As a Patreon perk we allow our fans to submit a Top 5 topic for us to do, and so far we’ve done some brilliant ones courtesy of the Humphries-Brookses! Yes, much like our beloved Lauren, her parents are wonderful and know how to stir up readers, so when they submitted this top 5 topic we all immediately pounced on it. Mainly because we gotta keep you on your toes. Feel free to disagree with us, just keep it respectful in the comments! Here are our top 5 overrated directors.
You shouldn’t be surprised to see ANY of these men’s – and, yes, they’re all men because that’s what happens when you deny women the chance to direct for decades – names on this list. I’ve charted a distaste for each and every one of them. I’ve documented all this in writing. So, here we are, the five dudes who keep getting chances because other dudes love them.
You’ll hear this about all of the men on this list (for the most part): they’re ability to deal with women characters leaves A LOT to be desired. Villeneuve went on a tear when Sicario came out about how he fought to change the originally written male character into a woman. But that doesn’t really help when the women is written so terrible. (Oh, I’m getting to you, Taylor.) Sicario isn’t an outliar. Villeneuve loves telling stories about emotionally fucked-up women whose biggest issue is they’re alone and barren. Look at Arrival. And I won’t even get started on Blade Runner 2049 which I’m dubbing “Mute for fanboys.”
Oh, Taylor. Taylor, Taylor, Taylor. I know the man’s only directed two features, but we have the makings of a future director fanboys will be gushing over while the rest of the world (ie women) wonder why. Actually, after seeing Sicario 2 this year – which Sheridan wrote – I get the sneaking suspicion anyone who lives in a Red state will be losing it over him too. Sheridan tells stories about the working man, the modern-day cowboy who lost out on Manifest Destiny because women got the right to vote or some shit. I do enjoy Hell or High Water, but we all know that’s because there aren’t women of actual substance in there. Need an example, go watch the movie I hate watch (I have reasons!), Wind River. I hate Taylor Sheridan….so, so much.
I’m happy another Dame included Apatow on the list. I believe Judd Apatow only connects with white, heterosexual males in their ’30s who believe hot women just REALLY need to lower their standards and stop being bitches. I remember going to see Knocked Up when it came out and finding it humorous, but even then I had problems with the movie’s attempt to demonize Allison (played by Katherine Heigel). Cut to the off-screen antics of Seth Rogen continually bashing Heigel and, yeah, that movie doesn’t age well. Apatow’s continued that since, and even presumed “empowering” movies like Trainwreck are there to remind women that you need to cast aside those standards and give average Joes a chance…or else be labeled a bitch for all eternity.
I’ve seen most of Wes Anderson’s films and I just consider him the male Sofia Coppola, in that his candy-coated aesthetic – which Coppola is regularly derided for – is perceived as whimsical and charming. And don’t get me wrong, Anderson’s films like Moonrise Kingdom and Fantastic Mr. Fox are cute, but I just don’t see them as the second coming. I see his movies once and move on. I don’t feel the need to go over them with a fine-tooth comb. They’re cute, but that’s about it.
Do I really need to explain why Woody Allen, at this point, is overrated? This is a director who tells the same story about his lust for young girls in every. single. film. He’s the only director I know who fans actively say every other movie is terrible…but apparently that’s okay? Woody Allen hasn’t made a good movie since 2011. I think it’s about time to stick a fork in him.
Let’s just get right down to it, shall we?
Paul Thomas Anderson
He’s only made one film I ever actually wanted to watch a second time. And no, it’s not the one pictured above. His films are miserable experiences, and not in the artistic way that makes me want to revisit them. His male characters are terrible people. His female characters are treated terribly and it’s very frustrating that the misogyny is allowed to go on without question. And O, the pretention!
Darren Aronofsky is one of those directors who deeply believes he is making art, when in reality he is making the film equivalent of an art therapy painting. It’s a complete mess, but someone will find something that resonates with them. He really needs to learn the concept that “less is more,” because his directing style can best be described as, “sure, let’s find room for it!”
Politics aside, his films barely qualify as documentaries. Yes, of course, most documentaries have an agenda, but he bends and folds the facts until they are no longer facts. His habit of misrepresenting people, ideas, and statistics detracts from his own message. He is also mean-spirited and rude, whether there is a reason to be or not.
Even before we knew he was a garbage person, we kind of knew he was a garbage person, didn’t we? He only has one really good film (Léon: The Professional), and the final cut isn’t even the version he wanted to release. His movies are bloated, sexist spectacles and the world would be better off if he never gets to make another one.
Tarantino is one of those directors where I kind of like about half of his films, and then I can’t stand the others. But even with the films I do enjoy, there is so much wrong with them. He must have read a few of his early, positive reviews and decided to believe them because he just seems hell bent on doing the same thing again and again, just a little bit more. His female characters are lucky if they are treated with disdain, although most are just outright bad. They lack personalities or defining characteristics. And why do “we” keep letting him get away with thinking he’s the Cool Guy and can throw around the n-word? It’s gross and he’s awful.
I’m gonna get a lot of trolls, aren’t I?
Nolan makes art films for stupid people. I don’t mean that only stupid people like Nolan’s films, but his films are made, specifically, for stupid people. He’s a con artist of a director, his films devoid of meaning and merit but just flashy enough, just enough imbued with some superficially clever twists, that he manages to fool enough people into believing they’re watching something worthwhile. But let’s face it: if Nolan retired tomorrow, cinema would have no difficulty recovering from the loss. We wouldn’t even notice he was gone.
When did we decide that Paul Schrader was a good director? Was it when he wrote probably the worst analysis of film ever, trying to make an argument for a poorly delineated “transcendental style” in film? Was it when he remade a weirdly subversive 1940s horror staple as a weirdly regressive soft-core bestiality film? Or was it only recently, when we decided that First Reformed was totally brilliant and not a strange, regressive, self-loathing, woman-hating remake of Taxi Driver? Stick to writing, Paul, although I’m not convinced that you’re much good at that anymore, either.
Paul Thomas Anderson
Anderson is the only director on my list who I actually want to like, but just can’t bring myself to. His films don’t speak to me, even if I can appreciate their technical qualities, the beauty of the images, and the ability of the actors. But most of his films are only good in the technical sense—his scripts are largely emotionless, and there are times when he wanders so very close to misogyny that it becomes deeply uncomfortable. Inherent Vice, Magnolia, Phantom Thread…his films do not like women, and there’s nothing of deeper value there to help you see past it.
Honest question: has Zack Snyder made a single good film? Watchmen has its moments, and I do love 300 in a “this is so stupid I can’t be offended by it” kind of way, but a good film? No? So why does Snyder still get such love from the bros of the world? Is it because he’s so mediocre they figure “Hey, man, if Zack Snyder can make millions of dollars by being bad at his job, then there’s hope for me!”? Please. Inquiring minds need to know.
Villeneuve might be everyone’s favorite auteur right now, but his films are basically Kubrick shorn of all art and intellect, like some college kid’s idea of what artistic cinema should look like. He’s the cinematic equivalent of a hipster with a handlebar mustache chewing on a pipe he never lights and trying to impress women with an imperfectly understood pocket version of Nietzsche.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Reservoir Dogs; it probably makes the list of my all-time favorites. However, this is where the Tarantino appeal ends for me. I’ve tried. I’ve tried really damn hard. I watched Pulp Fiction four times trying to figure out what the hoopla was about. I still don’t get it. As a director the man has one speed and he’s been doing the same thing for the last twenty-five years. This shit was revolutionary in 1993…time to evolve Q.T. It’s cute when you’re the precocious up-and-comer, but you are in power now. You are the establishment.
Maybe I don’t get his humor because I’m not a dude? I tried Knocked Up. I tried The 40 Year Old Virgin. I even tried Trainwreck. For a director who prides himself on character-centric comedies, he has a hell of a time making them likable. Something in his voice doesn’t click with me and I’ll go as far as saying these movies aren’t comedies. They aren’t funny. These films are painful.
Okay fanboys, I hear you. When James Cameron is good, he’s really good. However, I pose a question…when was the last time he was good? I’ll tell you, twenty-one years ago. That’s right. Titanic. That was the last time he made a movie that was interesting, creative, and visually impressive. The hits came fast and furious before that, but short of one rather bland and annoying idea he hasn’t done anything since he proclaimed himself “King of the World”.
Don’t get me started on this Avatar hill he’s decided to die on. I’m still trying to figure out why we need Avatar 2 through 5. Was the first story really that interesting?
*Walks up. Spits on film. Walks away.*
Does anything more need to be said?
*Sigh* He keeps making movies. He keeps finding budgets. We all bitch when his movies come out about why they are hackneyed pieces of shit, yet people keep going to see them. There is no reason these films should make the money they do! There’s no script! The character development is non-existent! Do I even have to go into why I think Michael Bay should be exiled from Hollywood?
Stop giving Michael Bay your money people! That’s what he wants! I haven’t seen a Transformers film since Shia LaBeouf left and I’m a much happier person.