This has probably been brought up several times but I was curious to see who exactly people thought was THE worst director of all time. I’m not entirely sure but here are some worthy nominations;
Paul W.S. Anderson
Herschell Gordon Lewis
Why are they so bad?
I’ve always struggled with this question. But from what I’ve seen, I’d say either Ed Wood or Uwe Boll.
What makes them the worst?
When it comes to well-known currently working directors (excluding Uwe Boll, to easy), I’d have to go with Steven Sommers. He manages to take interesting and fun ideas for potentially quality blockbusters, and make them as derivative and dull as humanly possible. He has no original style (as much as I hate Bay, I cant deny that he has a distinct style), his effects are awful, he brings the worst out of potentially good actors like Brendan Frasier and Hugh Jackman (yeah they may not show it often, but they do have talent hidden somewhere), and above all else his films are just boring. A boring movie is the worst kind of movie, so I’d say Van Helsing and The Mummy Returns are easily worse then The Room or Alone in the Dark.
Are there boring movies here at mubi?
I agree with Javier here, give us some reasons why they are bad, just don’t throw names out there. It’s a flippin’ Forum for Discussion.
Thank you, Josh, for your opinion in paragraph form.
Yes there are. Now, I have yet to see a film mentioned positively here that I didn’t like, but no matter where you look you will almost always be able to find boring movies (and in the same way you will almost always be able to find good movies wherever you look).
What Lucio Fulci fimls have you seen? He isn’t close to being my favorite, but he isn’t close to being the worst.
Out of Hollywood directors maybe M. Night Shyamalan
Well Leigh Scott is one of those ‘mockbuster’ directors. He made stuff like Transmorphers and Transmorphers 2. Perhaps he doesn’t even deserve mention. Uwe Boll I have tried for the longest time to defend but the more movies I see of his the more I realize that he just isn’t talented. I think that the only film he has made that succeeded in some way was Postal. Bay and Anderson are no-brainers since they make the dumbest Hollywood movies you can make. Wood is seen as maybe being so bad he’s good. I can see how some people would enjoy watching his work but all I can manage to see is pure incompetence. Lewis and Fulci are two that have considerable fanbases since they are both seen as ‘Godfathers of Gore’, since I’m not impressed by gore and only how it is presented I see all of their films as idiotic. There are some reasons for them being among the worst out there. What are some other thoughts?
Any director who views film simply as “product.”
Every director who has ever had a producer (or been one themselves) has had some semblance of profit motive when making their movies, but that select group which allows that to drive them are those to which I’m referencing.
Without naming names, some of their initials might be … JS, GM, PM, RH, MG, and (maybe) CBD …
“GM, PM, RH”
I disagree a little, I just think it’s the school they came from, they offer, for the most part, light entertainment.
Herschell Gordon Lewis
are both fine genre directors.
Quentin Tarantino is the worst I have seen for taking fun genre ideas and making them overlong trainwrecks. Judd Apatow is a close second.
“Every director who has ever had a producer (or been one themselves) has had some semblance of profit motive when making their movies…”
I’m sorry, but that is technically every director in existence, ever, even the art realm, museum projection, and video installation ones. Your sentence may work if you mean “executive producer”, which is the head of the funding source/financial department of a movie (the only movies without executive producers are where the executive producer is a grant)—a “producer” is actually by definition the person who is responsible for organizing all of the resources of a production and making sure they are used in creation to the final vision/version of the movie—in commercial cinema’s case, the organization of assets into product, in art cinema’s case, the organization of resources into vision. In the case where a producer is not listed, it is essentially the director—for instance, in Stan Brakhage’s filmography, he counts as “producer” of every one because he was the one who got celluloid and camera (or celluloid and paint, or celluloid and other processing) together to ensure that they create an art product of expressively moving imagery.
The bias against producers pretty much stems from a naive cliche of a director fighting with his personal vision against a studio agent attempting to create a commodity marketable to the lowest common denominator. This happens, but without the producer the director has none of the assets he needs on set to direct. If he pulled all of those things together himself, he is the “director/producer”. Besides, pre-those-auteur-freaks-era, producers were the ones considered to have the personal stamp and artistic vision behind the movie’s final presentation. The directors were considered middlemen between the producer’s vision and the technical requirements of the movie set itself. Many directors who produce their own work choose not to list themselves as producer simply because the producing derived from what they were attempting to direct, which I believe is what you mean—however, that illustrates more the necessity of “being a producer themselves” in order to gain full credit for the vision the director is attempting to make. Other independent directors do not take on producer credit simply to keep their credit screens short and to-the-point (a habit I appreciate). Whichever way, without a producer, there is no movie.
Oh, and art is a type of product too. Not one that necessarily is bought and sold in a retail marketplace, but still a thing created for the purpose of social exchange. For the hell of it, a semantic argument as well: In order to produce art, one must become an art producer, and once that art is produced, it is now a product. That is the role of producer, to produce.
And I don’t know what any of those initials refer to (“GM?” Guy Maddin? “MG?” Michel Gondry? “RH?” Ray Harryhausen?), so I don’t really interpret the point of naming names without naming names—how is that helpful to make your point?
And finally, one last and final thing: “some semblance of profit motive.”
Geez, how horrible of the occassional artist to desire to be able to pay rent once in a while. The romantic image of the “starving artist” is banal.
To me, a bad director is someone who has the resources to make a good film and continually botches it. I wouldn’t put any of the names in the original post on such a list. Ed Wood’s a great director—look how much pleasure his films have brought us. Lucio Fulci and Hershell Gordon Lewis each made great strides in their chosen genres and impacted film history. I have not seen any Uwe Boll films, but I’m eager to. Michael Bay may be a hack, but his movies entertain lots of people and he’s very skilled at turning out crowd-pleasing entertainments that are often very skillfully put together. You may not like him, but he succeeds at what he sets out to do, however limited his goals, and that makes him not a bad director at all.
Joshua Logan is a bad director. Look at his film version of SOUTH PACIFIC, arguably the worst big-budget Hollywood film made before 1980. He was supposedly taken off CAMELOT midway through and replaced by Laurence Harvey, of all people. But it was on the strength of CAMELOT’s boxoffice success that he was assigned to PAINT YOUR WAGON.
I can’t stand Sam Mendes’ films. Yet one of his films won an Academy Award as Best Picture. I can’t stand Anthony Minghella, but one of his films won for Best Picture also. I can’t stand Paul THOMAS Anderson, yet he has a rabid cult following among film intelligentsia. Otherwise thoughtful people can make a case for either of them, so I would be remiss in calling either of them a “bad director.”
Henry Jaglom makes interesting films in spite of his utter lack of talent. He’s a bad director, but he has a knack for pulling interesting people onto his sets and allowing them to create interesting moments on their own. He is, IMHO, a “bad director,” but not the worst.
I’m sorry, but I’ve already spent more time on this topic than I should have. I don’t have a candidate for “worst director.”
MG it is, MC-CGG that is, in case anyone’s in doubt
Joshua Logan made Picnic (one of the best films of all time) followed by Bus Stop, a bad director could not have that combo, I can agree with Paint yr Wagon but everyone has one bad film.
Jaglom is a true original and he has yet to make a boring film so I disagree there, my choices at least have taken proven genres and made horrible films within them.
Um … hmmm …
Mr. Polaris …
My complaint was against hack directors, not producers.
I am a producer, and a full-time capitalist. I promise I have no bias against myself or any of my brethren.
Herschell Gordon Lewis Is a great director. :(
Fulci also made his share of great films.
It kills me to see Ed Wood and Michael Bay mentioned together there. The key difference being that Ed Wood had honest effort being put into his films. He truly believed they could be great. He just missed the mark… by a lot. Michael Bay just spews out explosion-filled Hollywood eye candy. So even if technicality says they are both “bad”, I don’t think they should ever be put in the same category. Now you have to define “bad”.
Yeah. You said “but that select group which allows that to drive them are those to which I’m referencing.”
Oy, I’ve been on this computer too long.
Time to do something else….
(Though still, what are those initials?)
George Lucas sure did fall off. Not the worst director at all, but he really made the last three Star Wars films hard to sit through.
as much as I hate all the directors mentioned here none of them are even close to the worst directors ever
Vic Savage who made “The Creeping Terror” has got to be the big winner
sit through 15mins of that movie and you’ll be begging me to put on “Armageddon” or “The Mummy Returns”
yeah those movies are bad, but I doubt anyone here could go make a movie as good as Armageddon because if you could you wouldn’t be here
but I am 100% sure without having met a single one of you that you could make a film (with no budget) better than “The Creeping Terror”
I’m pretty sure I am the worst director of all time.
Sorry… you’re ALL wrong.
It seems that no one here has been unlucky enough to see one of the steaming piles of shit that Ulli Lommel calls films.
I have seem some Ulli, still like him over QT or Apatow
i’m going to ignore obviously bad directors, such as the ones who make b grade horror movies for a living, because that’s just obvious.
when i watch a movie, i tend to give myself over to the film completely. however, one director i’ve noticed is really bad is Sir Richard Attenborough. A Bridge Too Far, and Chaplin are horrible. I have both of these on dvd, and they’re both worth owning, but the editing is horrible. Chaplin is worth watching because robert downey jr is great as chaplin, and a bridge too far is worth watching because of the all star cast. but they’re very poorly directed. never seen ghandi.
Bridge to Far is horrible and Chaplin is not his best but (other than that) the man makes fine features. Cry Freedom is wonderful as is Grey Owl