Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Review: ‘Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation’ Starring Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Jeremy Renner & More Review: ‘Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation’ Starring Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Jeremy Renner & More Relativity Puts 'Jane Got A Gun' And More Up For Sale As They Fight Off Bankruptcy Relativity Puts 'Jane Got A Gun' And More Up For Sale As They Fight Off Bankruptcy Zack Snyder Says Batman Has A "Crisis Of Conscience" In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Plus New Pics Zack Snyder Says Batman Has A "Crisis Of Conscience" In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Plus New Pics Venice 2015 Line-Up: 'Equals' With Kristen Stewart, 'Beasts Of No Nation,' 'The Danish Girl,' More Venice 2015 Line-Up: 'Equals' With Kristen Stewart, 'Beasts Of No Nation,' 'The Danish Girl,' More Watch: 4-Minute Tribute To Lars von Trier's Masterful Film Work Watch: 4-Minute Tribute To Lars von Trier's Masterful Film Work New 'Deadpool' Images, Ryan Reynolds Distances Himself From 'X-Men: Origins' New 'Deadpool' Images, Ryan Reynolds Distances Himself From 'X-Men: Origins' TIFF Images: Emma Watson In 'Colonia,' Brie Larson In 'Room,' Charlie Kaufman's 'Anomalisa' And More TIFF Images: Emma Watson In 'Colonia,' Brie Larson In 'Room,' Charlie Kaufman's 'Anomalisa' And More Richard Linklater Frontrunner To Direct 'The Rosie Project' Starring Jennifer Lawrence Richard Linklater Frontrunner To Direct 'The Rosie Project' Starring Jennifer Lawrence Watch: Blu-Ray Trailer For 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron' Plus 11 New Clips From The Film Watch: Blu-Ray Trailer For 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron' Plus 11 New Clips From The Film The 10 Best And 5 Worst Tom Cruise Performances The 10 Best And 5 Worst Tom Cruise Performances Watch: New Trailer For 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Blu-ray Release Explores Who Killed The World Watch: New Trailer For 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Blu-ray Release Explores Who Killed The World Just For Laughs: 'The Big Lebowski' Live Read With Michael Fassbender & Jennifer Lawrence Just For Laughs: 'The Big Lebowski' Live Read With Michael Fassbender & Jennifer Lawrence Union Rep Says Safety Was A Concern On 'The Revenant' Shoot Union Rep Says Safety Was A Concern On 'The Revenant' Shoot All The Songs In 'Paper Towns' Including Bon Iver, Wilco, Vampire Weekend, Bob Dylan, And More All The Songs In 'Paper Towns' Including Bon Iver, Wilco, Vampire Weekend, Bob Dylan, And More "A Living Hell": 'The Revenant' Is Reportedly $35 Million Over Budget, A Producer Exited The Movie, And More "A Living Hell": 'The Revenant' Is Reportedly $35 Million Over Budget, A Producer Exited The Movie, And More The 20 Best Documentaries Of 2015 So Far The 20 Best Documentaries Of 2015 So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far "It Was A Clusterfuck From Day One": 5 Things About Neill Blomkamp's Failed 'Halo' Movie "It Was A Clusterfuck From Day One": 5 Things About Neill Blomkamp's Failed 'Halo' Movie

Entertainment Weekly Pick The 25 Greatest Working Directors; Confirms The Fallacy Of Listmaking

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist February 25, 2011 at 1:58AM

Lists are subjective. That's the joy of them, to some degree -- you get to see the tastes of others, and hopefully pick up a few tips for things you may have overlooked. And you're never going to find a list that you agree with 100%, particularly when the stakes are bigger -- lists of 'greatest films' or 'greatest directors' are a veritable minefield of disputes and feuds. But that doesn't change the fact that some lists are just dumb.
19


Lists are subjective. That's the joy of them, to some degree -- you get to see the tastes of others, and hopefully pick up a few tips for things you may have overlooked. And you're never going to find a list that you agree with 100%, particularly when the stakes are bigger -- lists of 'greatest films' or 'greatest directors' are a veritable minefield of disputes and feuds. But that doesn't change the fact that some lists are just dumb.

Entertainment Weekly, hot off the success of recent lists like "The 25 Greatest Episodes Of "Glee," "The 25 Best Characters In "Glee," and, of course, "The 25 Best Songs From "Glee," published earlier in the week a list of the 25 Greatest Working Directors, and it's fair to say that we have one or two, or indeed 25, issues with it. It's topped by "The Social Network" helmer David Fincher, closely followed by Christopher Nolan, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and Darren Aronofsky.

It's not that the directors they've picked are bad -- every one of them has shown their chops on at least one project, but it seems somewhat perverse to say the least to include, say J.J. Abrams, who's directed two movies, one of which terrifically, and one of which tepidly. But there's an enormous short-sightedness on display. There's no way that Fincher would have been placed so highly before "The Social Network" or that David O. Russell or Kathryn Bigelow would have been placed at all before "The Fighter" or "The Hurt Locker." We're just thankful that Tom Hooper somehow didn't find his way on there; but hey, there's always next year!

Also, where the fuck is Steven Soderbergh?

But the biggest problem here, as we're sure you've guessed by now, is the extremely narrow world-view on display. Stunningly, only Pedro Almodovar, Mike Leigh and Roman Polanski, who work exclusively outside Hollywood (the latter not exactly by choice...) feature on the list and only Almodovar is the only helmer who hasn't worked in the English language. We're aware that Entertainment Weekly need to gear their list towards their audience, who need something to read between "American Idol" recaps, and it's not exactly any different from what we were expecting, but it's still kind of infuriating.

We're going to spend the rest of the day trying to lower our blood pressure, and introducing the staff of the magazine to David Cronenberg, Wong Kar-Wai, Claire Denis, the Dardenne Brothers, Bong Joon-Ho, Werner Herzog, Jean-Luc Godard, Hayao Miyazaki, Abbas Kiarostami, Lars Von Trier and three dozen others, but you can check the full list out below. Which omission makes you the angriest?

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

This article is related to: Christopher Nolan, Mike Leigh, Edgar Wright, Wes Anderson, Terrence Malick, Coen Brothers, Guillermo del Toro, David O. Russell, David Lynch, Paul Thomas Anderson, Spike Lee, Roman Polanski


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates