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PRINT - Entertainment Weekly Lists Top 25 Active Directors

This one's a bit of a head-scratcher. Certainly several of the names on the below list unquestionably belong; but others are mind-boggling, especially when you consider who they left out!

Granted, this is coming from Entertainment Weekly, not Cahiers du Cinema, so it's probably unnecessary to get oneself too worked up over their choices.

Here they are (ranked in order of "Greatness"):

1. Steven Spielberg
2. Peter Jackson
3. Martin Scorsese
4. Christopher Nolan
5. Steven Soderbergh
6. Ridley Scott
7. Quentin Tarantino
8. Michael Mann
9. James Cameron
10. Joel and Ethan Coen
11. Guillermo del Toro
12. David Fincher
13. Tim Burton
14. Judd Apatow
15. Sam Raimi
16. Zack Snyder
17. Darren Aronofsky
18. Danny Boyle
19. Clint Eastwood
20. Ron Howard
21. Ang Lee
22. Paul Thomas Anderson
23. Paul Greengrass
24. Pedro Almodóvar
25. Jon Favreau

My immediate reactions? Predominantly American, unfortunately... after all, the article doesn't say that it's a list of the 25 greatest active American directors. Did the folks at EW who put this thing together do much research, or did they just pluck the most obvious names - especially those who have made studio films in recent years?

Also, not a single woman on this list. It's still very much a man's world. I'd argue in favor of a Claire Denis over Jon Favreau, for example. There's Catherine Breillat, Mira Nair, even Sofia Coppola. Granted her last film was 2006's Marie Antoinette, but here's a woman with a vision, and 3 films with much critical acclaim accompanying them.

And of course, very few minorities, save for the likes of Ang Lee and Guillermo del Toro.

I'd take Spike Lee over Darren Aronofsky and... Zack Snyder??? What has he done to warrant a ranking? 300? Dawn of The Dead? Both decent efforts, but compared to Spike's 24-year-old oeuvre? He's certainly had his share of misses, but, Spike's overall body of work impresses.

To rank Almodovar 24th, beneath a select group of directors still in career diapers, still discovering their individual voices, is blasphemous! I like Aronofsky, but his resume includes 2 films that play more like graduate thesis films in Pi and Requiem For A Dream, a third film, while ambitious, was a failure (IMHO) in The Fountain, and his last effort, the supposed comeback for Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler) - I think his most mature film to date. The kid's got potential, but, he doesn't belong on this list... not yet.

Jon Favreau? Judd Apatow?

Christopher Nolan impressed us with Memento and the last 2 Batman movies, but he doesn't belong in the top 10. Where are David Cronenberg, Park Chan-wook, David Lynch, Woody Allen, Oliver Stone, Wong Kar-Wai, Roman Polanski, Mike Leigh, Alfonso Cuaron...? They all fit the criteria, and are all "active."

Brad Bird? I'm sure there are others I'm forgetting at the moment.

Anyway... as I said, it is Entertainment Weekly, otherwise known as EW, as in ewwwww :o)

Your thoughts?

via EW


  1. Invisible Hand said...

    I have to say, these lists are just the less poisonous, magazine equivalent of that NY Post cartoon: more designed to cause controversy than illuminate.

    That being said, Michael Winterbottom is probably my favorite director as of right now. He seemlessly moves between period piece dramas like "The Claim" and "Jude" to docudramas to comedy. Have you seen "Tristram Shandy"? It's great.

  2. Jeremiah J. said...

    Most of the names I care nothing about. I find it hard to believe that Spike is not on this list.

  3. Aziza said...

    First, I despise these "Best of..." or "Top" lists.

    Secondly, I'm surprised and offended that there are no female directors on the list.

    Third, James Cameron? The man has practically been M.I.A for almost a decade. I know he's got a new film coming up, but why include him when there are a few active female directors who should be on this list?

    Fourth, Judd Apatow? Please!

    Lastly, see number 1.

  4. Matty said...

    jonathan demme? no one despised "good will hunting" more than I did but gus van sant should also be on the list... i'm with aziza on cameron... props on his body of work but the man left us hanging after titanic which was 12 years ago... but this shouldn't be surprising... entertainment weekly has always covered entertainment, weakly.

  5. Sergio said...

    I hate film lists like this. (i.e best director, best films of the decade, best final scene etc) They always get it wrong and I think sometimes they proposely do it to create controversy

  6. The Wendilicious Wonder said...

    Ranked in order of "Greatness...?"

    So how, exactly, are they defining "Greatness?"

  7. SolShine7 said...

    Zhang Yimou is my favorite director. What he did with House of Flying Daggers was stunning, a visual masterpiece. And what about Michel Gondry? Robert Rodriguez? And where are the women? Not even a single one. So lame.

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