Hey everybody. Michael C. here. Quick question: By your estimation, which directors are currently pitching a perfect game? By which I mean, which filmmakers have yet to make a bad or even a so-so film so far in their career. I can think of three off hand: Spike Jonze, Brad Bird and Darren Aronofsky.
Of course, your mileage may vary on these choices. Right away, I’m sure a lot of you jump ship with The Fountain (Aronofsky), and one could debate whether Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (Bird) is a great movie or merely great for a Mission Impossible movie. Feel free to substitute one of your own choices for any of the above. My point isn’t to reopen the debate on these movies. My point is, rarely, if ever, do filmmakers make it through a full career without stumbling at least once, more likely a few times. Even the Coens, who made it nearly two decades without a misstep (Shut up. I like The Hudsucker Proxy), eventually crashed against the rocks with Intolerable Cruelty and The Ladykillers. So when directors are in a golden period where they have yet to step wrong, it’s bittersweet because chances are excellent it is not going to last.
Not that a failure-free career should be an artist’s goal, anyway. If I can paraphrase Laurence Fishburne's sage advice from Searching for Bobby Fischer, you can’t play not to lose. The edge of defeat, that’s where you want to be. I prefer my filmmakers who approach things like Robert Altman. Taking huge, all-or-nothing swings at every pitch, knocking it into the parking lot when he connects, lying flat on his ass when he wipes out.
Take Aronofsky. I can't shake the feeling that his upcoming Noah is a giant miscalculation.
I’m not looking to tread on anybody’s religion here, but it’s hard to deny the essential silliness of the Noah story, and the recently released first official images did nothing to quiet my concerns. I have tremendous faith in Aronofsky’s ability to raise some impressive Biblical thunder, but at some point Russell Crowe will start marching animals on to a big boat and when that happens it’s going to be difficult to keep a straight face, yes?
Chances are excellent Mr. Aronofsky will transform the familiar tale in ways I never anticipated, and when that happens I will shake my head at ever having doubted him. But even if my worst fears are fulfilled, it will still be gratifying to know we still have a cinema where filmmakers are free to indulge in a grand folly now and then.
Can you think of a director to who managed to make it a full career without tripping up? (One could make a strong case for Kubrick. I would disagree) Can someone out there give me reason to look forward to Noah? Let me know in the comments.