Scott Hardie | November 18, 2019
Kelly wanted to see Motherless Brooklyn in a theater recently. When I asked her why, since crime movies aren't really her thing, she said, "It stars Edward Norton. Don't you want to see it? The only way it could be more of a Scott Hardie must-see is if Wes Anderson directed it."

Now, I don't consider myself a big fan of either Norton or Anderson. Norton had a pretty good run from 1996 to 2002 or so (roughly Primal Fear to 25th Hour), but with the exception of Leaves of Grass in 2009, I can't recall a single major role he's had that I've liked in all of the years since. As for Anderson, I thought he was pretentious and off-putting when he first came around (I still think The Royal Tenenbaums is overrated; fight me), but I did really enjoy his last three features, and not because Norton had a minor supporting role in each.

But Kelly's statement got me thinking: Who ARE my must-see filmmakers? Which actors, directors, writers, or producers are so dear to my heart that I am guaranteed to see anything they make?

Before I answer, I pose the same question to you. Who are yours?

Erik Bates | November 18, 2019
I jokingly say that I'll watch anything with John Cusack - likely because one of my favorite movies to this day is High Fidelity.

It's funny that you mention Ed Norton and Wes Anderson. I, too, am a fan of theirs, and my wife will very often say "That looks like a you movie." Pretty sure she said that about Grand Budapest Hotel (which, by the way, I did love). I agree with your assessment of Tenenbaums. It was good. But it somehow also felt like Anderson trying too hard to be Anderson. I do still enjoy his films, overall, though.

When I think of a director that I must see their films, however, the only one that truly stands out to me a a knee-jerk answer is Tarantino. I wonder if that's a product of me truly enjoying his films, or of the "he's a genius" reputation he's been given. I guess it could be both.

I don't know writers or producers well enough to know who does what.

Side note/rant: The poster for Motherless Brooklyn annoys me. Why is Norton above Dafoe, Willis above Baldwin, Mbatha-Raw above Norton, Baldwin above Mbatha-Raw and Dafoe above Willis? C'mon! I spent way too long marvelling at how different Edward Norton looks with a beard before I figured out it was Willem friggen' Dafoe.

Steve West | November 18, 2019
Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, Neil Simon, Quentin Tarantino

Actor: 100/0 Humphrey Bogart, Katherine Hepburn, Robert Shaw
75/25 Daniel Day-Lewis, Christoph Walz, Richard Dreyfuss, Javier Bardem, Robert Downey, Jr., John Hurt, Lee Marvin, Michael Madsen
50/50 Maggie Smith, Helen Mirren, William Hurt, Paul Newman, Robert DeNiro

Director: Quentin Tarantino, Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Robert Rodriguez

Scott Hardie | November 19, 2019
The directors who attract me tend to be either those who work in big ideas that lean toward science fiction (Christopher Nolan, Rian Johnson, David Fincher, the Wachowskis), or those with big stylistic flourishes in their dramas (Spike Lee, Quentin Tarantino, Ang Lee, and yes I suppose Wes Anderson). Even when those directors make a bad movie, and they certainly do, at least it's interesting and gives me something to think about; they're incapable of being boring.

But my movie consumption has changed a lot over the years by necessity. I don't have as much free time as I used to, and when I do get to relax in front of a screen, it's almost always with Kelly, whose taste is very different from mine. We wind up seeing a lot of "safe" content that we can agree upon like Marvel and Star Wars and certain TV shows. I still keep up with new releases every week and compulsively add them to my watchlist in the hopes of someday seeing them, but I don't consider queuing a filmmaker's work for later viewing to be "must see." I realized with some sadness that there's truly only one filmmaker in Hollywood whose work I go out and see every time it's released in theaters, and that's Kevin Feige. :-(

Scott Hardie | November 19, 2019
Good names, guys. I can get behind everyone who you mentioned.

I don't know if there's any actor today whose work I'll automatically see. Once upon a time it probably would have been Jackie Chan, but his early-2000s films were kind of terrible and I gave up on him. If I'm attracted to any actor's work, it's because they have good taste when choosing projects and rarely appear in bad movies, like Charlize Theron or Leo DiCaprio or Tom Hanks, but that's correlation and not necessarily causation.

Erik, I too get thrown by movie posters like that. I searched online for why it seems to happen, and the answer makes sense: Stars have contractual order in the credits, and contractual prominence in the poster, and those things are negotiated separately and don't always correlate.

Samir Mehta | November 20, 2019
[hidden by request]

Scott Hardie | November 20, 2019
Another good list. I can agree with every one.

Want to participate? Please create an account a new account or log in.

Other Discussions Started by Scott Hardie

I Love You... Very Much... Yeah?

At the end of their annual memoir night, SMITH Magazine invites members of the audience to perform a six-word slam: Summing up their lives in a single six-word phrase. Go »

In the Shadow of the Moon

There's a pretty big eclipse coming up. Do you plan to observe it? Do you plan to drive into the "totality" region if you aren't there already? Go »

Scariest Movie Scenes

In the spirit of Halloween, AV Club asked its writers, what's the scariest scene you've ever seen in a movie? Go »

My Eyes!

What image do you wish you had never seen?I ask mainly about images that you regret you'll never be able to get out of your mind, but other answers are welcome. Go »


When I sat down before class yesterday, the woman to my left started chatting with me like she usually does. Go »

Air Head

I'm so happy for Steve Fossett that he finally completed one of his many attempts to circumnavigate the globe solo in a hot-air balloon. Go »