Well, apparently I’ve been called out on the Silver Mirror for a top ten directors. Here we go. My Top Ten Directors (again in no particular order):
I feel a little guilty about stealing a little of James’ top ten thunder here, but it’s a proven fact that Sergio Leone is made of pure awesome. His movies are violent, comical, and (surprisingly) touching. He doesn’t allow himself to get boxed in by labels or genres. Even if you’re not a fan of spaghetti westerns or gangster films, you can’t help but watch his movies and smile just a little.
This man is the Steven Spielberg of animated films. Movies like ‘Spirited Away’ and ‘Princess Mononoke’ show powerful story telling and an incredibly beautiful sense of art, all the while delivering a powerful and yet not anvilicious message. He shows that animation isn’t just for kids, it’s for adults too.
Rob Reiner knows how to make a good movie. Well, as a matter of fact, he knows how to make a lot of different kinds of good movies. He’s done everything from horror movies like ‘Misery’, to dramas like a ‘Few Good Men’, to fantasies like ‘The Princess Bride’, to family movies like ‘Stand by Me’, to comedies like ‘This is Spinal Tap’. Few directors have such a resume.
The excellence of Akira Kurosawa cannot be understated. He is the mastermind behind Japanese epics full of action, slow motion, quick cuts, and badass samurais. He’s not too well known in the U.S. of A., but he ought to be, considering that such famous films as ‘Star Wars’ and ‘The Good the Bad and the Ugly’ wouldn’t have existed without his work.
What can I say? This is the man who made ‘Alien’, ‘Blade Runner’, and ‘Gladiator’. He’s a master of despotic story telling that still shows a surprising amount of action. Let’s hope his next film, ‘Robin Hood’, lives up to his other classic works.
John Carpenter is a master of horror and suspense. He has scared audiences to death with films like ‘Halloween’ and ‘The Thing’. He’s also responsible for the arguably coolest character in the history of film, ‘Escape from New York’s’ Snake Plisken (“Call me Snake”). Badass!
I think action directors are very underrated. John McTiernan helped resurrect the then-ridiculous genre in the late 80’s and early 90’s with such classics as ‘Die Hard’, ‘Predator’, and ‘The Hunt For Red October’. He’s made his fair share of bad films, but when it comes to action films, you can count on him to deliver.
Woody Allen is great about telling very personal stories that also manage to make you laugh your ass off. His insights are unique and yet relatable at the same time. His movies about everyday people caught up in the struggle of day-to-day life are forever entertaining.
Not only is he a badass actor, but a master director as well. He shows seemingly hard-hearted people slowly learn to open up to others, and it’s a powerful effect. Films like ‘Unforgiven’ and ‘Gran Torino’ mix subtly and raw power. As the Smashing Pumpkins might put it, he is a bullet with butterfly wings.
Don Bluth dominated my childhood. Films like ‘The Land Before Time’ and ‘The Secret of NIMH’ I still love to this day. There’s a certain mysticism he employs in his films that is, well, empowering. The characters in his movies are always just a little more real than in other animated stories, and it makes them that more relatable and really less “kiddy”. That’s the great staple of his animated films. They aren’t just for kids, they really are for all ages.