For Your Consideration

I recently accomplished the not-so-difficult task of watching every movie made by director Christopher Nolan. He's only made seven, and after watching the last on the list, I decided to do a little math (at great risk of a splitting headache).

What follows is a list of cinema's great directors (if I left any off, let me know), followed by the average scores of their movies as given by Rotten Tomatoes; the numbers in parentheses are the highest and lowest-rated movies respectively. This compilation is based on two schools of thought: that a director is as good as his best movie, and that a director is only as good as his worst movie (it makes sense in my head; if it doesn't to you, deal):

Christopher Nolan - 84 % (93/75)
James Cameron - 54% (100/8)
Francis Ford Coppola - 55% (100/10)
Steven Spielberg - 62% (100/24)
George Lucas - 55% (100/10)
Ron Howard - 59.5% (97/22)
Alfred Hitchcock - 75% (100/50)
Stanley Kubrick - 89% (100/78)
Woody Allen - 57.5% (100/15)
Robert Altman - 56.5 (100/13)
Peter Jackson - 66.5 (100/33)
Roman Polanski - 59.5 (100/19)
Darren Aronofsky - 74.5 (98/51)
Martin Scorsese - 62.5 (100/25)
Coen Bros. - 70.5 (97/44)
Danny Boyle - 56.5 (94/19)
Ang Lee - 74% (100/48)
Clint Eastwood - 69% (96/42)
Steven Soderbergh - 58.5% (97/20)
Sam Mendes - 75% (89/61)
Oliver Stone - 57% (100/14)
Richard Attenborough - 54% (96/12)
Tim Burton - 70.5% (97/44)
Alfonso Cuaron - 66.5% (98/35)
Guillermo del Toro - 76% (95/57)

My point in all this is to prove that Christopher Nolan deserves a place in the pantheon of great directors, because he has yet to make a bad movie. Look at the numbers- the only director to score higher than him is Stanley Kubrick, widely regarded as one of the best directors of all time. Some of his movies aren't to my taste, but others like Doctor Strangelove or 2001 are true cinematic masterpieces.

Nolan's best film is a tie between "The Dark Knight" and "Memento," both of which garnered rave reviews from critics and made loads of money at the box office. His "worst" film was "The Prestige," which still got high praise from three out of four critics. Two of his movies were based on his own ideas- Following and Inception- and one came from his brother, Jonathan (Memento). So it's not just that he's good making other people's ideas come to life, he comes up with his own brilliant ideas.

What I'm saying is the guy is movie gold. If he makes a movie, it's going to please critics and wide audiences. That's pretty much a guarantee. You can say, "Well, he's only made a handful, so we'll see if it lasts."

People probably said the same thing about Pixar (which by my formula above scores an 87%- Toy Story (2) being the highest at 100% and Cars being the lowest (74%)).

I'm just saying, the guy is money. And brilliant.


Peeser said…
By the way, I forgot to add to your list earlier, but I definitely think Peter Weir should be on the list of amazing directors (and definitely on the list of "Most Under-/Unappreciated directors")- He is one of my favorites- never fails to disappoint.

(And Chris Nolan is truly amazing. I wish I could find edited versions of the rated-R ones so I can finally watch those, too...)
Steve said…
For you, Elise: Peter Weir scores a 74% average; his highest-rated film is "The Truman Show" with 95%, and his lowest is "Green Card" with 53%. That puts him toward the top of the list.

Popular Posts