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Thread: Favourite Underrated Director

  1. #1
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    Default Favourite Underrated Director

    Mine is without doubt John Carpenter.

    Someone is probably going to quibble about what constitutes "underrated" and I really don't want to see this thread dissolve into that pile of wank so please, just talk about your own favourite underrated director with the only criteria being that you think he/she is generally underrated.

    So, yeah, John Carpenter. Halloween, Escape From New York, The Thing and In The Mouth Of Madness are some of my favourite films ever made yet I rarely rewatch them and tend to forget John Carpenter even exists. I love the guy and even I am clearly not giving him his due. I need to rectify this.

    Your turn.
    Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves. Bill Hicks

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    Carpenter's amazing. Not sure he's exactly undercredited though, he's pretty much seen as up there with the greats.

    Love The Blob by Chuck Russell, too, as far as remakes go, that thing's beyond perfect. He's made some great movies, The Mask and Eraser and stuff, never really seemed to "make it" though.

    Weirdly, I caught The Island on TV last night randomly. First time I'd seen it since it came out, I'd forgotten how decent it was. Now I wouldn't call Michael Bay an "underrated" director, since yeah, a majority of his stuff licks donkey balls, but it's weird how when he's on-form and making stuff like this and The Rock, he's really solid. The Island isn't some great, innovative achievement or anything, but it's really well-made, awesomely staged action and surprisingly more than a little substance. I think with Bay it's more that just like 80% of the time he chooses to make shit, y'know? If he can throw out something like The Rock once a decade, that's enough for me not to put too much stock into all the hatred. Not like I'd pay to see Transformers or whatever anyway. I guess I just believe in credit where it's due.

    As for actual underrated people, Joe Johnston's always the top of my list for that. Renny Harlin I'd probably add to that, gets a bit of a bad rap. Sure, Die Hard 2 doesn't hold a candle to the original, but it's a well-crafted action movie, and pretty much all of his bigger/more popular movies are too, The Long Kiss Goodnight and Cliffhanger and stuff. People seem to majorly loathe the dude though.
    Last edited by Eskimo; 01-10-2014 at 10:54 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eskimo View Post
    Carpenter's amazing. Not sure he's exactly undercredited though, he's pretty much seen as up there with the greats.
    Yeah, I get what you're saying. I guess I was actually thinking specifically of underrated greats, if you know what I mean? Directors who may get love from serious movie aficionados but are often overlooked by casual movie fans or remembered for the wrong reasons. But I really don't want to get bogged down in that because it's much more fun to just talk about the movies.

    Die Hard 2 has the distinction of being the only good Die Hard sequel. As you say, it doesn't hold a candle to the original, but it's a nice enough companion piece. It still has that Die Hard feel to it unlike any of the other sequels.

    I've seen all the movies you mentioned but can't remember most of them well enough to really comment. I did see Eraser a couple of years ago so I can remember that a little better. Why do you consider that a great movie? I've only ever thought of it as a pretty average Schwarzenegger vehicle. Decent, certainly, but nothing special. What have I missed?

    I basically agree with you regarding Michael Bay. He does his thing, and his thing is hugely successful. I can't really fault the dude for that. And, like you, I think he knows exactly what he's doing. He says himself that he makes movies for teenage boys. Nothing wrong with that really.

    Oh, I'm now going to add Paul Verhoeven. RoboCop, Total Recall and Starship Troopers are all brilliant. Even Showgirls is wonderfully entertaining in its own way.
    Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves. Bill Hicks

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    Oh, Eraser's definitely not anything great. It's just a solid, intense action movie that you don't really see a lot of anymore, in that style. It's just "a B+/A- Ahnuld movie", but by a guy who's made some good stuff over the years but is basically a total unknown.

    As for Die Hard, 3's a better movie than 2. They both suffer from the whole "retread of the original" thing, but they're both pretty much in the same style and feel as 1. McTiernan made 3, too. Sure, it's really big in scope and kicked all that off for 4 and the shitty recent one, and the Gruber brother thing seemed too convenient, but it's a blast of a movie.

    I like 2 a lot too, though, that definitely gets more hate than it deserves. It's just unoriginal and uninspired, not bad. And Harlin makes great hardcore action flicks.

    As for Bay, plenty of people make movies "for teenage boys". A lot of the Amblin movies could be labelled with that. Bay just goes for the lowest common denominator of that group, unfortunately. But again, The Rock and The Island are the exception, as they're actually really well-made.

    Again, Verhoeven's amazing (Robocop's probably my favorite movie ever, bar none), but he's hardly underrated. All his Dutch films are hugely critically blowjobbed, and while his more action-oriented American stuff is kind of seen as gratuitously-violent schlock, he gets the big props on all the social commentary stuff. Maybe Starship Troopers aside (which I love), all of his stuff is praised big-time. Awesome, but not underrated.

    I'd throw Joe Dante out there, too. Gremlins and Small Soldiers. Saw the latter recently for the first time in years, that's such a great, quirky, surprisingly-nasty family movie. Kinda the same vein as Johnston, he's made movies everyone knows and loves, but never really managed to leave that B-grade "Spielberg and Lucas apostle" level.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eskimo View Post
    Again, Verhoeven's amazing (Robocop's probably my favorite movie ever, bar none), but he's hardly underrated. All his Dutch films are hugely critically blowjobbed
    And again, I wasn't talking about what professional critics think. I'm talking about normal people who like movies. In my experience he is overlooked by many casual movie fans.

    Also, neither Verhoeven or Carpenter have ever been nominated for an Oscar as far as I know. 65 different directors have won the Oscar for directing. Presumably hundreds have been nominated. 91 directors have been nominated multiple times. Verhoeven and Carpenter have never been nominated. This is the kind of thing I meant by "underrated". Perhaps there was a better word to use. I don't know. All I wanted was a way of explaining that I desired a nice chat about your favourite directors while skipping over obvious directors that everyone appreciates like Spielberg, Cameron or Howard. That's all I meant and all I wanted. And I very carefully said, right at the beginning, that people should just talk about whatever directors they personally feel are underrated. Because I wanted to avoid the boring monotony of one person saying one name and another person doing the predictable "they're not underrated!" thing. So, please consider this a polite request to refrain from doing that. It could put others off from joining in and I'm just trying to spark some pleasant conversation while the forum seems particularly quiet. Sound reasonable?

    Back on Verhoeven, apparently Starship Troopers is getting a remake now and of course RoboCop and Total Recall already have. I doubt any of these will be any good but I'm hoping maybe they can reignite some interest in the originals or inspire a new generation to seek them out. Thoughts on that?

    Forgot to mention before that I love The Rock. One of my favourite action movies ever. If Bay could/would kick one of those out every summer I'd start going to the cinema again.

    I hadn't realized Joe Dante also did Inner Space and The 'Burbs. Loved those when I was a kid almost as much as Gremlins.
    Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves. Bill Hicks

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    I heard the recent Total Recall movie was more closely based on the book rather than being a remake of the first movie and that it's actually pretty good, though I haven't seen it, myself. I'm worried that they're going to treat Robocop as a generic slick sci-fi/action thing instead of a satire like it was intended originally. I suspect the same thing about Starship Troopers, though I'm less bothered by that since the source material (the book) wasn't intended as a satire, Paul Verhoven and the writer just hated it and turned it into one.

    Also, I legitimately enjoyed Pain and Gain as a far as Michael Bay movies go.

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    Good point there Josh. I had heard that about Starship Troopers but not about Total Recall. Perhaps it's wrong to think of them as remakes at all and they should instead be thought of only as new book adaptations. I suppose whenever a new adaptation of Pride and Prejudice comes out nobody really calls it a remake of the last one. It's just a new adaptation. Maybe that applies.
    Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves. Bill Hicks

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    The Total Recall remake was much more like the book, but it was shit. Generic action movie. Cool art design, but none of the stuff that made the original entertaining.

    Robocop'll be ass, they seem to be playing it straight. I don't even mind the PG-13 thing, they go that way with most things these days, but without the satirical, black-humor nature, it's not Robocop. Love the cast, but it looks ass. And the director rocks, so it's unfortunate.

    The Troopers remake will likely be more faithful to the book, too, wouldn't be hard. But I wouldn't bank on it being half as enjoyable as Paul's.

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    I was gonna say Verhoeven, but PiB beat me to it.

    Hmm I guess there is an advantage in living in a tiny Europeab nation, pretty much all of our directors are underrated. (Except Lars Von Trier, he's grossly overrated.)

    I'd like to say Nikolas Winding-Refn was underrated, but his movies are very hit or miss.

    I personally enjoy Lasse Spang Olsen quite a bit. Should you have an opportunity to find In China They Eat Dogs, and its sequel Old Men in New Cars. These are great examples of his sense of humor.
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