It occured to me to say something in this thread, but quickly I saw Curtis Hanson’s name mentioned and I realized" “Oh, of course, this thread is bullshit”.
STRAIGHT TIME /
Reactions to things I’m reading on this board:
A Beautiful Mind as a masterpiece??!
Brian DePalma has not made a masterpiece, The Untouchables was awful.
PT Anderson may not have made anything as successfully large as TWBB but as far as I’m concerned Punch-Drunk Love is a tight and beautiful package.
I don’t think Do the Right Thing is a masterpiece but it’s the only Lee I like.
Falling down is an entertaining movie but in stealing it’s opening from 8 1/2 and feeling pretty American Power all throughout it can’t be called a masterpiece. $5 bin entertainment
The Godfather as the only thing good by Coppola? The Conversation and Apocalypse Now beg to differ.
Das Boot. Perhaps Labyrinth as well.
I’d consider De Palma’s “Phantom of the Paradise” to be his masterpiece.
>>I’d consider De Palma’s “Phantom of the Paradise” to be his masterpiece.<,
I’d go with either that or CARRIE as his best film, but I’m more in the “Brian DePalma has not made a masterpiece” camp. Even his best films are just not good enough to be classified that exaltedly.
I actually found Ron Howard’s ‘The Missing’ to be fantastic. Flawed, but still much more intriguing and engaging than anything else he’s done. On a completely different level, thanks in no small part due to strong performances by Tommy Lee Jones (sidenote: notice how every white character mistakes him for an Indian, while every Native American character recognizes him as white immediately), Cate Blanchett, and Evan Rachel Wood.
Michael Cimino’s The Deer Hunter.
I’m not really getting the suggestions here-
Ron Howard is actually NOT a bad director. I would’nt say “great” of course but as a pure old school style Hollywood journeyman director he is pretty good. He is no autuer but who cares. He falls in line with alot of old school studio directors that made some pretty classic films (Casabalnca to name one). In fact he is the kind of director Soderbergh would like to be if his prentions weren’t always getting in his way. Apollo13 is IMHO an object lesson in classical film making and where to put the camera.
Ron Howard is not a favorite director of mine by a long shot and not great by any standard but I don’t think he deserves the belittlement he gets on film fan lists.
PTA on the other hand is a little too young to make any judgements on but I feel he has it in him to become a pretty great filmmaker as soon as he shakes off his anexity of influnces.
Punch Drunk Love and TWBB are pretty incredible in my opnion. And I actually feel PDL is the better of the two. Its unfortunate that currently he is most remebered for Boogie Nights and Magnolia, If he only made those 2 films then I could easily write him off as a wanna be technically talented hack. However based on the latter 2 films he is begining to reach for greatness (or really really good at least).
Finally I actualy think Hard Eight (Sydney) is also a really good first effort and pretty much makes Boogie Nights/Magnolia even more irrelevant as that first film manages to touch on all the themes of those 2 except with less prentention and bombast.
My 2 useless cents
@Tom: what you described about Ron Howard is the very definition of MEDIOCRE, which is what I’ve gotten from this thread.
Mediocre hardly equates as bad.
I agree, he is NOT a bad director, and if the thread read “Masterpieces by BAD directors,” I wouldn’t have included him. He is a perfectly MEDIOCRE director.
I would consider Oliver Stone pretty mediocre, but Platoon is by far one of the best movies ever made.
- Boyz n The Hood (John Singleton)
- Sin City (Robert Rodriguez)
- Lost in Translation (Sofia Coppola)
- The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow)
@Grant I wouldn’t consider Oliver Stone medicore. That is giving him too much credit. I would put Oliver in with Good movies by bad directors.
I think Sofia Coppola at her age and only 3 films to her credit it is way too soon to make the “medicore” call. Most artists would kill to have a Lost in Translation at that age. Besides Virgin Suicides was pretty decent and Marie Antionette deserves credit just for getting Kevin Shields on the soundtrack.
To Kathryn Bigelow I would add Near Dark as well
Five Easy Pieces, as far as I can find Rafelson never amounted to much after that film. Do the Right Thing is another. Am I the only one that found Das Boot overrated?
Good post (not useless at all). I completely agree with you about Ron Howard. Not my favorite director by a competent one, who at times make entertaining films (in the old Hollywood mold, as you mention). Part of the rough treatment may be due to the critical acclaim that some of his films receive (Oscar nominations/wins). A Beautiful Mind is OK, but not great; and I thought Nixon was pretty bland.
Btw, Johnny and others state that mediocre is not equivalent to bad, but it certainly implies less than OK to me.
I agree that PTA is young and has potential to be very good, if not great. I just think the accolades are not deserved right now. I don’t know if the problem is with “shaking the anxiety of influences” so much as dropping the pretensions (i.e. don’t try so hard to be an Artist). For example, I could see a really good film after Hard-Eight if he stayed within the same modest ambitions. I wonder if he would make better films in the Ron Howard mode than the Stanley Kubrick one.
@ Tom & Jazzaloha
It seems the only thing we seem to disagree on when it comes to this matter is our definition of the term “mediocre”.
I don’t feel Tom’s post was useless (I don’t know where that came from). These slight disagreements are what this sight is for. What would be the point in a forum where everyone felt the same about films and filmmakers (certainly, a subjective thread such as this would be pointless).
In my estimation, Howard has made a slew of middling films. Perfectly fine and technically proficient, but lacking any depth or soul. There is nothing about his work that makes him stand out as a director with any particular vision. He makes distinctly (and possibly uniquely) American (read Hollywood) pictures dealing with American subject matter. From a technical standpoint, there isn’t much bad that could be said about ‘Apollo 13’ or ‘Frost/Nixon’ except their lack of any insight or inventiveness. I would disagree with Jazzaloha on ‘A Beautiful Mind’ (a movie with too many holes and glossing over of what should have been an extremely controversial subject matter in John Nash), which I feel to be hideous. However, this is simply a disagreement in taste.
To me, Howard makes films that, for the most part, are forgotten shortly after viewing. And, to that effect, I slap him with the “mediocre” label. And yes, this possibly implies less than OK. But I will stand by my stance here. And ‘The Missing’ was the only one of his pictures that stayed with me, for better OR worse for any period of time after I left the movie.
As to PTA, I’ve found his work fascinating thus far. In my opinion, he has gotten better with each outing.
I hope you (Tom) don’t see the defense of my stance as an attack on yours. To the contrary, I’ve found an avenue to have a thoughtful discussion on the matter.
And to add to the defense of Kathryn Bigelow, I would add ‘Blue Steel’, ‘Strange Days’, and ‘Point Break’… All are memorable and worth a watch.
This topic is a mess haha.
Spanking the Monkey is brilliant, everything else he made is very mediocre.
The Tin Drum – Volker Schlöndorff
La haine – Mathieu Kassovitz
Boogie Nights – Paul Thomas Anderson
The Howling – Joe Dante
The Travelling Players – Theodoros Angelopoulos
The House of Yes – Mark Waters
Miami Blues, directed by George Armitage