The Five Worst Working Directors in Hollywood Circa 2009


Recently I’ve been seeing a number of projects that seem like great ideas, but then when I hear who’s behind them, I go “ohhhh, nevermind.” These are five of the men who can be that catalyst, they can turn a good movie bad or make a bad movie worse, yet somehow, they’re still finding work in Hollywood.

5. McG

Claims to Infame: Charlie’s Angels 1 & 2, We Are Marshall, Terminator Salvation

Me putting McG on this list directly stems from my massive disappointment with Terminator Salvation. While most of these directors are given shitty video games to turn into movies, McG had one of the greatest sci-fi franchises of all time handed to him, and he ****ed it up.

He had all the pieces he needed to make a great film, but his idiocy turned a potentially amazing project into a lackluster failure. I think that it’s possible McG could be a could director someday, but someone needs to teach him storytelling. Right now he’s like the poor man’s Michael Bay.

What he’s ruining next: Since Terminator Salvation made a decent chunk of change, there will be a sequel, and McG will unfortunately be on board. In interviews he says he wants to stage it so the machines (a bunch of them) travel back in time to our present and fight our military. It would be “cool,” according to him.

He’s also developing a 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea movie. Does he know that underwater explosions are less noisy?

4. Paul W. S. Anderson


Claims to Infame: Alien vs. Predator, Death Race, Mortal Kombat

The first Resident Evil stands as the best video game-to-film adaptation to date, but that’s kind of like being the skinniest kid at fat camp. And the two sequels it spawned were completely mindless, and rumors of a fourth film are just plain unnecessary.

What he’s ruining next: Possibly a Driver movie. Hey, at least it’s not Grand Theft Auto.

3. Brett Ratner


Claims to Infame: Rush Hour 3, X-Men: The Last Stand, After the Sunset

I was a fan of the first two Rush Hour movies, and back then, I might have said advertising something as “A Brett Ratner film” was almost acceptable, if a bit douchey. However, today when I hear that term, I have to roll my eyes so hard they almost drop out of my head completely.

Rush Hour 3 was perhaps the laziest bunch of film making I have ever seen, as a six year break after the last film clearly resulting in writing a script three days before filming started. And don’t even get me started on X-Men 3.

What he’s ruining next: God of War, and really this is a huge tragedy. GOW is one of only a handful of video games that could actually work on film. While projects like Doom and Dead or Alive never stood a chance, God of War has a well-written story and an incredibly visual style giving it the potential to be a true epic.

But with Ratner behind it? I’d rather beat the project to death with a shovel out of mercy. If only Zack Snyder would sign on instead…

2. Uwe Boll


Claims to Infame: House of the Dead, Alone in the Dark, BloodRayne, Postal, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, Far Cry

The only director so bad, he actually has a petition that requests that he stops making movies. When it gets to a million, he says he’s out. We’re at 334K right now.

If there’s an awful video game movie to be made, Boll is the guy to go to. He’s adapted good games into bad movies (House of the Dead, Far Cry) and bad games into worse movies (Bloodrayne, Postal). He’s also got straight to DVD sequels for almost all of them.

What he’s ruining next: Darfur. What? Yes, Uwe Boll is making a movie about Darfur, which is in itself, an unspeakable human rights atrocity of sorts. Get that petition signed people.

1. Jason Friedman and Aaron Seltzer


Claims to Infame:  Date Movie, Epic Movie, Disaster Movie, Meet the Spartans

When the original Scary Movie garnered big audience numbers and a decent critical reception, Friedman and Seltzer got it in their minds that if something works once, it works EVERY TIME. They built an entire genre around parodying other movies, but when they ran out of movies, they started tackling pop culture. K-Fed? Paris Hilton? Sure, why not.

The saddest part about this new awful parody genre is that the movies still put up relatively big numbers at the box office because, well, America is stupid, and often likes stupid things. And with the movies having a miniscule budget compare to most films, they’ll keep getting made until they stop being profitable, which means we have no reason to expect the “_____ Movie” phenomenon will ever end.

What they’re ruining next: Scary Movie 5. At least people aren’t giving these guys potentially good projects (i.e. Ratner with God of War, McG with Terminator) for them to butcher. All the crap they come out with is at least their own crap, and they’ve built an entire crap empire out of nothing. It’s rather impressive when you think about it.

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  1. Dead or Alive was a terrible movie. Although if your only in it to watch hot girls kick ass then I dont think its that bad… your not exactly watching the movie for the acting thats for sure.

  2. Rattner directed Red Dragon, which was not bad. It’s no Silence of the Lambs, of course, but it was quite watchable. I agree that his recent movies have sucked really, REALLY bad, though.

    Paul W.S. Anderson directed Event Horizon, which is another decent movie. I have to say, I do usually dislike his movies.

  3. Corey Yuen did DOA, not Paul W.S. Anderson who was just one of the money men. Did you mean to flog him for AVP (deservedly) and got mixed up?

  4. Paul W.S. Anderson didn’t direct Dead or Alive, Resident Evil 2 or Resident Evil 3. I’m not defending him, I’m just saying you suck at research which takes all of 10 seconds.

  5. While I agree Jason Friedberg + Aaron Seltzer write and direct horrible movies, your facts about Scary Movie are a bit wrong.

    Scary Movie 1 = Directed by K. Wayans. Friedberg + Seltzer co-wrote this one. Perhaps the only half-decent thing they ever did.

    Scary Movie 2 = Written and directed by Wayans. Truly horrible movie.

    Scary Movie 3 + 4 = Zucker / Proft / Abraham / Weiss … that’s some of the guys who invented this movie genre with Kentucky Fried Movie, Airplane, Top Secret, … on to Superhero Movie (stupid title, people think it’s another Friedberg + Seltzer movie)

  6. Actually, scratch my last comment. I understand what happened. You did your research on IMDB, but forgot to scroll down past the production credits to get to his directorial credits.
    Must be, since DOA (was) and all of the forthcoming films you list will be part of his production work, and he will not be directing them. Easy mistake I guess.

  7. I totally agree with everything, except the McG part…

    I know what you’re thinking, but i just saw the new Terminator movie and from all the bad reviews I have heard about it, I walked in prepared to hate it, on top of it being directed by a douche who calls himself McG, I was not expecting good things.

    To be honest, I was completely blown away, I really don’t understand the harsh criticism behind this movie. It completely resuscitated the whole terminator mythos in ways that I had never even thought of, which was a great surprise to see in the movie. Don’t get me wrong, there were hokey parts in the film, but none to the extent that brought me out of the mood of the whole film.

  8. Terminator 4 beat the hell out of 2 and 3. 1 and 4 were the only decent movies of the series, where 2 and 3 were films to make the “Schwarzenegger Terminator” look like a idiot.

  9. When i saw boll at 2 i thought “What? Who can possibly be worse?” but you nailed it. Why the hell do people pay good money to watch that shit?

    Also, am i the only person who like X3?

  10. Paul WS Anderson co-produced DOA and Cory Yuen directed it. And I actually saw it in a theater. If Jaime Pressly, Holly Valance, and Sarah Carter kicking ass for 90 minutes is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

  11. Paul Anderson only produced DoA, Corey Yuen directed. Now, Mortal Kombat, that was a crap sandwich. i liked Shopping, that was fun, despite Jude Law. Where’s Michael “Boomsplosion” Bay?

  12. Casper Van Dien for missing the entire point of Starship Troopers. He should not make another movie until he apologizes to RAH in person, or spirit since RAH died several years ago. That would insure the world would never again suffer from his incompetence.

  13. did you forget about M. Night Shamalyan? All of his movies suck ass except for Sixth Sense. He should definitely be on this list somewhere.

  14. I don’t think “ruining” means what you think it means. Are you really upset that Uwe Boll is adapting videogames into movies? He’s not even taking the good videogames. He’s taking “Bloodrayne”, for God’s sake.

    And yeah, the spoof movies are bad, but again, how is this “the worst”? What have they ruined for you? How are they hurting cinema?

  15. a few things you got wrong:

    1 uwe boll is not a hollywood director, he never made a movie in hollywood, and in case the title of the article means “worst directors in the world” then there are really a lot more awful directors than the ones you mentioned working in europe and asia

    2 paul anderson only directed the first resident evil movie not the sequels, also he made mortal kombat, another OK videogame movie and the good sci-fi “soldier” with kurt russell

    3 about a month ago news surfaced that bret rattnet won’t be directing god of war
    also there’s no doubt that rush hour 3 and x3 suck but rattner made some good movies like the first rush hour, red dragon and family man. You can be angry at him for almost destroying the x men franchise but it’s stupid to say that hs’s one of the worst, he was put in charge of x3 6 months before the release date when the previous directot quit, and the scrypt wasn’t complete, it’s almost a miracle that he delivered a movie with a coherent plot and a couple of entartaining action sequences, albeit mediocre and unworthy of the franchise but no disaster

    the article is just a fan boy rant, if you want tyo know the really worst directors still getting work IN HOLLYWOOD I’ll give some names: Jan De Von, Peter Hyams, Roland Emmerich, M Night Shymalan and of course Michael Bay

  16. I refuse to honor the opinion of anyone who says that the first Resident Evil movie is the best video game movie adaptation. RE: Apocalypse is closer to the video game, but all three of them are bad.

  17. Suggest : Do the ‘Top 1-‘ worst working directors next time, since there are at least 5 more to add to your 5. And do your research properly next time.

  18. Suggestion : Do the ‘Top 10’ worst working directors next time, since there are at least 5 more to add to your 5. And do your research properly next time.

  19. Did Joel Schumacher retire last week or something? I mean seriously, the man who went from DC Cab to nearly destroying the unstoppable Batman franchise isn’t on this list? Phone Booth? Phantom of the Opera? The Number 23? Any of this ringing a bell?

  20. What a horrible list. Though he is absolutely correct putting Friedberg and Seltzer in the top spot, this article is really poorly researched, and does, as someone else mentioned, come off like a fanboy rant at times. Directors 5-3 aren’t necessarily bad, they’re just mediocre at their worst, and actually pretty good at their best.

    Another thing he got wrong: Castlevania has been canned.

  21. McG is a hack that used to direct music videos which are the lowest form of film directing. Believe me I have worked on enough of them. By his name it sounds he used to direct hip-hop videos.

    Michael Bay should definitely be on the list too.

  22. McG also directs supernaturel (the series). disliked charlie’s angel but he did a great job with supernatural.

    btw, I liked mortal kombat. story was lackluster, but all the injokes and character-peaks were in there. you could even recognize some of the moves. I know you inner nerd agree!

    honestly, it was a game about fighting, what backstory in a movie do you need?!

  23. You’re an idiot and have NO clue about what the general public likes to watch. All of those Directors and the films you listed made a killing either at the box office or the video store. Why don’t you go write about something you probably DO know something about: tinker toys.

  24. You’re an idiot and have NO clue about what the general public likes to watch. All of those Directors and the films you listed made a killing either at the box office or the video store. Why don’t you go write about something you probably DO know something about: tinker toys. Run along and play junior.

  25. I wouldn’t blame Americans for the stupid parody movies. Let’s look at the box office results for Epic Movie:

    Domestic: $39,739,367 45.7%
    + Foreign: $47,126,197 54.3%

    So it looks like their base is in foreign markets.

  26. Wow, Paul. Do some research before you write an article as damning as this — Jason Friedman and Aaron Seltzer didn’t direct Scary Movie 2-4. And W.S. Anderson didn’t direct Pandorum, NOR did he direct Dead or Alive. Where the hell did you even get that idea from?? God, this article is terrible. It’s like you just made shit up and somehow it managed to remain less entertaining than something actually based on reality.

  27. I really liked House of the Dead! It’s one of my favorite zombie movies.

    BTW, I got to see a private screening of it in the theater. (Actually, they were going to cancel the showing since noone had bought a ticket until I showed up. They didn’t even bother with the commercials!) That was pretty awesome.

  28. Well at least the other directors actually have some claim to fame. Seltzer and Friedberg are the absolute worst thing to happen to American cinema ever.

  29. You one idiot loser, what was on your mind before you wrote this article. You bunch of idiot you call Brett Ratner a worst director.

    GO WATCH his movie “Red Dragon” if you have sense of understanding directing talent?

    Secondly how many films have you directed so you have taste of knowing best director worst director, other than reading their reviews which are always bias.

  30. I agree that resident evil 2 sucked, but 3 and mostly 4 were very good, and the 3 musketeers by Paul W.S Anderson was the best of them all, i think you are a jealous idiot sir!

  31. Jason Friedman and Aaron Seltzer at the top of this list is hardly fair. They don’t ruin any movies that people care about, they make crappy movies for the sake of making crappy movies. Uwe Boll does it on purpose, he WANTS to piss people off..but Ratner? He should be number one. He takes projects that people have interest in, and pisses all over them, and he thinks he does a good job. He’s the worst director because he keeps getting work that could otherwise go to competent directors who care about making something worth watching. Every time Ratner makes a movie, a good idea dies. Anderson and McG are tied with Len Wiseman for me…they all have SOME idea of what they are doing, but don’t really seem to understand what makes a movie good, all three seem to go out of their ways to make stupid choices, but unlike Ratner at least I get the sense that they TRY…they just fail. Ratner just doesn’t care, he kisses the right butts and BS’s his way into jobs that are way above his very minimal level of talent, he’s as bad a director as he is a human being, if the gossip is to be believed.

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