DUNGEON DIRECTOR PROJECT: My 50 Favourite Directors #30 – #26

My 50 Favourite Directors #30 – #26

*NOTE: I did not include any made for TV movies in the numbers I used for each director’s full-length feature films.*

This list takes me to the mid-point of my project! A few well known directors here; A South Korean, A New Zealander and 3 Americans…

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#30. Chan-Wook Park

What I’ve Seen: Joint Security Area (2000), Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002), Oldboy (2003), Lady Vengeance (2005), I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK (2006), Thirst (2009)

South Korean director Chan-Wook Park has contributed some extremely impressive entries for just 9 full length feature films. Oldboy is one of the best films of the past decade or EVER for that matter! Also top notch films I gave high marks to; the unflinching Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, the serenely violent Lady Vengeance, the quirky love story I’m a Cyborg, But That’s Ok, the war thriller Joint Security Area and the delicious vampire tale Thirst. In other words, I thoroughly enjoyed all six of Park’s 9 entries I’ve seen. I look forward to seeing anything by Park but I am a little perplexed by his upcoming film. Park just completed the film Stoker which was not written by him (all 6 of Park’s films I’ve seen were written by him) and appears to have been filmed in Tennessee and has no South Korean actors/actresses in it. I will certainly be seeing it nonetheless. Park’s intelligent, violent, well-acted and beautifully filmed stories are worth their weight in gold.

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#29. Peter Jackson

What I’ve Seen: Bad Taste (1987), Meet the Feebles (1989), Braindead (1992), Heavenly Creatures (1994), The Frighteners (1996), The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), King Kong (2005), The Lovely Bones (2009)

I have seen all 10 of New Zealand director Peter Jackson’s 10 full length feature films. Jackson currently has two Hobbit films in pre-production and Tintin was just announced. I wish I could get more excited about Jackson’s newer films. It is all about his first five films for me. His films Bad Taste, Meet the Feebles and Dead Alive (aka Braindead) are what landed him on this list. Low budget but big hearted extravaganzas of gore, goo, brain eating, foul-mouthed puppets, bad mothers, nasty aliens and lawnmower massacres. So much seriously fantastic fun! Than came the excellent Heavenly Creatures based on a real murder case starring a young Kate Winslet which he followed up with the wonderfully energetic The Frighteners. His attention turned towards fantasy with the epic 3 part trilogy based on Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Apparently he is a massive fan of Tolkien’s book and this was a dream project. I just am not really in to the fantasy thing. I can certainly appreciate the achievement particularly where the visuals are concerned, and the Wargs are pretty cool, as are most of the other creatures. I really enjoyed the walking trees! With two Hobbit films in the making I guess he is going to be sticking to this fantasy shtick for a while. I was impressed with the visuals in King Kong and thought Naomi Watts was a great choice in the lead role but was disappointed by the film overall. I felt much the same about The Lovely Bones. I wonder if Jackson would ever go back to basics after these epic projects. Well, it seems unlikely but we will always have Dead Alive. Always.

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#28. Francis Ford Coppola

What I’ve Seen: The Terror (1963), Dementia 13 (1963), Finian’s Rainbow (1968), The Rain People (1969), The Godfather (1972), The Conversation (1974), The Godfather: Part II (1974), Apocalypse Now (1979), One from the Heart (1982), Rumble Fish (1983), The Outsiders (1983), The Cotton Club (1984), Peggy Sue Got Married (1986), Gardens of Stone (1987), Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988), The Godfather: Part III (1990), Dracula (1992), Supernova (2000), Youth Without Youth (2007), Tetro (2009)

Francis Ford Coppola is the first director so far to have one of my favourite of all time and one of my most loathed of all films on his list. The Godfather and its brilliant sequel are so mighty they easily excuse Supernova as merely a pimple. The Conversation, Apocalypse Now, Rumble Fish and The Outsiders are all Coppola films I love and adore. That is an impressive sextet of entries! A good chunk of this list is adapted from books which is always an iffy business. Seems like when you adapt from a beloved book you open yourself to additional criticism. I don’t think any book was more beloved by my classmates and me as a child than S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders. I loved this movie and seen it at the theatre 4 times! And of course the epic The Godfather 1 & 2 based on Mario Puzo’s book whom also co-wrote the screenplay. Probably a big part of the reason it is one of the best book to screen adaptations of all time. I have seen 19 of Coppola’s 28 full length feature films. I will admit there are films on this list (other than Supernova) that I am not crazy about, but the awesomeness of the entries I do dig (Hello! The mother-fucking Godfather!) gives Coppola solid footing.

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#27. Quentin Tarantino

What I’ve Seen: Reservoir Dogs (1992), Pulp Fiction (1994), Jackie Brown (1997), Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003), Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004), Sin City (2005), Grindhouse/Death Proof (2007), Inglourious Basterds (2009)

I have seen all 10 full length feature films directed by Quentin Tarantino. One of these 10 credits however notes him as a “guest director” (Sin City). What the hell does that mean? Did he direct half of the film? Did he just give his opinion? What the hell? In any case, I really dig Tarantino’s flicks. Reservoir Dogs was my first and is still my favourite, but Kill Bill, its sequel and Pulp Fiction also received perfect marks from me. Tarantino helped to breathe new life into American made films with plenty of retro ideals. Tarantino made old, new again and he even gave one of my favourite actresses of the 70s a lead role in Jackie Brown. It certainly was awesome to see the fabulous Ms. Pam Grier rocking a pantsuit again! Not to mention a great charismatic performance from the lovely actress! SPOILER** I really enjoyed the scene in Jackie Brown where Louis (Robert DeNiro) shoots Melanie (Bridget Fonda)! One of the funniest scenes EVER! I have yet to see a Tarantino film I did not like, although I did have some issues with Death Proof. I found the mess of “super cool” female characters (particular in the first half) rather unlikable. I should have felt bad about what happened to the gals, and just did not. I sure did enjoy Kurt Russell, his bad ass car and the delightful Zoe Bell though! While Quentin Tarantino does “borrow” from days gone by he always makes it his own; intriguing characters grace Tarantino’s quirky, violent, crime capers and revenge flicks and each one is a real treat. I will definitely be seeing Tarantino’s upcoming film Django Unchained in the theatre and Kill Bill Vol. 3 is also listed as “announced” on IMDB! Keep on keeping on my man!

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#26. Stanley Kubrick

What I’ve Seen: Killer’s Kiss (1955), The Killing (1956), Paths of Glory (1957), Spartacus (1960), Lolita (1962), Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), A Clockwork Orange (1971), Barry Lyndon (1975), The Shining (1980), Full Metal Jacket (1987), Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

I’ve seen 12 of Stanley Kubrick’s 13 full length feature films. 13?! The man’s career began in the 50s and continued until his death March 7, 1999 at the age of 70. I assume based on the quantity and quality of successful features Kubrick directed he probably could have pumped out a film every year and someone would have financed it. Clearly the man was serious about his work and the end product reflects that. Strange, disturbing, violent, biographical, hilarious thoughtful and always original; each one of Kubrick’s films have left their mark on me (well, okay, not Eyes Wide Shut…but every OTHER one). The list at its weakest point is good and at its strongest point, monumental and epic! The Shining is one of the best horror films ever made, and Dr Strangelove is one of the best comedies and Full Metal Jacket one of the best of the war flicks. A Clockwork Orange, Lolita and The Killing are also films I rank highly! He took filmmaking to all new groundbreaking levels and it is no wonder he is admired by so many. I suspect Mr. Kubrick is on many film fans favourite lists, as he should be. Kubrick is brilliant. That is all.

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21 Responses to “DUNGEON DIRECTOR PROJECT: My 50 Favourite Directors #30 – #26”

  1. You’re right in my meat and potatoes here. All five of these directors are amazing. No matter what Jackson does from here on out, I’ll respect the hell out of him for his early, low-budget trilogy (Bad Taste, Dead Alive/Braindead, and Meet the Feebles).

    I’ve done a complete 180 on Kubrick in the last 2 years.

    There’s a ton of Coppola I need to see, but who doesn’t love the Godfather trilogy and Apocalypse Now? They’re as good as movies get. I saw a review of Dracula a few months ago that called it “The Bloodfather” (comparing it to The Godfather) and I’ve been tempted to re-watch it ever since.

    Park is seriously awesome. That whole trilogy was great. I’m partial to Lady Vengeance.

    And QT is pretty much the first arthouse-style director I ever encountered. If you grew up in the 90s or were a college kid in the 90s, you have to love QT a little bit. I wouldn’t dream of missing any of his movies.

    • goregirl Says:

      A few years back I was hearing rumours of Braindead 2 (Dead Alive 2), but have never seen nor heard any actual confirmation of such. Although I would be curious to see what Jackson would do with a huge budget…and I would hope it would star Timothy Balme!

      I liked Coppola’s Dracula but definitely did not love it. Oldman is great (although I read that Lux Interior from the Cramps had to do his vampire scream for him) and Tom Waits…well that is just an inspired choice for Renfield!! Others are really badly cast. It has been several years since I last watched Coppola’s Dracula but I suspect I would probably be even more critical having seen so many more horror films since.

      Probably should not be admitting this but Quentin Tarantino came several years after I finished college. In college we were all about the 60s & 70s, Ken Kesey, Hunter Thompson, Godard, Velvet Underground, Bergman, Andy Warhol, Polanski etc etc. As far as new stuff went, my Tarantino’s were David Lynch, Pedro Almodovar, Jim Jarmusch and Gus Van Sant (amoung others).

  2. Chan-wook Park is my number 10!!! director in my personal list, He’s one of the the best directors ever and the best korean director of all times (not that I’m an expert, but I’ve seen more than most, I think), his style is crude, violent, on the face, and that makes him one of the best at telling you just what he thinks and put it on film. My favorite of the films he’s directed and that I’ve seen is “JSA: Joint Security Area” (2000) which I rated 10/10.

    Peter Jackson is my number 34 director in my personal list. Maybe I am more of a fantasy guy, I love his horror films and all, but for me he reached mastery with the Tolkien films, they are gorgeously shot and one of the best tales ever told in any medium ever, and maybe I agree with his recent films, because I like his horror films more, but he is one of the best out there, The Hobbit I just wanna see it now!. My favorite of the films he’s directed and that I’ve seen is “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy (2001/2/3) which I rated 10/10.

    Francis Ford Coppola is in number 273 in my personal list, and maybe that’s because I’ve been avoiding the Godfather trilogy as I can sit down and watch it in the most calm and appreciative mood possible, but he has made one great film that I love, so that’s that. My favorite of the films he’s directed and that I’ve seen is “Apocalypse Now” (1979) which I rated 10/10.

    Quentin Tarantino is in the number 11 in my personal list, and I can pretty much say that I’m a fanboy, he just has a style that just calls me and he is sure a responsible for my film career right now. His love for films and filmmaking comes through his movies and while I’m not trying to imitate his style, sure his passion inspires and moves me forward. My favorite of the films he’s directed is “Kill Bill” (both) (2003/4) which I rated 10/10.

    Stanley Kubrick is (close enough) in the number 29 in my personal list, and he is one of the masters of filmmaking, he made two movies that stand today in my top 10 favorite films of all time, and he’s also a genre master, moving from side to side, and always churning out masterpieces left and right, and giving us the best horror movie ever made, to me at least. My favorite of the films he’s directed is “the Shining” (1980) which I rated 10/10.

    My 5:

    30. George A. Romero (Monkey Shines, Creepshow, Dawn of the Dead, Night of the Living Dead) *Dawn of the Dead 10/10
    29. Stanley Kubrick (Eyes Wide Shut, The Shining, A Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Dr. Strangelove, Lolita, Spartacus, The Killing) *The Shining 10/10
    28. David Fincher (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Social Network, The Curious Case of Benjamin Buton, Zodiac, Panic Room, Fight Club, The Game, Se7en) *Fight Club 10/10
    27. James Whale (Bride of Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, The Old Dark House, Frankenstein) *The Invisible Man 10/10
    26. Paco Plaza (REC 2, REC) *REC 10/10

    • goregirl Says:

      Chan-Wook Park at #10!! Well, can’t really argue that, I think the man is immensely talented!

      I don’t think you would be alone with your love of Jackson’s LOTR Trilogy. It was massively popular! I have friends who went to see all 3 films multiple times in the theatre. They also share your excitement about the upcoming Hobbit films.

      I have watched The Godfather and its sequel seperately maybe half a dozen times and the two films back to back probably 3 or 4 times over the years. Back to back is about 6 hours worth of movie! I find the story and its naughty criminal characters completely and utterly engrossing. Who doesn’t love a good Mafia family drama?! Seriously though, just a really well freaking made film.

      You have ONE director I will be including on an upcoming list; I’m betting you could make an educated choice as to who that is (especially since Kurbrick and Whale’s names have already been called) so I’ll go ahead and spoil this one. Romero is on my list…but I won’t tell you where he landed.

      I like Paco Plaza a lot but I have seen only 3 of his films and only one of them [REC] I loved (Romasanta and REC2 were pretty good, but flawed). I also really like David Fincher but I only rated one of his films perfectly (same as you) Fight Club (although I enjoyed Social Network and Seven).

  3. Interesting list of great directors, looking forward to see who else makes the cut.

  4. hi gg.

    not to be a prick, but didn’t you leave out ‘forgotten silver’ by peter jackson? a real hoot in my opinion 🙂

  5. Nicely done here! I figured I was the only person that didn’t loooooooooooove Death Proof. That was too much Tarantino for me : )

    • goregirl Says:

      I took some seriously flack for not loving Death Proof from the group I went to see Grindhouse with. Death by car for Snooty girls are not much competition for a sassy girl with a gun for a leg and zombies…I really loved Robert Rodriguez segment and the mock trailers were Fantastic!

  6. Aaah Goregirl… you are really throwing me with your selections since naming awesome directors so soon. I would have figured that Peter Jackson and Takashi Miike would have been top ten. Are you going to put Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg in the top three? 😉 Or maybe it’s going to be Jesus Franco.

    Every director here has made films I love and films that left me indifferent.

    Chan-Wook Park – I love his films – so visually stylish and full of black humour. That said, I didn’t feel much for I’m a Cyborg or Lady Vengeance. What did you think of JSA?

    Stanley Kubrick did take things very seriously. His house in England has a huuuge library (film magazines infrequently have feature where film academics who go there to research). The Shining is a stone-cold classic film while Strangelove is a great comedy (thanks to an excellent performance from Peter Sellers). I watched A Clockwork Orange for the first time last year and I wasn’t as moved as I thought I’d be.

    Quentin Tarantino’s early films are great but his latest ones haven’t interested me. I went to see both Kill Bill 1 & 2 twice and I infinitely prefer 1 to the sequel (Go-go Yubari!!!).

    Peter Jackson – I love Bad Taste, Braindead, and The Fighteners but I have never got past the first LotR movie (I’m not really into fantasy either).

    Francis Ford Copolla worked Supernova??? As in the James Spader movie I barely remember because it was awful??? Whatever, directing Apocalypse Now gives him a free-pass to experiment and make the occasional mistake 😛

    • goregirl Says:

      Ha! There won’t be any freaking Michael Bay on any list from me! Michael Bay and Roland fucking Emmerich are two directors I avoid like the plague, I rather like to think of them as actualy plagues themselves. I don’t love Spielberg but I would not lump him into the same category as the two aforementioned. Spielberg actually has one film I rated perfectly (Jaws) and others I enjoy; 1941, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind. Jess Franco did in fact make the shortlist.

      I loved I’m a Cyborg! Totally not a film I would bother with…it is basically a romantic comedy which are a big ICK in my world! It was a wonderful surprise. I must admit I am definitely partial to Oldboy and Sympathy (especially Oldboy) but I had no issues at all with Lady. JSA was excellent…considering the premise the resolution surprised me.

      I didn’t know Kubrick had some kind of crazy library, but it doesn’t surprise me. Is film academic a paying job? I want to be a film academic when I grow up! Peter Sellers is the cat’s meow! Without question, one of my favourite actors/comedians of all time!

      A lot of people like the first Kill Bill much better than the second. I respectably disagree…I think they are equally outstanding! Not at all interested in Django Unchained? Come on! It looks awesome!! Loved every second of the O-Ren Ishii storyline… Gogo was adorable…and dangerous.

      Yep. The James Spader and Angela Bassett film. I actually paid theatre price to see it!! Bloody hell do I hate that film! Awful! Bad dialog, bad chemistry, bad story…just BAD! But Godfather and Apocalpyse Now certainly have Coppola covered!

  7. I had a similar problem with the second half of Death Proof, and said so, and was told by several male friends that I had to like it because it is a feminist film. :-/

    Glad to see Kubrick getting some love. Sometimes I feel he has been forgotten in modern times, along with Coppola, who I will forever admire for The Conversation.

  8. Great choices! Peter Jackson’s films up to and including The Frighteners,I like a lot. I’ve yet to see any of the Lord of the Rings films so I can’t comment. Parts of King Kong were marvelous,but I still prefer the original. I saw all of Pam Grier’s films at the drive-in. Like you,she’s one of my movie idols. Seeing her and Robert Foster giving great performances in a 1990’s film was a treat. Jackie Brown is one of my favorite films from that decade. I remember seeing Dementia 13 on late night TV years before The Godfather hit the big screen,and was hooked. And speaking of The Godfather saga,oh yeah! The Outsiders I think is a classic. I mean well acted by everyone and William Smith is in it! I wonder if Coppola thought he was working for Roger Corman again trying to “fix” Supernova? I enjoy Coppola’s 1967 comedy You’re A Big Boy Now as well. It’s amazing that Stanley Kubrick made only 13 films,yet what an incredible group of movies. Dr. Strangelove is one of my top ten all-time favorite movies. Kubrick perfectly captures the post war anti Comminist paranoia and the madness of it all. Peter Sellers is excellent in all three roles.Barry Lyndon is visually sumptuous,and I think it’s a very good film,but wow,Ryan O’ Neal just didn’t work for me in the lead. I know he’s Irish,and I think he’s good in other films,just not in Barry Lyndon. Full Metal Jacket is another brilliant work,so cold bloodedly funny in places as it is heartbreakingly sad in others. First-rate list as always Goregirl!

    • goregirl Says:

      The original King Kong is fantastic, I actually even like the Bridges/Lang 70s version better than Jackson’s, but there are things to like about Jackson too. I don’t specifically remember William Smith in Outsiders, but the man sure does get around! A while back I was checking out a bunch of different 70s TV shows on YouTube and I swear he was in half of the things I watched!

      • I too like the 1976 King Kong more than Jackson’s remake,which I didn’t hate but overall was disappointed. I know I ALWAYS point this out,but I got to see the original King Kong on the big screen in 1965. And the 1976 remake has John Agar in it! William Smith,who appeared in every 1970’s TV show,pops up as the store clerk towards the end of The Outsiders. While Smith makes a great heavy,my favorite William Smith role is as a good guy in Run Angel Run.

  9. Jeez, I haven’t seen any Chan Park-Wook films – and I OWN Sympathy for Mr Vengeance and Lady Vengeance on DVD! They were in the bargain bin of a local Zellers store – unused!

    I agree that Bad Taste and Braindead (I call it Dead Alive) were pretty good (although you love those films a lot more than I do). Heavenly Creatures was AWESOME. I would say Jackson was qualified to do a Hollywood version of The Lord of the Rings – but I figure it will always be impossible to translate the spirit of the book to the screen (the movies were overfocused on action). There were also some changes made for the LOTR movies that I was angry about (like the state of The Shire at the end of the movie, and the Witch-King getting a lot less screentime than he deserved). As for King Kong – I disliked it, even though I thought it started out good. I haven’t seen The Lovely Bones – but I heard what the book was about, and it left me with no desire to see the movie.

    And at first, I thought the Dead Alive photo in your post was from one of the Evil Dead movies, I am embarrassed to say.

    I haven’t seen many Coppola films. You didn’t mention his version of Dracula, so I guess you’re not a big fan of it. But I am – even though Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder were disappointing! Apocalypse Now was my all-time fave movie in high school and college – and it might become my #1 film again, the next time I watch it.

    I’ve seen all of Tarantino’s films – except for Jackie Brown, and Inglourious Basterds. (After seeing a few of Jack Hill’s films, I really want to see Jackie Brown sometime soon). And I THINK I would have to say, that Reservoir Dogs is my fave Tarantino movie (but Pulp Fiction is a strong contender).

    I’ve seen most of Kubricks’ movies – I disliked Spartacus, but The Shining was AWESOME. And A Clockwork Orange is one of my all-time favourite films. So is Full Metal Jacket, but less so. I haven’t seen many movies made in the 1950s – but I do think that Paths of Glory is one of Kubrick’s best films.

    Based on a comment you said to another blogger, I am impressed that you liked 1941. I consider it one of Spielberg’s best films (although I dislike many of his other films).

    And Jess Franco made your short list? That’s a ballsy statement. I have seen some awful Franco films – but I’ve also seen some pretty good ones too! And he made SO many movies, that I figure he can’t help it if some of his films were bad.

    • goregirl Says:

      Those are real gems you found in the dumpbin! I have scored the odd gem from store dumpbins and more times than not they are foreign.

      Brain Dead and Bad Taste are without a doubt two of my favourite horror-comedies.

      I liked Dracula, but didn’t love it. Oldman is great and Tom Waits is a brilliant choice for Renfield.

      Jackie Brown has taken its share of criticism, but I enjoyed it.

      I have seen several Jess Franco films I thought were crummy, but I have seen enough I really enjoyed to note him as a favourite (just not top 50). Jean Rollin also made my shortlist; again a director who made a ton of films and has made some real dreck but he has contributed some brilliance also.

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