Writer/Directors: A Primer Pt. 1

one of my all-time favorites: Edward Burns


This is for Alec Dakin, former student of mine, and oddly, my next door neighbor…. who’s currently in his first year of film school…. and anyone else who thinks they know good cinema. You can’t know good cinema until you’re familiar with all of these people (and a handful I’m sure I’ve forgotten):

The Writer/Directors who matter:

Woody Allen (new to him? Check out Annie Hall, Manhattan, Anything Else, Deconstructing Harry, Husbands and Wives, and Hannah and Her Sisters… among countless others… everything… EVERYTHING is worth owning)
Jim Jarmusch (Ghost Dog, Coffee & Cigarettes, Stranger  Than Paradise, Dead Man, Night on Earth, etc)
Spike Lee (Do The Right Thing, Crooklyn, Jungle Fever, Summer of Sam, etc)
Kevin Smith (Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Jersey Girl)
Cameron Crowe (Elizabethtown, Singles, Jerry Maguire, Say Anything, Almost Famous, We Bought a Zoo, etc)
Richard Linklater (Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Waking Life, Slacker, Tape, Suburbia, etc)
Hal Hartley
(Trust, The Unbelievable Truth, Surviving Desire, Henry Fool, etc)
Edward Burns (The Brothers McMullen, She’s The One, Sidewalks Of New York, Nice Guy Johnny, Looking For Kitty)
David Mamet (State and Main, Oleanna, Wag The Dog)
Allison Anders (Gas Food Lodging, Things Behind The Sun, Mi Vida Loca, Grace of My Heart)
Quentin Tarantino (Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Grindhouse)
Robert Rodriguez (El Mariachi, Grindhouse, etc)
Sofia Coppola (The Virgin Suicides, Lost In Translation, etc)
Harmony Korine (Kids, Gummo, Spring Breakers, etc)
Nora Ephron (When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless In Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, etc)
Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Her, etc)
Wes Anderson (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Moonrise Kingdom, etc)
Noah Baumbach (Kicking and Screaming (1995), The Squid and the Whale, Greenberg, Frances Ha, etc)
Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting, My Own Private Idaho, Drugstore Cowboy, To Die For, Elephant, Restless, etc)
Martin Scorcese (Godfather I and II, Taxi Driver, etc. etc. etc)
Frank Darabont (Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile)
Michael Moore (Bowling For Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11, Sicko, etc)
Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot, In America)
Thomas Mcarthy (The Station Agent, The Visitor, Win Win)
Nicole Holofcener (Walking and Talking, Friends With Money, Enough Said, Lovely & Amazing, etc)
Rodrigo Garcia (Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her, Nine Lives, Ten Tiny Love Stories, etc)

Cameron Crowe’s “Elizabethtown” (2005)

Vincent Gallo’s “Buffalo ’66” (1998)

Noah Baumbach’s “Kicking and Screaming (1995)

Hal Hartley’s “Trust” (1990)

honorable mentions
Richard Kelly – for Donnie Darko (2001).
Jean-Pierre Jeaunet – for Amelie (2001)
Tiffanie Debartolo –
for Dream For An Insomniac (1997)
Billy Bob Thornton
(if he only is remembered for Sling Blade (1996), that’s a hell of a film.. and god dammit, he needs to be recognized for it)
Richard Curtis – for Notting Hill (1999), and Love Actually (2003)…. both brilliant, and funny.
Vincent Gallo (a total prick in real life, but he wrote/directed/acted in Buffalo ’66 (1998), and that is another film that is fucking ESSENTIAL for any movie fan)
Luc Besson – Seen The Professional (1994) yet? Make it the next film you see!!! Fucking PERFECT film. The international version is called “Leon“… more footage, more backstory…. both are AMAZING. I recommend the trimmed-down “The Professional”, first.
Ted Demme – RIP…. he directed 1996’s Beautiful Girls (written by Scott Rosenberg)…. ’nuff said.
Ang Lee – I’ve seen his 1997 film The Ice Storm countless times… He also did Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and Brokeback Mountain.

I’m too tired to continue this list…. volume 2 coming in the near future….

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  1. Sorry, but Scorcese is not good enough. I doubt he is capable of doing anything as good as Godfather I or Godfather II.

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