7 of The Worst Directors in Recent History

Friday, March 16 by John Coon


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Good directors can take a script filled with strong characters, a good plot, and create a cinematic classic. Skilled directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Steven Spielberg, and Martin Scorsese have captured our imagination with original stories countless times. Residing on the other end of that spectrum are directors who seem determined to churn out one mindless by-the-numbers effort after another. Most movie audiences don't have enough common sense to avoid the garbage produced by these directors–which explains why they still find work after all these years. These seven directors rank as the worst among this mediocre bunch that keeping popping up behind the camera

1. Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer:

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When done right, good satire can generate plenty of laughs by poking fun at pop culture, popular movies and TV shows while creating a story that can stand on its own. “Airplane” and “The Naked Gun” offer perfect examples of how to do spoof movies. Friedberg and Seltzer offer textbook examples on how to do them wrong. Starting with their 2006 debut, “Date Movie,” the pair have churned out one unfunny spoof after another. They show no signs of stopping. The duo are set to direct an “Avatar” spoof–“The Biggest Movie of All Time 3D”–set to be released in 2012.

2. Uwe Boll:

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Video games do not translate well onto the big screen as a general rule. Movies from “Mortal Kombat” to “Doom” offer plenty evidence of that reality. Boll has a special gift for taking popular video games and creating movies that are thoroughly unwatchable. Bad camerawork, terrible acting, and inane plots are central features of Boll films like “House of the Dead” and “BloodRayne.” Just don't let him know you think his movies suck. He challenges critics to boxing matches.

3. Renny Harlin:

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Even when Harlin is involved in decent franchises, the results turn out disappointing. “Die Hard 2” is easily one of the weaker films in the “Die Hard” franchise in terms of plot, characters and everything else. When Harlin helms standalone projects, it results in box-office bombs of epic proportions. “Cutthroat Island” flopped so badly, it effectively ended the careers of Geena Davis and Matthew Modine. “Driven” drove Sylvester Stallone out of the spotlight until “Rocky Balboa” brought him back. “Exorcist: The Beginning” was so bad, an alternate version of the prequel with a different director was released into theaters.

4. Michael Bay:

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The awful “Transformers” trilogy underscores the basic formula for a Bay movie. It contains loud action, tons of special effects, cardboard characters, melodramatic plot twists and more plot holes than holes found in Swiss cheese. Watching Bay-directed movies such as “Armageddon” or “Pearl Harbor” is like eating junk food. It might taste good, but you feel unsatisfied after you're finished eating.

5. Dennis Dugan:

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Dugan's claim to fame is directing a bunch of low-rate Adam Sandler comedies. He started out well enough with solid efforts like “Happy Gilmore,” but it has all been downhill since that time. Anyone who has seen junk like “You Don't Mess with the Zohan” or “Grown Ups” would agree it is time for him to find a new career path.

6. Roland Emmerich:

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Another director from the school of thought that equates visual effect laden movies filmed on a bloated budget with good cinema. Emmerich seems to think audiences just want to see famous landmarks destroyed in spectacular fashion and will ignore bad science, stock characters, inane plot twists and a lack of intelligence that overwhelm virtually every movie he has made from “Independence Day” to “2012.” Judging by the box-office successes of these movies, he might be right.

7. M. Night Shyamalan:

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	No director is a one-trick pony more than <span data-scayt_word=Shyamalan. His twist ending with “The Sixth Sense” helped make it a classic horror movie. Since that time, Shyamalan keeps trying to better that original twist ending. The results ranging from “The Village” to “Lady in the Water” are laughable at best.