Terms like epic and legendary, even hysterical or action packed, are all superlatives that get thrown around in film reviews and comment threads ad nauseum. One such adjective that seems to be making more appearances is that of “love-letter”. This year we found two such instances where the aptly dropped superlative perfectly describes these homage laden films; both of which, in their own right, are very nearly dopplegangers or reincarnations of a previous filmmaker’s work. Super 8 and 13 Assassins fully embraced the styles of the films they themselves were modeled after. Also they’re fantastic films which as more than gushing tributes to said inspirational visionaries (Steven Spielberg and Akira Kurosawa) would make any filmmaker envious of such a complimentary and heartfelt tribute.
So with that I’ve complied a list of 10 directors who, so gifted, original, talented and influential that they deserve and should expect their own “love letter” in the years to come.
David Lynch – While his films don’t hit everyone the same way (and even less actually understand what they’re seeing), those that get him really dig his work. His style is wilder than his haircuts and he makes less sense than gibberish but one thing’s for sure, you’ll consistently have to pick your jaw off the floor after each of his films (either in awe or confusion I still can’t tell). You can tell he has good taste in film as did send his own love letter to early Kubrick as well as a handful of Hitchcock films with The Elephant Man.
Film To Be Sent A Love Letter: Inland Empire would be a stretch. More likely candidate – Mullholand Drive
Wes Anderson – In short he made being quirky cool and showed that an artsy film doesn’t have to be entirely pretentious or confusing but can be fun and rather endearing. His films look like Jean Piere Janet, play like Sophia Copolla and embody the stuffy sophistication and allure of a foreign film. But am I the only one who thinks he’s made his career on unused ideas from his 2nd year of film school (and Bill Murray)?
Film To Be Sent A Love Letter: The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou
Luc Besson – Walking that line between suave and brash his films pull no punches. Creating not one but 5 unique dazzling and hard hitting hitman/one man army characters Besson, whether writing, producing, directing (or all three) continually pushes the limits of action and on screen wonderment.
Film To Be Sent A Love Letter: Leon
Danny Boyle – Like Lon Chaney he’s about as diverse a director as they come. Making movies both as character studies, all out action/fright fests, throwbacks and even quasi musicals he’s hard to pin down his style. Inventive, daring and ever changing I bet in 10 years you’ll be amazed to look back and go, “Danny Boyle directed that?? It’s so not his style“…well film fans, that’s because Danny Boyle has transcended a bourgeoisie terms like “style”.
Film To Be Sent A Love Letter: Slumdog Millionaire
Rob Reiner – If you want good hearted throwbacks and stories to forever share with your kids, leave it to old Meathead himself. No one else, except maybe Spielberg, can inject the amount of warmth and heart constantly found in his films…even if it does get ridiculously sappy at times.
Film To Be Sent A Love Letter: The Princess Bride
Christopher Nolan – It’s hard to believe that just over a decade ago no one had ever heard of him, now he’s one of the biggest names in the business with a future so hot it looks nigh inextinguishable. But from mind bending, to memory messing to magic tricks and a few Batman films, Nolan grounds even the most cartoonish or implausible yarns. He grafts credibility into the DNA of outlandish situations/stories making it all the more impressive. So much so you’d feel you were watching a documentary as opposed to a fictional story.
Film To Be Sent A Love Letter: Memento
Woody Allen/Clint Eastwood – Talk about longevity right? These two will have to stop making movies first before anyone can try to evaluate then emulate their style. But fat chance of that as these two will give us probably another decade full of memorable films before those love letters come flooding in.
Film To Be Sent A Love Letter: Pick one. No really, because any one will do…
John Carpenter – A little lack-luster as of late, some say his better days are all behind him. But no one can deny the icons Carpenter created and how he forever shaped film. He invented the singular unstoppable heavy slasher genre, he combines action and comedy that to this day is hard to classify being solely one way or the other and he’s become a icon of the cult and a master of horror. That would look pretty good on a business card I’d think.
Film To Be Sent A Love Letter: Escape From New York
Quentin Tarantino – There’s really no one like Quentin Tarantino. Hell, even his name is so original you’d think it was a pseudonym created from the unusable letters in a game of drunken Scrabble. His films take the very best elements of the flicks he grew up with and give them a retooling that borders on brilliance. His writing is razor sharp, his wit and pacing is even sharper and a (major plus here) when he steps out from behind the camera he’s not a total distraction…yeah, I’m looking at you Shamhammer.
Film To Be Sent A Love Letter: Hard to Say – Most of his films are love letters in themselves…but Reservoir Dogs might take the prize
Michael Bay – I toyed with putting him on here but if you think about it, his entire catalog has continually reestablished what it means to be over the top. Sure, I’ll give you the fact that his movies are way overblown and some stories just suck but you absolutely cannot say you didn’t have fun and weren’t in some way impressed with the “Bayhem” you just saw, can you?
Film To Be Sent A Love Letter: The Rock
The Wachowskis – Sure nothing they’ve done has come close to the brilliance and awe of our first trip down the rabbit hole thanks to the the “red” pill (all you Speed Racer fans pipe down, I’m trying to make a point here). But you can’t deny their impact and effect as they effectively raised the bar of action films and kept it there for nearly a decade. Infusing the wire fighting that made Hong Kong films so cool with Besson-esqe signature gun play, their slick mind-bending sci-fi flick became a phenomenon. Hmm, I wonder. What element will become the next “Bullet Time” that will implore future filmmakers to shamelessly rip off ad nauseum in movies, TV and commercials??
But those are the ones I imagine we’ll be seeing replicated. Who do you see being complimented by a film that’ll be viewed of nothing short of a gushing tribute??