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Most Overrated Director

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Showing 151-175 of 1000 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 29, 2011 8:38:56 AM PST
Zolar Waka says:
I was only initially impressed with the "Sixth Sense" and, for some reason, I liked "Signs." I certainly watched it enough times (I guess I needed to broaden my horizons, which, of course, I've done). However, I agree with you about "The Happening." I like the journey feel to that movie. I think I could watch it again.

Posted on Dec 29, 2011 8:54:51 AM PST
Well, I think we need to add some additional suspects to the rogue's gallery. Let's see--how about:

Godard--started well, but increasingly bizarre and incomprehensible;
Bertolucci--I'm surprised I hadn't considered him before--can't stay that I've seen a film of his I've liked, much less admired;
Jacques Tati--Are I the only person who finds his work a tired recycling of Chaplin--who wasn't very interesting to begin with?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 29, 2011 9:00:09 AM PST
Zolar: Fellini remains in contention, in my view, for Most Overrated--I haven't made my final selection as yet, just proposed candidates. Why? I will agree that he can be visually striking--but his symbolism is achingly pretentious, he has a very strong sentimental streak, and I don't find a strong narrative sense in his work--a criterion that you, I think, undervalue. Words and narrative matter--if they didn't abstract silent cinema would be the peak of the art, and The Man With The Movie Camera the greatest film ever. Now, I admire The Man With The Movie Camera--and I admire a good deal of silent cinema (the Russian and German varieties, at any rate)--but cinema needed sound and dialogue fully to come of age, and become what Wagner called a Gesamkunstwerk--a total work of art.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 29, 2011 9:19:26 AM PST
Zolar Waka says:
Bertolucci. I have to agree here a bit. I'm not exactly sure why he's held in high regard (other than "to each his own"). But I really enjoyed his first film....La Commare Secca (The Criterion Collection), plus "The Conformist" and "Partner!" was interesting. I think he's forever acknowledged due to "Last Tango in Paris." I don't feel the "Last Emperor" has aged well (but of course that's just my opinion). The remainder of his work I've seen is more or less enjoyable, but not befitting his reputation.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 29, 2011 9:24:33 AM PST
Zolar Waka says:
"...I don't find a strong narrative sense in his work--a criterion that you, I think, undervalue..."

Very true! I do undervalue narrative and dialogue. To me, those things more appropriately exist in books. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that I won't enjoy talky films...sometimes I enjoy them very much. However, the words mean so much less to me than all the other components. I guess I'm just a bit off! I would say that if narrative was important to me, then I wouldn't hold Fellini in such high regard. To me, he's one of the world's greatest geniuses.

Posted on Dec 29, 2011 9:58:03 AM PST
Zolar: Interesting. I recall Partner with particular loathing--one of my top ten most unpleasant evenings in the cinema. I haven't seen The Conformist, which most seem to value highly, and I certainly will do so. As to Fellini--I can't get past the pretension and the sentimentality. I enjoyed Satyricon for its peculiarity, but Fellini's fascinating with circus-like freakery is just completely off-putting. At least I can ascribe some virtues to his work--unlike Capra's--but in my books, completely overrated, and no pleasure to watch.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 29, 2011 10:00:20 AM PST
Hikari says:
>>>I must be the only person who thinks M. Night's best movie is 'The Happening'.

Must be. :p

Like most of M. Night's movies, this one had a really creepy and interesting set-up that hooked you in. Those bodies raining off the roof were prime. It made me think 'This is gonna be good'. Unfortunately, M. Night's flaw as a director is that he cannot sustain his intriguing idea or his intriguing opening sequences with any consistency. He runs out of gas well before the mid-point. He should be directing shorts ala "Twilight Zone", because he's good for 30 minutes max and then he's done and just meanders to the conclusion, insulting our intelligence to the end.

Mark Wahlberg is not my favorite actor, but I have been impressed by his continued growth as a performer. (ie, "The Departed"). Unfortunately, this film does not do Wahlberg's career any favors. He's been better, but the script and direction must share blame for his low-energy emoting.

I like bits and pieces of M. Night's work. 'Sixth Sense' was definitely the most commercial and conventional of the projects he's done. It was workmanlike, if not all that surprising. "Unbreakable" on the other hand, did surprise me . . .I'd rate that as M. Night's most successful film in terms of remaining cohesive throughout. Plus it was just different than the usual run-of-the-mill superhero movies or thrillers. The Village had potential, as did Signs and the Happening. I'd have to rate the ponderous, humorless, nearly senseless "Lady in the Water" as M. Night's cult failure. Not even Giamatti could save it. Night should have let that one drown at inception.

He then had the egotistical audacity, as if that movie wasn't enough of a bomb, to offload a children's book written by Himself based off the screenplay. Or the book came first and that's how he wrote the screenplay. At any rate, it was the ugliest, most sinister-looking ineptly drawn dull bit of pseudo-literary self-promotion ever. Fewer libraries and bookstores bought it than people bought tickets to the movie.

Posted on Dec 29, 2011 10:59:32 AM PST
Cavaradossi says:
No one has yet mentioned Visconti. My first experience of him in the theater was "Boccaccio '70". I seem to recall enjoying the picture. I have no memory of its stye, though. I rented "Bellissima" and "Rocco and His Brothers" from Home Film Festival back in the eighties. I enjoyed both immensely. My memory of them is that Visconti concentrated on definition of the characters. I don't recall there being any special visual style to the films. I have seen "The Damned", though only on a commercial channel, so you know the thing was cut and censored - it's unfair to make any judgments under those circumstances. Visconti was considered a theatrical and filmic giant in Italy in his lifetime - I don't know if his reputation is still that high.

Posted on Dec 29, 2011 12:18:24 PM PST
Cav: The Damned is a great film--wonderfully lurid and over the top.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 29, 2011 2:31:14 PM PST
Top Cat says:
Re: Cheetah (of Tarzan fame?)

D. Larson,

Say it ain't so! I must insist you post a link to evidence of your theory. I guess the Infallible Wisdom of the Guinness Book of World Records steered me wrong again. . . .

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 29, 2011 2:52:03 PM PST
Zolar Waka says:
Re: Partner! I don't know. Parts of it were tough to get through, and of course it reminds me of a period in film that I'm not so hot on...that late 60s, socially-aware, drug-infused protest stuff (not that I am against any of those things in particular, I have just gotten a bit tired of that period of film and those themes for the time being). However, the scene where he totally cracks up in his room and has a conversation with himself (am I remembering this correctly?) and the use of shadows were of particular interest. I didn't dislike it. "The Conformist" was pretty good...for Bertolini.

Fellini: "Amarcord" is currently in my top 5, and I can't get enough of Fellini's "Roma." I just can't seem to get upset when others disagree with me.

Posted on Dec 29, 2011 2:58:02 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 29, 2011 3:41:41 PM PST
Zolar: Interesting. Roma (which I had not thought of for some time) was another dreadful evening in the cinema. In my book most unwatchable.

Posted on Dec 29, 2011 3:01:38 PM PST
Cavaradossi says:
William A. Smith

Yeah, but Roma had one redeeming feature: a brief glimpse of Anna Magnani. For me, that went a long way toward making up for the tedium of the rest of the picture.

Posted on Dec 29, 2011 3:04:44 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 29, 2011 4:20:33 PM PST
Cavaradossi says:
I went to Netflix a bit ago and added "The Damned" to my queue. Unfortunately, they didn't have "Rocco and His Brothers", so I added "Last Year at Marienbad". It's been a long time since I saw that one.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 29, 2011 3:20:52 PM PST
Top Cat says:

"** Sorry, an error occurred when we tried to process your request. Rest assured, we're working to resolve the problem as soon as possible."


This hardly ever happens to me anymore. I didn't save my lengthy response, so. . . forget it.

Posted on Dec 29, 2011 3:34:19 PM PST
Top Cat says:
I just viewed Visconti's first two movies this year in sparkling new 35mm prints: 'Ossessione" (first & finest film version of 'Postman Always Rings Twice', done very Dostoyevsky-esque,) and 'La Terra Trema', which is a one-of-a-kind documentary-like treatment of the potentially drag subject matter of poor fishermen and raises it to truly Heroic proportions.

My favorite movies by my favorite Italian director: 'Rocco and His Brothers'; Death in Venice'; 'The Damned'; and, 'The Leopard'.
Also minor masterworks: 'Le Notti Bianche', 'The Stranger', Senso', 'Ludwig', and, 'Sandra'.

Posted on Dec 29, 2011 3:36:31 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Dec 29, 2011 3:36:46 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 29, 2011 3:42:08 PM PST
Cav: One glimpse of Anna is not enough.

Posted on Dec 29, 2011 4:24:01 PM PST
Cavaradossi says:
William A. Smith

"One glimpse of Anna is not enough."

On that, my friend, we are in agreement!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 29, 2011 6:54:05 PM PST
D. Larson says:
Sadly, it so.

A quick Google will take you to the story in my fave paper, The Telegraph (UK). But I'd heard long ago that the putative Cheetah in the old animals home had no provenance whatever. He was just an old chimp some trainer dropped off with a pretty story about his being the "original" Tarzan ape.

And, if you think about it, those movies would have used several chimps, not just the one. Keep in mind that adult chimps, in addition to being really strong, are generally dangerous and irascible, given to biting people's faces off. So, no tears for Cheetah from me.

Posted on Dec 29, 2011 7:26:34 PM PST
S. Kelly says:
Seriously, when someone says "Platoon" is overrated and is "schematic and FALSE", and then praises "Apocalypse Now"? "Apocalypse Now", while a great film, is a complete and utter fantasy. A surreal fable. "Platoon", on the other hand, is perhaps THE most realistic and definitive of all Vietnam films. Thousands of real Vietnam vets have agreed, as well. When the argument is put forth that the reason someone dislikes Stone because "his politics overwhelm him", I think it is often because of it being the viewer's politics overwhelming them instead. In 1986, nearly EVERYONE thought "Platoon" a tremendously great film. But as time has passed and the country has grown increasingly more and more conservative and nostalgiac for WWII and so on (in no small part due to Spielberg and the like), they have turned against the philosophy that once questioned the nonsensical reasoning behind the Vietnam war. Thus, this is why so many of our young people have been in Iraq and Afghanistan now. They grew up on too much "Saving Private Ryan" and video games, and not enough "Platoon" and "Born on the Fourth of July".

Posted on Dec 29, 2011 7:42:26 PM PST
SK: Apocalypse Now is a great film precisely because it doesn't try to be a documentary--it's a fable that tells the truth, whereas Platoon is an allegedly realistic film that is false to the core. And why try to make some assumption (almost certain to be false) about what might motivate my judgment? Disagree if you like--but Platoon is a film in which (as Mary McCarthy said of Lillian Hellman's writing) every word is false, including "and" and "the". And who is dragging politics into the discussion? Not me, sister. Did I not say that it fails to honor an anti-war stance?

Posted on Dec 31, 2011 9:26:15 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 31, 2011 9:41:06 PM PST
Top Cat says:
Some directors I feel I must be purposely shoving to the back of my memory... it just dawned on me:

Terry Gilliam.

Man, I don't want to hear about how "visionary" 'Brazil' is. I don't see it. And can you name anything else he's done that's worth all the lavish praise he gets (to an ever diminishing circle of fanatical loyalists, I imagine.)

'Jabberwocky'? Give me Svankmajer any day over this slop... 'The Adventures of Baron Munchausen'? I'll take the Nazi version over this one... 'The Fisher King'? I nearly asked for my money back... 'Twelve Monkeys'? Grandiose re-imaging of one of Chris Marker's lesser short films, and still coming up short...'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas'? I'm positive I would have vomited had I not left early.....etc.

I may be known to complain about Tim Burton's petering out of fresh inspiration, yet he still makes a tired 8th-rate surrealist like Gilliam look like a miserable fraud.

. . .
Another one I must have subconsciously suppressed the memory of:

Rob Reiner.

His name is on one good movie: 'This is Spinal Tap'! Great movie. He had little to do with it's success. It's mainly a writer's and performer's movie.
The rest? All exceedingly overrated pap. Only Garry Marshall makes more unclean PG-rated filler.
Do 'Stand by Me' and The Princess Bride' have their moments? Sure. That scarcely makes them cohesive movies.

I would have thought that 'Alex & Emma' and 'Rumor Has It' had put the final nails in his credibility, but then I witnessed a 2+ hour brown-nosing interview that proclaimed his 'directorial batting average' at ".395" (a hair away from perfection.) And they ran though his credits one by one... I had to turn it off before the time they got to 'North' and 'The Story of Us'.

Posted on Jan 1, 2012 5:46:40 AM PST
Tim R. Niles says:
Brian De Palma!

The best by far of all his films is "Untouchables" and there were moments in "Bonfire of the Vanities" (like the sequence with Bruce Willis near the start of the film doing an extended walking dialog through a long tunnel) but only De Palma could take the classic novel, a half dozen stars (decent actors as well) and come up with a 105 minute film...

Everything he has ever done is copied from Hitchcock or someone else.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 1, 2012 9:10:25 AM PST
JPB: In the cases of Gilliam and Reiner--particularly Reiner--we are in almost perfect agreement. I'll give Gilliam a pass on his Monty Python work. But Baron Munchausen--what a dreadful, dreadful heap of steaming poo. As to Reiner--I don't even particularly Spinal Tap. (Guest perfected the form later.) In fact the only film of his that doesn't inspire complete loathing is A Few Good Men.
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Discussion in:  Movie forum
Participants:  93
Total posts:  1117
Initial post:  Dec 20, 2011
Latest post:  Apr 20, 2012

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