Rolling Stone’s Worst Movies by Great Directors List Slammed

Rolling Stone’s list of the 50 worst movies by great directors has some duds to be sure, but there is a lot to take issue with.

When you think of the great directors in cinema history – Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Alfred Hitchcock, etc. – chances are the first films that come to mind are Goodfellas, Jaws and Vertigo. But every brilliant filmmaker has their duds. Now, Rolling Stone – you know, the publication that doesn’t think Roseanne and Bill Cosby had historic shows just because of their wrongdoings – has put out a list of the 50 worst movies by some of the most renowned directors…And yes, they have missed the mark considerably.

In the list, titled “50 Terrible Movies by Great Directors”, there are plenty of bottom-barrel films, those that are absolutely anomalies in otherwise remarkable careers. We wouldn’t argue that man-child family comedy Jack (#1) isn’t Francis Ford Coppola’s worst movie or that Rob Reiner’s North (#2) wasn’t worthy of Roger Ebert’s famed “hated, hated, hated, hated, hated” review. Those guys didn’t make anything worse than either one. But what about those that are being unjustly lumped with this crap?

We didn’t love Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (#3) when it came out, but that’s mostly comparing it to the Indiana Jones trilogy which came before it. Really, aren’t 1941 and Always more in the running for Spielberg’s worst movie? The problem with some of these “worst of” lists is that they sometimes unfairly automatically go after sequels and remakes. OK, there’s a case to be made for Piranha II (#6) being James Cameron’s worst, but at the same time it’s a B movie that gave Cameron the chance to get a feel for how to make a movie and so why pick on it? The same goes for Scorsese’s Boxcar Bertha, ranked at #13. Uh, New York, New York, anyone? And I thought Gus Van Sant’s Psycho (#4) was a ballsy experiment that, to me, took the place of 2015’s The Sea of Trees.

A similar case could be made for Alfred Hitchcock’s inclusion, 1929’s Juno and the Paycock (#21). Why go after this era when he has plenty of self-parodic tripe after he long solidified himself as a master? I’d put 1964’s Marnie, 1969’s Topaz or 1966’s Torn Curtain on the list before any of his pre-Hollywood fare. There aren’t a whole lot of amazing films on this list – although Sidney Lumet’s Garbo Talks (#38) is actually pretty solid and films like Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain (#49) has a serious following – but it also doesn’t seem like enough context and perspective were considered as much as they should be when compiling such a list.

Let’s take a look at some other movies that made the list and how we could replace them. William Friedkin’s Jade #16) is pretty lousy, but what about 1983’s Deal of the Century? Robert Zemeckis’ Death Becomes Her (#19) is a sin to put anywhere near this list – it might actually be one of his best – with the director having no fewer than a half-dozen other movies that could have replaced it (Welcome to Marwen, Beowulf, etc.). And Ridley’s Scott’s A Good Year (#18) is no peach but how can it be included when The Counselor exists?

There’s a lot to explore on Rolling Stone’s list of the worst movies by great directors, but we’ll let you take a look yourself to see where they got it right and where they were completely off base.

Surely we shouldn’t take too much stock in virtually any “best of/worst of” list because it’s just another person or publication’s opinion, but we do want to hear from you. So, what do you think is the worst movie from your top directors? Give us your list in the comments section below!

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