Monday, July 14, 2014

The Directors Project: #35 - Jason Reitman

Scene from Cinema Paradiso
With the many lists and essays written on the subject of film, there has been one thing that The Oscar Buzz has tried to understand: Who is my favorite of the film world? For 10 weeks this summer, I will be exploring this with a countdown of the Top 50 names based on a numerical ranking of ratings from various sources, the following is a list of directors who rank above everyone else. With occasional upsets, this is intended as both a discussion opener as well as a better understanding of me as a film critic and fan. Please enjoy and leave any comments you have regarding the entry's selection.


Years Active: 1988-present

Films as Director: 5

Oscar Wins: 0

Who: Following in the shadows of his father Ivan Reitman, this director couldn't be more starkly different. While his films have a tinge of comedy underneath their surface, most of his films deal with contemporary culture and dive into universal themes such as the job economy, pregnancy, and lobbyist. Through a short period, he has made a name for himself as one of the most impressive directors of his time with each film holding a distinct style that can be described as depicting American values in fresh and exciting ways. With the ability to turn any tale, no matter how tragic, into lighthearted results, he is in many ways a modern version of Frank Capra whose films may not be authentically gleeful, but nonetheless remain some of the most powerful, striking films to come out of contemporary cinema. His films continue to inspire and with an impressive casting each time, he will only continue to get more interesting.

Scene from Juno
-- Up in the Air (2009) --

Flickchart Ranking: #76 (850 points)
IMDb Rating: 9/10 (90 points)
Perks: None
Total: 940 points

-- Juno (2007) --

Flickchart Ranking: #112 (800 points)
IMDb Rating: 8/10 (80 points)
Perks: None
Total: 880 points

-- Young Adult (2011) --

Flickchart Ranking: #350 (550 points)
IMDb Rating: 6/10 (60 points)
Perks: None
Total: 610 points

-- Thank You for Smoking (2005) --

Flickchart Ranking: #743 (300 points)
IMDb Rating: 5/10 (50 points)
Perks: None
Total: 350 points

OVERALL TOTAL: 2780 points

Scene from Young Adult
 With exception to his most recent film Labor Day, I thoroughly admire the work of Reitman. After Juno became an important film in my life, it seemed strange to see Up in the Air surpass it in many ways. The thing about Reitman is that his films challenge the medium by creating important contemporary stories that are full of originality and vigor. He is occasionally comedic and usually layered with subtext. His films don't look challenging, but result in some of the most candid portrayals of modern Americana currently out there. I love what he does with the medium and has given us a lot of effective female characters int he process. He understands the medium so well that it is a shame to see Labor Day stumble. Here's hoping that it was just a misstep and one of my favorite current directors will come back strong.

UP NEXT: A blockbuster filmmaker whose work on sci-fi and swords and sandals epics have lead to a lot of visually pleasing and innovative film techniques.

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