Monday, October 09, 2006

Hollywood directors I love

This is not a list of directors I admire. That list would be too long. These are the guys who provoke excitement and passion in me for the movies they make. These are the directors I love. So, in no particular order, here is the list:

Ridley Scott
He took horror to space, made a superb science fiction movie, and turned the swords and sandals epic on its head. When Alien was made, Hollywood was just beginning to conquer space and special effects. The film, which straddled the horror and sci-fi genres, was chilling and made Sigourney Weaver an action hero, a poster girl and a feminist icon. Blade Runner had the best sets for a sci-fi movie – created a whole new world for itself. My favourite, though, is Thelma and Louise, a wild chick flick starring Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon. I really loved Geena Davis in this movie.

Steven Spielberg
If Spielberg had died having only made Jaws, E.T. and Jurassic Park, he would still be the most successful moviemaker ever in terms of BO returns. But then he had to go make Saving Private Ryan and Schindler’s List. I actually loved Amistad though it was a horrible flop. Must be the most famous English movie director in India. Even my grandmom can identify him.

Cameron Crowe
Bob Dylan said the liner notes Crowe wrote for Biograph, Dylan’s three-CD collection, were the best part of his album, not the songs like ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ and ‘Like a Rolling Stone’.Then Crowe made Jerry Macquire, one of funniest and endearing movies I have seen. Endearing usually is a good word for sentimental tearjerkers but Crowe keeps this movie from descending into inanity. But my favourite is Almost Famous, probably the best tribute to Rock music that Hollywood ever made.

Martin Scorcese
Probably the greatest living Hollywood filmmaker. Has combined art house qualities with pure entertainment so effectively that it’s hard to distinguish his somber movies from the fun ones. Taxi Driver, a dark, moody piece, is as entertaining as the Aviator, which was criticized for not confronting Howard Hughes’s dark side. Departed got released this week to good reviews. My favourite: Aviator

Clint Eastwood
A director at the height of his powers, seemingly, all the time. Famous for shooting scenes in a single take, Clint is now working on his most ambitious project yet, Flags of Our Fathers and its companion film, Letters from Iwo Jima. Does anybody realise that Million Dollar Baby is rightfully a sports movie?
My favourite: Unforgiven

David Cronenberg
One movie that really disturbed me in my teens was The Fly. Scenes from this movie would keep playing in my head over and over again. But yet there was this cheesy, B-movie feel to this movie in which the lead character during a transportation experiment transmutes with a fly. My favourite: A History of Violence

Quentin Tarantino
New addition to the brat pack that once was the duo of Spielberg and Lucas. Has made violence of the blood letting kind fashionable, even stylish. Probably one of the most influential filmmakers in the world today. Lately seem to be running on his reserves with Kill Bill garnering mixed reviews. My favourite: Pulp Fiction

Woody Allen
One director who is prolific even if he has made some aweful movies. He may have found his latest muse in Scarlett Johansson. Explored the male-female relationship like no other director. Quintessentially American and funny. His movies are a great PR exercise for the city of New York.
My favourite: Annie Hall

(I did a cursory search for directors I may have missed but didn't find anyone. Who else do you think should have been on the list? The directors you include should have worked for 10 years in Hollywood so that we avoid the one-hit wonders and the newbies. And most importantly, they should be alive.)