Top Ten Working American Directors
A list like this is tricky to the point of madness. However, I’m going to save you the trouble by saying it right here, right now: Most of the choices on this list are obvious. There’s a reason why certain names continually pop up whenever conversation drifts toward great American films. So there. I said it.
Yet, how do you weigh the likes of Francis Ford Coppola, a genius who delivered some of the all-time greatest films, but fizzled out 25 or so years ago, against a filmmaker like Woody Allen who has worked consistently for decades churning out both brilliant gems and disposable time wasters? How do you compare either of these directors against an auteur such as Spike Jonze who has only opened two films so far, but both are masterpieces?
In the end I just went with my gut. I knew there were some I couldn’t leave off and a few I shouldn’t have left off, but did simply out of my personal taste (sorry Gus Van Sant). And really, after the number one and two spots the ranking was almost arbitrary.
In case you’re curious how we came up with some of the names below (or more importantly why you may believe so many are missing), you should know we set up some strict rules.
Yet, even after we put those parameters in place there are too many brilliant American directors left off this list or the honorable mentions (that’s where your opinions come in to play my dear readers).
MY MASSIVE HONORABLE MENTION
Some of the above filmmakers still have several masterpieces in front of them while others are past their primes. A few should just make more films (yeah, I’m talking to you Malick). However, they’re just names cobbled together from my huge, original list. I could have named many more (can you believe it?), but why should I have all the fun?
So those are a few names to chew on for the time being, but let’s get to the list for now as I have plenty more for you to consider come the conclusion…