Top 5 good directors gone bad

There’s no denying that a lot of factors contribute to whether a film is good or bad. But at the end of the day, the buck has to stop at the head honcho: the director. We commiserate those who started off on the right track and went downhill, whether that be because of old age, selling out for the cash, or the ancient art of plain old awful decisions. For the work you once did, sirs, we salute you. For the work you continue to do, we gouge our own eyes out. That’s just the way it is.

5. Robert Zemeckis

Romancing the Stone; the over the top, cheesy, fantastic 80s adventure movie was Zemeckis’ first box office success and he didn’t waste any time – swiftly following it up with the utterly brilliant Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Death Becomes Her. By this point he was developing something of a cult following, but they were the good kind of following: the intelligent, ever-growing, mostly attractive kind. Then, in 1994 the world was blessed with Forest Gump, and Zemeckis won his first (and only) Oscar.

Then what happened? He made Contact (which was exciting until the last 20 minutes) What Lies Beneath (which had an ending more laughable than scary) and Beowulf (which should have been epic but ended up being deadly dull). The fear that haunts us all now is that Zemickis will try to continue the Back to the Future saga, or even worse, re-make it. We can only pray that his 3D adaptation of The Yellow Submarine will distract him from the charms of ‘Justin Bieber as Marty Mcfly’ devastation a bit longer.

4. Brian Singer

Yes, yes, we know he directed X-Men 1 and 2 – both of which were brilliantly executed and loved even by the fanboys, but there’s a film I can’t forgive him for. Yup, you guessed it, Superman Returns. After the unexpected success of The Usual Suspects and Apt Pupil it was obvious that Singer had a bright future ahead of him, and then the Superman monstrosity hit, and the world wept. What were you thinking Brian? What was that lovely jaw of yours thinking? Well Singer, here’s some advice that will prevent you having to do something so disgusting ever again; don’t ruin Battlestar Galactica.

3. Tim Burton

Don’t shoot me! Let’s go back to 1988, when 80s movies were all John Hughes headbands and Tom Cruise grins, when a creepy little man who used to work for Disney finally broke free from his Pee Wee shackles and brought us Beetlejuice! Burton’s take on family movies was refreshing, strange and wonderful; their fluffy-but-gothic sensibilities keeping audiences of all ages glued to the screen.

Beetlejuice was followed by great film after great film, after good film, after OK film, after… crap film. He dressed his wife up as a monkey in the deeply unnecessary Planet of the Apes, Corpse Bride was boring, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was a crime against Gene Wilder. And let’s not even get started on the hopeless mess that was Alice In Wonderland

2. John Carpenter

One of the masters of horror movies, John Carpenter is – believe it or not – still going. Carpenter wrote and directed the original Halloween and The Fog, along with directing the epic Big Trouble in Little in China and Memoirs of an Invisible Man.And then, in 2001, he dropped Ghosts of Mars. With a budget of around $28 million, it grossed half of that: a pittance compared to his low budget, high-grossing Halloween. This sci-fi horror – starring Ice Cube and Jason Statham no less – is full of cringe-worthy cuts and pointless cross fades, essentially two hours of people walking across a room looking glum. I’m just glad that this isn’t what Carpenter will be remembered for.

1. George Lucas

Born out of New Hollywood, a young, less bearded George Lucas blew audiences’ minds with his sci-fi flick THX 1138 and introduced the world to Richard Dreyfuss in American Graffiti. And then the planets aligned (in a galaxy far far away) and A New Hope was upon us. The Star Wars trilogy pushed what was possibly in terms of special effects, captivated the imaginations of film fans world-wide, and guaranteed the future of the then unknown Harrison Ford (sadly no such promises were made for Mark Hamill…)

But somewhere down the line, Lucas suffering some severe head trauma (probably) and a dastardly plot swung into action. The Phantom Menace was just that: a simmering, nervous feeling that not all was as it should be in the Star Wars universe, and two horrendous films later, the once proud franchise has been broken and beaten. I’d talk about The Crystal Skull, but every time I do the weeping gets noisier.

So I implore these golden directors of old – tis not too late to change your ways! Leave your once great works alone, and concentrate on carving a path for yourselves in the future. And if nothing else, remember this: Justin Bieber is never, ever the answer.

By Rhiannon Shades

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