This idea popped into my head a couple of months ago when I wondered who my favorite directors are right now. I’ve played around with the idea a lot since then, and decided on these evaluation criteria:
- A living director’s three most recent full-length, fictional films.
- If I’ve only seen two of the three, I’m allowed to go to the fourth-most recent, but no deeper than that.
- The major factor is the average of my Criticker ratings for the three films.
- Carrying less weight but still a factor: my personal preferences for a director’s other decisions.
Still a work in progress, those criteria, but it’s what I’m working with for now.
I’m still putting the candidates list together, but this is who I have in the running right now.
- Quentin Tarantino: The Hateful Eight; Django Unchained; Inglorious Basterds
- Jason Reitman: Men, Women, and Children (haven’t seen); Labor Day (haven’t seen); Young Adult
- Alexander Payne: Downsizing, Nebraska, The Descendants
- Andrew Stanton: Finding Dory, John Carter (haven’t seen), WALL-E, Finding Nemo
- Joel and Ethan Coen: Hail, Caesar!; Inside Llewyn Davis; True Grit
- Bryan Singer: X-Men: Days of Future Past; X-Men Apocolypse; Jack the Giant Slayer
- Richard Linklater: Last Flag Flying (haven’t seen); Everybody Wants Some!!; Boyhood; Before Midnight; Bernie
- Anthony Russo and Joe Russo: Captain America: Civil War; Ant-Man; Captain America: The Winter Soldier
- Tom McCarthy: Spotlight; The Cobbler (haven’t seen); Win-Win; The Visitor (haven’t seen); The Station Agent
- David O. Russell: Joy, American Hustle, Silver Linings Playbook, The Fighter
It bugs me that there are no women on this list but I think the only two real possibilities were Naoko Ogigami, and I haven’t seen her last three or four films, and Nancy Meyers, and I really didn’t care for two of her last three. Yikes.
Based on this list, I really need to see Last Flag Flying and probably The Cobbler.
5 thoughts on “Favorite Film Directors Right Now”
I’m having a hard time coming up with names, especially using your criteria, and I feel sort of indifferent about that. It’s kinda disappointing, as I’ve loved movies for most of life, and it feels like that love has been on teh wane. (Then again, names just aren’t coming to me.)
I’ve edited my first criterion to specify I’m only evaluating the work of living people. So Kiarostami’s out even though I really respected Like Someone in Love and Certified Copy, two of his most recent three films. It just doesn’t make sense to include a dead director on a list evaluating his work “right now,” which is the point of the exercise.
If I modify the criteria down to living directors whose films I’m most interested in viewing–that is, I would be interested in a film largely because they directed, here are some names:
1. Denis Villaneuve.
2. Coen Brothers
3. Kelly Reichardt
Some other directors: Lucretia Martel, Maren Ade.
With the exception of Reichardt and Ade, perhaps, the visuals are a big reason I’m interested in those other filmmakers. When I watch their films, I’m expecting to see something that looks good. I could add Terrence Malick to the list, but my enthusiasm for his movies have waned just a bit. Also, if I can add a cinematographer I’d add, Roger Deakins. (I feel like there are some other filmmakers that I can’t recall right now.)
I’m fine with your defining it however you want, but if a living director hasn’t made a film in 20 years, it’s sort of a different concept. It’s yet a different concept if it’s a living, working director whose early moves you love but whose last (say) five films were disappointing. I was kind of going for who’s making movies you love today.
Otherwise Kevin Smith would be on my list when he has made one good movie in 14 years and lots of bad ones. Actually, I don’t know if they’re bad because most of them are horror movies I don’t want to see. So yeah. One of my favorite directors is in a horror phase, making him definitely not one of my favorite directors now.
Although two of his next three are sequels to Clerks II and Mallrats, so this is likely to change. 🙂
That makes sense.