Imagination Connoisseur, Amir B, has a short list of directors he thinks are the all-time greats. But do you agree? None of Amir’s list includes directors who directed movies before 1965 – is that right or do you have some other ideas?
Let us know in the comments section.
I was going over my movie collections this past week and I started thinking about all my favorite directors over the years, and I notice something: after all of these years of being a movie buff, I still can’t decide who is the best director in my opinion.
I understand the notion of subjectivity, but I wonder what makes a director a candidate as being the GOAT? Is it their career longevity? The influence of their individual movies? Not having a misstep in their careers? Genre diversity? Oscar nomination? Or something else. I wanted to send this email to share my thoughts and also get your thoughts on how a director can be qualified as the GOAT and who are some of your candidates for the best directors of all time.
Here’s a list that I have: I’ll start with Spielberg. Even though John refers to him as the GOAT and I love many of his movies from SAVING PRIVATE RYAN and CATCH ME IF YOU CAN to LINCOLN and MUNICH.
He has had some bad movies, in my opinion. To this day, I’m still bitter about INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL. South Park did a beautiful job of portraying the feeling of me and some of the fans in their season 12. LoL! I’m not even gonna talk about BFG or WAR OF THE WORLDS.
So as much as I love majority of his work, I don’t see him as the GOAT.
Next on my list is Kubrick, which I still think is the most influential director of all time. From CLOCKWORK ORANGE and 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY to THE SHINING and FULL METAL JACKET, his movies were so different and so audacious. I’ve honestly got nothing negative to say about his work.
Same with Scorsese. He’s the most intriguing guy on my list and frankly the main person I lean to as the GOAT. Even before his Marvel comments (which caused some “fans” to just find any excuse to bash him), whenever I would bring up his name, a common response is “well, he just makes mob movies” or “his movies all the same”. It’s funny because when you look at his filmography, next to Spielberg, he has one of the most genre-diverse movies.
Since GANGS OF NEW YORK in 2002, 6 out 8 his major pictures got nominated for Oscars (leaving out only SHUTTER ISLAND and SILENCES – which I still think both were magnificent) and only two of them are mobster movies (THE IRISHMAN and THE DEPARTED). Each of the rest is in a different genre: HUGO, WOLF OF WALL STREET, THE AVIATOR, and GANGS OF NEW YORK were all different.
One thing that I always loved about him is that to me, he never had a major misstep (especially later in his career) as suppose many other great directors such as Spielberg or even Coppola. His movies are always risky and as he has grown older, his movies are becoming ever-more though-provoking. The ending of his last two movies (THE IRISHMAN and SILENCE) are two of the most powerful and gut-wrenching endings I personally experienced. I’m not gonna even talk about his pre-2000 movies, which are a class of their own from TAXI DRIVER and RAGING BULL to GOOD FELLAS and THE KING OF COMEDY.
Plus, hearing his interviews talking about struggles of making his movies from the 1980s all the way to THE IRISHMAN – even after all of his accolades and his passion for movies – make me want to root for him.
Finally, from new directors post-2000 I only have Christopher Nolan in the pool. I will forever be grateful for saving us from bat nipples and reviving Batman. I love his vision, his ambition, and his unique way of telling stories. Very similar to Kubrick, he is a visionary which tries do different things with each of his movies. The only common theme being the non-linear storytelling which he’s the best at. I admire that.
Also, the two movies of his which I liked the least (DARK KNIGHT RISES and INTERSTELLAR), I’ve grown to love and appreciate more over the years.
This is off-topic but did you ever see the picture of the black hole that was taken last year and how similar it was to the one in INTERSTELLAR? Crazy.
So, Rob, who are some of the best directors in your opinion and do you have anyone as the GOAT in directing?
Thank you for reading my letter!