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Top 10 Most Overrated Directors Working Today

The modern film director is looked at far more favorably than in the early days of Hollywood. A vital role in the creation of a film, a director can carry as much clout (and sometimes more) than the marquee names starring in their movie. But, sometimes a filmmaker is nowhere near as good as they are credited to be. Now, I am not saying any of the filmmakers on this list are bad directors, but they are far more overrated than they deserve. If you disagree with these selections or think a filmmaker was missed, let us know in the comments below.

Christopher Nolan

THE DARK KNIGHT is a masterpiece. I really love INCEPTION. THE PRESTIGE is underrated and MEMENTO is awesome. But, INTERSTELLAR and DUNKIRK are two exercises in tedium from a filmmaker who thinks he is the greatest gift to the medium since Stanley Kubrick. I have no doubt that Christopher Nolan will turn out at least another masterpiece or two in his career, but right now we are treating him as if he walks on water because he made two okay Batman movies and one brilliant one.

Ridley Scott

Ridley Scott's last great movie was KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, but only the director's cut. After a career that started out with classic after classic, Scott's output has never quite lived up to BLADE RUNNER or ALIEN. Sure, GLADIATOR is good and I like PROMETHEUS, but most of Scott's films carry more acclaim than they deserve. While you have to give Scott credit for being able to re-film ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD in such a short window to maintain a release date, that speaks more to the director's ability to meet deadlines rather than make a film the way it should be made. I can make a sandwich in half the time as someone else, but that doesn't mean it will taste as good.

Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg used to be a great director. For almost three decades, there was no one better. But, for the last twenty years, Spielberg has fallen into mediocrity and released film after film that are shells of his former brilliance. Since 2000, Spielberg has directed 14 films and only MUNICH, A.I., and MINORITY REPORT deserve to be remembered. Every time Spielberg makes a new movie, I hope against hope that it will be a return to form, but I am starting to think that age is catching up to him and he may not have much left to give.

Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood has never been a great director. Over the last four decades, Eastwood has helmed almost forty movies. Of those, maybe one or two actually stand out as worthy of being called masterpieces. Aside from UNFORGIVEN and MYSTIC RIVER, the majority of Eastwood's films are workmanlike and feel like they could have been directed by virtually anybody. Without that distinctiveness, there really is nothing special about Clint Eastwood as a filmmaker.

Tim Burton

Tim Burton was once a fringe filmmaker who made bizarre movies like BEETLEJUICE and EDWARD SCISSORHANDS. Once he made BATMAN, Burton reached a new echelon in his career but he has never quite matched that height. Sure, ED WOOD and BIG FISH show he still has the chops to make a great movie, but too often are we saddled with the mediocrity of PLANET OF THE APES and ALICE IN WONDERLAND. Even the upcoming DUMBO looks like a cookie cutter studio film trying to look like a Tim Burton movie rather than something the filmmaker deeply cares about making.

Michael Bay

If you take a good look at the career of Michael Bay, he really has only directed a couple of truly great movies. Most of his work has been good or serviceable, but with his TRANSFORMERS movies he turned destruction and explosions into something kind of boring. THE ROCK is great and I enjoy ARMAGEDDON, but since BAD BOYS II, Bay has not produced a movie that has not looked like everything he has already made. A case can be made for PAIN & GAIN and even 13 HOURS, but they just don't have the energy or visceral nature of Bay's early movies.

James Cameron

James Cameron is a legendary director thanks to his brilliant work on the first two TERMINATOR films and TRUE LIES. But, with TITANIC, he suddenly was being hailed as the greatest filmmaker of the modern era. TITANIC is vastly overrated, as is AVATAR. Both films are technically proficient and revolutionized filmmaking, but they are hollow emotionally. I am sure the AVATAR sequels will continue to raise the bar for cinematic achievements, but that a great director must balance the technical with storytelling and acting. Cameron has not done that effectively in decades.

Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck is not a bad director, he just isn't a great director. With ARGO winning all sorts of awards, it was easy to bestow laurels of brilliance on Affleck. ARGO is a case of a film hitting all the right notes at the right time. GONE BABY GONE was a fine example of a filmmaker on the rise and THE TOWN showed definite promise, but LIVE BY NIGHT shows what can happen when you no longer live by checks and balances and don't self edit. Affleck may have gotten too much acclaim too soon and now I am afraid he thinks more of his burgeoning skills than he should.

Zack Snyder

Unlike McQuarrie, Zack Snyder does have a distinctive style to his films that make them uniquely his own. Snyder, however, does not work well in moderation. When going balls to the wall, like with WATCHMEN and SUCKER PUNCH, Snyder comes out to play. But, with his recent work in the DCEU, Snyder has delved too deeply into a dark toned and grim universe. There is not enough fun that can be seen in his earlier work, something I hope he gets back to now that he is not tied to Batman or Superman.

Christopher McQuarrie

As a director, Christopher McQuarrie is one of the best screenwriters in Hollywood. No, that was not a typo. McQuarrie has a writer's eye for storytelling that does not quite put him in the same company as some of the most iconic and legendary filmmakers of all time. For as good as the last two MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE films have been, that is more due to Tom Cruise's unyielding dedication to stuntwork. Any filmmaker could have stepped in to direct these movies and they would have still been good. McQuarrie doesn't do much to distinguish himself as a director which is why he finds himself on this list.

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