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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Who Isn't…

… going to replace the place in the movie world of Spielberg, Scorsese, and Lucas?
There are a lot of good young directors in the world. But has anyone come close to stepping up into that space that these men have occupied for more than 25 years now?
You could argue Peter Jackson in for Lucas, maybe. Limited palette. Building an empire outside of the Hollywood system.
But have we found anyone who is close to Scorsese? (Meirelles is brilliant, but already 50.)
Will we ever see an impresario like Spielberg, combining his own films and the production of many big hits from others, ever again?
It isn’t going to be Roland Emmerich or Bryan Singer or Brett Ratner or Sam Raimi or The Wachowskis or Michael Bay or even Pixar. Or will it?

89 Responses to “Who Isn't…”

  1. Blackcloud says:

    I’ll take Jackson seriously as a successor to Lucas when he starts doing his own thing, and not others’. Until then, no dice.

  2. Blackcloud says:

    That’s why I give more credit to the Wachowskis, even though overall LOTR edges out The Matrix. For all its many problems, it’s an original, and LOTR isn’t. They, like Lucas, created their own world. I think Jackson has what it takes to do so. I just wish he would.

  3. martin says:

    one could argue that tarantino is the pseudo-indie response to spielberg. Jackson is a fair Lucas comparison, what with the big franchise/box office successes and the creation of a 21st century technology company. But an actual hollywood director-mogul like spielberg is a tough one. No one really standing out that will be a successor. Out of those, my bets would be on someone like Lasseter, who could be the kind of 3D animation directing and producing over the next decade or so, perhaps taking it into a new territory. The rest feel too limited in their appeal/talent to get the brass ring.

  4. David Poland says:

    Tarantino?
    You mean the guy who has made 4 films, only one of which grossed more than $71 million and who has never produced a film, but rather has given his name to the Weinsteins for marketing purposes?
    Holy holy.

  5. lindenen says:

    Tarantino’s also damn lazy.

  6. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    I’d say Jonathan Glazer (Birth, Sexy Beast) is going to be a big directorial name in the future.

  7. Mr. Bloppy says:

    Jackson is the only one to me who could be Speilberg. He’s made 3 (and hopefully 4) popular and critical hits. We don’t know that he’s got a “Schindler’s List” in him but we didn’t know that about Speilberg 4 films in either.
    By the Box Office standard Dave, Tarantino is better match for Scorcese. He’s not as purely artistic as Scorcese but they both love violence.
    Also: I know that this is going to sound strange but I feel like some of the big directors of tomorrow are going to come from Animation–Lasseter, Bird, Adamson.

  8. mutinyco says:

    The thing about those 3 directors, quite honestly, is that they all came in at a very specific changing of the guard. It would be difficult for another director to do that unless the circumstances allowed. Arguments can be made that both James Cameron and Robert Zemeckis have had equally successful careers, though without the fanfare.
    The real question should be: which directors have the ambition to do what those 3 have done?

  9. PetalumaFilms says:

    GREAT topic David, and I don’t think there IS an answer. I think that the huge burst of indie films in the early 90’s has spawned a huge amount of copy cats and that will haunt us for many years.
    Having just come out of a film school in L.A. I can safely say I haven’t seen ANYONE with an original vision there. I also attend 5-6 film fests a year and see alot of people with a great eye or a great idea or a great character…but never all those things and more. I personally attribute it to the following:
    1) The idea of director as celebrity…ala Tarantino, Kevin Smith and/or even Guy Ritchie. I know that there have been many, many other celebrity directors, but these people were sooo much smarter than the people I mentioned. Which leads to….
    2) The dumbing down of people in general…but especially Americans. People, for the most part in this country…are fucking stupid. They don’t read books, they don’t do their homework and they don’t have a vision or a point of view. I’m certainly not saying I’m a genius, but I care about more that what kind of car I can buy, who’s dating Paris Hilton and what “looks cool” onscreen. It seems like everyone wants the status and no one wants to challenge the audience or even the establishment.
    Rant off.

  10. Amblinman says:

    From a storytelling perspective, Jackson very much has what it takes to replace Spielberg. He’s ten times the filmmaker Lucas is, so I won’t even touch that one. I’d also throw Shyamalan’s name into the Spielberg successor ring. “Signs” was the best Steven Spielberg movie Spielberg never made. I used to think Singer was going to be the heir apparent to Spielberg, but unfortunately it seems he’s going to be locked into making Superman movies for the next decade.
    As for replacing Scorsese, I’m not sure that anyone can. I would have thought a guy like Fincher had the filmmaking chops, but he’s become enamored with making STUDIO movies (I’m not looking forward to his “Scorpio”. It reeks of a filmmaker going back to successful roots after striking out a couple of times).
    As for Lucas, what needs replacing, exactly? He’s a horrible director so no loss there. His STAR WARS films, the first three anyway, are great pop culture icons but I’d hardly call them original. The last three were awful and will age horribly. In fact, in years to come I’d be willing to bet the prequels become the source of many Ishtar-like punchlines.

  11. martin says:

    i think the perception is that tarantino is cuckholding a number of younger filmmakers/films and getting them out into the marketplace. so in a way he’s a director and a mogul. But I guess the reality that he just slaps his name on any foreign crap he likes is more accurate and a less valid spielberg comparison.

  12. martin says:

    I don’t see jackson making the next schindler’s list or even amistad, I also don’t see him owning/leading a big production company that makes many top studio films. Again, someone like Lasseter is almost valid, but guys like Singer, Ratner, Bay.. forget about it. Good directors with the right material but next spielberg? not quite. Spielberg is a name, like Disney, that people associate with greatness at the movies. What other director comes close to that? Shyamalan does if it’s specifically a twilight-zony thriller and perhaps he’ll make his mark in other genres. But at best he’s half the name spielberg is. Perhaps the next Spielberg is making his first big movie right now.

  13. Amblinman says:

    Martin,
    I disagree strongly about Jackson. I have no doubt that he’s going to branch off into different genres (actually, he already has – Heavenly Creatures comes to mind). Spielberg was the popcorn king for the first phase of his career.
    Ditto Shymalan. The guy has made a total of 5 films. He’s still growing as a filmmaker. He and Jackson both have the skillset to reach Spielbergian levels. It’s impossible to project “mogul” onto anyone at this stage. Steven Spielberg wasn’t the same guy he’s thought of today when he started, after all.

  14. tfresca says:

    What about M. Night Shamalan? I think his films, for all the flack he takes, connect with audiences, “The Village” is a victim of his past IMO.

  15. Melquiades says:

    I’d say Paul Thomas Anderson in the Scorsese role.

  16. Crow T Robot says:

    Robert Rodriguez would probably be more of Lucas’ successor (except of course that RR’s movies aren’t very good). He’s a true independant and techno-trailblazer who likewise has a thing for combining kids stuff with large scale action.
    Spielberg is, plainly put, a freak of nature. Take pictures, folks. You can’t appoint the next Him every generation like the Dahli Lama (remember one-trick Shayamalan on the cover of Time? Ha!). Even the only other filmmaker in history to challenge his status at The Greatest (one guess) could’t boast the other successful ventures Spielberg has beyond his filmography. There’s a reason geeks nickname him “god.”
    As for Jackson, if Kong ends up being “indulgent,” in much the way the last hour of Return of The King was, and underperforms, our favorite Kiwi may find himself in Emmerich-land. Oh boy would that suck.

  17. Blackcloud says:

    I didn’t find the last hour of ROTK indulgent, at least not in the regular version. The extended edition, though, now that’s another story.
    As for Kong, I think you could make a case that remaking it is what’s indulgent. But you could also make a case that he earned the prerogative to remake it. I still think the whole enterprise is unnecessary. But I’ll still see it, of course. I’m not expecting it to be as good as FOTR, but as long as it’s not as bad as TTT, I’ll be happy.

  18. joefitz84 says:

    Jackson is great with others peoples material. But lets give credit here to Lucas for actually creating his world. PJ is more Spielberg than Lucas.

  19. Brett B says:

    I don’t think there will ever be anyone like the 3 directors mentioned, and I don’t want there to be. I think it would be much more exciting to see ‘So-and-So’ director emerge and then years later having people ask the question, “who will be the next So-and-So.” That’s how I feel in terms of the quality of the films themselves anyway. In terms of the business side of things, I still think it would be near-impossible for anyone to come close to the amount of quality stuff Spielberg’s name has been attached to.

  20. Jimmy the Gent says:

    I think Paul Thomas Anderson could fill Scorsese’s shoes.
    Boogie Nights = GoodFellas
    Magnolia = Gangs of New York
    Punch-Drunk Love = After Hours
    Hard Eight = Taxi Driver
    Magnolia is like GoNY in that it is PTA’s epic tale that seemed to divide audiences. It refused to pander. Hard Eight is his Taxi Driver in that it’s a combination of film noir and character study. Sidney is as memorable a screen character as Bickle.
    Jackson as the next Lucas makes sense to me. He could have his Schindler’s List if he chooses to do The Lonely Bones.
    Spielberg is Spielberg. Trying ot predict the next Spielberg is like trying to pick the next Kubrick. It can’t be done. The men are one-of-a-kinds.
    How come no one has brought up Soderbergh? He seems to be the best at walking the thin line between commercial and indie filmmaking. Anyone see Soderbergh as the new Altman?
    And who is Wes Anderson? Is he the next Ashby? Is The Acquatic his Being There?
    Is Mickael Mann a better Friedkin?
    Is Braff the new Crowe?
    Is Payne the new Wilder?
    And where are The Hughes Brothers? The way they’ve been undervalued is a crime.
    This is a fun game Dave. How about predicting who is boing to be the next Springsteen or Stones?

  21. Angelus21 says:

    This new generation needs to carve out its own niche before we bestow greatness on them. How about maybe one box office hit for them? Let them breath. Also lets not bury the living yet. I don’t see the big three slowing down.
    Do you?

  22. Bruce says:

    I love PTA but he is nowhere close to Martin Scorsese’s league and I just don’t see it happening.

  23. jeffmcm says:

    Somebody up top said Jackson needs to ‘start doing his own thing’. Considering that remaking King Kong is a lifelong dream for Jackson and not a work-for-hire job, I’d say he’s already there.
    I think it’s also interesting to look at the filmmakers of the past and see how they fit these slots. Spielberg comes close to being, in different ways, the modern DeMille, or Hitchcock, or John Ford. So who’s the modern Chaplin or Orson Welles?

  24. Blackcloud says:

    “Somebody up top said Jackson needs to ‘start doing his own thing’. That was me. Remaking Kong doesn’t qualify, since the last time I checked Jackson had exactly nothing to do with creating it. Joefitz put it very well: “Jackson is great with others peoples material. But lets give credit here to Lucas for actually creating his world.” That was my point exactly. Lucas brought his own vision to the screen. Jackson still hasn’t done that.
    This conversation takes place in sports oh, every five minutes. You know, LeBron is the next Jordan, etc. I always side with the other side in such debates: There’ll never be another Wayne Gretzky, but there will be a Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin on the horizon. The same with movies. I don’t care who fits the old slots, I want to see who makes the new ones.

  25. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    There is only one director I feel who will eventually become a major force with a canon of worthy of Spielbergian flicks – and that is Jonathan Mostow.. his best and more to come…
    FLIGHT OF THE BLACK ANGEL – brilliant TV movie, could have been his Duel if released in the 70s.
    BREAKDOWN – hands down the best thriller of the 90s
    TERMINATOR 4 – (his part 3 was totally underrated)
    REAL STEEL – Human robots box in the future
    SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON – the ultimate update
    TONIGHT, HE COMES – superhero pic for xmas
    SECONDS – out Frankenheimers Frankenheimer
    HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET – his ultimate horror pic

  26. Josh says:

    King Kong his own thing? I forgot the part where he wrote it and forgot the part where it wasn’t made in 1933. My bad.

  27. Lota says:

    Bloody hell you better believe Michael Mann is a better Friedkin. New and improved and can get out tough stains as well.
    Seriously though, beyond generalizations re. someone’s ability to do different genres well OR be a big idea producer, directly comparing may be futile–esp those directors who were in the old studio system. How can anyone be compared to John Ford who sometimes had to make 5 movies in a calendar year and use whatever actors/crew/time he was given.
    Both favored contenders to me are PT ANderson & Ang Lee. I would hope PT anderson would not ever do another Punch Drunk love again, and I would hope Ang Lee would not do another Hulk. ANg Lee has interest in producing multicultural and literary properties–he could get bigger and better if brokeback does well.
    Takeshi Kitano and Takashi Miike, if ever they were to get their mits on some money/better production I think they would shame the field.
    Altman was pretty old doing some of his best flicks Dave so i wouldn’t worry overmuch about Mereilles as long as he keeps chugging along.
    The big money(earning) future production may indeed be in animation. Pixar & Japanese animation (increasingly palatable to US audiences) originating out of popular games & graphic novels.

  28. jeffmcm says:

    Well, Jackson did write this version, with Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh.
    Plus Jackson has done plenty of great work “on his own” like Dead Alive and Heavenly Creatures.
    And if you’re going to go that route you really can’t say that Lucas is uniquely responsible for creating his own world. He synthesized Kurosawa, John Ford, and Buck Rogers into something but his work is dependent on all of those original sources.
    Authorship is a lot more complicated than some seem to think.

  29. Lota says:

    The Coens also have time in the future to be Spielbergian as producers & directors.

  30. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Lota – you obviously aint seen Miike’s big budget flick YOKAI ! You can finally see what he does with a larger budget (well big in Japanese terms) and it sure is wacky. You’re right though – no one comes close to his diversification. From lactation through to musical stop-motion.

  31. EDouglas says:

    I think if Sam Raimi and Bryan Singer were more prolific, they could eventually get to the Spielberg level. I just think it’s amazing that Spielberg can make two movies on the level and caliber of War of the Worlds and Munich (I’m assuming here) in the course of 18 months.

  32. Lota says:

    re. Miike: you forgot the darts-firing mechanism Boam’s Dr.
    No haven’t seen Yokai yet.
    ditto (as for Miike & Kitano) for Hirakazu Koreeda & Lukas Moodysson if they got some real cash & organization behind them.

  33. Blackcloud says:

    And Shakespeare ripped off Holinshed, Saxo Grammaticus, and who knows what else. This is the “nothing new under the sun” mode of argument. It doesn’t get one very far.

  34. jeffmcm says:

    Blackcloud, we are in total agreement. Which is why there is no reason to diminish Jackson for not doing ‘original’ works.

  35. Craig Beilinson says:

    Would you agree that James Cameron was going down the Lucas/Spielberg path before he completely STOPPED making movies?
    He had the thrillers, the box office, the big movie stars, the Oscars, and most especially the technical savvy… oh, and the ego. :)

  36. Wrecktum says:

    You can’t compare directors of one era with those of another quite so easily, Poland. Lucas and Spielberg ushered in the summer blockbuster era…any young director in today’s era has to work within the financial model that was in part created by the success of Lucas and Spielberg’s films.
    The concept of director as star auteur, that is, the filmmaker him or herself is a major component of the marketing of the film, has waxed and waned over the decades. In the past ten years there are only two younger directors that can help open a film on name recognition: Tarantino and Shyamalan. Naturally Shyamalan’s name sells better than Tarantino’s, but both have been money in the bank for the opening of their past three films.
    Jackson is probably in the same category, but his oeuvre is too limited at this point for conjecture.
    None of these directors, however, rise to the same level as Lucas, Spielberg, Scorsese (or Cameron) for sustained B.O. interest and name recognition. We’ll have to see if Shyamalan and Jackson can continue their winning ways before we can judge them on the same level.

  37. jeffmcm says:

    I think you could add Tim Burton to that short-list of name-recognition.

  38. Josh says:

    If you believe that Peter Jackson created King Kong than you are out of your mind.
    Do you want to buy property in NY too? I got this bridge I can sell you. It’s called the Brooklyn Bridge.

  39. jeffmcm says:

    Only a real dummy would want to argue about something like that, Josh.

  40. Lota says:

    Hell. stick Sam Raimi and DOug Liman on that list too.

  41. Blackcloud says:

    Jeff,
    I’m not trying to diminish Jackson’s achievement. I guess I’m just disappointed that his follow-up to LOTR is a remake. I’ll admit that he has the talent and ability to actually do something better than half-assed on this project–but it’s still a remake. Couldn’t he have done something else? He did something many thought impossible, and he could have done anything next. And he chose Kong. Kong! I think it would be great if Jackson did come up with his own thing, because it would be worth seeing. LOTR was great. So just think what he could do without having the constraints of someone else’s story imposed on him. His vision of his ideas, as opposed to his vision of someone else’s. I have no doubt that he could do it. I just wish he would. That’s all.

  42. Blackcloud says:

    And good call on Burton. Sleepy Hollow is one of my all-time faves.

  43. Sanchez says:

    Brian Singer will be the next Spielberg.

  44. Josh says:

    Jeffmcm,
    You insist on bringing it up so you must want to argue about it. How anyone can think Peter Jackson created King Kong when he’s REMAKING it is beyond me.
    He also created three great movies from perhaps the greatest fantasy novels/world ever created. Half his work is already done for him. And some would argue the most important part of the process is taken care of.
    So, let Peter Jackson actually create his own thing before we put him in the great category.

  45. jeffmcm says:

    Raimi and Liman aren’t household names yet the way the others are. Raimi’s getting close but needs a non-Spiderman hit.
    Let’s see if Liman can direct a movie without the producers hating him and without the 2nd unit director doing half his work before we go further with him.

  46. jeffmcm says:

    Blackcloud, I understand where you’re coming from. To do a remake of his favorite film is a sign that Jackson may not be as expansive of an artist as Spielberg or Scorsese. We’ll have to wait and see what his next few movies are like.
    Josh, you write as if I said, “Peter Jackson was a genius in 1933 when he wrote King Kong”. Obviously that’s an absurd statement. Beyond that, I don’t see anything to discuss.

  47. Joe Leydon says:

    I think you could argue that, early on, both Lucas and Spielberg “remade” favorite films from their youth: “Star Wars” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” respectively. Go back and look at cliffhanger serials of the ’30s and ’40s, and you’ll see what I mean. The only difference in Jackson’s case is, he’s doing a LITERAL remake.

  48. Wrecktum says:

    I guess you can add Burton to the list, but his filmography is all over the map when it comes to B.O. success. His alternating between cult films and mainstream tentpoles has definitely suited his talents well.

  49. The Premadator says:

    Not many directors today understand their audiences the way Spielberg and Lucas did back in the 1970s. In fact it’s pretty clear that none do. Every now and then someone gets lucky, like Jackson did in LOTR and Shyamalan with Sixth Sense. Cameron and Titanic certainly so.
    Sad thing is people today are practically begging to be blown away by art. Never before has the public invested so much money and attention in entertainment. You’d think someone could help those poor guys out.

  50. James Leer says:

    I know that Tarantino has lent his name to some Weinstein pickups, but unless I’m mistaken, he has indeed produced a couple films (“Killing Zoe,” “From Dusk til Dawn,” etc). I think Tarantino is a fair comparison to Spielberg in that he is one of the few modern directors with any real interest in being a mogul. Is it on the same level as Spielberg? No, but who is? Do his films make as much money? No, but whose do? Martin called him the indie version and I see where he’s coming from.

  51. James Leer says:

    I wouldn’t call Cameron “lucky” — nearly all his pre-Titanic features were major hits. I’d actually argue that Cameron understands an audience better than Lucas. Though both are technically-minded, Cameron is more interested in telling stories that are emotional knockouts.
    And though I’m not a big Peter Jackson fan, I think everyone is forgetting that he directed movies before “Lord of the Rings.” One of them, “Heavenly Creatures,” might convince you he’s got a knack for telling different stories.

  52. Lota says:

    Jeff–
    just because Raimi and Liman aren’t household names to you doesn’t mean they aren’t on their way to director-producer mogul-dom.
    Raimi has 7-8 pictures in the pipeline as a producer and Liman is a producer/director with finacial success. He also will likely make some inroads into independent television.

  53. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Cameron REALLY needs to get back to making movies with stories and characters. He’s a great brilliant filmmaker.
    I mentioned Jonathan Glazer up there, could he be the next Kubrick? I’m a huge fan though, so…
    And, yes, Heavenly Creatures is indeed proof that Jackson can handle small movies that aren’t lame horror movies.
    I kinda wish Baz Luhrmann would make more movies. he could definitely become someone huge.

  54. bicycle bob says:

    cameron lucky? 99.9% of directors wish they were that lucky. its too bad hes not being more prolific because he is a great one.

  55. djk813 says:

    Where does Soderbergh fit into the equation? He can take on different genres and different aesthetics to fit the genre. He’s able to jump from Ocean’s 11 to Full Frontal to Ocean’s 12 to Bubble to The Good German. He has a real production company (though he may be closing that down) where he produces other people’s films as well as his own and has tried to help out some younger filmmakers. He’s done a bit of television. He’s willing to experiment with different distribution models and seems to be able to look at the film business as a whole and find his place in it with some give and take between his own artistic tendencies and the business aspects.

  56. The Premadator says:

    What was I thinking? Cameron is more than lucky. Very true. Let’s replace him with Raimi and the Spider-Man franchise. I wanna see how Sam bust blocks beyond that. Like Singer, the comic books have been very kind to him. But there’s no reason to believe either has got a substantial game plan outside of those cash factories.

  57. Eric says:

    Zemeckis and Cameron deserve as much respect as Spielberg.
    Of today’s younger directors, I think Doug Liman and P.T. Anderson have the best chance of making history.
    There was a time that I would have said the same about Wes Anderson, but he’s spiraling in on himself.

  58. Lynn says:

    I think putting Jackson in the Lucas category is not quite accurate. He plans to do The Lovely Bones in the near future; if he pulls that off successfully, between that, Heavenly Creatures, LotR and Kong, he will already have shown a broader range than Lucas and the ability to deal with small, personal stories as well as big epics. It will also demonstrate a talent for dealing with women characters that Lucas has never even hinted at.
    I can’t blame Jackson for doing Kong after LotR, despite his stated wish to work on a smaller film — it was a lifelong dream that he had the opportunity to realize. (I think if he gets the chance, he’ll do The Hobbit, too. Hopefully before Ian McKellan gets too old to play Gandalf.)
    As big an achievement as the filmmaking/technical aspect of LotR was, I think the most extraordinary part of it was adapating a viciously difficult and complicated text into a form that was both acceptable to (most) fans of the book and comprehensible to those who had never read it. Is that harder than creating something like the Star Wars universe? I dunno. But it was pretty damned hard.

  59. brack says:

    Paul W.S. Anderson isn’t going to replace the place in the movie world of Spielberg, Scorsese, or Lucas.

  60. Hopscotch says:

    David Gordon Green, anyone?
    Undertow wasn’t great, but All the Real Girls I think is a modern masterpiece. This guy has a real eye for storytelling as young as he is. Alexander Payne? David O. Russel?
    I was on the M. Night train…but I’ve since jumped off. The guy put’s his name above the title’s of his movies now for God’s sake.

  61. White Label says:

    PT Anderson will be the next Altman. Why else would Altman take him under his wing on The Last Broadcast/Prairie Home Companion? Magnolia was totally Altman.

  62. Wrecktum says:

    ^ Which makes him the next John Carpenter, not the next Spielberg.
    Funny Shyamalan story. Back in the day when 6th Sense went through the roof, Newsweek did its infamous cover story on M. Night that boldly proclaimed Night “The Next Spielberg.” When the cover was worked up it was sent to Night’s people for approval. Night went ballistic and forced them to change it. Why? Because the first cover version said “The Next Spielberg?” He demanded that Newsweek remove the question mark. They did.

  63. Wrecktum says:

    Altman was forced by the insurance company to take on a co-director. That’s the only reason Anderson was taken “under his wing.”

  64. Hopscotch says:

    M. Night has a lot of fans in the film community, people love the Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, and he’ll be defended until he breaks their hearts. But he’s not Steven.
    The Doug Liman hype is what it is: hype. Mr. and Mrs. Smith went somewhere between $20 to $30 Mill overbudget during production the guy can’t handle big budgets, Favreau is much more responsible for Swingers’ success than Liman, and Go is cute and all but its not THAT great.

  65. Wrecktum says:

    After Bourne Identity was taken away from Liman (Frank Marshall ended up directing most of it), it was ballsy to hire him for Mr/Mrs Smith. From all accounts, it was a disaster: indecisiveness, bloated budgets, inability to move the production forward. He’s burning bridges quicker than he can cross them. Liman the next Spielberg? LOL!!

  66. Seymour says:

    What aout Mel Gibson? He’s certainly making a name for himself.

  67. jeffmcm says:

    Mr. & Mrs. Smith makes me laugh. One can easily see the multiple reedited storylines, reshoots, and anticlimactic non-ending where the movie just stops and says “okay, we’re finished.” Hardly the work of the next big thing in Hollywood.

  68. PandaBear says:

    Doug Liman will be good (already is if you go by box office) but great?
    That’s stepping out on a huge limb. He’s shown talent and the ability to craft hits but he’s not in the conversation yt about next great director.

  69. Bruce says:

    I think we’re all getting way ahead here. Saying Paul Thomas Anderson can make history? Then you are saying any director with one good movie can make history.
    This new generation of filmmakers(the ones under 40) are still finding their way. But I think we’ll see a lot more end up like William Friedkin than Martin Scorsese/Spielberg.
    Most of them have the chops. Now it is about the work.

  70. Stella's Boy says:

    Personally, I think Paul Thomas Anderson has already made four outstanding movies.

  71. Aladdin Sane says:

    I really don’t think anyone will ever replace Spielberg. He understands how to make a popcorn flick as well as a serious flick. Sometimes he does fail, but rarely has he made an unaccessable film.
    Lucas really helped define this modern era of film that we now live in (Spielberg too was a part of this). There’ll never be another Star Wars. And if there is it won’t be for another 100 years, and none of us will be able to tell you what it looks like right now.
    Scorsese is Scorsese. He and Spielberg are my two favorite directors. I love that he makes films that polarize audiences. No one sits on the fence with his works. And technically he’s a brilliant director, who doesn’t always get the recognition that he deserves in the general population.
    I just don’t see any working director coming close to any three of these guys in terms of impact and influence. Maybe it’ll be some kid who’s growing up in some third world country who’ll immigrate here when he’s 18, watch one crappy movie and decide he can do it better. But until then, one never knows.

  72. Josh says:

    Four outstanding movies for PTA? You better take some film classes there or actually see some outstanding movies.
    Boogie Nights a classic.
    Magnolia a grand misfire.
    Hard Eight was a good start but I’m giving it a pass because it was feature number one.
    Punch Drunk Love was his worst. In terms of story and scope.

  73. Chucky in Jersey says:

    It may be quite a while before we see the next Stvn Splbrg.
    As Hollywood has become [too] dependent on franchises, remakes and sequels, the industry would prefer no-names or semi-names to direct those pictures.

  74. Bruce says:

    I thought Hard Eight was a terrible movie. He really showed some great talent with Boogie Nights but then took all that goodwill and wasted it with Magnolia. PDL was only worth watching because of Sandler going against type and showing his ability.
    Paul Thomas Anderson definately has some great ability but to call his first four movies outstanding is delving into hyperbole.

  75. joefitz84 says:

    I don’t see PTA stepping up and becoming Scorsese. He doesn’t have the commercial instincts to be Spielberg. Maybe he needs to make a mob movie or maybe I’m too into Scorsese’s NY/mob movies and not enough into the LA scene. His next picture will mean a lot.

  76. jeffmcm says:

    Considering that Scorsese grew up in little Italy and P.T. Anderson grew up in the San Fernando Valley, it’s pretty unlikely that he’ll do a mob movie. Is it too obvious so say that the reason for the great success of Mean Streets and Goodfellas is because they take place in a world and with characters that Scorsese is deeply familiar with?
    Josh, just because you don’t care for some of Anderson’s movies is no reason to toss off film school insults. Reasonable people can disagree.

  77. Brett B says:

    Since this has seemingly just become a list of up-and-coming directors that people simply seem to like, I would like to add one to the list that surprisingly hasn’t been mentioned yet – Darren Aronofsky. Yeah he has only had 2 films so far, but the other people mentioned haven’t had many more, and The Fountain, at least from the trailer, certainly looks promising.

  78. Melquiades says:

    Bruce, come on… it’s a bit much to dismiss somebody’s comments as hyperbole because you happen not to like some of Anderson’s films.
    Magnolia received a mixed response, sure, but plenty of knowledgeable filmgoers consider it a masterpiece. That film and Boogie Nights alone are enough to put Anderson in the upper echelon.

  79. grandcosmo says:

    I want to know who is going to take up Scorsese’s mantle and become the great proselytizer for film history? Who out there has it in him to make something like, “A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies” or “My Voyage to Italy”?
    The answer is that nobody is going to be the next Scorsese or the next Spielberg just like there will never be another Howard Hawks or another John Ford.
    There is no use trying to predict who the next Gods of filmmaking will be, we will only be able to know who they are in retrospect. Anyway Jean-Pierre Melville predicted that cinema will be dead by 2020 anyway and everything will just be television and with the way things are looking right now it looks like he might be right.

  80. jeffmcm says:

    As glad as I am that Tarantino has made people aware of great trashy films of the past, I wish he would spend as much time championing Godard or Melville or Hawks – some of the greater treasures of cinema history.

  81. grandcosmo says:

    I agree about Tarantino. Where is the great special edition of “Rio Bravo” with Tarantino and John Carpenter commenting along with all the other Hollywood directors who say it is their favorite film? That could be a great disc.

  82. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    People already know the greatness of Godard or Hawks. Tarantino’s thing is that he wants recognition for films that for years have been dismissed. If he came out championing something by Truffaut (sp?) then most would be like “yeah, we already know that”.
    And, on with the topic at hand, why does there need to be the next Scorsese or Spielberg?? Or, maybe at the moment there isn’t one. There’s directors doing their own thing. There may be a new Spielberg in the future. But Spielberg’s still around, and he will be for a while. Same goes for Scorsese.

  83. jeffmcm says:

    I wish you were right, Camel, but I think if Tarantino came out championing something by Truffaut, most people (at least, most mainstream Americans) would say “who’s that?” and if you were lucky they might recognize him from Close Encounters. I’m not talking cinephiles, here, I’m talking Mr. and Mrs. Kill-Bill-looks-like-it-might-be-our-one-movie-to-see-this-month.

  84. Harley says:

    Everybody is replaceable. Well. Except Woody Allen. The man makes one movie a year, on his own terms. And he’s been doing it for 35 years.
    Saw Match Point yesterday, btw. If nothing else, this will give the Allen-haters pause. Until the next opportunity, of course.

  85. Joe Leydon says:

    Jeff and Camel: The funny thing is, at the time of his death 21 years ago, Truffaut was about as mainstream as a foreign filmmaker can get in this country. Really. The day after his death, the news of his passing was the splashy lead story (complete with big color photo) on the front of USA Today’s Life section. (It also made the front page of the NYT.) And a few years before that, he got a lengthy profile in People magazine (well, as lengthy as People profiles ever get) timed to the release of “The Woman Next Door.”
    Now? Well, I think “The 400 Blows” continues to influence new and veteran filmmakers. And the savvier ones have either seen or at least know about “Jules and Jim.” But I wonder how many people know or care that, in its time, “Shoot the Piano Player” seemed as stylistically audacious as “Reservoir Dogs” or “Pulp Fiction” did when first released? (It also polarized critics as dramtically as anything Tarantino has ever done.) Or that “Day for Night” arguably is the greatest movie ever made about the joy of making movies?

  86. jeffmcm says:

    Who’s the most famous foreign-language director to America today? Jean-Pierre Jeunet? Miyazaki? Quite a difference between then and now, all right.

  87. Bruce says:

    Woody Allen has been done since the 1980’s. It would take more than one decent movie for him to come back. He has become a punchline. He let his personal life take over his professional life.

  88. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    I would throw Pedro Almodovar as todays most famous (prominant?) foreign director. He’s won Oscars, HE is usually the biggest selling point of his movies, plus I’m fairly certain people will still be talking about his movies many decades to come. Talk To Her. Bad Education. Women on the Verge. And my two personal faves, Live Flesh and All About My Mother.
    Bruce, you obviously missed quite a few of Woody’s movies if you think he’s been done since the 80s. Bullets Over Broadway and Husbands & Wives I think will stick out of his filmography. Maybe not as much as Annie Hall and such, but still…

  89. Joe Leydon says:

    Speaking of Woody Allen: I had a student approach me before my Film History class today, to tell me he had to leave early and would simply go out and rent a copy of the movie I would be showing. He had lost his syllabus, however, so he wanted to know: What movie? I told him: “Annie Hall.” He replied, with a very quizzical expression: “Andy Hall?” Oh, dear.

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This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin