Monday, June 9, 2008

Top Directors...according to me

Hello Brethren,

Some of my friends know about my film database (a list of all the films I have ever seen, with cast information, "star review", etc.) and about a year ago I added a new feature to the database, which has seen more versions than Windows. The said new feature is a countdown of my favourite directors. Here's how I compiled it:

I used the Bayesian estimate - the system used for imdb ratings - whereby I assigned the following minimums: I must have seen at least 3 films by any given director and the arithmetic mean of those films has to be at least 3 (based on a star review system out of 5).

Needless to say, the list ended up having more surprises than I can handle (one of which is that, apparently, I think Kevin Costner is a better director than Steven Spielberg). However, I always find it interesting to browse through the list and be in awe of my stupefying ratings. Hindsight is the worst enemy of a review, so sometimes I look back on some films and begin wondering what I was on (probably Diet Coke at the time). But I made sure that I don't change the ratings - that would be cheating. Another disclaimer would be that having at least 3 films means some directors, such as the aforementioned Speilberg and one Martin Scorsese, end up having low weighted scores, because - let's face it - there is always a The Lost World - Jurassic Park for every Schindler's List, or The Aviator for every Taxi Driver.

Before I dabble on even longer, I shall give you the top 30 and the weighted averages next to them. Enjoy:

For the tie scores the arithmetic mean has the priority. In the case of all parameters being equal, alphabetical order has the priority.

1- Joel & Ethan Coen - 4.07
- Stanley Kubrick
3- Akira Kurosawa - 4.05
4- Billy Wilder - 4.02
5- Pedro Almodovar - 3.97
6- Darren Aronofsky - 3.92
7- Krzysztow Kieslowski - 3.91
- Sergio Leone
- Lars Von Trier
10- Alfred Hitchcock - 3.84
11- David Lynch - 3.81
12- Francis Ford Coppola - 3.8
- David Lean
- Sam Peckinpah
- Charlie Chaplin
- Michael Haneke
- Rob Reiner
18- Alfonso Cuaron - 3.72
- Frank Darabont
- Lasse Hallstrom
- John Schlesinger
- Zhang Yimou
23- James Cameron - 3.71
- Hayao Miyazaki
25- Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu - 3.67
- Robert Altman
- Michael Mann
28- Alejandro Amenabar - 3.63
- Spike Lee
- Richard Linklater
- Sidney Lumet
- Roman Polanski
- Peter Weir

Another interesting tidbit would be the number of films I have seen by the directors. This explains - to a certain extent - the ommission of some of the "big" names from this Top 30 (the more the number of films, the more of a chance to have stinkers). Here's the list of the directors with the most number of films I have seen:

This list is drawn from the pool of directors that fulfill the above requirements for minimum number of films and the minimum arithmetic score of 3.

1- Steven Spielberg - 20
2- Martin Scorsese - 13
3- Joel & Ethan Coen - 12
- Stanley Kubrick
5- Pedro Almodovar - 11
6- Woody Allen - 10
- Robert Zemeckis
8- Tim Burton - 9
- Mike Nichols
10- Akira Kurosawa - 8
- David Cronenberg

What this shows is that, in my humble opinion and filmic experience, the Coens, Kubrick, Almodovar, and Kurosawa have always been consistently good (considering their placements in the first chart). Yet, I want to stress that these lists mean nothing, as the pool of films contain under 1300 titles. In the coming years, once I marathon my way through Bergman, Antonioni, Herzog, Lang, Bunuel, or numerous other "greats", then the list will have some meaning. I can safely assume, though, that the Coens will overtake Kubrick (until No Country, Kubrick was number one, with Coens second by only a tiny margin). Who knows? Maybe Burn After Reading will end up being another Coens masterpiece.


Saturday, June 7, 2008

Opeth's New Observation

I will write a proper review for this album here and here later on, but I just want to say that the new album (or observation, as they like to call them) is absolutely, mind-numbingly, annoyingly good. Watershed will be remembered as a metal classic for years to come.