Friday, August 29, 2014

The Directors Project: The Bottom "50"

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.


The following is a list of the directors who barely missed the cut when compiling this list. While I will not be sharing reasons why I love them, I will be providing their highest ranked film in parenthesis. Since a lot of them have tied scores, I will also be awarding the slots on the basis of "equal score, equal position." As a result, there are more than 50 directors present.

51. John Lasseter (Toy Story 2)
52. Oliver Stone (Platoon)
53. Milos Forman (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest)
54. James L. Brooks (Spanglish)
55. Ben Stiller (Tropic Thunder)
56. Carl Reiner (The Jerk)
57. Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave)
58. Judd Apatow (Funny People)
59. Fritz Lang (M)
60. Harold Ramis (Groundhog Day
61. Albert Brooks (Defending Your Life)
62. Frank Oz (Little Shop of Horrors)
63. David O. Russell (Flirting with Disaster)
     Greg Mottola (Adventureland)
      Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs)
64. Rian Johnson (Brick)
65. David Gordon Green (Snow Angels)
66. David Lynch (Blue Velvet)
      Peter Bogdanovich (Paper Moon)
67. David Zucker (The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!)
68. Buster Keaton (Sherlock Jr.)
69. Jonathan Levine (50/50)
70. John Ford (Stagecoach)
71. Christopher Guest (Waiting for Guffman)
72. Orson Welles (Citizen Kane)
73. Adam McKay (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy)
74. Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive)
75. Ang Lee (Life of Pi)
      Lars von Trier (Nymphomaniac: Vol. II)
76. George A. Romero (Dawn of the Dead)
77. Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting)
78. Pete Docter (Up)
79. Wes Craven (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
80. Joe Wright (Atonement)
      Terry Jones (Monty Python and the Holy Grail)
81. Terry Zwigoff (Bad Santa)
82. Barry Levinson (Rain Man)
83. Bob Fosse (Lenny)
      Chan-Wook Park (Stoker)
84. Giorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth)
      Robert Redford (Quiz Show)
85. Banksy (Exist Through the Gift Shop
86. Casey Affleck (I'm Still Here)
      Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine)
87. David Lean (Lawrence of Arabia)
88. Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas)
89. Jacob Krupnick (Girl Walk // All Day)
90. Joshua Oppenheimer (The Act of Killing)
91. Andy and Lana Wachowski (The Matrix)
      Mike Judge (Office Space)
92. Ingmar Bergman (Persona)
      Sam Wood (A Night at the Opera)
      Victor Fleming (Gone with the Wind)
93. Joe Dante (Gremlins)
94. Peter Weir (The Truman Show)
95. Amy Heckerling (Fast Times at Ridgemont High)
      John Hughes (Sixteen Candles)
96. Spike Lee (Malcolm X)
97. Barry Sonnenfeld (Men in Black)
      Dean DeBlois (Lilo & Stitch)
      Sam Mendes (American Beauty)
98. Tom Shadyac (Ace Ventura: Pet Detective)
99. Michael Haneke (Funny Games (1997))
100. Blake Edwards (Breakfast at Tiffany's)
      Kevin Lima (A Goofy Movie)
      Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)
      Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha)
      Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man)


Overall, the experience has given me a lot to appreciate about directors that I took for granted. In compiling the list, I discovered some directors that I didn't even know I liked as much as I did. While there's something faulty in the points scores for directors with A LOT of films, I still discovered that my top 10 was a surprising mix of auteurs and many that people would consider lowbrow. In fact, the Top 50 wasn't nearly exciting as the Bottom "50," as it opened up my eyes to a lot of filmmakers who barely missed the cut. It did inspire me to watch a lot of movies that I otherwise would have held off on, which I am grateful for. I'll admit that in the process, I am disappointed that some of them missed the Top 50 in some capacity. Otherwise, I am glad to have done this and am excited to have a recorded history of my favorite directors.

In all honesty, the project was a massive undertaking and I feel like I let myself down in some ways. For starters, I didn't do a great job with the design or marketing. There were times where I published them days late simply because private affairs got in the way. I also feel like my goals of getting it to start a public discussion didn't quite happen. While this project helped me to reach out to new audiences on social media, the blog itself remained rather dry for interaction. I feel like that as my general goal was a failure and something that I need to work on.  I also feel bad that my points system was poorly managed and couldn't be fixed in time to make a more logical outline. The redundant point values in the middle was an error that I regretfully never took time to fix.

In closing, I think that The Directors Project opened up a lot of insight into what I view in cinema and opened me up to discuss a wider array of filmmakers. Beyond this list, I want to continue to expand and maybe by this time next year, the list will look completely different (note: I will not be updating anything. This is a finite "Summer 2014" project). As it stands, many films by some of these directors came out in the weeks since the deadline that would have boosted their scores. Nonetheless, it has been fun and I cannot wait for September to roll around and Oscar season to kick off. I want to thank everyone for reading and enjoying my work and I hope to be hearing from you in the Fall as I chronicle the films that deserve Academy Awards.

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