Delenda Est Carthago

Why not delve into a twisted mind? Thoughts on the world, history, politics, entertainment, comics, and why all shall call me master!

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

I plan on being the supreme dictator of the country, if not the world. Therefore, you might want to stay on my good side. Just a hint: ABBA rules!


When good directors make bad movies, or maybe when bad directors get lucky

I was just watching Mulholland Falls. Please don't ask me why. The movie, in case you don't know, came out in 1996 and boasts, quite literally, an all-star cast. They're not the biggest stars, but still. It's also the movie in which Jennifer Connelly gets naked, if you're interested.¹

It's not a terribly good movie. It's supposed to be about the murder of Ms. Connelly, with a lot of political stuff about the atomic bomb thrown in (it's set in the early 1950s), but neither Krys nor I can figure out exactly why Ms. Connelly was killed. It's never actually explained. Anyway, it's dull.

So why do I bring it up? The movie was directed by Lee Tamahori, who a couple of years earlier directed Once Were Warriors, which is quite possibly the best movie ever to come out of New Zealand and is definitely one of the best movies of the 1990s. If you haven't seen it, run, don't walk, to the video store and rent it. It's unpleasant (it deals with an abusive father and his family) but it's unbelievably brilliant.

Since coming to these here United States, Tamahori has directed Mulholland Falls, The Edge, Along Came a Spider, Die Another Day, and his latest monstrosity, XXX: State of the Union. Movies of varying quality, I'm sure (I've only seen the first and Along Came a Spider), but I'm also sure none comes anywhere close to Once Were Warriors.

This phenomenon is on my mind also because of this new movie that opened today, The Great Raid. The reviews are kind of lukewarm - nothing too awful, but nothing too great either. This movie is directed by John Dahl, who directed two of the most evilly excellent neo-noir thrillers of the 1990s, Red Rock West and The Last Seduction, in 1992 and 1994, respectively.² Since then he's made Unforgettable (remember that?), Rounders, Joy Ride (with low-rent Helen Hunt Leelee Sobieski), and now The Great Raid. Again, varying degrees of quality, but nothing like the first two.

Are these guys good directors? Or are they lousy directors who just got lucky? There are many examples of directors making one or two good movies and sucking the rest of the time. It's very weird. How did they make such unbelievably good movies and never come close again? And I'm not talking just decent movies - the three movies I mentioned above could easily be on a top ten list for an entire decade. So what the hell is up with these guys?

Anyone else got any good examples? I know there are plenty out there ...

¹ I just threw that in there for the weird Google search hits it will get.
² Linda Fiorentino got ROBBED for the Oscar for Best Actress - The Last Seduction played on television before it got a theatrical release, which disqualified it, but Fiorentino's Bridget is perhaps the best female role in a movie in the last, hell, I don't know, thirty years?


Blogger Lisa said...

Yoo hoo, just dropped in to say Hi :) and let you know I received your postcard (don't think I told you that yet). I did a video blog today and I talk about you and your postcard briefly in it. Hope all are happy and well in your house!

13/8/05 12:45 AM  
Blogger Pilgrim/Heretic said...

Dang, you do postcards too? Definitely a good find.

Just dropping in to say hello - Adjunct Kait sent me. :)

13/8/05 1:13 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Hi, Pilgrim. I hope you come back. I've already bookmarked your blog - because I don't spend enough time on the Internet!

13/8/05 2:48 PM  
Blogger Pilgrim/Heretic said...

Are you kidding? Now you're giving out prizes! And you like Merovingians! I'm hooked already.

13/8/05 5:28 PM  
Blogger Thomas said...

Here is a post about "XXX: State of the Union" from when it came out.

Though I liked XXX, I totally agree with you about "Once Were Warriors." I keep waiting for Lee Tamahori to make a movie like that again. All he does now is make sequels to relatively mediocre movies.

13/8/05 5:38 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Some day I will have to post about my love for all things Merovingian. Then, of course, I will lose most of my rabid fan base.

13/8/05 7:23 PM  
Blogger Pilgrim/Heretic said...

Oh, I'm not so sure - I bet there are all sorts of closet Merovingiophiles out there. We should start a club.

14/8/05 10:30 AM  
Blogger Chris McLaren said...

Greg, after the whole Latin blog name thing, I was weirded out by how much your statements of musical taste mirrored mine, but seeing you praise The Last Seduction in exactly same words I often use officially makes it freaky.

14/8/05 8:36 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

I certainly wouldn't want to freak you out, Mr. McLaren. It's okay - you must breathe deeply.

14/8/05 8:57 PM  
Blogger Roxy said...

Fiorentino - excellent actress, ass-kicking goddess in The Last Seduction.

16/8/05 9:16 PM  

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