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Which once-great director has sunk to the lowest quality output in recent years?

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Which once-great director has sunk to the lowest quality output in recent years?

Old 08-01-08, 11:53 AM
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Which once-great director has sunk to the lowest quality output in recent years?

Keeping in line with recent threads...

... and boy-oh-boy there are a bunch. The first one that jumps to mind is Rob Reiner, who brought us This Is Spinal Tap, The Princess Bride, The Sure Thing, Stand By Me, When Harry Met Sally, Misery, A Few Good Men (not all of them four-star classics, but at the very least they range from very good to CLASSIC)... and then... we have North, The American President (it has its fan, but its liberal rubbish), Ghosts of Mississippi, The Story of Us, Rumor Has It, Alex & Emma, The Bucket List... yikes.

Also: William Friedkin -- this guy made three of the greatest movies of the 70s (Exorcist, French Connection, Sorcerer) and kind of fell apart afterwards. Banging the head of Paramount Pictures gets you only so far, but who can argue the merits of such turds as Blue Chips, Jade, The Hunted, and Bug? Yikes.

George Lucas -- well, yeah. THX-1138, American Graffiti, Star Wars... and then the prequels. Yikes.

I'm sure there's tons more but I have to skidaddle... discuss.
Old 08-01-08, 11:54 AM
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John Carpenter
M. Night Shyamalan (in a slump)
Old 08-01-08, 11:57 AM
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Old 08-01-08, 12:05 PM
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John Mctiernan - directed Die Hard, Predator & The Hunt for Red October. Personally thought he was one of the better action directors out there who didn't rely on fast-edit, Tony Scott-style way of filmmaking. His latest films were unfortunately less than mediocre (Rollerball, Basic).

Brian DePalma - I still have great admiration to this director and still have some faith left on him making a really good film. After Mission Impossible, his movies have turned out to be great disappointments (Snake Eyes, Mission to Mars, Black Dahlia). Kind of liked Femme Fatale but it was more like an exercise of his skill than anything else.

Robert Zemeckis - was formerly the Hollywood wonderboy with incredible films like Back to the Future, Roger Rabbit, Forrest Gump, Contact (which I loved). Cast Away was ok but I never really warmed up to his latest animation projects such as Beowulf & Polar Express.

Last edited by Cardiac161; 08-01-08 at 12:08 PM.
Old 08-01-08, 12:08 PM
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Old 08-01-08, 12:08 PM
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I agree with all of the choices so far.

How about Copppola? After Dracula in '92 he has been dreadful.

DePalma is another one, he has produced only 2 quality movies (Carlito's Way and Mission Impossible) in the last 20 years.

edit- I see that someone beat me to the punch on DePalma.
Old 08-01-08, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by jomalley2001
I agree with all of the choices so far.

How about Copppola? After Dracula in '92 he has been dreadful.
DePalma is another one, he has produced only 2 quality movies (Carlito's Way and Mission Impossible) in the last 20 years.

edit- I see that someone beat me to the punch on DePalma.

Youth Without Youth was terrific and a sign of great things to come. Coppola is in his "student film" phase now, which is nice since he never really had that. No more Hollywood shit like Jack for him.
Old 08-01-08, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Matt Millheiser
Banging the head of Paramount Pictures gets you only so far, but who can argue the merits of such turds as Blue Chips, Jade, The Hunted, and Bug? Yikes.
IMO I think Bug is great and hope that it is a sign that Friedkin is back.
The same goes with Before the Devil Knows You're Dead & Sidney Lumet.
Lumet had not made a good film since Night Falls on Manhattan.

Originally Posted by jomalley2001
DePalma is another one, he has produced only 2 quality movies (Carlito's Way and Mission Impossible) in the last 20 years.
I actually liked Raising Caine & Redacted

Last edited by inri222; 08-01-08 at 12:34 PM.
Old 08-01-08, 12:52 PM
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Given my username, this thread makes me really sad.
Old 08-01-08, 01:04 PM
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Martin Brest.

Went from Beverly Hills Cop and Midnight Run to Meet Joe Black and Gigli.
Old 08-01-08, 01:04 PM
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I agree with a lot of the choices on here.

I'll add Cameron Crowe to the list. Vanilla Sky was alright, but felt totally superfluous when the far superior original(which also starred Penelope Cruz) was readily available on DVD. And Elizabethtown was a waste of time.
Old 08-01-08, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Matt Millheiser
Also: William Friedkin -- this guy made three of the greatest movies of the 70s (Exorcist, French Connection, Sorcerer) and kind of fell apart afterwards. Banging the head of Paramount Pictures gets you only so far, but who can argue the merits of such turds as Blue Chips, Jade, The Hunted, and Bug? Yikes.
Am I the only one who thinks The Hunted is pretty underrated? It's an efficient action movie that boasts a fairly brutal climatic fight, lots of gorgeous outdoor photography, a pair of nice, low-key performances from Jones and Del Toro and a refreshing lack of useless subplots to bloat the film's runtime. It's a like a slightly more upbeat variation of the down-and-dirty thriller, a genre Friedkin is particularly adept at (The French Connection and To Live and Die in LA).

As for Bug, it's not particularly great, but it's another example of something Friedkin is a master at, which is establishing this unrelenting, unnerving feeling of dread and claustrophobia, whether the movies are great (The Exorcist) or not (Rampage, parts of Cruising). Plus I liked his remake of 12 Angry Men.

Though you are right that when Friedkin swings and misses, he misses bad.
Old 08-01-08, 01:50 PM
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I've gotta agree with De Palma. While I haven't seen Redacted I thought The Black Dahlia was horrendous, Mission to Mars was kinda weak and Snake Eyes was bad. The new Untouchable prequel doesn't seem like such a hot idea either.

Also, unfortunately, John Carpenter. While I have enjoyed all of his films, since In the Mouth of Madness his output hasn't been up to par with his former glory. I really hope he can reclaim it with his new project.
Old 08-01-08, 02:30 PM
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I don't think Rob Reiner was all that great to begin with. He's someone that's stuck in that 80's Hollywood mindset. Brian DePalma, again not that great, liked Scarface but Spielberg directed the final iconic scene so that one shouldn't even count. John Carpenter is loved by horror aficionados, but the only film of I liked was Halloween.

William Friedkin, I'll certainly agree with. He was one of the greatest, same with George Lucas. I haven't even followed Wim Wenders since Paris, Texas and Wings of Desire, I'm just out of touch with him.

Times change and most directors can't evolve and create new fresh material. Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese can still churn out amazing films. But others from the 70's seem stuck in the past.
Old 08-01-08, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by PopcornTreeCt
I don't think Rob Reiner was all that great to begin with. He's someone that's stuck in that 80's Hollywood mindset. Brian DePalma, again not that great, liked Scarface but Spielberg directed the final iconic scene so that one shouldn't even count. John Carpenter is loved by horror aficionados, but the only film of I liked was Halloween.

William Friedkin, I'll certainly agree with. He was one of the greatest, same with George Lucas. I haven't even followed Wim Wenders since Paris, Texas and Wings of Desire, I'm just out of touch with him.

Times change and most directors can't evolve and create new fresh material. Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese can still churn out amazing films. But others from the 70's seem stuck in the past.
Originally Posted by IMDb Trivia
Steven Spielberg visited the set and helped to direct one shot. It is a brief shot of the Bolivians in the final shootout at Tony's mansion.
Not that I am much of a DePalma fan, but he is very capable technically even if he not much more than a Hitchcock homagist. Then again, I'm not that big of a fan of DePalma's cartoonish Scarface. The Howard Hawks original is a much better film.
Old 08-01-08, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by PopcornTreeCt
I don't think Rob Reiner was all that great to begin with. He's someone that's stuck in that 80's Hollywood mindset. Brian DePalma, again not that great, liked Scarface but Spielberg directed the final iconic scene so that one shouldn't even count. John Carpenter is loved by horror aficionados, but the only film of I liked was Halloween.

William Friedkin, I'll certainly agree with. He was one of the greatest, same with George Lucas. I haven't even followed Wim Wenders since Paris, Texas and Wings of Desire, I'm just out of touch with him.

Times change and most directors can't evolve and create new fresh material. Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese can still churn out amazing films. But others from the 70's seem stuck in the past.
I always heard Spielberg only directed a very short, throwaway shot. Dunno where you got he directed the final iconic scene (I could be wrong but that seems like something that would be a little beter known). Though that movie did introduce us all to the horrors of Brett Ratner (yes he was a hellspawn at 12, too, dammit!)

Last edited by RichC2; 08-01-08 at 02:44 PM.
Old 08-01-08, 02:52 PM
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William Friedkin was the first name that I thought of when I saw this thread title.

John Woo might be a good candidate. With the exception of Face/Off, I don't think he's made a decent movie since coming to Hollywood.

I know he certainly has his fans (and haters), but how about Kevin Smith? I know it might be stretching since the thread titles says "great" directors, but he showed a lot of promise with Clerks, which I still think is a funny movie, had a bit of a misstep with Mallrats (though it has its fans) and then seemed to grow a bit with Chasing Amy and Dogma. While Jay and Silent Bob had its moments, it wasn't all that great and then you had Jersey Girl and Clerks 2. But I know he has his followers who will refuse to believe that he can do any wrong. I may be biased because I worked with someone like that for more than 5 years and I have to admit that he caused me to sour a bit on Smith. Now I'm more likely to roll my eyes when I hear his name.

If he hand't recently passed away, I would probably toss out Sydney Pollack's name.

I feel like we're missing someone really big here but just can't think of who it might be.

What's interesting is that if it were 5 years ago we might see people throwing out a lot of different names, like Roman Polanski, Sydney Lumet (I had a couple of other names in mind but my co-worker distratced me), but it seems like we've seen some resurgences from some more old-school directors in recent years.
Old 08-01-08, 03:21 PM
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Rob Reiner definitely (although I dont know If I would have ever considered him great)
Barry Levinson (although What Just Happened looks great so we'll see how that one turns out.)
Curtis Hanson
Robert Zemeckis (sorry but I don't dig on that terrible animation shit)
Old 08-01-08, 03:31 PM
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Jan De bont

Was once a wonderful director of photograhpy turned director.

Went from making fun action flicks Speed and Twister to utter crap like Speed 2, The Haunting and Tomb Raider 2.

eh
Old 08-01-08, 04:02 PM
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Hate to say it but, Dario Argento
Old 08-01-08, 04:02 PM
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Ever since Titanic James Cameron has given us nothing but not-so-spectacular documentaries. I'm still waiting from another great acton film from him. Don't mention the upcoming Battle Angel or Avatar these things are being made at a Quentin Tarantino-esque snail's pace. Neither of which has me too excited anyway.
Old 08-01-08, 04:13 PM
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I sadly agree with Argento as well.

And Golden JCJ, I don't care how long it takes to get a movie out, as long as it's a good one when it's finished. Do I wish there were more Kubrick movies? Yes. But would I want him to sacrifice from the quality of those movies if it meant he could make more? No.

I'm not saying Cameron is the next Kubrick; I'm just saying that some people have to take their time with a project, although I have to admit that it is pretty shocking that Cameron hasn't directed another film (not including docs) since Titanic. Cameron has pushed special effects technology further with T2 and Titanic. If he can do the same with Avatar, I could forgive the delays.
Old 08-01-08, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by RichC2
I always heard Spielberg only directed a very short, throwaway shot. Dunno where you got he directed the final iconic scene (I could be wrong but that seems like something that would be a little beter known). Though that movie did introduce us all to the horrors of Brett Ratner (yes he was a hellspawn at 12, too, dammit!)
I remembered hearing it on one of the extras on the DVD. There's a pic of Spielberg on the set. I'm probably mistaken.
Old 08-01-08, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul1957
Hate to say it but, Dario Argento
I hate to say it too but since Opera (1987) IMO he has only made 1 good film
in the last 20 years (The Stendhal Syndrome - 1996).
Let's see how his next film Giallo turns out with Adrien Brody & Emmanuelle Seigner.
I heard Claudio Simonetti of Goblin is doing the music.
Old 08-01-08, 04:25 PM
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Richard Donner impressed with THE OMEN, hit a high with SUPERMAN, and then created a couple of cult films including LADYHAWKE and RADIO FLYER.

He earned a wide audience with his LETHAL WEAPONS films, and then struck out time and time again with 16 BLOCKS, ASSASSINS and so forth.

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