Old 03-02-2011, 06:10 AM
Best of David O. Russell

Earned an Oscar nod and a huge career boost with The Fighter this year. Perhaps the most infamously "temperamental" mainstream American director since Peckinpah following the Huckabees tapes. How do you rank his work and do you think he's got the chops to emerge as a great filmmaker, already has, or is just a craftsman with a penchant for self-indulgence?

1.) Three Kings -9/10
2.) American Hustle -8/10
3.) The Figher -7.5/10
4.) Silver Linings Playbook -7.5/10
5.) Flirting with Disaster -7.5/10
6.) Spanking The Monkey -7/10
7.) I Heart Huckabees -6/10

Monkey and Disaster are simple, but clever and funny, twisted comedies featuring strong performances all around. Huckabees doesn't work overall but has moments of brilliance and I appreciate its boldness even when it becomes a mess. The second half of The Fighter was a big letdown for me with jarring scenes that didn't belong and a plot that stuck too close to formula, but that first hour or so was great and he coaxed some stellar performances out of Bale and Adams. Though Wahlberg left a little something to be desired in that movie, he did his best work in Huckabees and Kings, the latter of which is a modern masterpiece waiting to receive its due. For me, the jury's still out on his career and he's given to major missteps, but he's also shown considerable talent and has yet to make a movie I wasn't glad I saw.

Last edited by QUENTIN; 04-29-2014 at 12:47 PM..
Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2011, 01:25 PM
1. Three Kings- 10/10
2. The Fighter- 9/10
3. I Heart Huckabees- 9/10
4. Flirting with Disaster- 8/10
5. Spanking the Monkey- 7/10

The thing I love about his films is that they all have an incredible amount of energy that creates a kind of rhythm that you don't often see in many films.

This particular scene highlights what I'm talking about:


I love the shot of the tank rolling along on the bottom left corner with the sky and desert surrounding it, while "I Get Around" by The Beach Boys blares in the background.

I really wish Nailed would get released. Apparently it never got finished though.

Last edited by Bourne101; 10-05-2012 at 09:15 PM..
Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2011, 03:35 PM
1. The Fighter - 10/10
2. Three Kings - 8/10
3. I Heart Huckabees - 6/10
Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2011, 04:05 PM
1. Three Kings - 8/10
2. The Fighter - 8/10
3. I Heart Huckabees - 8/10

Definitely developing into one of the most consistent directors working today. Can't wait for his next, whatever it may be.
Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2011, 05:56 PM
The Fighter - 9/10
Three Kings - 8/10
Flirting with Disaster - 7/10
Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2011, 04:56 PM
Three Kings 9/10
I Heart Huckabees 9/10
The Fighter 7/10

Flirting with Disaster and Spanking the Monkey are both on my to-see list...anyone who can handle juggling the numerous tones in Three Kings so dead-on and then create an offbeat comedy the likes of which I've never seen before (both content-wise and stylistically and atmospherically) is someone I am going to follow closely career-wise. I don't really give a shit about his reputation as long as he keeps churning out unique films like those two. The Fighter was quite good too as a demonstration of what he can do with something more toned down.
Reply With Quote
Old 05-01-2011, 09:15 PM
Well I guess I've only seen three of his films: Three Kings, I Heart Huckabees, and The Fighter. I loved The Figher and Three Kings. I think he did get a little self-indulgent at times in I Heart Huckabees (I still enjoyed though) but I think he has matured a lot as a filmmaker since then, which is odd because he's only done one other movie since. The man knows what he wants in a film and manages to get the some of the best performances out of his actors of their careers. The three main supporting actors in The Fighter were fantastic and Mark Wahlberg has been really damn good in all three of their collabrations together. I still say Three Kings is his best so far and like Quentin said it still has not gotten it's dues. I really don't care if he's ass or not I think he's an extremely talented filmmaker and I'm highly interested to see where he takes his career from here. I would prefer it not to be the Uncharted movie though.
Reply With Quote
Old 05-02-2011, 03:50 AM
I really enjoyed Three Kings and Flirting with Disaster. But I didn't care so much for Huckabees or Spanking the Monkey. I still haven't seen the Fighter because I'm positive I'll only find that it's okay and then forget about it.

I think he's an interesting director, but he's not a director I keep track of. I happened to see both Flirting with Disaster and Spanking the Monkey when they were on TV. I think I saw Huckabees just because I wanted to see if it was as bad as I thought, and it was.
Reply With Quote
Old 05-02-2011, 06:30 AM
Seems a little odd to make a 'best of' thread for a director who's still only made 5 films.

Anyway, I'd rank them as follows:

1. "Three Kings"
2. "Flirting with Disaster"
3. "I Heart Huckabees"
4. "The Fighter"
5. "Spanking the Monkey"
Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2011, 07:37 AM
1. The Fighter - 8/10
2. Three Kings -7.5/10
3. Flirting with Disaster - 6/10
4. Spanking The Monkey - 6/10
5. I Heart Huckabees - 4/10
Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2012, 09:28 PM

1. Three Kings - 10/10
2. Silver Linings Playbook - 9/10
3. The Fighter - 9/10
4. I Heart Huckabees - 9/10
5. Flirting with Disaster - 8/10
6. Spanking the Monkey - 7/10

Last edited by Bourne101; 10-11-2012 at 05:33 PM..
Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2012, 09:53 PM
1. Three Kings (9/10)
2. I Heart Huckabees (8/10)
3. Flirting with Disaster (8/10)
4. The Fighter (7/10)
5. Spanking the Monkey (7/10)
Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2012, 02:50 PM
What ever happened to Nailed?

Anyways, my favorite film of his is Three Kings
Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2012, 05:41 PM
Originally Posted by echo_bravo View Post
What ever happened to Nailed?
Producers Douglas Wick and Lucy Fisher Tell the Crazy Story Behind the Production and Shelving of David O. Russell’s NAILED

by Adam Chitwood

Many projects go through growing pains during development. James Cameron’s Titanic was labeled the biggest bomb of all time before it even hit theaters, Martin Sheen had a heart attack during the year-long shoot of Apocalypse Now, and filming on Men in Black 3 halted for a few months so that they could work on the script. David O. Russell’s Nailed, however, was a bona fide production nightmare. The film has yet to be finished and it’s unlikely it’ll ever see the light of day, but none of this is the fault of the creatives involved.

The political comedy satire was filmed in 2008 with Jessica Biel, Jake Gyllenhaal, Catherine Keener, and Tracy Morgan and centered on three people with serious health issues that stormed Washington D.C. to demand treatment. Production was shut down multiple times during filming, and just as Russell was getting to the filming of the film’s centerpiece scene the project was shut down for good. The story behind Nailed’s filming and subsequent permanent limbo is stranger than fiction, and Steve recently got a lot of background on what exactly went down from producers Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher (of Red Wagon Entertainment) when he spoke with them in anticipation of the release of Lawless.

Nailed was to be Wick and Fisher’s first foray into independent films. They had previously found success on pics like Jarhead, Peter Pan, and Stuart Little, and they were trying their hand at an indie. Problems arose when it became aware that the entire production was in the hands of an unreliable financier, per Fisher:

“We were very excited about it but we went with a financier of questionable integrity that turned out to be of no integrity whatsoever and just had no intention of paying the bills, and he didn’t.”

The money troubles spiraled throughout production, as Wick recounted the numerous starts-and-stops:

“So we were literally shut down as we started, with all of those trucks, all of those people. It was really torturous; I’d never seen anything like it but what you end up doing is, the money is always promised. We had a really first class crew, and so what they have to do is the crew says, ‘Okay we’re walking off on Wednesday we didn’t get our check,’ so then you say, ‘If we pay you Thursday we’ll give you a 10% premium, and if we pay you Friday we’ll give you a 20% premium.’ So by the time they kept getting money, it was always like a 30% premium, so it was getting more and more expensive.”

Fisher revealed that they shut down 14 times in total throughout production and post-production, and in the middle of this whirlwind Russell had to keep focused on the artistic integrity of the film. This process continued through the duration of the shoot, and as Russell was gearing up to film the pic’s crucial scene, the financier pulled the plug for good:

“To spite himself, oddly enough the last scene that we had scheduled—partly because we thought this way [the financier will] have to finish the movie—is the scene where Jessica Biel gets a nail in her head. That’s why it’s called Nailed, she doesn’t have insurance and she can’t get the nail out. So the last two days were getting the nail in her head, and we shut down so we didn’t have the final scene that was the scene that was the premise of the movie. There was no way to cut the movie together without that scene, so I don’t know what he was thinking by shutting us down then. At that point everybody was like, ‘We can’t cut the movie together, there isn’t a movie.’ And then he never came through with the rest of the money.”

Fisher and Wick told Steve that the footage now belongs to the financier, David Bernstein, and his partner, entrepreneur Ron Tutor. Russell never got the chance to finish the film or even edit footage together, and he officially quit the project in 2010. Obviously editing is a huge part of the filmmaking process—especially with a David O. Russell comedy—but apparently Bernstein figured he could cut the footage together himself:

“Particularly in this kind of comedy that’s finding a specific tone, the post-production is sort of a third of the whole process. So I think there was just a little bit of a sense from a financier point of view, ‘Well just glue it together and put it out, we’ll just skip that process who needs it? It’s just indulging creative people.’ Obviously post is a huge part of the process and so many movies come alive in post.”

In fact, test screenings of the cut-together footage were held in L.A. and Fisher’s daughter was actually invited to one:

Fisher: “At one point our daughter was solicited to go to a preview of this movie that nether David O. Russell or we knew that they were gonna cut together. They had cut it together themselves and were planning to previewing it; we hadn’t seen the movie. So that’s how we find out, we notified CAA and said, ‘Wait a second, somebody solicited our daughter [for a screening of this movie].’… It wasn’t David’s cut, it wasn’t anything. It was missing scenes.

Wick: “And it was questionably illegal given all the guilds and all that stuff, but some of the people involved were from the distressed asset business, and I think they just really thought you could take pieces and sell them off.”

In the immediate aftermath there were discussions between Russell and Tutor about coming back to finish the film, but they never materialized into a firm deal and Russell officially disowned the cut, saying that he is no longer involved with the project and couldn’t call it “his” film. As for whether there’s any hope of eventually getting Russell back at some point down the line, Wick is not optimistic:

“I think everyone’s lives have moved on, I don’t foresee particularly, in the polluted circumstance, anyone just coming in and doing the careful three or four months of work.”

Moreover, Wick notes that the film’s previously timely subject matter about the state of healthcare in the U.S. is no longer as relevant since Obamacare was already passed into law. This is certainly a sad story, and it’s obvious from hearing Wick and Fisher talk that Nailed really could’ve been something special. You can watch the portion of Steve’s interview with the producers below (which I highly suggest you do), and look out for the full interview closer to the release of Lawless. I’ve also included a full transcript of the conversation after the video.
Reply With Quote
Old 10-13-2012, 12:50 PM

Haha thanks for the link Bourne.

Great read.
Reply With Quote


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump