So I was about to write a list of “Once Great Directors Who Are Struggling” including, in my opinion, Steven Spielberg and Ridley Scott. over the last ten years or so But I remembered that I’ve already written “Five Directors Who Have Really Gone Downhill” and “The Five Worst Working Directors in Hollywood.”
In short, I figured it was time for some positivity. There are a lot of great movies coming out over the past few years from a “new class” of directors. They may only have two or three major films under their belts, but these five all having what I would call a perfect batting average so far. Who knows how long that may continue, but it’s possible that any or all of these five could evolve into directing legends the way Scott, Spielberg or Scorsese have.
I was as surprised as anyone when sometimes-okay actor Ben Affleck wanted to take a turn in the director’s chair. I was even more surprised when his films turned out to be good. Yes, he may be in the Boston crime drama niche right now, but both Gone Baby Gone and The Town are phenomenal films in the genre, and Affleck knows how to write well for both himself and his family members. Oh, and other actors too. Argo will be his big test to see if he can break out of the Boston box, and I really hope he can succeed.
Out of everyone on this list, Duncan Jones is definitely my favorite. Perhaps that has to do with his penchant for sci-fi, as he’s added two fantastic films to the genre in recent years, Moon and Source Code. Or maybe it’s because I respect him for not calling himself Zowie Bowie, his real name which indicates his famous father. Though I would probably change my name too if it were that. Jones has created a pair of masterful films, and is a fresh breath of air the sci-fi genre needs.
Vaughn is slyly creeping up lists like these. He might not be a household name yet, but making the R-rated superhero flick Kick-Ass work and being responsible for X-Men: First Class being a good film, even though almost no one wanted it to exist, are both really impressive feats. Vaughn is back soon with Kick-Ass 2, and I’m looking forward to seeing what else he can do after that.
Wright is the current king of geek comedy, thanks partially to his friends Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. The three of them have made the fantastic Hot Fuzz and Shawn of the Dead together, and will reunite for a third film at some point. When Wright was on his own, he gave us Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, definitely one of the most memorable films of that year, even if it wasn’t a box office smash.
He’s proved he can produce/create on hell of a TV series, but many were skeptical when JJ Abrams wanted to make the jump to film. But he did a solid job on Mission Impossible 3, then blew everyone’s socks off with Star Trek. Super 8 was a quality film as well, even if he did crank his Spielberg dial until it broke off completely. Star Trek 2 should be a worthwhile sequel, and I have a hunch we’re going to see a hell of a lot of good films out of JJ before he’s done.
So who am I forgetting?