Tanner’s Top 5 Favorite Directors of All Time


Well hasn’t this been a hectic weekend. I am getting my stuff packed up and ready to move to Ohio. So I have not been able to make it to the theaters to see any of the new releases. I did have a new project lined up and ready to post onto the website. But then WordPress kept rejecting the file and loading it onto YouTube is a super slow-mo process while using my former internet service… So I’ve been kind of left in the dust here.

So… With no video games to play or movies to watch within the short time span of Sunday that I have left, I have decided to answer a question that I have received quite a bit since I started reviewing. While many critics that I know have received questions such as ‘who is your favorite actor’ or ‘what is your favorite movie’? The one that I get a lot of is ‘Who is your favorite director?’ And BOY is that a loaded question. At least whenever it comes to your favorite movie, you can kind of pick a few off the top of your head that really stick out as things you could watch over and over again. But to pick a favorite director is a pretty daunting task. You have to not only enjoy one movie, but a multitude of movies all released by the same director. At least for someone like me, I have to do some studying before I can just name my favorite director off the top of my head. Which luckily I prepared for this day. While this is not exactly the time that I was intending on releasing this list, moving it up isn’t the worst thing in the world.

Before we get into this list, I am going to stress that this is my personal opinion. This is by no means a ‘greatest’ list and has no other stipulation to it other than these are the five directors and a handful of honorable mentions that I can’t get enough of watching. If you would like to debate the list or add in your favorites, please do so at the bottom. I would love to have the conversation. With that said, let’s get started on the list.

Honorable Mention

Quentin Tarantino: Tarantino is just so much fun to watch. Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, and Django Unchained are some of my favorites. Why isn’t he on the top 5? Well sometimes his loud and bombastic style is a bit of an acquired taste for me. I need to be in the right mindset to really watch Tarantino and because of that he stays off of the top 5.

Ridley Scott: Ridley Scott has given me some of my favorite movies of all time. Alien, Black Hawk Down, and Blade Runner. Why isn’t he on the top 5? Well while it is kind of hard for me to put into words, while Scott has made some of my favorite movies of all time, when I think of my all time favorites usually Scott’s are the ones that left the least ‘impact’ on me. He is consistent. But consistently good and not consistently spectacular and it just is not enough to put him in the Top 5.

Alfred Hitchcock: Two of my favorite movies of all times are Rear Window and Strangers on a Train. While I do love them, a lot of Hitchcock’s stuff is kind of lost to me and that might be purely because of the generation gap. As far as greatest directors of all time, this man easily cracks the list. But for personal favorites… Is just barely edged out.

The List

Joss_Whedon_by_Gage_Skidmore_45) Joss Whedon

If you would have asked me before this summer if Joss Whedon would crack my top five favorite directors, I would have told you no. The reason for this is because before this year he really hadn’t released any feature-length films that truly stuck in my mind. Before this summer, Whedon had only released Serenity, Dr. Horribles Sing A-Long Blog, and The Avengers. Yes he had directed Buffy: The Vampire Slayer and Firefly, but this is a list about movie directors, not television.

As far as his movies were concerned, Serenity is a film I thoroughly enjoy, but that is mainly because I was a huge fan of the show that it receives the high acclaim from me. If it wasn’t for Firefly, it would have gotten an ‘Ok’ in my book.

Dr. Horrible’s Sing A-Long Blog is also an amazing… But was only 45 minutes long and released on the internet during the writing strike.

And finally, I am not the biggest fan of The Avengers. DO NOT get me wrong, it is a good movie. But I like DC over Marvel and the whole movie just left me feeling ‘That was good.’ Instead of the elation that others received.

It wasn’t until I saw Much Ado About Nothing that it was really solidified in my mind the talent that Whedon has for directing. All three of his previous filming works I had enjoyed, but I was still a skeptic of Whedon. All three of the aforementioned films were good, but there just wasn’t enough evidence for me to say with any certainty that Whedon deserved to be counted as one of the better director in the business today… Then I saw a much toned down, a much quieter, yet funny, artistic, and by all accounts just flat-out enjoyable movie that I could watch over and over again.

It is still early in Whedon’s career and there is still room for him to make a mistake and release some crap… But for the time being with one Shakespearean adaptation has earned Whedon a spot on the Top 5.

4) Steven Spielberg220px-Steven_Spielberg_Masterclass_Cinémathèque_Française_2_cropped

OH! This one hits me right in the childhood! Growing up, this guy was my childhood. When I was a kid, he was the first director that I knew whenever I was watching a Steven Spielberg film then I was going to like it.

One of the first movies that I ever watched in theaters was Jurassic Park and my parents would show me VHS tapes of Indiana Jones, Hook, ET The Extra Terrestrial, and Jaws. 

When I was older I watched movies like Close Encounter of the Third Kind, Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, and most recently Lincoln. I absolutely adore these films. When I reached my early teens I would see movies if they had Spielberg’s name on it or rent them. That was all it took for me to say, yes I really want to see this. He could probably be considered as my biggest early influence that lead to my love of movies and wanting to become more involved in criticizing them and hopefully in the future making them.

He has released some films I have disliked, but this should not take anything away from the man who taught me what it meant to make a good movie.

3) John Carpenter220px-JohnCarpenter2010

Oh boy… Whenever I think of a good horror movie, thriller, or action flick the first place I turn to is John Carpenter. If there is any director alive who could legitimately scare me and keep me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end, you need to look no further than this man here.

Halloween, in my opinion is the greatest slasher flick of all time and I will have heated discussion any day of the week with anyone who is tossing up Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, or any of the others for that matter.

The Thing constantly competes with other movies as one of my favorite films of all time and it kills me to know that people trashed it when it came out. A movie that is the greatest example of how to use practical effects and lighting in a film, something that has been lost on modern filmmakers.

Assault on Precinct 13, The Fog, Big Trouble in Little China, Escape from New York, and They Live are some of my favorite films and I can watch them any time, any place, and never once get bored.

If it wasn’t for the fact that Carpenter has released some pretty terrible movies to go along with some of his classics, I would say he would be pushing for the number 2 or number 1 spot. But sadly a few stinkers keeps him in a solid three spot.

2) Stanley Kubrick220px-Kubrick_-_Barry_Lyndon_candid

This requires a bit of back story. Before 2010 the only movies that I had seen that was made by Kubrick was The Shining and 2001: A Spacy Odyssey. I had heard of A Clockwork Orange and was really interested in seeing it. Well around that time, I was working at FYE and the store was going out of business… It was there that I found a Stanley Kubrick collection, that featured all of his movies from Spartacus to Eyes Wide Shut. So once it went on sale, I purchased it and since then have absolutely fallen in love with the man’s filming style.

If Steven Spielberg was my childhood influence, then Stanley Kubrick has to be my adult influence when it comes to the world of film making. The man has such a unique style and is one of the few people I know that can create real and engaging movies out of novels while other directors completely fail to bring the story from these books to life.

He has an eye for cinema that easily puts him up there as one of the greats and I for one cannot get enough of his work. The Shining, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Spartacus, and A Clockwork Orange are all some of my favorite movies of all time and I just cannot get enough of this man and the mark that he put on film making.

With all of this considered, for someone to beat Stanley Kubrick as my favorite director of all time is no easy task… But there was one that did the job… And it wasn’t even by close contest. The man in the number one spot is by far my favorite director of all time.

1) James CameronJamesCameronHWOFOct2012

Out of all of the directors that I listed, I could list at least one movie that I thought was bad or at the very least just okay. Plus out of Kubrick, Spielberg, and Carpenter being influences for me. Each of them only represents a fraction of my life that I gain influence from. Spielberg is from my childhood, Kubrick my adulthood, and Carpenter for the appreciation of directing style… But James Cameron has always been the constant out of the entire affair. I loved his movies when I was a child, I loved them when I was an adult, and I love his style and the way he presents a movie. Every single movie that has James Cameron’s name on it and I will stress this EVERY SINGLE MOVIE I have loved, own, and will continue to love as the years have gone on.

Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day I watched with my mom and dad when I was a child and could not get enough of them. True Lies is a fun action movie, The Abyss is a fun and suspenseful flick. I watched Titanic when I was a kid and loved the action scenes near the end and was caught up in the mystique of the ship itself. Aliens is one of IF NOT my number one favorite movie of all time and I will always come to Avatar’s defense as a fun movie that changed the face of the movie industry as we know it.

While other directors have influenced me in different stages in my life, James Cameron has been a filmmakers that has influenced me from child hood, to adult hood, to today, and in just about every style that you can use the word ‘influence’. It is these reasons why James Cameron is my favorite director of all time.

Thank you so much for reading and I am sorry for the rushed tone. Tomorrow I will be moving, but if all goes as planned then I will be able to have my latest project out for you for your listening entertainment. Until then, thanks for reading and please like and subscribe if you enjoyed this list and want to read more reviews from me.

5 thoughts on “Tanner’s Top 5 Favorite Directors of All Time”

  1. Kubrick’s my man, Full Metal Jacket and Paths of Glory, brilliant. I would add Rian Johnson to this list, and Jeff Nichols, the latter of which is visionary. The dude knows how to tell a story, see Take Shelter, Michael Shannon kills it. George Roy Hill is also pretty awesome.

    I’m surprised to not see Scorsese crack this list. I would judge you silently, but I just drank the rest of me whiskey.

    1. Scorsese is fantastic, don’t get me wrong. If I were to make a top 5/10 list. He would crack it and I doubt half my list wouldn’t be on it. (Whedon would be off, Carpenter would be an honorable mention, and Cameron would be close to the 9/10 slot).

      But just as far as movies that I enjoy watching over and over again, the five I listed and the 3 honorable mentions just beat him out.

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