final products. At least Michael Bay has an aesthetic - Ratner lacks even the most simple of visual trademarks. One day he's going to have a 'vision' or whatever, and no one is going to care. I hope that day is soon.

Brett Ratner being a condescending douche.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You can criticise those direcors, and I totally agree with your top 5 choice, but please: the clips that you have inserted in the article, are in ITALIAN, NOT SPANISH!!!

This kind of mistake it doen't set you on higher level compared to those directors... sorry.

Jitter, from Italy