DUNGEON DIRECTOR PROJECT: My 50 Favourite Directors #20 – #16
My 50 Favourite Directors #20 – #16
I could write endlessly about every director in my top 20. I’ve seen the vast majority of these director’s films, if not their entire library. Each one has titles in their list I have seen multiple times and hold an extra special place in my heart. Beware copious use of complimentary adjectives!
*NOTE: I did not include any made for TV movies in the numbers I used for each director’s full-length feature films.*
#20. Terry Gilliam
What I’ve Seen: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009), Tideland (2005), The Brothers Grimm (2005), Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), Twelve Monkeys (1995), The Fisher King (1991), The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988), Brazil (1985), Time Bandits (1981), Jabberwocky (1977), Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
I’ve seen all 11 of Terry Gilliam’s full length feature films. There is something downright magical about Gilliam’s films. They are as fantastical, fairy tale-esque and funny as they are strange, dark and hallucinatory. Gilliam was a member of Monty Python but started his career in animation. He is responsible for the animation in the Monty Python skits and films. He also co-directed his first film The Holy Grail with fellow Monty Python member Terry Jones. I love the imaginative way he shows the world whether it’s through the eyes of a child, an anxious bureaucrat, an old man, or a drug-addled writer. I enjoy every film on this list, but I have an extra special affection for Brazil, Twelve Monkeys, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Time Bandits and of course Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Gilliam’s array of crazy camera angles and his surreal backdrops and images (I suspect inspired by his background in animation) make for a trippy and unique experience quite unlike any other. Terry Gilliam is an unconventional, creative genius; I would love to climb inside this guy’s head for a weekend.
#19. John Waters
What I’ve Seen: A Dirty Shame (2004), Cecil B. DeMented (2000), Pecker (1998), Serial Mom (1994), Cry-Baby (1990), Hairspray (1988), Polyester (1981), Desperate Living (1977), Female Trouble (1974), Pink Flamingos (1972), Multiple Maniacs (1970), Mondo Trasho (1969)
I have seen 12 of John Waters’ 13 full length feature films; I have been unable to get my hands on Eat Your Makeup. I’m crazy about the quirky bunch of regulars in Waters older films which include; Divine, David Lochary, Edith Massey, Mary Vivian Pearce, Susan Lowe, Mink Stole, Cookie Mueller and Susan Walsh. They seemed willing to do just about any insane thing John Waters asked them to. They are rude and crude and hilarious! I suppose Waters’ early films appeal to a select slice of the population but they sure do tickle me. I love Waters sense of humour and his trashy retro vibe. I paid huge bucks to snag copies of Multiple Maniacs, Mondo Trasho and Female Trouble on VHS several years ago. These days most of Waters’ films are readily available. My personal favourites are Female Trouble, Pink Flamingos, Multiple Maniacs and Polyester. I have seen every John Waters film from Hairspray onward in the theatre and had a chance to see Pink Flamingos when it returned to theatres for its 25th anniversary. While Waters’ older films will always be my favourites, I have found something to enjoy in every last film on this list. I love Divine’s final romp in Hairspray, Serial Mom and Pecker. I went to see Pecker on opening night and they gave away “Pecker teabags” which is pretty funny if you’ve seen the film. There really is no one like John Waters. The man is truly a one of a kind gem who proudly embraces his standing as The Prince of Puke and The Pope of Trash.
#18. Lars von Trier
What I’ve Seen: The Element of Crime (1984), Epidemic (1987), Medea (1988), Europa (1991), Breaking the Waves (1996), The Idiots (1998), Dancer in the Dark (2000), Dogville (2003), Manderlay (2005), The Boss of It All (2006), Antichrist (2009), Melancholia (2011)
Lars von Trier has directed 13 full length feature films and has two in pre-production; The Nymphomaniac and The Nymphomaniac Part 2. I have seen 12 of these films and every one is a fascination. Every von Trier film is a completely new experience. Whether the film is shot on an elaborate set, an empty soundstage or with a handheld camera they burrow into my head and stay there for days. I find his films bleak, beautiful and challenging. Von Trier’s drama gets under my skin more than most horror films. I felt emotionally drained after watching Breaking the Waves and Dogville! Von Trier in fact has actually delved into horror with his TV Show Kingdom Hospital and his 2009 film Antichrist. I saw Antichrist at the 2009 Vancouver International film festival. I have actually seen a goodly amount of Von Trier’s films in a theatre. I gave Antichrist, Madea, Europa, Breaking the Waves and Dogville a perfect score, but every single film on this list is amazing. I think Lars von Trier is one of the most creative and daring directors working today.
#17. Pedro Almodóvar
What I’ve Seen: Dark Habits (1983), What Have I Done to Deserve This? (1984), Matador (1986), Law of Desire (1987), Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988), Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1990), High Heels (1991), Kika (1993), The Flower of My Secret (1995), Live Flesh (1997), All About My Mother (1999), Talk to Her (2002), Bad Education (2004), Volver (2006), Broken Embraces (2009), The Skin I Live In (2011)
Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar has 19 full length feature films and is currently filming I’m So Excited. I have seen 16 of Almodóvar’s films; Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown was the first subtitled film I ever seen in a theatre, and I’ve seen several of his films on the big screen since. His films teeter the edge of melodrama exploring multiple identities, religion, death, morality, family and particularly sexuality. Almodóvar’s films beautifully capture Spain’s culture but are also intensely personal. Almodóvar has penned all his films with the exception of Live Flesh which was based on Ruth Rendell’s book. His strong female characters and their trials and tribulations are extremely appealing to me. While delving into some heavy subjects and dark themes he almost always brings a bit of humour into the fray. Almodóvar’s films are also lovely to look at, specifically his bold use of colour. I enjoyed every film on my list but my favourites are Tie me up! Tie Me Down, Matador, Law of Desire, Talk to Her, Bad Education, Volver and The Skin I Live In. I eagerly anticipate everything and anything that comes from Pedro Almodóvar; the man is an extraordinary talent who creates films that tantalize and captivate me.
#16. Martin Scorsese
What I’ve Seen: Mean Streets (1973), Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974), Taxi Driver (1976), New York, New York (1977), The Last Waltz (1978), Raging Bull (1980), The King of Comedy (1983), After Hours (1985), The Color of Money (1986), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), Goodfellas (1990), Cape Fear (1991), The Age of Innocence (1993), Casino (1995), Kundun (1997), Bringing Out the Dead (1999), Gangs of New York (2002), The Aviator (2004), The Departed (2006), Shutter Island (2010)
I have seen 20 of Martin Scorsese’s 31 full length feature films; he also has two films in pre-production, The Wolf of Wall Street and Silence; Sinatra is listed on his IMDB page as “announced”. To quote the King Missile song Martin Scorsese; “He makes the best fucking films I’ve ever seen in my life! I fucking love him! I fucking love him! My favourite Scorsese films are jammed packed with male bravado, insecurity, guilt (religious and otherwise) and plenty of violence; not to mention highly quotable! Scorsese’s collaborations with Robert De Niro have birthed modern cinema’s greatest creations; I would be hard pressed to choose a favourite amoung Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas! And these are not the only shining gems in Scorcese’s crown; his brilliant documentary of The Band in The Last Waltz, his controversial The Last Temptation of Christ (is it wrong that I thought Jesus was sexy?), his excellent remake of the Hong Kong Crime thriller Infernal Affairs; The Departed and his delightfully quirky comedy After Hours are all films I gave a perfect score! What can I really say that has not been said about Scorsese already? Martin Scorsese is a fucking legend! I fucking love him! I fucking love him!