How could you answer this question? I don’t really think of the great directors as being “better” than one another. Feels like I’m insulting a great director. I don’t wanna insult a great director!
I can answer it.
Er— can Rich at least explain why he doesn’t like him? I kinda liked The Shining. What’s wrong with Kubrick, Rich?
I see Jim W. has listed Kubrick as one of his favorite auteurs. Are we the only ones who like Kubrick?! And could someone please explain why they don’t like him?
If you look through the forum, there’s plenty of indication not only that people like SK, but many would place him at the absolute front ranks. Visually, it’s hard to think of a director more exacting and detailed—he’s visionary, intellectually ambitious and seemed to think cinema was something quite different than filmed acting or a “window” into life. If realism is a primary value to a viewer, then that person is less apt to like Kubrick’s work. Some people find it cold, for instance. These things are certainly valid, but it’s SK’s sense of the frame, his ambition, and his desire to challenge himself and the viewer that for me make him absolutely important. He changed cinema. Though, as I say, if Cassavettes is a favorite of a given viewer, that viewer might not be so drawn to SK
I agree with Andy. There are plenty of filmmakers who can be considered masters of their medium, and Kubrick is one of them. You can hate his movies, find them cold and inhumane, be bored senseless, and plenty of people are, but he knew his craft backwards and forwards, every single aspect of the process, as well as anyone ever has. I think what people most object to when they say they dislike Kubrick are the tone of his films, the pacing, the subjects. Fine. Kubrick is one of the God of Cinema and always will be. I just saw 2001 in 70mm and when it was done all I could think about was Kael’s dismissal, something along the lines of 2001 being the best amateur movie ever made, which is kind of funny, and typical of Kael’s knee-jerk populist contrarianism, because 2001 is the exact opposite, and Kael had to know this. 2001 stands at the apex of modern cinema, and is one of the great works of art of the 20th Century. The level of attention to detail is mind-boggling and the fact the Kubrick pulls off a particularly trick bit of business, i.e., placing the camera as the p.o.v. of God (or, in other words, Stanley Kubrick as God), should be enough to silence the doubters. But it won’t. Some people don’t like Kubrick and they never will for one simple reason: he was a genius and he wasn’t shy about letting you know that through his work.
There is no one director in cinema who was more masterful in understanding all aspects of filmmaking than Kubrick. Imagery, sound, content, pacing, form, etc. You can like other directors better. You can hate Kubrick as a stylist. But as for a complete and utter master of the medium, there is no one who outclasses him, and the list of directors as good probably totals into a sigle-digit figure.
To me, Kubrick is the best, no contest.
I place Tarkovsky alongside him.
And Richard, I am a huge Cassavetes fan and Kubrick is my favorite filmmaker.
Easy answer: No one. And anyone who doesn’t like Kubrick doesn’t really like movies, just popcorn fodder.
Nate, your palate is admirably wide! What’s that anecdote about someone complaining about the lack of realism in one of his film and Kubrick responding, “real is good. Interesting is better.” Not to say Cassavetes isn’t interesting!
I actually saw Faces by Cassavetes (which is my favorite Cassavetes film I ever saw and is my favorite of his) and I saw many similarities between Eyes Wide Shut and it.
Both films deal with a rocky marriage.
Both films deal with adultery.
In both films the action takes place in around 2-3 days.
Cassavetes and Kubrick, as you said, are pretty much polar opposites, but I think there is much suprise laying in wait for an open minded Kubrick fan or Cassavetes fan willing to try the other.
I could watches Faces many many times as well as Eyes Wide Shut. Both films are really mindblowing to me.
Kubrick is in my top five but to answer your question: Kurosawa.
I have to agree with Rich Uncle. Kubrick was always too cool/cold for my tastes. Yes, Paths of Glory and Dr Strangelove are great movies. And 2001 is a staggering achievement. Full Metal Jacket and Barry Lyndon are good, too. But where are the human beings in these films? Nowhere to be found except in caricature. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the fatal flaw in Kubrick’s oeuvre.
I don’t like Kubrick…and I think Robert Bresson, Godard, Fellini, Dreyer, Chaplin, Tarkovsky, and even Martin Scorsese to be better than him. Do i like popcorn movies now?
Meh. I’ve always felt that Kubrick is one of those filmmakers that you REALLY get into when you’re about 14 or so (I’m certainly guilty of this), but really don’t care about very much as you get older, and once you’re knowledge of film begins to expand outside of American cinema. I owe a lot to Kubrick for really introducing me to so called “thought-provoking” cinema in my formative teenage years, and I still watch 2001 from time to time, but really, I don’t think of him too often anymore.
Thank you The Corduroy suit. There are other better filmmakers. But he is significant as an introduction to people to art films. but Not to say that he’s better than Fellini, Bergman, or Kurosawa even at that….
Who’s better : Ketchup or Mustard
let the food fight begin.
I sort of agree with The Corduroy Suit here too. I think visually Kubrick is an amazing director and many of his films (at least the ones I’ve seen…I haven’t seen all of them) are absolutely transfixing. I also don’t find them too slow. But content-wise, I find many of Kubrick’s films incredibly cold, inhumane, and apathetic to the events actually happening on camera beyond their immediate visual impact on the shot. Everything seems very modern and threatening; it’s so structured and rigidly planned and executed in a way that’s admirable, but also a little bit too much. Someone like Tarkovsky, who is similar in his level of visual expertise, has a lot of gentleness within his shots. He plays much further into the underlying humanity of both his characters and his landscapes (which often become their own sort of characters), and he doesn’t attempt to make things as rigidly organized (though just as much care is put into his de-organization).
This is not to insult Kubrick’s visual ability – like I said before, it’s virtually unparalleled. And it’s not to say that he doesn’t have films that really don’t fit in this category I described. But still… beneath the often flawless exterior, I start to see cracks emerge. I’m not a cold person, and all this indifference to humanity starts to really become a problem for me. It starts to feel contrived and irritating. As if Kubrick is unable to move beyond his carefully planned visuals. I don’t know, it’s hard to say. Perhaps I’m misreading something.
the list goes on and on.
Kubrick is very good.
He is not great.
Kubrick stand alone, not because he is better than any other, but because you cannot possibly compare him to any other. Kubrick essentially is the only filmmaker in history who doesn’t make films. What Kubrick creates is a visual feeling. He doesn’t have characters, and for the most part he doesn’t really have stories. His genius was that he created a feeling that nobody had ever felt before. Almost every piece he created, will cause you to feel something you may have never felt before and maybe never will. You may not like the feeling, but you must admit, you can’t compare it to any other you have ever had, and that’s impressive.
Forgive me for being vague, but I don’t feel like writing an essay at the moment… :-)
If you dont like Kubrick then you deserve to be in the toilet! Top 5 easily.
Kubrick is a god among the customers of all Hollywood Videos, just as Fight Club is an extremely deep, and innovative film. Since it’s a matter of opinion, I’ll point out actual technical facts. He shoots wide. He shoots long takes with some of the most famous actors of all time reading some famous lines, and he had a nice ego to go along with that. That, of course, if Troy Duffy is any indication, is enough to give some the idea that he is, indeed, the greatest there is.
I do love his films though. But he is in no way the be all end all, and if this collection has taught me anything it’s that he’s all we’re allowed to see in those video stores without taking into consideration that talent, in general, is not bestowed on a select few named Hitchcock, Spielberg, DW Griffith, John Ford, and this Kubrick character. He’s such because he’s word of mouth material. He sells the movies. Here’s Johnny is all anyone needs to say about The Shining and it’s automatically a classic. He’s AFI’s lover, he’s Micheal Jackson of the film world.
I have at least 20 all time fave directors, and Kubrick is certainly one of them. How can you compare what Kubrick is trying to do, to what Hitchcock, Chaplin, Godard, Fellini, or Welles is doing. Each one a particular voice, each one a genius.
Liz, why? his pet theme is the dehumanization of technology and social order. Told through his unparalled control, I can see what you found. Check out eyes wide shut through, the last scene will flip your argument and offer the warmness…(key is in the lighting).
Ignoring his ridiculous talent, he had major studio funding for films of which he had final cut. He could shoot for as long as he wished and never had to go back to Hollywood after Lolita, working just minutes from his home. That alone makes him the man.
Kubrick was brilliant… this ‘too cold’ bullshit is just lazy ‘recieved’ wisdom. What’s cold about Barry Lyndon, Spartacus, Paths Of Glory, Full Metal Jacket? all deep meditations on human themes, as is 2001 which was probing the meaning of life itself, without the superstitious god nonsense… Intellectual does not necessarily equal cold.