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Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday's Top 5... Directors with Disowned Movies

#5: David O. Russell

David O. Russell isn't among my favorite directors. I think he's good, but a bit overrated, particularly now that's he's crossed over into a mainstream/Academy friendly period in his career. However, any director who has Three Kings to his credit is clearly someone capable of greatness, which is why Accidental Love (formerly known as Nailed, back when Russell was actually taking credit for it) looks like a fascinating trainwreck to me rather than just a flat out trainwreck.

#4: David Lynch

With the possible exception of the gentle, straightforward The Straight Story, David Lynch has never, not even remotely, seemed like a mainstream filmmaker. That's why it is still so bizarre that he would be entrusted to make a huge budget epic like Dune, which needed to appeal to a wide audience if it was going to break even. Lynch has made great movies, but even those films are more "niche appeal" than "mass appeal," so it's not entirely surprising that the film he turned in was not exactly what the financiers' expected or that the editing process would be taken away from him, resulting in a cut of the film in which the director had his name removed from the credits.

#3: Steven Soderbergh

Steven Soderbergh has had not just a prolific career, but an incredibly varied one as well, both in terms of the genres that he's played with and in terms of the ultimate quality of his projects. He's got more hits than misses, and the post-sex, lies, and videotape, pre-Out of Sight period of his career is by his own acknowledgement particularly "miss" heavy, but only 1995's The Underneath has earned his outright disavowal. Fortunately he persevered through that period of his career, otherwise we wouldn't have The Limey, Out of Sight, Traffic or any number of other good and solidly entertaining films.

#2: David Fincher

Imagine a cinematic landscape that does not include Seven or Fight Club or Zodiac. Imagine if the notoriously horrible production on Alien 3, David Fincher's feature debut, had destroyed his desire to make movies. Luckily Fincher merely disowned the film and then went on to make the series of good to great movies he's got to his credit since then, solidifying himself as one of the most consistently excellent filmmakers working today.

#1: Stanley Kubrick

Speaking of stumbling the first time out and then recovering to have a great career afterwards, Stanley Kubrick was so down on his debut feature Fear and Desire that he made efforts to remove it from circulation. Those efforts ultimately were not entirely successful, though the film remains one of Kubrick's least seen pictures.


The Taxi Driver said...

Awesome list. You're right about Dune, although considering it was originally supposed Aljandro Jodorowsky, one had to wonder who thought this movie was going to come out conventional.

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Wendell Ottley said...

Very nice list. Fincher was the first person I thought of when I saw the topic. Recently, Spike Lee has distanced himself from the Oldboy remake, at least the version that turned up in theaters. He went so far as to refuse to include his trademark seal declaring it a Spike Lee Joint. Don't know if he's completely disavowed it because he and Josh Brolin have been championing the much longer director's cut.