A Winning Streak…

Oh boy, this one’s going to be listy. And picture light. That’s what happens when you use the WordPress app…it is a little…limiting.

I got thinking as I half-watched Crimes of Lesser Potter this weekend about Directors who’ve made movies I like since the ’70’s and who has got the longest ‘ streak’ of films I really enjoyed. Now keep in mind this is all in my not-so-humble-opinion…but bottom line, I think the longest run is 7.

But it’s actually difficult for me to get passed 3 for most directors. (No mini projects/ tv eps/ promos or shorts…)

Stephen Spielberg – well, it’s no secret I’m not the biggest fan in the world, but even if you take Jaws and Close Encounters you get 1941…I may be one of the few people on Earth who hates ET, so that rules Raiders 1 and 2 out, after that Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List has Hook and JP 2 either side of them. After that, I can’t find two films in a row I liked…Ok, so that starts the controversial nature of this thing: I’m edgy, huh?

With Francis Ford Coppola we get Godfather, The Conversation, Godfather 2, Apocalypse Now...but then we get One from the Heart which, even with the Tom Waits OST is a tricky one to defend.

Martin Scorsese – tricky one. New York, New York breaks up Taxi Driver, The Last Waltz, (but then you’ve got American Boy anyway…), Raging Bull, King of Comedy, After Hours and then Color of Money. A couple of blockers there, and a lot of people don’t love After Hours or Color of Money – personally, they’re two of my Scorses favourites, but regardless, that’s a broken run.

Woody Allen – a question as you can do ‘serious’ Woody in a way (and oh for the time when that didn’t sound as bad as it does). But I’d say you can go Zelig, Broadway Danny Rose, Purple Rose of Cairo and Hannah and her Sisters, and possibly even Radio Days before you have to consider A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy or September at either end.

Quentin TarantinoJackie Brown just spoils any chance of an early run for me. And then later Death Proof…nah. Just can’t argue for this one I’m afraid.

James Cameron – For some, The Abyss might stop the early run amongst Terminator, Aliens, T2 and True Lies but the Director’s Cut is still one of my favourite Cameron flicks. Titanic…I struggle to defend more. (And I’m not even making the case for Pirhana 2)

Paul Thomas Anderson – loved Hard Eight, Boogie Nights and Magnolia. Have tried Punch Drunk Love three times: finished it even, gotten it? Never.

Christopher Nolan: Insomnia and Interstellar are always going to be the ones that stop an unbroken love…although Batman Begins through to DKR I’ll got back to again and again.

There are a bunch of others of course –  John Carpenter: Assault on Precinct 13, Halloween, but then The Fog, Or, Escape from New York and The Thing, but then Christine (great book, shonky film as fondly as I want to remember it as the first certificate X I ever went to see), John Landis – what happened after Animal House, Blues Brothers, American Werewolf in London and Trading Places…? (Oh yeah – Into the Night and then not much more…) Luc Besson: my one time favourite director with Le Dernier Combat, Subway, The Big Blue, La Femme Nikita, (ehhh. Atlantis), Leon…and bits of Fifth Element. Tim Burton – Well there’s a start: Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, Batman (yeah, I know: now a bit campy, but you had to be there back in 1989 queuing for first showing outside Byth Wallaw, and Michael Keaton as best Batman is still a hill I die on), but Edward Scissorhands as much as I try to like it is…meh, before Batman Returns and Ed Wood…then we get Mars Attacks! – dumb fun, but objectively not really very good…)

All four of the above share something in common with my ultimate choice:  My seven-time favourite. And that is: they haven’t made a film I’ve enjoyed in way more than the last 10 years…in the case of the two Johns that’s partly through lack of work, but the others – all working hard. As is my number one choice…
photograph of rob reiner
Rob Reiner

Between 1984 and 1992 Rob Reiner made these films – his first seven:

This is Spinal Tap. The Sure Thing. Stand by Me. The Princess Bride. When Harry Met Sally. Misery. A Few Good Men. 

In a row.

Just think about that (and if you don’t think The Sure Thing is one of the best teen rom-coms of the ’80’s you’re dead wrong) in terms of quality, variety and consistency. Humour, Suspense, Romance, Laugh out loud comedy, Action, Terror…hell, that’s just The Princess Bride.

Personally, that’s three of my top twenty or so films…pretty much in a row…

And Reiner’s last seven films from 2007 to 2017?

Shock and Awe, LBJ, Being Charlie, And So It Goes, The Magic of Belle Isle, Flipped and The Bucket List.

That’s not a case of a director maturing. That’s just depressing.

Will Reiner make another movie to match his early output? It’s not looking good.

Will John Carpenter ever be allowed to make something else in Hollywood? It seems they’d rather just remake or reboot his stuff to produce inferior efforts.

Will John Landis make something outside of TV? Sure, TV’s not the wasteland it once was, but even so…

Will Tim Burton make something interesting again? He doesn’t seem too interested in doing so, preferring to remake and neuter childhood classics.

And Luc Besson? What once seemed visions of strong, independent female characters like Nikita, is now just looking, well…a sad old man’s perverted dating programme (maybe he’ll get around to watching Audition and reconsider, but it’s not looking likely…)

So there you go…highly subjective and probably wrong in your opinion but if so, why not comment and let me know who you think has the best ‘winning streak’ of the last 50 years or so?

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