Pop Culture Bracketology: Directors, Elite 8 discussion and results
By Cory Barker
Cory Barker: Two directors enter, one leaves! GO!
Brad Sanders: I'm willing to debate all of these, but for now I'm feeling the Coens over Scorsese, Del Toro over Mendes, Tarantino over Aronofsky, and Nolan over Jackson. Tell me I'm wrong.
Max McCombs: Scoresese-Coens and Jackson-Nolan are big tossups in my book. I agree with Brad on the other two.
Brian Welk: I gotta go Scorsese over Coens. Their past decade is about equal in terms of quality (maybe slight advantage Coens), but Scorsese is God. Raging Bull would make the list of Top 10 of all time and Taxi Driver is pretty damn close. On a possibly unrelated side note, I'm also looking at what Scorsese and the Coens have coming down the pipeline: Scorsese's making a George Harrison doc, an Elia Kazan doc and a biopic on Sinatra, inventively titled, "Sinatra." The Coens are doing a remake of "True Grit" starring Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon. Meh.
BS: It's probably unrelated since we can't weigh in on speculation of future work, but I'll take the Coens over Scorsese out of personal taste, perhaps. The Big Lebowski and Fargo to me are Raging Bull and Taxi Driver to you, and No Country for Old Men is on a similar level as Gangs of New York, but the rest of the Coens' output this decade annihilates Scorsese's, in my opinion.
BW: Personally, I didn't care for O Brother, and without that, the only movies the Coens really have worth discussing in the last decade are Burn After Reading and A Serious Man, which I think are less than The Departed and The Aviator. For sake of additional Scorsese titles, Shutter Island wasn't awful, and I've heard good things about Shine a Light.
As for Fargo and Big Lebowski, they are almost to me what they are to you, but what are Goodfellas and Casino to you?
BS: Goodfellas and Casino are not my thing. I've got a real problem with Mafia movies that I can not explain because even I don't fully understand it, but I take no pleasure in watching those. I won't hold them against him, though, since I know they're all-time classics to people who can stand them.
John Barnett: Welk: "No Country for Old Men" is not "worth discussing"? I should probably take offense at that since it's one of my top 25 movies of all time. Yeesh.
And I'm sort of a sore loser in this whole deal after Paul Thomas Anderson lost in the last round. Aronofsky is good, but he ain't that good.
BS: I kind of agree on Del Toro but I have an incredible soft spot for the Hellboy movies seeing as they are perfectly executed comic book films.
BW: My bad. I thought we had already "discussed" No Country. Of course it belongs in the discussion.
I'm skeptical about choosing Del Toro too because I would have had him losing to either Greengrass or Cuaron, but since we're here again (I would've also had Mendes losing to Reitman), I revert back to my skepticism that (A) American Beauty may not be as good as I remember it, (B) a handful of critics actually HATE Mendes, including the two films I would defend him on, (C) Pan's Labyrinth IS as good as I remember and (D) Hellboy 1 and 2 are maybe better than I remember.
Still though, that's a toss-up I would be willing to be swayed on given the right nudge.
Brian Marks: I go with Mendes over Del Toro. I also think the Hellboy movies are good comic book films (because they don't take themselves too seriously and look amazing), and think Pan's Labyrinth was a fantastic film, but that's about it.
Beyond that, his other films came out too long ago to really judge, and unfortunately I didn't see most of them as they were not English language. Of the ones I have seen, Blade II and Mimic are not on my greatest films of all time list. But Mendes has had 3 movies that I really liked in the last 5 years: Away We Go, Revolutionary Road, and Jarhead. And if were to break my rules and look back even further, he has American Beauty under his belt, plus Road to Perdition, which was okay.
I don't actually have any upsets. I'll stick up for Scorsese. I liked Shutter Island, even though it was flawed. It was also him trying something different, which I think he pulled off. Music is such a big part of his films, and I think he showed that with the Stones documentary and the Bob Dylan documentary. Shine A Light was just a great concert film, even if you're not a Rolling Stones fan.
And the Bob Dylan documentary actually managed to be worthwhile, not just a retread of Don't Look Back. Then there was The Departed, which I think ranks with Scorsese's best movies. During that time period, the Coens have No Country, Burn After Reading, and A Serious Man. I think No Country and A Serious Man maybe rank up there with Fargo, but Burn After Reading was only okay. It was funny at times, but I think that was just their breather after No Country. And if I were to look back at the whole decade, Scorsese definitely wins as far as I'm concerned: Gangs of NY and The Aviator top The Ladykillers and Intolerable Cruelty. No question.
Doug Evans: I was very conflicted on the Scorsese vs. Coens, but after B Marks reminded me that the Coens directed Intolerable Cruelty and Ladykillers, I must go with Scorsese, who has yet to direct a disaster in his lengthy career.
The Departed and No Country are two of the best films of this young century, so again, since both have such an "elite" list of amazing films, the only criteria I used to make my choice was flops, of which the Coens have two. This match up should have been a final rounder or at least a final four and having to choose one over the other gives me such guilt.
I will go with Mendes over Del Toro, only as a matter of personal taste. As visually great as the Hell Boy movies were, I was not as into them as most of my colleagues are. Pan's Labyrinth is a masterpiece, but that alone can not beat Mendes, who has had a solid decade thus far with Jarhead, Revolutionary Road, and the oft-overlooked Away We Go. American Beauty is pretty badass too.
Tarantino over Aronofsky. Though Aronofsky has a vision all his own and will have a great future, Tarantino is too good to top.
Finally, Nolan over Jackson. Memento is a masterpiece and I could watch The Dark Knight 1000 times and not grow tired of it. I know this may be offensive, but I would take any one of Nolan's films over The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Yes, even the Prestige.
CB: Quick thought on Doug's Nolan/Jackson comment: Co-signed. x1000.
BS: Well, I love the Lord of the Rings Trilogy but I'm inclined to agree about Nolan as well - and I'm not sure why you had to qualify "The Prestige," it's fucking fantastic.
1. Martin Scoresese -- 57 percent of vote
3. The Coen Brothers
Indie Darlings Region
1. Quentin Tarantino -- 100 percent of vote
3. Darren Aronofsky
Populist Pros Region
5. Peter Jackson
2. Christopher Nolan -- 85.7 percent of vote
4. Guillermo Del Toro
3. Sam Mendes -- 71 percent of vote