Any film lover worth their weight in salt understands that a director can make or break a film. A director leaves their fingerprint on each movie they work on and if that fingerprint is one to be desired, a fan base will be built quickly. Names like Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino and Stanley Kubrick come to mind when talking about modern greats of film making, but there are some names you should probably know. If you are wanting to up your film game and grow your director knowledge, this list is for you.
Terry Gilliam was born in Minnesota but grew up in Los Angeles California. When he was in his twenties, he made the decision to move to England out of fear of becoming a terrorist in the USA, once in England he quickly fell in with a group of friends who would latter collaborate on Monty Python. With 19 films directed to date, Gilliam has been credited as being one of the “strangest” men in the film industry, which is saying a lot. His first feature film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail was released in 1975 and has been a staple in the comedy genre ever since. The greats didn’t stop there, however. In the early 80s he directed the films, Time Bandits and The Meaning of Life. Once the 90s hit, Gilliam really switched gears with the two films 12 Monkeys and Fear and loathing in Las Vegas. Gilliam has written and directed some of the best in cult classics, yet many do not know his name.
The Hughes Brothers
Brothers working together in cinema is nothing new, think of Coen brothers (Fargo, The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men) or Farrelly brothers (Dumb and Dumber, Kingpin, Shallow Hal, There’s Something About Mary). There is another sibling pair that deserves to have the spotlight aimed at them, and that’s the Hughes Brothers. From the mid 90’s to the early 2000’s Albert and Allen Hughes (twins) worked together on some of the most influential, violent and often times heart wrenching movies. In 1993 the brothers co-directed the film Menace II Society which gave the audience a glimpse into the harsh reality of living in Watts, CA. Two years later they released the film Dead Presidents, A film that would show the struggles of Vietnam vets retuning home and trying to take care of their family. The Hughes brothers focus on struggle in most of their movies and since the release of the film From Hell in 2001, they have only worked on one movie together, The Book of Eli.
Many in the film industry get their start in tv commercials or music videos, David Fincher is no exception. With a portfolio that includes, Pepsi, Nike, Coca-Cola, Budweiser, Madonna, Sting, The Rolling Stones and Michael Jackson, Fincher is not a light weight. After working in music videos for a while, and being extremely successful mind you, Fincher set his sights on motion picture. In 1992 he directed the third instalment in the Aliens franchise but unfortunately the film did not live up to critic’s expectations. Fincher did not let this stop him, however. He continued to work on music videos and in 1995 he changed the mystery thriller genre with the film Se7en. This film would go on to be one of the best thriller movies of modern times, often quoted today with “What’s in the box!?”. In 1999 he directed the film based off of Chuck Palahniuks book of the same name Fight Club. This film was everything to conspiracy theorist and young men full of rage alike. Fincher continues to work in the music video world as well as feature film and television (Mindhunter) and is still surprising audiences everywhere.
English director Danny Boyle started directing in the late 80s however his real break out film was the 1996 cult classic Trainspotting. A film that would give us just a glimpse into the addict lifestyle and the despair that lingers around the drug scene. It was the film that really spawned the career of Ewan McGregor, so we have a lot to be thankful for with this film. After Trainspotting Boyle would go on to direct movies such as The Beach, 28 Days Later, Slumdog Millionaire and 127 hours. In 2017 he directed the sequel to Trainspotting, T2 Trainspotting that picked up the story years later. Boyle has a way of pulling the audience into a movie and making them feel what the character on screen is feeling and this is why he his name should be known amongst the greats.
Patty Jenkins may not have the longest list when it comes to films, she has directed, but the influence and fingerprint she leaves on her movies is solid! Her break out film Monster, that she was both writer and director on, was based on the true story of serial killer Aileen Wuornos. Monster gave us a new look at Charlize Theron that won her an academy award performance. After the movie was a hit you would think that Jenkins would have been handed the keys to Hollywood, however we see her hand in a few tv shows only until 2017 when she took on the role of director to Wonder Woman. The film being another giant success finally gave Jenkins the recognition she deserves, and I have a feeling we will be seeing her name pop up a lot more as time goes on.
If you love a good disaster film, you have seen a Roland Emrich film. Emrich is the archbishop of the disaster genre having directed the films, Independence Day, Godzilla, The Day After Tomorrow and 2012. The genre that sparked his love for movies however is science fiction. After watching A New Hope in 1977, Emrich decided he wanted to be a film director and got to work in his home country of Germany. In the year 1985 we see his love of the genre in the film Making Contact and more so in the 1994 film Star Gate, which he also co-wrote. With so many blockbusters under his belt, it is shocking that Roland Emrich is not a name more people know.
Written exclusively for TheLastPicture.Show by Jacob Ruble
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