When I was younger I didn’t even realize I was developing a bias for certain movie directors. I think when it became obvious to me was the summer of Terminator 2’s release when I found out the guy who made Aliens, Terminator and The Abyss (I loved this A LOT as a kid) was the same guy. James Cameron was the director who ignited my interest in a deeper understanding of the movie making process. At that tender age of 11 he started what became a passion that has clearly consumed my life in the best way possible.
- James Cameron was as mentioned the first director I ever recognized as a helmsman and even though his output of work in the last few decades has been minimal, he’s still the king of science fiction and special effects for me. Aliens is my favorite film of all time.
- I saw Se7en and immediately wanted to know everything there was to know about David Fincher. Most of his early career was spent making music videos and even now he still takes time for music and TV episodes. He IS my favorite director. Se7en is still my favorite Fincher film.
- Quentin Tarantino makes his movies just for me. You probably didn’t know that. It does feel that way at times. His creations are so far from my own creative sensibilities that it’s always a breath of fresh air. All of his films are so different and yet they still scream QT. I’ll never grow tired of the heavy dialogue, profanity, or violence because he never stops exploring new territory and on HIS terms. Inglorious Basterds is my favorite QT film and it gets better with every viewing.
- Ridley Scott may have the most diverse and longest playlist on my favorites. He lives in the same universe as Spielberg to me. He can literally do and make anything and make it entertaining. He’s made a lot of worthwhile films and he’s made a lot of fun movies, and most of the time he does it well.
- Orson Welles is not my favorite director, but one must give credit where credit is due. I didn’t watch Citizen Kane till I was 30 years old and appreciate it for all that it is. I actually had viewed Othello and Macbeth unknowing they were Welles films in my teen years and loved them both.
- Akira Kurasowa…everyone who loves The Magnificent Seven can thank “Seven Samurai” the first version of this film along with the rest of Kurasowa’s long filmography. I personally recommend Yojimbo.
- Alfred Hitchcock changed the way film was shot and horror was developed and interpreted. His influence is heavier today than almost any other director I can think of. My favorite Hitchcock flicks are “Rear Window” and “The Birds”
- Frank Capra was the master of drama with films like “It’s A Wonderful Life” and “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington”.
- Charlie Chaplin was where comedy really began back in the silent era and one of the greatest innovators of film in general as both actor, director and creator.
They Made Us Laugh
- There is not enough open admiration and love for Penny Marshall as director. She may have spent more time in production, but she made some wonderful movies. “A League of Their Own”, “Big”, “Riding In Cars With Boys”, and a personal favorite of mine, “Jumping Jack Flash”. She was a brilliant and funny woman.
- I don’t understand all of Garry Marshall’s recent “holiday” flicks, but he’s responsible for “Pretty Woman”, “Beaches” and possibly my favorite RomCom “Overboard”.
- Kevin Smith appeals to my love of dialogue and telling a story how you see the world. While his filmography appeals to me differently as I age, and I love that it always offers something different and new.
- John Landis…yeah…this guy did “Animal House”, “Blues Brother’s”, “Trading Places” and my personal favorite “An American Werewolf In London”. He’s also responsible for Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”
- John Hughes was the master of embracing the very essence of the 80’s, probably moreso than any other director in that decade. You can feel, hear, and even smell the 80’s when you watch any of his films. My favorites was easily “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, even if it’s not his best.
- Mel Brooks is a genius. Pure and simple. I know Spaceballs is a fan favorite, but “Men In Tights” is one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. Period.
- Ivan Reitman is responsible for Ghostbusters 1 and 2, Stripes, Twins AND Kindergarten Cop. He’s the guy who saw the baddest mother trucker in cinema’s comedic potential and it was wonderful. Reitman is gold.
Gimme Those Explosions
- Michael Bay has become a punchline to a lot of people, and frankly I’m not a fan of anything he’s done after Transformers 2, but I LOVE “Bad Boys”. It is easily one of the best buddy/cop flicks ever made and “The Island” is a legitimately good movie. He makes FUN movies. Not the greatest, but they sure are entertaining.
- John McTiernan knows action. “Predator” is an easy favorite, but also “Die Hard”, “Last Action Hero”, “The Hunt For Red October” and a personal favorite of mine: “The Thomas Crown Affair”.
- Robert Rodriguez because I LOVE El Mariachi, Desperado, Sin City and From Dusk Till Dawn. It’s also bonkers how good “The Faculty” is. Oh yeah, and he did the “Spy Kids” franchise. Never saw one, but it was a thing.
- Kathryn Bigelow needs to be mentioned. “The Hurt Locker” is one of my favorite films of all time, but also noteworthy is “Zero Dark Thirty” and uh hey………she did “Point Break”. Yep.
Masters of Drama
- Brian DePalma
- Milos Forman
- Clint Eastwood
- Paul Thomas Anderson
- Sam Mendes
- Ang Lee
- Spike Lee
- Sidney Pollack
- Frank Darabont
- Rob Reiner
- Michael Mann
- Antoine Fuqua needs way more love. My favorite film and one he is best known for is Training Day, but it is one of many great action/crime movies he’s done. Another guy that started out doing music videos has a dirt and grit to his films. Brooklyn’s Finest is one you should check out and please appreciate “The Equalizer” movies because they are SO MUCH FUN.
- Martin Scorsese is a king. Everything he does is another level. He is on the top of my list of favorites and there’s a handful of his films that could be argued the best in cinema. My favorite is Goodfellas.
- Francis For Coppola did The Godfather Trilogy, Apocalypse Now and my favorite Grisham adaptation “The Rainmaker”, but he also directed my favorite Faerie Tale Theatre episode: “Rip Van Winkle”.
- John Singleton made some great movies. Boyz In The Hood, Four Brothers, Poetic Justice, and Higher Learning were movies I was obsessed with in my adolescence. He left us way too soon.
Who I’m Keeping My Eye On
- S. Craig Zahler has made Bone Tomahawk, Brawl in Cell Block 99, and now Dragged Across Concrete. Each insanely good in their own way. I haven’t been this excited about a director since Tarantino came around.
- Joss Whedon has a list of feature films, but they aren’t many. Serenity, The Avengers, Much Ado About Nothing, and Age of Ultron. Of the many shows he’s directed his episodes have been some of the best on TV. We need more of his original work. Serenity is a finished story to Firefly, but even as a stand alone film it’s one of the best Science Fiction films in the last several decades.
- Jon Favreau. Elf was a win for him and probably helped get him the Iron Man gig and we’ve seen him write and produce a lot, but I want more movies. His “Jungle Book” was way more than I could have expected. I want more Mr. Favreau. Comedy, Action, or sorta live action animated? Yeah. I’m for it.
- Peter Jackson and LOTR, the single greatest trilogy to ever exist. A story that by all means seemed impossible to put onto the big screen and it still remains flawless. For that he gets to do whatever he wants forever as far as I’m concerned.
- Robert Zemeckis
- Ron Howard
- Roland Emmerich
Master’s Of Horror
- John Carpenter
- Roger Corman
- Wes Craven
- David Cronenberg
- Neil Marshall
Science Fiction and Fantasy
- Christopher Nolan
- JJ Abrams
- Stanley Kubrick
- Guillermo del Toro
- Tim Burton
- John Lasseter
- George Miller
- Brad Bird
- Coen Brothers
- David Lynch
- Darren Aronofsky
- Danny Boyle
- Martin McDonagh
- m nightmare
- James Gunn
- Terry Gillam