4 directors who deserve a comeback
1) John Landis
Why: In the 80s John had the Midas touch. Every single project he directed became an instant hit. Few directors can say they worked with such comedy legends like John Belushi, John Candy, Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy. He also directed music gods such as Michael Jackson, Ray Charles, James Brown, Cab Calloway and Aretha Franklin. John just kept making history. An American Werewolf in London mastered the horror-comedy genre. As a matter of fact, thanks to the ground breaking transformation, the Academy Award opened the special make-up FX category.
Best work: Animal House (1978), Blues Brothers (1980), An American Werewolf in London (1983), Thriller (1983), Trading Places (1983) and Coming to America (1988).
Avoid: Don’t give him sequels like Beverly Hills Cop III. Let him work on his own material. Burke and Hare was a good try to try but it was a weak script.
Suggestion: Pair Him again with Eddie Murphy in an R-Rated comedy. They both need a come back.
Trivia: He worked as a stuntman and actor in Yugoslavia for Hogan Heroes.
2) Richard Donner
Why: He created several iconic movies in the 70s and 80s. With Superman he made a flawless comic book movie. And with Lethal Weapon he launched Mel Gibson an international star while creating the best buddy cop movie film ever. He also created fun family movies with a brain. Who can forget The Goonies or Scrooged?
Best work: The Omen (1976), Superman (1978), Lethal Weapon (1987) and Scrooged (1988).
Avoid: Don’t give him a Lethal Weapon sequel or remake. The first three were good, but the fourth one was just sad.
Suggestion: A new version of The Never Ending Story. He can create an amazing Fantasia with CGI, IMAX and 3D.
Trivia: For the memorable closing scene of The Omen, where Damien smiles at the camera, he told the child actor “Don’t you dare laugh. If you laugh, I won’t be your friend.” He smiled like the son of Satan.
3) Paul Verhoeven
Why: Robocop (1987) and Total Recall (1990) are probably the best R-Rated science fiction movies of the past decades. Basic Instinct (1992) made Sharon Stone career, not to mention, has the “most paused movement” in movie history. According to IMDB his next movie is Hidden Force, tells the story of a colonial officer is sent to the island of Java in the Dutch East Indies at the turn of the 20th Century.
Best work: Robocop (1987), Total Recall (1990).
Avoid: Starship Troopers and Showgirls were slaughtered by critics. Specially Showgirls. Both scripts were awful, dumb and childish. Hopefully Hidden Force has a more well thought script.
Suggestion: Take a stab at a West World (1973). Although Michael Crichton movie isn’t bad, I suggest a more violent, gorier and darker version. And bring back Rob Bottin from his cave to do some awesome SFX.
Trivia: He became the first nominee ever to actually show up at the Razzie Awards, when he personally accepted his Worst Director “award” for Showgirls.
4) John McTiernan
Why: He’s responsible of directing the best action movie of all times: Die Hard (1988). This movie has created 4 sequels and I truly hope Fox rereleases Die Hard on theatres next summer due its 25th anniversary. He’s also the man behind Predator (1987), one of Arnold Schwarzenegger best movies.
Best work: Predator (1987), Die Hard (1990) and The Hunt for Red October (1990).
Avoid: Let him work with better writers. I know it sounds obvious, but not even he could save Rollerball, The 13th Warrior and Basic.
Suggestion: Try another genre like horror films or give him a smart realistic contemporary war movie. Something like The Hurt Locker.
Trivia: The studio and director talked with Arnold for the John McClane role in Die Hard. At the end, McTiernan decided to go with Bruce Willis. The rest is history.
- 5 directors that deserve a comeback - [...] of Devil’s IslandLike Stars on EarthThe Raid: RedemptionFORUM2013 Must See Summer Movies5 directors who deserve a comebackEscape to Victory. ...
This is a great article.
One thing to consider for a great comeback movie though, is that with the new storytelling style of Paranormal Activity or Chronicles for example, audiences are changing their expectations. My point is, if you watch the original Robocop with a couple of tweens and even teenagers, they get bored because the pace is “too slow” (according to my sons).
So, a great director is a great director, granted. But sometimes what the audience wants is not necessarily a great movie nowadays.
Keep up the good work, I love reading your blog!
I appreciate your feedback. I agree, we need spice movies to drive traffic to the theatres. Robocop was ground breaking film back in the 80s because it had over the top violence, amazing special SFX, and one great premise. Today several movies are using the “realistic video camera” approach. Think The Blair With Project, Paranormal Activity, [REC] series, Chronicle, The Last Exorcism and End of Watch. Like all trends, it will go away, hopefully when can use this resource with smart scripts like Chronicle did.