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Geek Movie Directors Who Should Retire

Last Tuesday, August 21, was almost the fourth best day of my life. Right behind the days that I lost my virginity, got accepted to grad school, and maybe, possibly made eye contact for a brief second with Veronica Mars. Last Tuesday, director Michael Bay threatened not to do Transformers 2.

Of course, he changed his mind almost immediately. Which is what people do when they’re on their period and feeling temperamental, so… I’m not terribly surprised.

It isn’t that I don’t want him to do Transformers 2; I don’t want him to make any movie… ever. I guarantee that the world will keep spinning without the rumbling explosions and fumbling dialogue of another Pearl Harbor or Armageddon. In fact, I heard that global warming didn’t exist before Bad Boys II. But I’m not jumping to any conclusions, here. I’m just giving you the facts as I know them.

The action that almost exorcised Michael Bay from our lives forever-ish was Paramount’s decision to drop support for the Blu-Ray high-definition disc format in favor of HD-DVD. Yeah. That’s it. If only it were that easy to get rid of Hollywood’s other hack directors…

Brett Ratner


If unfounded arrogance were personified, it would be Donald Rumsfeld. But if unfounded arrogance were personified specifically as a Hollywood director, it would be Brett Ratner.

Am I Orson Welles? Obviously not. But 50 years from now, who knows how, as a person, I’ll have grown.

Well, let’s see… it took you ten years to get from making Money Talks–a buddy movie starring Chris Tucker–to a level of maturity that allowed you to poop out Rush Hour 3–a buddy movie starring Chris Tucker. Yeah, impressive growth. Fifty years from now, the only things that will have matured will be the bimbos that you currently covet, you soft, hairy troll.

Roland Emmerich

Likes shiny things.

Roland has never met a special effect he didn’t like. Just look at Independence Day. Really. Look at it. It’s pretty sweet.

Unfortunately, he saves his dislike for plot, characterization, and dialogue. The enormity of the budgets spent on crap that he’s directed is almost too much to think about without considerable constipation of the sensibility gland. To save myself the pain, I mentally lump the rest of his career into an single, more-digestible cinematic organism known as Godzilla, The Universal Soldier who killed The Patriot on The Day After Tomorrow.

Ivan Reitman

Way past unfunny.

Nothing is more depressing than watching a formerly-sharp sense of humor get dulled to the state of a nectarine.

This is what that devolution looks like:

Funny (Ghostbusters) –> Amusing (Dave) –> Cloying (Father’s Day) –> Tacky (Six Days, Seven Nights) –> Annoying (Evolution) –> Unfunny (My Super Ex-Girlfriend)

Of course, you could convincingly argue that Ivan skipped right over cloying, tacky, and annoying and went right to unfunny. Hell, I might just argue that, myself.

Mel Gibson

Wants a drink. Or ten.

Hey, remember when Braveheart came out? Yeah, that was awesome. I fondly refer to those days as, “Before we knew that Mel Gibson was a sloppy drunk and vehement Jew-hater.”

Perhaps you’ve seen his other films, Passion of the Awesome Guy Killed by Jews, or Annihilation of the Brown Jews by Spanish Conquistadors.

Renny Harlin

In it to win it. (P.S. It = poontang.)

Laura Dern. Geena Davis. Former Miss Finland, Tarja Smura. British journalist Sarah Thackray.

How you manage to land all these beautiful, famous, cosmopolitan ladies is beyond me… I figured that directing Ford Fairlane would have landed you on some dating blacklist somewhere. Guess not.

Anyway, you seem to have found your true talent… since the days of Cliffhanger and Die Hard 2 are behind you, please stick to being an International Man of Mystery and stop making movies like Driven and Mindhunters. I mean, clearly, you don’t need any help from your day job to keep getting laid.

Paul Verhoeven

Believes in a balanced universe.

Paul, you appear to hail from the Ying and Yang school of directing. For every Robocop, there is Hollow Man. For every Total Recall, there is Starship Troopers. And for every Basic Instinct, there is Showgirls.

Please, enough already with the Yangs.

11 comments… add one
  • Shithead August 30, 2007, 11:51 am

    Great post! I hate it when this happens – I find it’s when people start having kids and then everything they do has to be family friendly and fos.

    Worst offenders to me:

    John Hughes, as writer
    Old: National Lampoon’s Vacation, Sixteen Candles, Weird Science, Breakfast Club

    Had kids: Dennis the Menace, Beethoven’s 3rd, Maid in Manhattan, Flubber,

    Eddie Murphy, as Actor
    Old: Beverly Hills Cop, Raw, Delirious, 48 hours, Trading Places

    Had kids: The Haunted Mansion, Shrek, Pluto Nash, Daddy Day Care. (and not really for kids, but he should be shot for Vampire in Brooklyn & BHC III)

    Vasectomies for gifted hollywood men. It’s the only answer.

  • Cindi August 30, 2007, 12:12 pm

    Hey! I have kids, AND I’m a writer, and as a recent glance at my Amazon.com purchase list could tell you, not everything I do has to be family friendly! In fact, I wrote my most recent sex book right after I had my son. So there, Shithead! (she said with the utmost affection)

    Don’t let John Hughes and Eddie Murphy tarnish all parents. Sure, our libidos may be temporarily MIA, but we still remember how the equipment works. Sort of.

  • nickolai August 30, 2007, 1:30 pm

    Great stuff. A few others I would throw onto that list, though they may not qualify as “geek” directors:

    Barry Levinson – Diner, Rain Man to Envy, Man of the Year
    Joel Schumacher – Lost Boys, Falling Down to Batman & Robin, The Number 23
    Barry Sonnenfeld – DP for Miller’s Crossing, Misery to directing Men In Black 2 and RV

    Still looking into whether these film moguls have kids.

  • Great White Snark August 30, 2007, 1:41 pm

    Great suggestions, guys. Nickolai, Joel Schumacher was supposed to make it onto the list. I think my vision started to get blurry around 4a last night and I forgot about him. Curses.

    Cindi, Shithead seems to have a valid point, at least about male directors… don’t let your husband make any movies, ok?

  • Great White Snark August 30, 2007, 1:44 pm

    Dare I say… George Lucas?

  • Cindi August 30, 2007, 2:14 pm

    Oh, like I have any control over my husband and his cameras.

    But I still don’t think the theory holds true, at least for non-geek directors. Case in point: Francis Ford Coppola.
    – Born 1939
    – Son Gian-Carlo born 1963
    – Son Roman born 1965
    – Daughter Sofia born 1971

    Goes on to direct The Godfather (1972), The Conversation (1974), The Godfather II (1974) and Apocalypse Now (1979). Nominated for a butt-load of awards.

    Sadly, one could make the argument that his oeuvre started going downhill (Dracula, etc.) after the 1986 death of his son Gian-Carlo, although even that theory is contradicted by his producing credits.

    So, GWS, I agree with (and love) your original post. I just don’t agree that having kids = creative death.

  • Great White Snark August 30, 2007, 2:21 pm

    Good call, Cindi!

  • carfisk3 August 31, 2007, 11:42 am

    the renny harlin thing. he should count his blessings that laura dern gave him 5 minutes. she’s the greatest actress of her generation and soooooo far out of his league.

  • Great White Snark August 31, 2007, 12:09 pm

    Carfisk, after Deep Blue Sea, he’s lucky that *anyone* gives him the time of day.

  • O.o April 25, 2010, 8:58 pm


  • Grapho February 20, 2011, 12:14 am


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