Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Directors Project: #19 - Richard Linklater

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: 1985-present

Films as Director: 16

Oscar Wins: 0

Who: In the independent scene, there are few directors who are as iconic and integral to the 90's era as Linklater. From his early days in which he made films under the mantra "Keep Austin (TX) Weird," he has made some of the most interesting and homely characters in cinema by taking away the flashy elements and leaving behind performances that compliment their impressively detailed scripts. Characters evolve in dialogue and not always through action. He is also a master when it comes to exploring the concept of time, with many of his films taking place over long periods of time. His contributions to cinema remain unsurpassed due to his humble approach and the consistent unpredictable nature of his mature films that have a lot of depth that makes them some of the most engrossing, endearing films out there. In the past few years, he has become a master of sorts and looks likely to keep elevating his status as an important director.

Scene from Before Sunrise
-- Before Sunrise (1995) --

Flickchart Ranking: #22 (900 points)
IMDb Rating: 7/10 (70 points)
Perks: The Before Trilogy (10 points)
Total: 970 points

-- Dazed and Confused (1993) --

Flickchart Ranking: #37 (900 points)
IMDb Rating: 6/10 (60 points)
Perks: None
Total: 960 points

-- Before Sunset (2004) --

Flickchart Ranking: #125 (800 points)
IMDb Rating: 7/10 (70 points)
Perks: The Before Trilogy (10 points)
Total: 870 points

-- Before Midnight (2013) --

Flickchart Ranking: #206 (700 points)
IMDb Rating: 7/10 (70 points)
Perks: The Before Trilogy (10 points)
Total: 780 points

-- Bernie (2012) --

Flickchart Ranking: #938 (100 points)
IMDb Rating: 4/10 (40 points)
Perks: None
Total: 140 points

Scene from Dazed and Confused
In terms of writing, there are few that have surpassed the ability to make films full of characters that feel so free formed yet have scripts so intricate and memorable. His films capture subsets of people who are not necessarily everyday people for me, but feel so authentic that it's almost exploitative. He also is quite an ambitious director, choosing to take risks by setting a lot of his major films years apart and following characters' lives as they age. More than any director, he feels like an authentic auteur whose work manages to make beautiful, philosophical looks into everyday lives in ways that are profound without being forceful about it.

UP NEXT: Prolific Mexican director whose films are loving homages to b-movies and often made on shoestring budgets with ridiculous premises. 

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