Mar 23, 2010

March madness! Film directors: round one

With March Madness upon us, WEEKEND magazine is working their way through three 64-team pop culture-centric brackets to determine the best TV series on the air, the best active film director and the best music act. Here are the first-round brackets for film director, in the
1. Martin Scorsese ("The Departed," "Shutter Island") vs. 16. Edward Zwick ("Blood Diamond," "Defiance")

8. Woody Allen ("Cassandra's Dream," "Vicky Cristina Barcelona") vs. 9. Terrence Malick ( "The New World")

5. Clint Eastwood ("Changeling," "Invictus") vs. 12. Mike Nichols ("Charlie Wilson's War")

4. Roman Polanski ("The Ghost Writer") vs. 13. Danny Boyle ("Slumdog Millionaire," "Sunshine")

6. Sidney Lumet ("Find Me Guilty," "Before the Devil Knows Your Dead") vs. 11. Oliver Stone ("World Trade Center," "W.")

3. The Coen Brothers ("No Country For Old Men," "A Serious Man") vs. 14. David Cronenberg ("Eastern Promises," "A History of Violence")

7. Spike Lee ("Inside Man," "Miracle at St. Anna") vs. 10. Michael Mann ("Miami Vice," "Public Enemies")

2. Steven Spielberg ("Munich," "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull") vs. 15. George Romero ("Diary of the Dead," "Survival of the Dead")
Of those, I would have Scorsese over Zwick although Zwick was unlucky, Malick over Allen, Eastwood over Nichols, Polanski because Boyle has nothing like Chinatown, Stone over Lumet only because Lumet is in the wrong era's bracket, the Coens over Cronenberg, Mann over Lee, and Spielberg over Romero (easily) to win the first round. Moving onto the Newbies bracket, Weekend have:—
1. Paul Greengrass ("Bourne," "United 93") vs. 16. Jon Favreau ("Zathura," "Iron Man")

8. Judd Apatow ("Funny People," "Knocked Up") vs. 9. Marc Forster ("The Kite Runner," "Quantum of Solace")

5. Pedro Almodovar ("Volver," "Broken Embraces") vs. 12. Edgar Wright ("Hot Fuzz")

4. Guillermo Del Toro ("Pan's Labyrinth," "Hellboy 2") vs. 13. Marc Webb ("(500) Days of Summer")

6. Jason Reitman ("Thank You For Smoking," "Juno," "Up in the Air") vs. 11. Noah Baumbach ("Squid and the Whale," "Greenberg")

3. Sam Mendes ("Jarhead," "Revolutionary Road," "Away We Go") vs. 14. Zach Snyder ("Dawn of the Dead," "300," "Watchmen")

7. Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu ("Babel") vs. 10. Sofia Coppola ("Marie Antoinette")

2. Alfonso Cuaron ("Children of Men") vs. 15. JJ Abrams ("Mission: Impossible III," "Star Trek"
Of the newbies, I would chose, as first round winners: Favreau over Greengrass because of variety (Elf) and because of the centrality of the performances in Iron Man, Apatow over Foster, Almodovar over Wright, del Toro over Webb, Reitman narrowly over Baumbach, Mendes over Snyder, Coppola over Innaritu and Abrams (just) over Cuaron. Weekend's Indies bracket looks like this:—

1. Quentin Tarantino ("Death Proof," "Inglourious Basterds") vs. 16. Michael Moore ("Sicko," "Capitalism: A Love Story")
8. Gus Van Sant ("Paranoid Park," "Milk") vs. 9. Terry Gilliam ("Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus")

5. David Lynch ("Inland Empire") vs. 12. Spike Jonze ("Where the Wild Things Are")

4. Wes Anderson ("The Darjeeling Limited," "Fantastic Mr. Fox") vs. 13. Ang Lee ("Brokeback Mountain")

6. David Fincher ("The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "Zodiac") vs. 11. Michel Gondry ("Block Party," "Be Kind Rewind")

3. Darren Aronofsky ("The Wrestler," "The Fountain") vs. 14. Alexander Payne ("Sideways")

7. Steven Soderbergh ("Che," "The Girlfriend Experience," "The Informant!") vs 10. Hayao Miyazaki ("Ponyo")

2. Paul Thomas Anderson ("There Will Be Blood") 15. Richard Linklater ("A Scanner Darkly," "Me and Orson Welles")
Here I'd go for Tarantino over Moore, Van Sant over Gilliam (duh), Lynch over Jonze with a wince, Lee over Anderson with a bigger wince, Fincher over Gondry, Aronofsky over Payne, Soderbergh over Miyazaki, and Linklater over Anderson by virtue of temperament. Moving onto the Populists:
1. James Cameron ("Avatar") vs. 16. Guy Ritchie ("RocknRolla," "Sherlock Homes")

8. Ron Howard ("Frost/Nixon," "Angels & Demons") vs. 9. Mel Gibson ("Apocalypto")

5. Peter Jackson ("King Kong," "The Lovely Bones") vs. 12. Kathryn Bigelow ("The Hurt Locker")

4. Tim Burton ("Sweeny Todd," "Alice in Wonderland") vs. 13. M. Night Shyamalan ("Lady in Water," "The Happening")

6. Robert Zemeckis ("Beowulf," "A Christmas Carol") vs. 11. Andrew Stanton ("WALL-E")

3. Ridley Scott ("American Gangster," "Body of Lies") vs. 14. Robert Rodriquez ("Planet Terror," "Shorts")

7. Frank Darabont ("The Mist") vs. 10. Sam Raimi ("Spider-Man," "Drag Me to Hell")

2. Christopher Nolan ("The Prestige," "The Dark Knight") vs. 15. Martin Campbell ("Casino Royale," "Edge of Darkness")
My winners are: Cameron over the joke entry, Howard over Gibson, Jackson narrowly over Bigelow, Burton over Shayamalan but indifferently, Zemeckis over Stanton (back catalogue), Scott over Rodriguez, Darabont over Raimi because Raimi has nothing like Shawshank, and Nolan over Campbell but only because of Memento.


  1. Thanks, this was just the way to start my morning !! (hunched over my laptop whilst the sun shines outside.....)
    I'm with you on all but one, but the "one" is making me suffer-Soderburgh vs. Miyazaki.
    I could take the view that Miyazaki is in the wrong category and the problem is solved, but if I go with the listing it's impossible to decide.
    I love Ghibli - My Neighbour Totoro is in my top 5 children's films of all time. Plus there's Howl's Moving Castle, Spirited Away.
    But then, there's Soderburgh with Sex Lies, Videotape and Out of Sight. My brain is hurting....
    On the basis that Soderburgh has done more turkeys - Ocean's Thirteen for God's sake - I'll plump for Miyazaki.
    But I'm not sure......

  2. It's painful I know. And I can definitely find fault with Soderbergh in the cold fish department. Here's how I get through unfair match-ups: I think "wait til the next round." Justice will be done.