Lists, Top 10s — September 5, 2011 at 3:03 am



Anyone that knows me knows that, while I love films, I hate going to the movies. Quite honestly, they’re probably sick of hearing about it. However, there are a few directors that get me to pony up the dough and suffer through a nearly intolerable two hours at the God forsaken theater because I just can’t wait for DVD to see their films.

Most of the time, people (normal people, that is, not film geeks like me) go to see a film because of the story or the stars involved. It’s much rarer that you see a film because of who’s directing it. If that’s what has drawn you to the theater, then you know a film maker maintains a standard of excellence and picks/produces great films on a regular basis… or, in some cases, has shown the promise to do so.

Now, I did a list like this on my old site last year. You’ll notice, if you’ve read my stuff, the list has changed. In fact, it’s always changing. Depending on what a director has done recently and what they have coming up. So, I may end up making this a yearly feature. As for right now, here are the top 10 directors that are going to get my cash and deserve it (in order):


I’m a big fan of Rian Johnson! My only problem is that his resume is pretty short. However, 2012 is right around the corner and Johnson finally has a decent budget, a big star (Bruce Willis) and his first foray into the world of Sci-Fi with his next project Looper. Based on The Brothers Bloom & Brick, I was up for anything, but a time travel flick has me all the more ready to throw away my cash at the cinema.


So, Cowboys & Aliens was a bit of a let down at the box office but I’m still championing this actor turned director. Favreau has found a way to make big budget, studio, action films fun again. In fact, along with J.J. Abrams and Zack Snyder, I think he’s leading a bit of a movement to deliver summer tent pole films that don’t leave you feeling like you got robbed at the box office. Which I never do, so whatever he makes, I’m there!


Was there ever a more Fanboy friendly director than Snyder? Probably not. I’ve loved everything he’s made so far. Sucker Punch was, arguably, a bit of a let down but thank God Snyder is done working on original material for a while. Up next, he teams up with another gentlemen on this list to try and make the Man of Steel relevant again. Fingers crossed!


This one’s a no-brainer for me. While he may have a limited resume, Wright has directed two films (Shaun of the Dead & Scott Pilgrim vs. The World) that immediately jumped onto my all time favorite films list. That, coupled with the fact that he’s about to jump in the comic book arena, with Ant man, has my adoration of his work at an all time high!


I love PTA and thinks he gets better with every film. There Will Be Blood was amazing and, in my opinion, was robbed of the Best Picture Oscar. I only expect bigger and better with PTA’s next film which is finally on track and shooting as we speak. Here’s hoping The Master is everything I think it can be. Oh, and it’s totally a rip on Scientology… you know that, right?


Spielberg would normally be in my top two and probably will jump the closer we get to Robopocalypse. For now though, it’s a testimony to his ability and his career that he makes my number five spot. Mainly because I have ZERO interest in War Horse or Tin Tin but will probably end up seeing both just because he’s at the helm.


The Coen Brothers are like Woody Allen in that they seem to put out a new film almost every year. Only difference is that they’re much more talented! So they always end up putting out something that is either really good or FUCKING AMAZING! Even more impressive is the unique voice they give to each of their films. That’s something you don’t get much of anymore from Hollywood and I’d pay for that alone. Honestly, I can’t even recall what they’re next project is, but I’m in.


I think I like Abrams because I love Spielberg. Super 8 aside, they have very similar sensibilities when it comes to the way they approach filmmaking. The great thing about Abrams is that every film he makes is as good if not better than the last. And since he jumped out of the gate making great films, that’s saying alot. Essentially, all I can say is, bring on Star Trek 2!


Am I the only one who let out a little sigh of relief after seeing Inglorious Basterds? Jackie Brown aside, I love everything Tarantino has done but I couldn’t help but feel that maybe he had peaked early and would never return to the promise he showed in Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs. Well, I’m happy to admit that I was wrong and am anxiously awaiting Django Unchained.


The Batman films help the Nolan argument alot but, even if you take them out of the picture, Nolan just makes damn good pictures. Oh, who am I kidding? I can’t wait to watch the Dark Knight whoop Bane’s ass!


  • Amen to the Chris Nolan love!!

    If I were to make a list like this, it would pretty much be exactly the same. Apart from maybe Snyder. After Sucker Punch I’m a bit weary of him…

    • I will give him a pass for Sucker Punch (which I enjoyed but didn’t love) because of his other films and Superman being up next which means no more directing his own scripts!

  • Agree with most of these (especially PTA, Nolan, and Tarantino,) except for Favreau. He has not reached that must go to the theatre level just yet.

    Some others for me include:

    Hal Hartley
    Spike Jonze
    Wes Anderson
    Danny Boyle

    • Boyle is a good one. Wes Anderson I get drug to by mife. Personally, I think his films have gotten worse with each outing. I will exclude the Fantastic Mr. Fox from that statement however and admit that he has a unique style and voice that make watching his films worth the experience.
      Favreau is just a personal choice. I’ve been a fan since he directed Made and I like what he’s done since so I’d like to see him succeed.

  • I agree with your top 7, and it’s great to see some love for Rian Johnson. Favreau might have made the list before Iron Man 2, but he’s become too dull of a mainstream director with that and Cowboys and Aliens. On Zack Snyder, the less said the better.

    • Fair enough. Getting an ok on 7 of 10 is better than I usually do! 🙂
      Who would you replace the other 3 with?

      • Off the top of my head, I’d put Michael Mann, John Sayles, and David Fincher on the list.

        • Yeah, Mann is great but, depending on project, I can usually wait for DVD.

  • I’d have to have David Fincher, Clint Eastwood and Peter Jackson on my personal list

    • I’m excited about Girl with the Dragon Tattoo but Fincher lost me at Zodiac. I’m dying to jump back on that bandwagon though cuz I think he’s great.
      Eastwood is great but I always wait for DVD with his films.
      Jackson I get but I, personally, am not a huge LOTR guy so that knocks him of my personal list. I see why he’d be at the top of many peoples right now though!

      • I never thought anybody could do justice to LOTR, but he did a fantastic job with the 1st and 3rd parts. Even his King Kong remake (IMHO, miscast) was pretty good (that oversized leech eating the guys head haunts me)

  • I’ll definitely agree with Edgar Wright (who would probably be my #1), Tarantino, and Nolan. I really like the Coens, but it depends with them.

    • You know, I’ve decided you never know with the Coens. The one movie I did not want to see (A Serious Man) was great. The one everyone says was great (No Country), I found to be ‘eh’. Still, they’re all so quirky and interesting that I love watching them even if the end result is a bit disappointing.

  • As predictable as it is, Tarantino’s my number one. Coen Bros. would be next.

    But Spielberg wouldn’t make my list because I only liked one of the seven films he’s directed since 2000.

    Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Munich, War of the Worlds, The Terminal, Catch Me If You Can, and A.I. Artificial Intelligence? That’s not a great lineup.

    Minority Report, on the other hand, that one I like.

    • I like Catch Me If You Can…

      • I actually don’t love Catch Me If You Can, thought Munich was overrated and hated The Terminal but still think most of those are still enjoyable films.
        Can’t talk shit on Indy and LOVE War of the Worlds as well!

  • Allow me to put up a few defenses first…

    Tarantino wouldn’t make my list. Not even close.

    Guillermo del Toro would. Coens definitely. Nolan, yes. Danny Boyle, Edgar Wright, David Fincher, all yes.

    As for Snyder, well, he just pisses me off.

    • I hear ya – The only Tarantino film I’ve been able to sit through was Kill Bill Pt. 1

      • And I didn’t like Kill BIll Vol. 1 at all. That film impresses me as nothing more than Tarantino’s masturbation fantasy on screen.

        I still like Reservoir Dogs and I liked Inglourious Basterds. I like Pulp Fiction less and less the older it gets.

  • Love seeing Rian Johnson. Been following him since the DVD release of Brick and loving his stuff.

    I agree with PTA and Coen Bros. I’ll be at any film they make opening day.

    And beginning with The Prestige, I’ve seen every Nolan film in theater, but I highly doubt that will happen in the future.

    Spielberg and Tarantino are the two I feel are past their prime. My interest on them at this point will depend on the promise of their project.

    Snyder…I don’t know. I did see both 300 and Watchmen in theaters, I love Watchment, but I feel like that was a fluke of his career.

    Favreu-No comment.

    Edgar Wright-Oh yes.

    J.J. Abrams-Oh yea, he makes movies too. Star Trek was pretty awesome. I feel like he’s one that will depend on the project as well.

    • Really with Tarantino? He just made arguably his best film since Pulp Fiction.

      • Inglourious Basterds was way too slow for me. Found my patience waning throughout a lot of the conversations.

        • Comment: ” Found my patience waning throughout a lot of the conversations.”

          Commenting on: Any Tarantino film.

        • Okay………. one day we need to sit down and you need to tell me what movies you DO like that don’t involve trees or Terrence Mallick! 😉

  • You love Spielberg enough to put him on this list, but you still have NO interest in either ‘Tintin’ or ‘War Horse’? May I ask why?

    • I know, right? Because TinTin I expect to be surprisingly good and I’ve actually heard the play of War Horse is pretty amazing. But, mostly, because of ROBOPACOLYPSE!!! … and Indiana Jones pass for life! 🙂

  • Yeah, I was most shocked by the absence of Fincher here. Figured he’d be top 3 material for you. He’s not top 3 for me anymore, but definitely top 10.

    Not sure of the order, but it would include:

    Gondry (though I never saw The Green Hornet)

    • Not too far off. Aronofsky will probably be here in a year or two. The Fountain fucking pissed me off but The Wrestler was amazing and Black Swan really blew me away! I was the only one last year that didn’t care to see it but loved it anyway. Pi and Requiem… duh! I dunno.

      Fincher was a God to me in the late 90s from Alien 3 to Seven to The Game to Fight Club. I have just lost interest. We’ll see after Dragon Tattoo comes out.

  • @ all: Zack Snyder is a God to Fanboys. He gets a pass from us all and with Superman on deck, I’ve totally got his back. I’m actually bummed he’s so low on the list!

    • He gets no pass from me. After Spartan Action Slow-Motion Storytime and Dr. Manhattan’s swingin’ cod, he’s got a lot for which he needs to redeem himself.

  • After Inglourious Basterds, I’m excited for Tarantino movies to hit theaters again. Death Proof only half worked for me, and Kill Bill, well, I can’t stomach that for the life of me. If I wanted to see a pastiche of Leone/Peckinpah/Lee/Shaw bros/etc flicks, I’d just watch them all on DVD.

    Lars Von Trier always gets me into a theater when I have the opportunity to. Big “agree” on Wright and Nolan; I’ll also throw in for Chan-wook Park, Wong-kar Wai, Duncan Jones, and Guillermo Del Toro.

    • LOVE Chan-Wook. Interesting also that you had Duncan Jones. I had him tied for 10th because I loved Moon and thought Source Code was great (the train movie that should be called Unstoppable). However, they each have two films so I went with Rian Johnson because of his next project. Jones would be my defacto 11.

    • I’ll see any Chan-wook Park film, as well… but it’ll never be in theater considering they’ll never come to theater in my area.

      • I’m in the same boat, Nick. I’ve only ever caught Park’s movies on DVD– it’s just the way it works, sadly.

        Kai– it’s Jones over Johnson for me, easily. Loved Brick but Brothers Bloom is a much larger step back from that than Source Code is from Moon. That said you can’t really go wrong with either.

        Jonathan Levine is another one. He’s 3 for 3 for me. ALSO: Neil Marshal.

        • Neil Marshal had me and lost me shortly after The Descent.
          I think Brick is a better first film than Moon so I think the fall of from Brothers Bloom looks worse than the jump from Moon to Source Code but I’m sooooo excited for Jumper. For the past year and a half I’ve been waiting for it!!!

          • Marshal has yet to disappoint me, but I might be one of Doomsday‘s only defenders.

            Between Brick and Moon, it’s hard to choose the better film. Brick feels a lot more audacious and bold, while Moon feels like the assured product of a more veteran filmmaker, which I think is what makes me gravitate toward it more (sorry, no pun intended there).

            I am of course looking forward to Jumper.

          • haha… I said Jumper but meant Looper. My bad! 🙂
            Doomsday sucked dude and Centurion was like 10 other movies I’ve all ready seen. Don’t get me wrong, the Descent is in my Top 5 Horror movies of all time and I LOVE Dog Soldiers but it’s a no for me.
            Moon, honestly, feels like a Twilight zone and 2001 rip off but I still love it. I think Brick is a far superior first film but we can agree to disagree. The great thing about films is that they all appeal to different people for different reasons. Ultimately, they’re both good and it’s always damn fun to talk films with you, Andrew my good man! 🙂

          • Not sure why but I can’t reply to your most recent post– so let’s get this out of order!

            Yes, Looper, not Jumper. I’ve had the same thing in my head for a while for no appreciable reason. Either way I’m looking forward to it.

            I don’t understand the hate for Doomsday; it’s everything that movies of that sort should be and does the whole “look, ma, I’m homaging a bunch of classic genre movies” routine without ever letting you forget that it’s a Neil Marshal film, which I think sets it apart from most homage exercises. (That and it draws on those films more than it tries to outright replicate them.) As for Centurion, it never reinvents the wheel or anything but it’s far, far better than most sword-and-sandal stuff out there– at the very least it’s more economical.

            I think between Brick and Moon you’re choosing a great movie no matter which you prefer. I mean, Johnson and Jones are both exceptional young filmmakers– you’re not “wrong” no matter who you prefer, and hell, either of them can get me into a theater without much effort! Good talking movies with you too!

  • Killer idea for a list. I have only two teeny tiny gripes. No, seriously, they’re minor.

    -For the love of all that is holy, HOT FUZZ ISN’T ON YOUR FAVORITES LIST?!?!

    -No Scorsese? No big deal if it was a purposeful omission. I couldn’t imagine leaving him out.

  • Nice list, all the usual suspects as I would expect from you. I’m surprised to see JJ Abrams so high even though he has hardly any movies on his resume so far. I think Snyder is a fraud, to be honest though.

    • Well until you come out from behind that Captain America picture and guest on my podcast, I think you are a blogging robot! 🙂

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  • Nice list. I’d make room for Jackson, Guillermo, and Whedon.

    It’s tough to take anybody out, but if I had to make space for those three, I’d take out Johnson, Favs, and Spielberg. I loved Munich and Minority Report, but Spielberg has been kinda off the past decade.

    • Okay, Whedon hasn’t made a feature in 6 years though! Avengers will get everyone’s money so that doesn’t count.
      And, I love Del Toro but he’s only made a couple movies I like. I like the man more than his films.
      Jackson I get!