It's week 3 on Metal Mummy's Movie Meme and this week the theme is Directors:
"Who is your favourite director? What film(s) are the reason why you love this director so much?"
Phew I thought, this is going to be easier to choose than last week's whittling down of all my favourite black and white movies!
But then I started thinking about all the directors I love - Hitchcock, Scorcese, Richard Lester (Hard Day's Night, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, Superman II & III, the Three Musketeers movies), Victor Fleming (Wizard of Oz, Gone With The Wind), Edward D. Wood Jr (Plan 9 From Outer Space, Glen or Glenda), Alfonso Cuaron (Y Tu Mama Tambien, Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban, Children of Men).
The more I thought about it yesterday, my favourite came down to a fight between two directors who possibly couldn't be more different:
- Frank Capra (It's a Wonderful Life, It Happened One Night, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, Lost Horizon, Arsenic and Old Lace to name but a few of his classics).
- Robert Rodriguez (Spy Kids trilogy soon to be a....what's the word for 4 movies, a quadrology? Actually it's probably just a quartet isn't it, Machete, El Mariachi, Sin City, Predators, The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl, Once Upon A Time In Mexico, From Dusk Till Dawn etc).
I love Capra because of his movies are so positive, he champions the common man, shows that if you work or battle hard enough you can achieve great things. But I also love his use of light, his sometimes ridiculously overblown sets (I watched Lost Horizon again yesterday and wasn't surprised his Shangri-la sets lost the film studio heaps of money).
But.........I love Rodriguez.
He's my guilty pleasure.
He makes movies like they're music videos. His movies are so beautifully choreographed, they're like ballet. He uses colour probably as well as anyone has done since Victor Fleming and the days of Gone With The Wind and The Wizard of Oz.
He breaks all the rules with his hand held HD video cameras. I love the little jokey references he has between his different movies. I love feeling in-on some of the jokes and try to guess exactly how he's going to kill Cheech Marin's character in THIS film (blimey he's died some gruesome deaths). I love that he's so respected that actors are queueing up to be in his movies - Antonio Banderas (of course), Robert De Niro, Johnny Depp, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, Steve Buscemi, Quentin Tarantino, Salma Hayek, Richardo Montalaban, Alan Cumming, Steven Seagal, Willem Dafoe...he even managed to get Lindsay Lohan into a movie inbetween court & prison dates ;)
I love that he has no problem resurrecting or adapting characters from film to film (Machete being a grumpy but kindly uncle in Spy Kids, to being an almost silent baddie hitman in Once Upon A Time In Mexico, to being a wronged vigilante hero in Machete). I adore the use of music used to heighten the overblown and often comedic fight scenes.
I love that he does so much of his own work to fit his own vision - director, editor, producer, composer, writer, sound editor etc. I love any man who can write and get Johnny Depp to say "Are You a Mexican, or a Mexi Can't?' I love that he can drop into the script a character quoting a fact about the length of the human intestines.....and then have you sitting waiting to see how this fact will be used, because you know it couldn't have been a throw-away line (I won't spoil it for you, but that one's from Machete).
I also adore that he doesn't mind sharing his experience and genius with others - if you check out youtube you'll find some of his many lectures and his tons of 10 Minute Film Schools he puts out with each movie.
Picking my favourite Rodriguez movie is again a difficult choice to just find the one. I love the Spy Kids trilogy because they were how I first discovered him and he has such a distinctive touch on these films. I love Desperado because it was the first of his movies for adults that I watched. It's so stylised and has some superb lines and humour (amongst the bloodshed), possibly has the best bar shoot-out ever in a movie and Quentin Tarantino tells one of the world's best jokes. I love El Mariachi too.
But if you're going to force me to choose just one of his movies, it probably has to be Once Upon A Time In Mexico. It's not a perfect movie, in fact it's possibly a movie that has a lot of excellent moments that sort of tie together than being a whole....but I love it: