Sometimes we all have a bad day in the office. But if you happen to be a world-famous film director, your off-days seem to be noticed a tad more. After realising that Tom McCarthy, director of the excellent Spotlight (2016) had only last year produced Adam Sandler’s The Cobbler – we had a little think about the bad films by great directors. Here are the blotches on some esteemed directors’ filmography.
Alien 3 (1992) – David Fincher
Let’s just say Alien 3 didn’t get Fincher’s directing career off to a flyer. His directorial debut was maligned by critics who lamented the clunky storyline and tired format of the Alien series. He bounced back with Seven (1995) and Fight Club (1999) though, so we’ll let this one slide then.
Cars 2 (2011) – John Lasseter
This was only the second sequel that Pixar had ever made (Toy Story 2 being the first) and was widely panned upon release for being a ‘cash in’ on the original’s success. Lasseter previously directed animation masterpieces Toy Story and A Bug’s Life, and is set to return to directing for Toy Story 4 when that arrives in 2018.
The Counsellor (2014) – Ridley Scott
Scott teamed up with author Cormac McCarthy for this crime flick – but were both criticised for failing to turn an intriguing premise into a good film, despite the all-star cast (Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz). It’s a minor blip on Scott’s CV though, which includes countless great films including Gladiator (2000) and Blade Runner (1982).
Green Lantern (2011) – Martin Campbell
Before he was cast in the box-office smash Deadpool (2016), Ryan Reynolds starred in this awful super-hero movie which has since been disowned by nearly everyone involved. Including director Martin Campbell, who has previously directed two of the best Bond films in recent memory with GoldenEye (1995) and Casino Royale (2006).
Hulk (2003) – Ang Lee
Before conquering the Oscars with his technicolor masterpiece The Life Of Pi (2012), Ang Lee was heavily criticised for almost killing The Hulk franchise back in 2003. The film was criticised for ‘too much talking and not enough smashing’, arguably the crux of any successful film featuring the ‘crush-first, think-later’ monster.
Indiana Jones and The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull (2008) – Steven Spielberg
One of the most well-known directors in the game made a rare mis-step when he opted to bring back an ageing Harrison Ford, in the mostly unwanted sequel to the classic ’80s trilogy. According to reports, Spielberg is keen to do a fifth film – despite the abysmal response this film received, *sigh*.
Jack (1995) – Francis Ford Coppola
Essentially the opposite to Big, Robin Williams plays a 10-year-old boy who ages four times faster than normal kids – making him in fact 40. Classroom antics aside it’s a career low for both Williams and director Francis Ford Coppola, who in the past had provided us with classics like The Godfather (1972) and Apocalypse Now (1979).
J. Edgar (2011) – Clint Eastwood
Leonardo Di Caprio starred in this fictionalised drama around FBI founder and director J. Edgar Hoover, which received a lukewarm response. Directed by gun-slinger turned director, Clint Eastwood, the film was criticised for being, well, really boring. Could have used some of the action from Unforgiven (1992) to liven things up a bit eh, Clint?
The Lady Killers (2003) – Joel & Ethan Coen
The Coen brothers remake of the 1955 original failed to thrill punters, despite Tom Hanks’ praised lead role as Goldthwaite Higginson. They have predictably bounced back though, with No Country For Old Men (2007), True Grit (2010) and Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) all acting as proof of their directing prowess.
Savages (2012) – Oliver Stone
The Platoon (1986) director turned in a bit of a box-office bomb in 2012 with this glamorous yet messy crime-thriller, despite critics lauding Stone’s directing style. He’s following this film up with a biographical drama surrounding spy-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden which is released later this year. No pressure then.
Tomorrowland (2015) – Brad Bird
Bird, another Pixar alumni failed to set the world on fire with Tomorrowland which resulted in a $120 million loss to producers Disney due to poor box-office figures. Previous highs in his career include the surprisingly-good Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011) and the definitely good The Incredibles (2004).