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Are these really the 25 Greatest Working Directors?

Feb. 25, 2011by: Mike Sampson

I hate getting baited into discussions based off ridiculous lists based on objective criteria that are designed to bait people into discussions. But Entertainment Weekly just posted a list of the "25 Greatest Working Directors" and it's...well, an interesting read. Before we begin tearing this list apart and pasting it back together with glue sticks and staples, here's their Top 25:

25. Wes Anderson
24. Mike Leigh
23. Brad Bird
22. J.J. Abrams
21. Spike Lee
20. Edgar Wright
19. Peter Jackson
18. James Cameron
17. David Lynch
16. David O. Russell
15. Kathryn Bigelow
14. Danny Boyle
13. Roman Polanski
12. Guillermo Del Toro
11. Paul Thomas Anderson
10. Pedro Almodovar
9. Clint Eastwood
8. Terrence Malick
7. Quentin Tarantino
6. Coen Brothers
5. Darren Aronofsky
4. Martin Scorsese
3. Steven Spielberg
2. Christopher Nolan
1. David Fincher

Why yes, there are certainly some capable directors on this list and many of the directors on this list would be included in any list I would create on the greatest working directors. Some would not be though. Spike Lee made one of the best films of the last 25 years in DO THE RIGHT THING but since then his resume has been erratic at best. If we're judging directors on past output, then why doesn't Francis Ford Coppola make the list? His GODFATHER films are better than anything on Spike Lee's resume.

I'd argue the same with Clint Eastwood. He's a legendary actor who has made some very good films but he's also made some very bad films (many of which have been released in the past ten years).

I don't think Mike Leigh is a bad director, in fact, I think he's a very interesting director. But I don't think anything in his oeuvre qualifies him to be one of the "Greatest Working Directors."

What this list is missing is the qualifier "Hollywood" because that's the list they've put together. These are Hollywood directors, not the "best" directors. Only one of these directors, Pedro Almodovar, could be considered an international filmmaker. Are we really that self-absorbed as an American culture to think that all the best filmmakers in the world are Hollywood-based?

Who do you think missed out on this list? Off the top of my head I'm wondering where Steven Soderbergh, Hayao Miyazaki, Wong Kar-wai, Michael Haneke, Spike Jonze and Alexander Payne should have all merited a spot. Who do you think should make it? And we haven't even got into their rankings. Is David Fincher really the best director working today?

Source: EW.com

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3:52PM on 03/02/2011
Tom Hooper?
Tom Hooper?
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7:13PM on 02/27/2011
For me Nolan is one of the most exciting directors around if his names attached to a film i want to see it whereas most other directors films i only want to see if the movie interests me, Frank Darabont should be on there. Roman polanski should just die hes a prick.
For me Nolan is one of the most exciting directors around if his names attached to a film i want to see it whereas most other directors films i only want to see if the movie interests me, Frank Darabont should be on there. Roman polanski should just die hes a prick.
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+1
5:48PM on 02/27/2011
It's a very debatable list. But for me David Fincher is the bext working director today, by miles.

He gets great performances from every actor he works with, while technically he pushes filmmaking into the 21st Century.
It's a very debatable list. But for me David Fincher is the bext working director today, by miles.

He gets great performances from every actor he works with, while technically he pushes filmmaking into the 21st Century.
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5:37PM on 02/27/2011
This list is bullshit... Wheres Uwe Boll???????
This list is bullshit... Wheres Uwe Boll???????
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+0
3:20PM on 02/27/2011

European directors?

I get it. Hollywood is the biggest film industry in the world, but is it really the best? For me, greatest directors have to be authors, and very few of the industry's are! Film is an art form, and we have to face it - artist cannot be industrialists.
Check out my blog for some European cinema here -> [link]
I get it. Hollywood is the biggest film industry in the world, but is it really the best? For me, greatest directors have to be authors, and very few of the industry's are! Film is an art form, and we have to face it - artist cannot be industrialists.
Check out my blog for some European cinema here -> [link]
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12:24PM on 02/27/2011

Adequate list, but...

...where the hell is Johnnie To?
...where the hell is Johnnie To?
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11:11AM on 02/27/2011

Greatest??

This list is definately the most "publicised" directors of all time. Ignore it.
Oh, and Gran Torino is one of the worst films I've seen in years. Cliched, poorly-acted, and shot like a dull TV movie. Anything Cronenberg has done rivals or surpasses 80% of the directors on this list. Same with Bertolucci, Assayas, and Wong Kar Wai.
This list is definately the most "publicised" directors of all time. Ignore it.
Oh, and Gran Torino is one of the worst films I've seen in years. Cliched, poorly-acted, and shot like a dull TV movie. Anything Cronenberg has done rivals or surpasses 80% of the directors on this list. Same with Bertolucci, Assayas, and Wong Kar Wai.
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11:54PM on 02/26/2011
It's too difficult for me to dissect this and distinguish who should be left out of this list at the moment. However I believe it should at least include Michel Gondry and Ridley Scott Oh and dare I say, Ben Affleck? Am I wrong?
It's too difficult for me to dissect this and distinguish who should be left out of this list at the moment. However I believe it should at least include Michel Gondry and Ridley Scott Oh and dare I say, Ben Affleck? Am I wrong?
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7:21PM on 02/26/2011
Alot of those names are great but just by my personal preference the numbering needs to be adjusted, like there is no way Wes Anderson should be last, PTA should be 10 or lower and Kathryn Bigelow is a better director than James Cameron. And while I love Spielberg he hasn't made an honest cinematic contribution since Munich, why is he further down than the Coen Bros, Tin Tin may be great but none of us have seen it.
Alot of those names are great but just by my personal preference the numbering needs to be adjusted, like there is no way Wes Anderson should be last, PTA should be 10 or lower and Kathryn Bigelow is a better director than James Cameron. And while I love Spielberg he hasn't made an honest cinematic contribution since Munich, why is he further down than the Coen Bros, Tin Tin may be great but none of us have seen it.
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3:36PM on 02/26/2011
Also, NAME ONE VERY BAD CLINT EASTWOOD FILM IN THE LAST TEN YEARS!!

MIKE SAMPSON IS HIGH ON CRACK
Also, NAME ONE VERY BAD CLINT EASTWOOD FILM IN THE LAST TEN YEARS!!

MIKE SAMPSON IS HIGH ON CRACK
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3:34PM on 02/26/2011
james cameron should be top five. yeah yeah internet loves to hate on avatar but yo, nobody else knows how to make a blockbuster quite as successful.

this list sucks.
speilberg at 3 doesn't make much sense to me. 10-20 years ago YES... but come on.
james cameron should be top five. yeah yeah internet loves to hate on avatar but yo, nobody else knows how to make a blockbuster quite as successful.

this list sucks.
speilberg at 3 doesn't make much sense to me. 10-20 years ago YES... but come on.
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-12
11:39AM on 02/26/2011
24. Mike Leigh - Nope
23. Brad Bird - Nope
20. Edgar Wright - Nope
19. Peter Jackson - Nope
18. James Cameron - Nope
16. David O. Russell - Nope
13. Roman Polanski - Nope
12. Guillermo Del Toro - Nope
10. Pedro Almodovar - Nope
9. Clint Eastwood - Nope
7. Quentin Tarantino - Nope
4. Martin Scorsese - Nope
2. Christopher Nolan - Nope
1. David Fincher - Nope (not anymore)
24. Mike Leigh - Nope
23. Brad Bird - Nope
20. Edgar Wright - Nope
19. Peter Jackson - Nope
18. James Cameron - Nope
16. David O. Russell - Nope
13. Roman Polanski - Nope
12. Guillermo Del Toro - Nope
10. Pedro Almodovar - Nope
9. Clint Eastwood - Nope
7. Quentin Tarantino - Nope
4. Martin Scorsese - Nope
2. Christopher Nolan - Nope
1. David Fincher - Nope (not anymore)
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3:33PM on 02/26/2011
you're fucking high. james cameron should be number one, theres no other director capable of what he does.
you're fucking high. james cameron should be number one, theres no other director capable of what he does.
5:39PM on 02/27/2011
your an idiot
your an idiot
8:33AM on 02/26/2011

Short answer to the article's question...

No.

Longer answer: no, they're not the 25 greatest working directors.

And my backing statement? IT'S ALL IN THE OPINION, MAN.

I could name a slew of directors right off the top of my head that I consider better than more than half of the above mentioned, and it wouldn't make me wrong OR right - it'd just show, like the rest of the opinions here, that that's just what this individual thinks.
No.

Longer answer: no, they're not the 25 greatest working directors.

And my backing statement? IT'S ALL IN THE OPINION, MAN.

I could name a slew of directors right off the top of my head that I consider better than more than half of the above mentioned, and it wouldn't make me wrong OR right - it'd just show, like the rest of the opinions here, that that's just what this individual thinks.
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5:43AM on 02/26/2011

fail

your lack of chan-wook park disturbs me...
your lack of chan-wook park disturbs me...
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11:44PM on 02/25/2011
I, surprisingly, would have to agree very much with this list. I have disagreements, of course, but not many.
I, surprisingly, would have to agree very much with this list. I have disagreements, of course, but not many.
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+3
9:31PM on 02/25/2011
Were they throwing darts at a board? While I really dig JJ Abrams, he's only done two films. And Bigelow has only done one film that earned extreme acclaim across the board (though I'll always remember her for Point Break). It's obvious this was just a popularity vote and couple of writers got drunk one night and thought this was a good idea.
Were they throwing darts at a board? While I really dig JJ Abrams, he's only done two films. And Bigelow has only done one film that earned extreme acclaim across the board (though I'll always remember her for Point Break). It's obvious this was just a popularity vote and couple of writers got drunk one night and thought this was a good idea.
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8:51PM on 02/25/2011
replace wes anderson with brad anderson and remove speilberg and about 7 or 8 others and i can somewhat agree with this
replace wes anderson with brad anderson and remove speilberg and about 7 or 8 others and i can somewhat agree with this
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8:43PM on 02/25/2011
As EW did last year, it seems they basically looked at the movies that were Oscar-nominated this year and used that as the main starting point for this list. : ?
As EW did last year, it seems they basically looked at the movies that were Oscar-nominated this year and used that as the main starting point for this list. : ?
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8:24PM on 02/25/2011

Not "objective"

You said "objective" when you meant "subjective". Subjectivity is a matter of opinion. Objectivity is not.
You said "objective" when you meant "subjective". Subjectivity is a matter of opinion. Objectivity is not.
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+12
8:02PM on 02/25/2011

Take Eastwood off, Mike??!!

Are you serious?

Unforgiven alone puts him on this list. The past ten years has seen Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby and Gran Torino from the guy. All incredible films.

Why point out that he's made a few stinkers in the past decade and completely ignore the rest of his career?

Eastwood is an icon and a staple of Hollywood. To take him off and leave Kathryn Bigelow on is basically sacrilege.

As for the rest of the list, I'm just glad to see Edgar Wright up there.
Are you serious?

Unforgiven alone puts him on this list. The past ten years has seen Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby and Gran Torino from the guy. All incredible films.

Why point out that he's made a few stinkers in the past decade and completely ignore the rest of his career?

Eastwood is an icon and a staple of Hollywood. To take him off and leave Kathryn Bigelow on is basically sacrilege.

As for the rest of the list, I'm just glad to see Edgar Wright up there.
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5:58PM on 02/25/2011
Many of those directors could be replaced with better ones.
Many of those directors could be replaced with better ones.
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+6
5:32PM on 02/25/2011
This list in inaccurate...and we all know it.
This list in inaccurate...and we all know it.
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5:23PM on 02/25/2011
what no Michael Bay? Get rid of Spike Lee Roman Polanski & Terrance Malick & replace them with Copolla, Ridley Scott, & Soderbergh
what no Michael Bay? Get rid of Spike Lee Roman Polanski & Terrance Malick & replace them with Copolla, Ridley Scott, & Soderbergh
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5:09PM on 02/25/2011
Some people on this list are very questionable: Tarantino, Spielberg...(both whom are VERY hit and miss these days).

Even though I'm not a big 'Inception' fan, I do think Nolan should be high on the list...as well as Aronofsky...

And why is J.J. Abrams on the list? His tightest film was 'Star Trek'! Too, he only has directed a couple of pictures...! (Three actually).

Brad Bird should be higher...and I didn't see Matthew Vaughn or Woody Allen.

There are a couple of other names
Some people on this list are very questionable: Tarantino, Spielberg...(both whom are VERY hit and miss these days).

Even though I'm not a big 'Inception' fan, I do think Nolan should be high on the list...as well as Aronofsky...

And why is J.J. Abrams on the list? His tightest film was 'Star Trek'! Too, he only has directed a couple of pictures...! (Three actually).

Brad Bird should be higher...and I didn't see Matthew Vaughn or Woody Allen.

There are a couple of other names that are questionable as well. (I do think Spike Lee is talented, but he is also hit and miss; but 'Malcolm X'...'25th Hour'...and 'Inside Man' were pretty good). The author shows his bias, and poor journalism, since 'The Inside Man' was critically acclaimed as well as acclaimed by moviegoers.(Note: The film was released in 2006; hardly 10 years ago).

All in all, I think this is a bogus list.
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4:20PM on 02/25/2011

BS

This list is shit id say 10 of the 25 deserve to be on here the rest should be non hollywood filmakers. David O russel wouldnt even be on this list if he hadnt made an ok film called the fighter. This is a bad list and leave it to ew to make there list seem official. EW is really dumb when it comes to films. i know im not the only one out there who thinks so either. Christopher Nolan deserves the number 1 simply because all his films are good and hes done at lease 5 or 6 in ten years fincher
This list is shit id say 10 of the 25 deserve to be on here the rest should be non hollywood filmakers. David O russel wouldnt even be on this list if he hadnt made an ok film called the fighter. This is a bad list and leave it to ew to make there list seem official. EW is really dumb when it comes to films. i know im not the only one out there who thinks so either. Christopher Nolan deserves the number 1 simply because all his films are good and hes done at lease 5 or 6 in ten years fincher has done 4 3 of which were really good. David is an amazing director no doubt but hes not the best out there. this list is so annoying.
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3:54PM on 02/25/2011

Hollywood List

I agree with your assessment Mike all except, "Are we really that self-absorbed as an American culture to think that all the best filmmakers in the world are Hollywood-based?" Entertainment Weekly made the list, "we" didn't.
I agree with your assessment Mike all except, "Are we really that self-absorbed as an American culture to think that all the best filmmakers in the world are Hollywood-based?" Entertainment Weekly made the list, "we" didn't.
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3:53PM on 02/25/2011

Very good points Mike

Personally, I don't think J.J. Abrams has earned the right to be on this list yet. He may be one day, but between M:I-3 and Star Trek, there's not enough to warrant that.

Peter Weir absolutely deserves a spot. And They're just putting Lee in there to be politically correct. He's a better director than John Singleton or Antoine Fuqua, though. Likewise Kathryn Bigelow is the only woman, just cause she recently won the Oscar.

And where's Ang Lee and Jason Reitman?
Personally, I don't think J.J. Abrams has earned the right to be on this list yet. He may be one day, but between M:I-3 and Star Trek, there's not enough to warrant that.

Peter Weir absolutely deserves a spot. And They're just putting Lee in there to be politically correct. He's a better director than John Singleton or Antoine Fuqua, though. Likewise Kathryn Bigelow is the only woman, just cause she recently won the Oscar.

And where's Ang Lee and Jason Reitman?
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3:51PM on 02/25/2011

Working directors

I think when they say working directors they are talking about directing as a business and not really an art. They aren't saying these are the best skilled directors but rather the ones and are very business savvy. Just a guess tho.
I think when they say working directors they are talking about directing as a business and not really an art. They aren't saying these are the best skilled directors but rather the ones and are very business savvy. Just a guess tho.
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3:50PM on 02/25/2011

Can we finally get some credit here.

Cuaron was a blatant miss. I am finding the lack of love for Spike a little harsh. Really? Ten Years since his last good film? Really? At the very least An Inside Job was a good flick. Not Do the Right Thing for sure, but it's not like he is pumping out garbage.

But the biggest whole in the list, and it si time the man got some credit. Where is the Micheal Bay Love!!!!!!

The man can blow anything up, and I am sure he will keep working until he does blow everything up. That is a
Cuaron was a blatant miss. I am finding the lack of love for Spike a little harsh. Really? Ten Years since his last good film? Really? At the very least An Inside Job was a good flick. Not Do the Right Thing for sure, but it's not like he is pumping out garbage.

But the biggest whole in the list, and it si time the man got some credit. Where is the Micheal Bay Love!!!!!!

The man can blow anything up, and I am sure he will keep working until he does blow everything up. That is a working director, and that is a pretty great undertaking. He even blew up Megan Foxes career, and then blew it up again, just cause she criticized him.

So, number 0, with a bullet: Michael Bay.
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3:49PM on 02/25/2011
Three posts
Three posts
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3:49PM on 02/25/2011
three times for one click, huh?
three times for one click, huh?
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3:49PM on 02/25/2011
If lists like these are utterly subjective, then what's the point of cementing it in publication? This isn't a friend, this is a magazine, and I know that Nolan is a new favorite and that Fincher did a really relavent movie lots of people liked, but how do they top a man who's contributed great and influential films to cinema for fifty years ... let alone two?

Everybody on this list is fine (Kathryn Bigelow, especially ahead of Cameron is laughable, and I'd hoped for Michael Mann to show
If lists like these are utterly subjective, then what's the point of cementing it in publication? This isn't a friend, this is a magazine, and I know that Nolan is a new favorite and that Fincher did a really relavent movie lots of people liked, but how do they top a man who's contributed great and influential films to cinema for fifty years ... let alone two?

Everybody on this list is fine (Kathryn Bigelow, especially ahead of Cameron is laughable, and I'd hoped for Michael Mann to show up, but ya know) but the rankings seem ... REALLY shortsighted.
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3:45PM on 02/25/2011

Hmm

My thoughts exactly, Spike Jonze should definitely be on this list, and JJ should be in the top 10 without a doubt. BOGUS MAN BOGUS!!!
My thoughts exactly, Spike Jonze should definitely be on this list, and JJ should be in the top 10 without a doubt. BOGUS MAN BOGUS!!!
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3:12PM on 02/25/2011

Lame

No, there's no right list to this, and it's always fun to debate, but listing Edgar Wright - who has a lot of promise & 3 credible films under his belt - and Spike Lee - who hasn't made a good movie in 10 years - is asinine. Especially when leaving off Peter Weir, Cuaron, and Michael Mann. If you're going to list Wright with his few accomplishments, what about Spike Jonze and his few films and many music videos??!?!
No, there's no right list to this, and it's always fun to debate, but listing Edgar Wright - who has a lot of promise & 3 credible films under his belt - and Spike Lee - who hasn't made a good movie in 10 years - is asinine. Especially when leaving off Peter Weir, Cuaron, and Michael Mann. If you're going to list Wright with his few accomplishments, what about Spike Jonze and his few films and many music videos??!?!
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3:05PM on 02/25/2011
This list actually isn't THAT bad. I've seen far worse from bigger publications, and it's nice to see them including people like Malick and Wright and Lynch.

That being said, there are obvious glaring omissions. Cuaron NEEDS to be on that list. And Spike Jonze. Seriously Spike Jonze. And Michael Mann is still one of the 'best' directors though his past couple films haven't exactly grabbed me.

Also, Spike Lee should be nowhere near this list. If this list was top 50 he shouldn't be on it.
This list actually isn't THAT bad. I've seen far worse from bigger publications, and it's nice to see them including people like Malick and Wright and Lynch.

That being said, there are obvious glaring omissions. Cuaron NEEDS to be on that list. And Spike Jonze. Seriously Spike Jonze. And Michael Mann is still one of the 'best' directors though his past couple films haven't exactly grabbed me.

Also, Spike Lee should be nowhere near this list. If this list was top 50 he shouldn't be on it. Crazy overrated director with only a small number of quality films on his resume. Brad Bird hasn't done anything that Andrew Stanton or Pete Docter has done so until Mission Impossible comes out his inclusion is ridiculous.
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+1
2:15PM on 02/25/2011
Terrible list. Where is Alfonso Cuaron???!!!
Terrible list. Where is Alfonso Cuaron???!!!
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2:12PM on 02/25/2011
I got to say this list is missing Michael Mann, Ridley Scott, and Jud Apatow. Some of Scott's latest films have been a little sub par, but come on. Give the guy some credit! Hate all you want on Apatow, but for comedy, he's set the bar pretty high! Polanski Should come off the list for sure. And I agree with the Bigelow comment. I loved the Hurst Locker, but beyond that I couldn't tell you another film of her's I truly love, take her off.
I got to say this list is missing Michael Mann, Ridley Scott, and Jud Apatow. Some of Scott's latest films have been a little sub par, but come on. Give the guy some credit! Hate all you want on Apatow, but for comedy, he's set the bar pretty high! Polanski Should come off the list for sure. And I agree with the Bigelow comment. I loved the Hurst Locker, but beyond that I couldn't tell you another film of her's I truly love, take her off.
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1:43PM on 02/25/2011
The list is subjective, of couse. I think though, many of those names haven made enough movies to prove themselves.

Im going to begin with : How the fuck is P.T. Anderson not in the Top 5 ?

Eastwood has become one of the most solid and reliable director especially in the last 10 years: Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Flags of our Fathers, Letters From Iwo-Jima, Gran Torino, Invictus are all great movies and easily make up for the averageness of Blood Work and The Changelling.

Still
The list is subjective, of couse. I think though, many of those names haven made enough movies to prove themselves.

Im going to begin with : How the fuck is P.T. Anderson not in the Top 5 ?

Eastwood has become one of the most solid and reliable director especially in the last 10 years: Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Flags of our Fathers, Letters From Iwo-Jima, Gran Torino, Invictus are all great movies and easily make up for the averageness of Blood Work and The Changelling.

Still havent seen Hereafter, but the movie got high ratings from critics that matters.

Thos are all movies that came out in the last ten years. So where are the "very bad films" ?
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+3
1:42PM on 02/25/2011
I would think a list like this would feature directors who have had a SUCCESSION of great films...not just ONE great one that got a lot of attention recently. I really dug The Hurt Locker but it was Katherine Bigelow's best film in years. Anyone remember K-19? Same with Polanski...The Pianist came out years ago and The Ghost Writer got a B rating even by Entertainment Weekly themselves (I have a feeling they threw him on here to be "edgy"). And don't even get me started on David O. Russell.
I would think a list like this would feature directors who have had a SUCCESSION of great films...not just ONE great one that got a lot of attention recently. I really dug The Hurt Locker but it was Katherine Bigelow's best film in years. Anyone remember K-19? Same with Polanski...The Pianist came out years ago and The Ghost Writer got a B rating even by Entertainment Weekly themselves (I have a feeling they threw him on here to be "edgy"). And don't even get me started on David O. Russell. I enjoyed the fighter but I do resent it for making Russell one of the new "it" directors. He's average at best in the directing chair. Spike Lee is a solid director but he's been hit and miss lately. Where's Jason Reitman, whose last three films have been critical hits and earned him Academy Award nominations? And three directors Mike Sampson mentioned (Steven Soderbergh, Wong Kar-wai, and Spike Jonze) shouldn't even require a debate. Lists are always subjective but if want people to take your lists seriously, you should probably put more thought into them.
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1:28PM on 02/25/2011

MICHAEL MANN

Where's MICHAEL MANN?????????
Where's MICHAEL MANN?????????
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1:18PM on 02/25/2011
Well...isn't this list all cute and shiny...

I agree with most things people have said so far, but putting Spike Lee on this list is a joke. And, quite frankly (as a Spielberg fanboy, mind you), I don't see why Spielberg is so high up on the list. His last movie (as an Indiana Jones fanboy, check out my name) was absolute crap on a massive scale and if you look at his resume over the past 10-20 years or so, he's released more duds and letdowns than really solid films.

Also: Matthew
Well...isn't this list all cute and shiny...

I agree with most things people have said so far, but putting Spike Lee on this list is a joke. And, quite frankly (as a Spielberg fanboy, mind you), I don't see why Spielberg is so high up on the list. His last movie (as an Indiana Jones fanboy, check out my name) was absolute crap on a massive scale and if you look at his resume over the past 10-20 years or so, he's released more duds and letdowns than really solid films.

Also: Matthew Vaughn. He gave us Daniel Craig practically with "Layer Cake", he made one of the better (if not best) fantasy films not named "Lord of the Rings" (although not really accepted by American audiences) with "Stardust", and "Kick-Ass" ('nuff said). He may not be given a nomination every time he turns on a camera *cough* *aronofsky and eastwood* *cough*, but I think to truly be considered a great director, you have to do more than just make a few good movies, but you have to show versatility and ability to handle different styles and genres. Vaugh went from gritty crime thriller, to self-kidding fantasy, to a dramatic black comedy superhero film in a few short years. A few of those directors keep making the same movie with a slightly different plot, different cast (most of the time), and same look and feel.

All that said...why the hell is Bigelow on here? Aside from a "so bad it's good" gem called "Point Break" and a movie that somehow misused both Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson called "k-19 Widowmaker", all she's really done is "Hurt Locker" which was a PHENOMENAL movie, but are we really only going to put people whose oscar campaigns were successful/got the oscar for the one movie they made so far that deserved it? I like Bigelow, but greatest working director? Let's give her a few more releases first.
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1:15PM on 02/25/2011
It looks like a list compiled by someone who doesn't like "those movies with the writing along the bottom", equalling instant and massive list fail.
It looks like a list compiled by someone who doesn't like "those movies with the writing along the bottom", equalling instant and massive list fail.
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1:15PM on 02/25/2011
Whoops, double post.
Whoops, double post.
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1:15PM on 02/25/2011
They spelled David O. Russell's name wrong. I believe it's spelled "Any Director Other Than David O. Russell"
They spelled David O. Russell's name wrong. I believe it's spelled "Any Director Other Than David O. Russell"
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1:13PM on 02/25/2011
No, it's not the "greatest working directors" in my opinion, but that's why a list like this is subjective and not objective. I could care less. My list would have people that no one would ever consider to be "great directors", but people whose work I have enjoyed. I could care less what other people think of my opinions, but that's why I am free to have them and express them. Personally, I don't really care about anyone on this list, and I don't really see why people get all up in arms
No, it's not the "greatest working directors" in my opinion, but that's why a list like this is subjective and not objective. I could care less. My list would have people that no one would ever consider to be "great directors", but people whose work I have enjoyed. I could care less what other people think of my opinions, but that's why I am free to have them and express them. Personally, I don't really care about anyone on this list, and I don't really see why people get all up in arms about something like this anyway. It's not the "be all end all" for greatest directors alive. Why does everything have to be made into a competition anyway? Just go out there, do your thing, and let it go. That's why I have a great respect for people like Lloyd Kaufman and Frank Henenlotter, because they don't give a rat's ass about what other people think, they just go out and do it.
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1:00PM on 02/25/2011

Fuck off...

I can't believe that J.J. Abrams and Brad Bird are both BELOW fucking Spike Lee. Bullshit!
I can't believe that J.J. Abrams and Brad Bird are both BELOW fucking Spike Lee. Bullshit!
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2:25PM on 02/25/2011
Fuckouttahere. Abrams has directed TWO FILMS. Just TWO. Brad Birds film, while good, are all animated. He's never done any actual, on-set acting with groups of actors. Spike Lee, while he has fallen off recently and is a huge asshole, has a list of great films under his belt...

I can't believe THAT's what offended you most about this stupid list.
Fuckouttahere. Abrams has directed TWO FILMS. Just TWO. Brad Birds film, while good, are all animated. He's never done any actual, on-set acting with groups of actors. Spike Lee, while he has fallen off recently and is a huge asshole, has a list of great films under his belt...

I can't believe THAT's what offended you most about this stupid list.
+1
12:56PM on 02/25/2011
Nolan at #2? I think not.
Nolan at #2? I think not.
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12:50PM on 02/25/2011
Where the hell is Cronenburg he has been having a hell of a run in the last deacde not even including his classic work. He undoubtedly belongs on here
Where the hell is Cronenburg he has been having a hell of a run in the last deacde not even including his classic work. He undoubtedly belongs on here
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1:07PM on 02/25/2011
I'm with you. If anything, he's gotten BETTER.
I'm with you. If anything, he's gotten BETTER.
3:47PM on 02/25/2011
word
word
+1
12:26PM on 02/25/2011
The people who wrote the list (Entertainment Weekly) are morons. Steven Spielberg at #3?? Apparantly they didn't see 1941, Jurassic Park 2, Indiana Jones 4, The Terminal, A.I., or Amistad. Spielberg has pumped out a ton of shit over the last decade. He does not deserve to be in the top 10, much less the top 5.
The people who wrote the list (Entertainment Weekly) are morons. Steven Spielberg at #3?? Apparantly they didn't see 1941, Jurassic Park 2, Indiana Jones 4, The Terminal, A.I., or Amistad. Spielberg has pumped out a ton of shit over the last decade. He does not deserve to be in the top 10, much less the top 5.
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1:12PM on 02/25/2011
I agree, but A.I. was the bomb. LOL . . .
I agree, but A.I. was the bomb. LOL . . .
12:26PM on 02/25/2011
I disagree with your assessment of Spike Lee. Yes, Do The Right Thing was a long time ago but he also made He Got Game. Which is one of the most underrated films of the 1990s. One of Spike's best and one of Denzel's best. Then theres Mo Better Blues, Jungle Feaver, Clockers and the instant classic 25th Hour. Spike has also obtained a unique stylistic voice with his double dolly shots and fourth wall style of dialouge. IMHO he deserves his spot.
I disagree with your assessment of Spike Lee. Yes, Do The Right Thing was a long time ago but he also made He Got Game. Which is one of the most underrated films of the 1990s. One of Spike's best and one of Denzel's best. Then theres Mo Better Blues, Jungle Feaver, Clockers and the instant classic 25th Hour. Spike has also obtained a unique stylistic voice with his double dolly shots and fourth wall style of dialouge. IMHO he deserves his spot.
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12:16PM on 02/25/2011

10 reasons this list sucks

In no particular order
1. Ridley Scott
2. Tony Scott
3.Ang Lee
4. Park Chan-Wook
5. Guy Ritchie
6. Michael Mann
7. Paul Greengrass
8. Werner Herzog
9. Steven Soderbergh
10. Ed Zwick
Mike Leigh, Spike Lee and Pedro Almodovar are ahead of these guys?
In no particular order
1. Ridley Scott
2. Tony Scott
3.Ang Lee
4. Park Chan-Wook
5. Guy Ritchie
6. Michael Mann
7. Paul Greengrass
8. Werner Herzog
9. Steven Soderbergh
10. Ed Zwick
Mike Leigh, Spike Lee and Pedro Almodovar are ahead of these guys?
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1:50PM on 02/25/2011
Almodovar is better than MOST of these guys.
Almodovar is better than MOST of these guys.
5:32PM on 02/25/2011
Tarantino is ahead of these guys? Even Spielberg?
Tarantino is ahead of these guys? Even Spielberg?
-2
12:07PM on 02/25/2011

Most may disagree

so i know that many people will disagree and complain about this but no one can deny the effect that george lucas has had on movies. i know many dont like is latest endeavors into the star wars universe but they cant deny star wars as a whole. the original trilogy will always be classified as one of if not the best trilogies or all time. george should at least be in the top 25 for those movies. regardless of the overall opinion of prequel trilogy.
so i know that many people will disagree and complain about this but no one can deny the effect that george lucas has had on movies. i know many dont like is latest endeavors into the star wars universe but they cant deny star wars as a whole. the original trilogy will always be classified as one of if not the best trilogies or all time. george should at least be in the top 25 for those movies. regardless of the overall opinion of prequel trilogy.
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12:16PM on 02/25/2011
Fuckouttahere. Lucas didn't direct Empire or Jedi, and even if he had, that still doesn't get him a Top25 spot...
Fuckouttahere. Lucas didn't direct Empire or Jedi, and even if he had, that still doesn't get him a Top25 spot...
1:11PM on 02/25/2011
So he's one of the best directors working TODAY . . . ?
So he's one of the best directors working TODAY . . . ?
12:04PM on 02/25/2011

Mike Sampson is cool

I find Mike to be one of the best writers on the site, and I agree with his opinions the most usually... so THANK YOU for saying Wong Kar Wai!!! goddamnit.
I find Mike to be one of the best writers on the site, and I agree with his opinions the most usually... so THANK YOU for saying Wong Kar Wai!!! goddamnit.
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11:38AM on 02/25/2011
Soderbergh anyone?
Soderbergh anyone?
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11:38AM on 02/25/2011

where is?

Ivan Reitman, Jason Reitman, and i think Ben Affleck has a lot of good movies (as a director) coming
Ivan Reitman, Jason Reitman, and i think Ben Affleck has a lot of good movies (as a director) coming
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+3
11:19AM on 02/25/2011

Yay for Wes Anderson!

I'm one of those weirdos that thought that The Life Aquatic was hilarious. Love all his work, actually. Dude never gets any cred though.
I'm one of those weirdos that thought that The Life Aquatic was hilarious. Love all his work, actually. Dude never gets any cred though.
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11:44AM on 02/25/2011
Who's wes anderson?
Who's wes anderson?
1:49PM on 02/25/2011
People calling themselves weirdos or saying "Im weird like that" are very very lame.
People calling themselves weirdos or saying "Im weird like that" are very very lame.
11:15AM on 02/25/2011

They missed....

Ridley and Tony Scott and Jason Reitman.....
Ridley and Tony Scott and Jason Reitman.....
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11:09AM on 02/25/2011
Kathryn Bigelow? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

But seriously. PFFFFT HAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Kathryn Bigelow? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

But seriously. PFFFFT HAHAHAHAHAHAHA
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10:59AM on 02/25/2011
Cronenberg, people. Friggin' CRONENBERG didn't make the top 25??? Or Ridley Scott??? Mallick, Coens, Aranofsky and PT Anderson aren't high enough. I'd almost give P.T., Fincher and Mallick a 3 way tie for 1st w/ the Coens and Aranofsky tied for 2nd.
Cronenberg, people. Friggin' CRONENBERG didn't make the top 25??? Or Ridley Scott??? Mallick, Coens, Aranofsky and PT Anderson aren't high enough. I'd almost give P.T., Fincher and Mallick a 3 way tie for 1st w/ the Coens and Aranofsky tied for 2nd.
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10:33AM on 02/25/2011
just a matter of a title change. how about "Best Hollywood Directors plus a Foreigner and a Girl so it Looks Like we are Diverse and Stuff."
just a matter of a title change. how about "Best Hollywood Directors plus a Foreigner and a Girl so it Looks Like we are Diverse and Stuff."
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10:20AM on 02/25/2011
I would say Aronofsky is a better director than Nolan, but I do agree with Fincher being number 1.
I would say Aronofsky is a better director than Nolan, but I do agree with Fincher being number 1.
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10:11AM on 02/25/2011

No No No No No

Please stop reporting opinion pieces from EW, they're a fucking joke of a magazine and are not to be taken seriously in any conceivable way.
Please stop reporting opinion pieces from EW, they're a fucking joke of a magazine and are not to be taken seriously in any conceivable way.
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10:23AM on 02/25/2011
You've said all that needs to be said. Let us never speak of this "list" again.
You've said all that needs to be said. Let us never speak of this "list" again.
10:11AM on 02/25/2011
Uh.... where is Ridley Scott?
Uh.... where is Ridley Scott?
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+1
10:08AM on 02/25/2011
Yes, indeed a bit boring and predictable list. Directors I miss are for example Park Chan-wook, Kim Ji-woon, Hayao Miyazaki, Gus Van Sant (think he made his best films lately: Paranoid Park and Milk), Michael Haneke.....

Glad to see Wes Andersson mentioned though.

Yes, indeed a bit boring and predictable list. Directors I miss are for example Park Chan-wook, Kim Ji-woon, Hayao Miyazaki, Gus Van Sant (think he made his best films lately: Paranoid Park and Milk), Michael Haneke.....

Glad to see Wes Andersson mentioned though.

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-5
10:07AM on 02/25/2011
While the list is flawed I certainly think David Fincher is the best director today. He can make a masterpiece out of anything
While the list is flawed I certainly think David Fincher is the best director today. He can make a masterpiece out of anything
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+2
10:02AM on 02/25/2011

not bad

All in all it's a pretty good list. I guess if you want to nitpick you can disagree with everything, but it could be a lot worse. Sure, some great foreign directors are left out like the ones you mentioned and from the top of my had Chan-Wook Park, Miike or Ji-Woon Kim, but it's not bad nontheless. As for Fincher, I'd say that after a few poor years from Spielberg, he probably is the best director working today. Personally I like Nolan, because he still hasn't made a bad movie but Fincher also
All in all it's a pretty good list. I guess if you want to nitpick you can disagree with everything, but it could be a lot worse. Sure, some great foreign directors are left out like the ones you mentioned and from the top of my had Chan-Wook Park, Miike or Ji-Woon Kim, but it's not bad nontheless. As for Fincher, I'd say that after a few poor years from Spielberg, he probably is the best director working today. Personally I like Nolan, because he still hasn't made a bad movie but Fincher also works with me. The only thing that stands out is PT Anderson, I think he should be a lot higher on this list.
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10:01AM on 02/25/2011
For sheer unflinching non-compromise, Takeshi miike.
For sheer unflinching non-compromise, Takeshi miike.
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9:53AM on 02/25/2011

I'm a Fincher fan

So yeah, he's totally No. 1! For me at least...

Of course I'm biased. I would definitely put Hayao Miyazaki on there somewhere. Again, biased.
So yeah, he's totally No. 1! For me at least...

Of course I'm biased. I would definitely put Hayao Miyazaki on there somewhere. Again, biased.
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12:30PM on 02/25/2011
Yeah, Miyazaki is by far the most glaring omission.
Yeah, Miyazaki is by far the most glaring omission.
9:47AM on 02/25/2011

The $#!& list

Eh This is a toilet paper list. Someone was just taking a dump and had nothing better to do than write a list while not going anywhere for a while. The names are uninspired. The picks are not all noteworthy. The better thing would have been to just use that toilet paper this was written on for its original purpose.
Eh This is a toilet paper list. Someone was just taking a dump and had nothing better to do than write a list while not going anywhere for a while. The names are uninspired. The picks are not all noteworthy. The better thing would have been to just use that toilet paper this was written on for its original purpose.
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+6
9:43AM on 02/25/2011

Decent list...

For the most part it's a fine list (ignoring the order, are they actually ranking them?), but your point stands.

It's weird, though, they included Almodvar , so they obviously thought of a foreign director, but only him?

Besides, it's Entertainment Weekly, you can't count on them to cover much non-Hollywood related movies.
For the most part it's a fine list (ignoring the order, are they actually ranking them?), but your point stands.

It's weird, though, they included Almodvar , so they obviously thought of a foreign director, but only him?

Besides, it's Entertainment Weekly, you can't count on them to cover much non-Hollywood related movies.
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9:38AM on 02/25/2011
In my opinion, Fincher's last two movies were awful, Nolan has become an overblown mindless action movie director passing his movies off as art, Spielberg and Scorsese used to be good but aren't anymore, Arronofsky is hit or miss (hit: The Wrestler, miss: Black Swan), The Coen Bros. are overrated, Tarantino used to make real movies like Pulp Fiction but now just makes cartoonish parodies of other movies, and Edgar Wright hasn't made a single movie I've liked. So, I'm not a fanboy who loves all
In my opinion, Fincher's last two movies were awful, Nolan has become an overblown mindless action movie director passing his movies off as art, Spielberg and Scorsese used to be good but aren't anymore, Arronofsky is hit or miss (hit: The Wrestler, miss: Black Swan), The Coen Bros. are overrated, Tarantino used to make real movies like Pulp Fiction but now just makes cartoonish parodies of other movies, and Edgar Wright hasn't made a single movie I've liked. So, I'm not a fanboy who loves all of these director's movies. I judge them on a case to case basis, regardless of who the director is, and I have no problem criticizing them if they disappoint me.
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