Tuesday, January 14, 2020

My Annual Top 12 Shows of the Year:

1. Orange is the New Black (Netflix)-The seventh and final season of “Orange is the New Black” dealt with immigration courts and the continued indignities of the for-profit prison system with harrowing tragedy. At the same time, “Orange is the New Black” didn’t sacrifice realism to throw us a bone with a few well-earned happy endings, and half a dozen other resolutions that at least ended on a poetic note. Through thick and thin, the series has never failed to entertain or stay fresh which is an accomplishment few shows can claim over such a span.

Source: DenofGeek
 2. The Good Place (NBC)- By now, it seems pretty conclusive that we'll never actually see Eleanor and the gang suffering any actual torture (if for nothing else, because no comedy could possibly be mined out of it) but that doesn't mean that this isn't the most high stakes comedy on television. While it is also a TV show that thrives on burning through plot at nearly unsustainable speeds, "The Good Place" found a nice resting perch from which to ease off the gas pedal with a reboot that saw Team Cockroach running their own simulation. The show continued to build the outer fringes of its word giving more fodder for break out characters (Gen, Vicky, Sean, Derek) to fill out the landscape.

3. BoJack Horseman (Netflix)-The tonal marriage of heart-slowing depression and hilarity was on full display in a season opener that saw BoJack going through the motions of rehab over and over while his peers were able to make sudden improvements. BoJack’s universe is when where achievements aren’t easily earned but slowly accrue over time. Despite the show’s rigid progressivism (which the show runners have shouted out quite a bit off-camera), there’s never a lack of empathy for characters like BoJack who have hurt others in their wake. The half-season concluded with one of their great experimental riffs with a “His Girl Friday” send-up that completely omitted the series’ five main characters. The cliffhanger ending properly raised the stakes over how much of his dark past BoJack is going to relive.

Source: Slashfilm

4. Miracle Workers (TBS)-A whimsical take on the classic world-wide doomsday scenario based on the supremely clever book by ex-SNL scribe Simon Rich. Steve Buscemi plays a God who's an idiot among idiots and his angels live in a bureaucratic jungle reminiscent of Terry Gilliam's Brazil. That the stakes are high yet mundane-seeming from above is a great comedic template but the show builds on a winning premise with smart dialogue and a great confluence of idiosyncratic personalities. Additionally, this is one of the few times where I can say I’ve read the book and this is indeed a smart adaptation.

Source: Variety
5. Lodge 49 (AMC)- Although this show won't be winning praise from the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce, there's a great portrait of a city in economic depression and how it limits the imaginations of everyone it affects. Almost everyone, that is. Enter Sean Dudley (Wyatt Russell): An ex-surfer with an inspiringly open heart who recently lost his dad to a shark accident and has nothing to his name except a membership to a lodge whose members are just as aimless as he is. To say the show meanders would be an understatement: The narrative never really has a definite ending point. Characters simply just try to get through their lives without going under. Some chase lofty dreams (David Pasquesi), some are consigned to know their days are behind them (Linda Edmond) , and others (Wyatt's sister played by Sonya Cassidy) are still trying to figure out what the future holds while fending off a string of hellish bosses. The second season asserts itself a little more with converging thread lines and introductions of Paul Giamatti as a blowhard author and Olivia Sandoval as a cooky CEO who desperately needs to adult.

6. A.P. Bio (NBC)-“AP Bio” started out as a fun outliar of a show that pushed the scenario of a reluctant  teacher who inadvertently bonds with his students to extremes. Jack (Glenn Howerton channels about 80% of Dennis from “Always Sunny” here) actively avoids wanting to even teach his students anything and involves them in incriminating activity. But rather than double down on the “Bad Teacher” scenario, this show has created a genuine sense of pathos in the development of Jack and his relationship with his students while still maintaining the veneer his vindictive persona. This show also has a cast of supporting characters that gets better with every moment of the spotlight they’re given from the multi-racial Greek chorus of teachers (Mary Sohn, Lyric Lewis, Jean Villepique) to the class of misfit students. Thank god for Season 3.

Source: WhatCulture.com

7. Arrested Development (Netflix)-Although the show's final half-season slipped under the radar (except for bad press by Jeffrey Tambour), it doesn't diminish the accomplishment of a series finale that tied up so many disparate threads with the idiosyncratic brick jokes and panache that only "Arrested Development" can. The introduction of Kyle Mooney as a dim-witted bastard child of Tobias seemed like an addition that could shake up a very delicate comic infrastructure but towards the end of the season, the makeshift family of Tobias, DeBrie (whose return along with Isla Fisher’s Rebel Alley are often the seson’s two best things), and Murphy Brown felt like a perfect next step in the show’s evolution.

8. The Boys (Amazon Prime)-With the saturation of the superhero genre there’s already an abundance of TV shows, movies and comic strips that claim enough self-awareness of the genre coupled with the ability to skewer its main traits (see “Guardians of the Galaxy”) but a lot of those efforts try to have their cake and eat it too with humorous tones. “The Boys” manages to divorce itself from what it’s parodying will still maintaining the fun and energy of a proper action film. More than that, “The Boys” has a lot more to say about our society than the genre itself: Whether hero (and, by proxy, celebrity) worship has a function in our society (and its need for role models) or if it makes it easier for our values to be subject to abuse.

9. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FX)-The show’s seasons range in quality from only a standard level of awesome to off the charts awe-inspiring. The last couple seasons were a little bit of a dip. The characters grew up in terms of facing their demons (for Charlie, the waitress; for Mac, his sexual confusion, for Dennis, giving fatherhood a brief try) so yay! But the new versions of the gang members didn’t necessarily translate into laughs. Season 14 ranged from experimental (the sublime noir send-up “The Janitor Mops Twice”), casually meta (“The Gang Gets Romantic”), skewed takes on social issues (“Thunder Gun 4” and “A Woman’s Right to Chop”), and gleeful callbacks (“Dee Day”) while continuing to rarely drag and have its leads stay hilariously in character.

Source: Cinemablend

10. Dead To Me (Netflix)-A serialized mystery focusing on the connection between a widow (Christina Applegate) trying to make sense of her late husband's death and a awkwardly cheery stranger (Linda Cardellini) who enters her orbit under pretty shady circumstances. Cardinelli's character is so desperate to connect, she's possibly the clingiest character on TV and it's hard to take your eyes off her. But there’s a secret. And another one and a couple more after that. To call this a sunny noir is to short change a story told with a style that defies convention. A second season is on the way and there are few shows where I’m excited to see just how far bad the characters will break.

Source: Reality Blurted

11. Holey Moley (ABC)- 99 times out of 100 I consider the artistry superior in scripted programming than any sort of staged reality, but "Holey Moley" proves the exception to the rule. The mini-golf game show (yes you read that correctly) applies just the right tweaks to every one's favorite backyard game and turns it into an extravaganza akin to ABC's Wild World of Sports. With its three-point twelve-player format, talking head intros, and solid editing, the show introduces us to rootable characters and ups the stakes nicely over the course of an hour. The star of the show though is comedy vet Rob Riggle as a host who adds a surreal level of meta-humor as a play-by-play commentator taking in and spitting out all the absurdity with a straight face.

12. Ramy (Hulu)-Whereas most shows about introspective single men in comedy are about getting laid and occasionally more, Ramy is about an devout Muslim in New Jersey trying to veer away from the secular temptations of sex for a greater religious high. That’s definitely in the category of “something different” worth seeking out when we talk about diversity. Although comedian Ramy Yousef shouldn’t be expected to shoulder the entirety of modern Islam on his shoulders, his show gives us an interesting glimpse.

My list of Honorable Mentions was covered last week: American Horror Story 1984 (FX), Bless the Harts (Fox), Black Mirror (Netflix), Derry Girls (BBC Channel 4/Netflix), Disenchantment (Netflix), Good Omens (Amazon Prime), The Orville (Fox), The Other Two (Comedy Central), Russian Doll (Netflix), What We Do in the Shadows (FX)

Everything I watched last year:
Abby’s (NBC), Adam Ruins Everything (TruTV), Almost Family (ABC), Archer (FX), Baroness von Sketch Show (IFC), Big Mouth (Netflix), Card Sharks (ABC), Castle Rock (Hulu), Carmen Sandiego (Netflix), Carnival Row (Amazon)* Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (CBSAA), Corporate (Comedy Central), Crashing (HBO)*, Chernobyl (AMC)*, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (CW), Dollface (Hulu), Documentary Now (IFC), Final Space (TBS/Netflix)*, Fresh off the Boat (ABC), Futureman (Hulu), God Friended Me (CBS), Good Girls (NBC), Grand Hotel (ABC), Hot Date (Pop TV), I-Land (Netflix), I Think You Should Leave (Netflix), 9-1-1 (NBC), Perfect Harmony (NBC), Politician (Netflix), Sex Education (Netflix), Schitt’s Creek (PopTV), Shrill (Hulu), Society (Netflix), Superstore (NBC), Sunnyside (NBC), Those Who Can’t (TruTV), Thirteen Reasons Why (Netflix), Undone (Amazon Prime), Umbrella Academy (Netflix), Will and Grace (NBC), Yellowstone (Paramount Network)

* = one episode

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Ten Honorable Mentions in Television for the best of 2019

Every year I do a top 12 list (check the label) for the best of the year in television and add an extra top 10 honorable mentions. Through thick and thin, I've done this list for 12 straight years and treated it with the gravity as if I'm announcing the Nobel Prizes. This year, I thought I'd separate the honorable mentions and give them their own entry for space reasons. Perhaps, also the readers can best absorb ten entries at one time.

Source: Den of Geek

American Horror Story: 1984 (FX)-As if the homage to the horror films of the 1980s wasn’t enough, the deluge of aerobics, side pony tails, synthesizer music and whatever else to set the place and time with the delicacy of a sledgehammer. But, hey, I dug the series’ cheekily self-referential tone and strong sense of place. Like other versions of AHS, the series is guilty of overpopulating its villains but there was a surprisingly strong thru-line to keep the narrative engaging and a couple genuinely bitching heroines worth rooting for.

Black Mirror (Netflix) -Charlie Brooker's prescient sci-fi anthology set in some unspecified near future continues to stay fresh and kinetic in its 5th season. That there were only three episodes is a source of complaint but each episode is relevant in multiple ways to our technoscape (isn't talking to the bastards who made your technology when it blows up on you the ultimate vicarious fantasy?) and meticulously crafted (all the little foreshadowings show up on rewatch).

Bless the Harts (Fox)- The first animated Sunday night entry in Fox to earn a second season renewal since "Bob's Burgers", this take on red state lower class working families would be in danger of being seen as a condescending parody of it weren't so sweet. The characters (a single mother, daughter, serious boyfriend and live-in mother) are all fully-formed comic creations and they bounce off each other well. The show also gets extra mileage out of a most amusing passive-aggressive rivalry between two grandmas (one played by guest star Mary Steenburgen showing off a previously unseen vicious side)
Source: Variety
Derry Girls (Channel 4/Netflix)-Of the many shows featuring teenagers I saw this year, few were as funny and fewer captured both the gut-wrenching awkwardness and carefree joy as this entry. The show is also a wayward family sitcom as the bickering family members of three generations keep the show lively.  Set in Northern Ireland at the heat of the IRA’s disruption in the 1990s, the show is rooted in a strong set of place and time. The season finale in which James traded an unstable mother for the continued awkwardness of being a boy in an all-girls school made no sense (nothing ever does with James' situation) but it was an earned emotional coda.

Disenchantment (Netflix)-This appeared in my top 12 last year based on potential and while it needs to round it still needs to round its lead characters, it has the visual richness and blink-and-you’ll-miss-it humor that made “Futurama” so rewatchable. Additionally, it’s a positive sign for the show’s world-building that Luci, Derek, and Oona got appropriately TGIF-ish (but not too cheesy) special episodes of the week.

Source: The Verge

Good Omens (Amazon)-The juxtaposition of minute details and unaware characters with unimaginable cataclysms was something I’d missed since…well..a few months earlier when “Miracle Workers” was on the air. That’s ok, we can never get enough apocalyptic comedy and the British whimsy (mostly in the tradition of Douglas Adams) approach is always welcome. The series is adapted from a Neil Gaiman book about a lowly angel and demon who violate their bosses’ orders to prolong the end of days. Because the book is so dense, the miniseries has the deck stacked against it in terms of delivering digestible entertainment because of all the exposition-oriented hurdles. Still, the series does an admirable job and the sweet odd couple of David Tenant and Michael Sheen is quite sweet. 

The Other Two (Comedy Central)-A wayward exploration of the effects of sudden viral fame, “The Other Two” has the sharpness in dialogue that is reminiscent of “30 Rock” with a tinge of family sitcom sweetness. The show is about a YouTube sensation modelled after Justin Bieber but it wisely focuses on the lives of the four cogs in his support system: The overly eager manager (Ken Marino), the menopausal mom seeking her positivity (Molly Shannon), and the two flailing adult siblings who had performance aspirations (Helene Yorke and Drew Tarver). The fact that the two adult siblings are supportive and not bitter of their brother gives the show a requisite gooeyness that places it on the list.

Source: Hollywood Reporter

The Orville (Fox)-When this show premiered, there was a very understandable chorus of bafflement by critics. Copying the Star Trek universe so closely that it bordered on copyright infringement, spending a lavish budget without any pay off on special effects, and straddling the most awkward line between comedy and drama screamed like a Seth McFarlane vanity project. But towards the back half of its second season, the show cemented itself as a show that offered something the Star Trek universe was lacking: A remedy to the stuffy atmosphere that permeated Starfleet (particularly in TNG).  It seems much more natural that the crew members would drink alcohol and play pranks on each other, doesn’t it? So think of Orville as a version of TNG with characters who are a little looser. The drama is still there. The science is really there. And occasionally there’s a belching contest. No biggie.
Source: Den of Geek

Russian Doll (Netflix)-Natasha Lyonne's protagonist here is such a sweetheart, her id-driven M.O. doesn't come off rude but more exposing the superfluous of polite banality. The show could have done more to get viewers invested in the actual logistics of the Groundhog-Day-like time loop or eliminated all the technobabble about it altogether. However, on the level of a woman (and later, a stranger/friend) seeking growth and being forced into it, the show was genuinely moving.

Source: Den of Geek
What We Do in the Shadows (FX)-I was going to go with “Baroness von Sketch” show in this slot until I saw this on another end of the year list and saw the name Jermaine Clement as one of the creators (Jojo Rabbit’s Taika Waititi also on the creative side). While not up there with “Flight of the Conchords” in relatability, it’s a bizarre trip about four vampires clashing with modern-day Staten Island that has a surreal brand of humor that occasionally knocked me straight over.

And for reference, here's all the shows I watched at least one episode of in 2019. If they have an asterisk, that means exactly one episode (minus the top 12):

Abby’s (NBC), Adam Ruins Everything (TruTV), Almost Famous (ABC), Archer (FX), Baroness von Sketch Show (IFC), Big Mouth (Netflix), Card Sharks (ABC), Castle Rock (Hulu), Carmen Sandiego (Netflix), Carnival Row (Amazon)* Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (CBSAA), Corporate (Comedy Central), Crashing (HBO)*, Chernobyl (AMC)*, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (CW), Dollface (Hulu), Documentary Now (IFC), Final Space (TBS/Netflix)*, Fresh off the Boat (ABC), Futureman (Hulu), God Friended Me (CBS), Good Girls (NBC), Grand Hotel (ABC), Hot Date (Pop TV), I-Land (Netflix), I Think You Should Lave (Netflix), Perfect Harmony (NBC), Politician (Netflix), Sex Education (Netflix), Schitt’s Creek (PopTV), Shrill (Hulu), Society (Netflix), Superstore (NBC), Sunnyside (NBC), Those Who Can’t (TruTV), Thirteen Reasons Why (Netflix), Undone (Amazon Prime), Umbrella Academy (Netflix), Will and Grace (NBC), Yellowstone (Paramount Network)

Friday, January 10, 2020

Dollface Review (Hulu)

The formula for a group of girls just hanging out is familiar enough that there’s even a show called “Girls.” This show is more about wit than exploring the feminine mystique but it comfortably straddles both lines. The show cleverly avoids the “Sex and the City” traps of women being defined by where they are in relationships by having the lead character (Kat Dennings who spent several years screaming out loud for something better to do on “2 Broke Girls”) in recovery mode from a long-term relationship for the first few episodes. Dennins’ character, Jules, just got out of a relationship with Jeremy (Connor Hines) who never seemed like a keeper from the first minute we see him.

Her being with him in the first place suggests that she might have never had broad horizons, which is a good jumping-off point from which this show can spring. A magical talking cat (this show breaks the fourth wall reminiscent of “Man Seeking Woman” but only as an occasional gag and not the entire premise of the show) suggests that Jules needs to connect with her female friends so Jules decides to re-spark her relationship with former bestie Madison (Brenda Song) who IIRC introduces her to Stella (Shay Mitchell). Sadly, Stella and Madison are both sophisticated women who are up to date with the latest app. With only four characters taking up most of the screen time (a couple love interests, Jules’ would-be sister-in-law, and Jeremy, and two coworkers are also in the picture) it is one of the biggest flaws of the show that Stella and Madison have little to tell them apart at this stage.

Fortunately, the fourth leg of this quartet is  Izzy (Esther Povitsky playing the exact same role as “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”) who wants to fit in so badly that she steals her coworkers’ names. Izzy is, without a doubt, the big scene stealer with her unhinged anxiousness.  Just wait until Izzy gets caught up in a pretend three-way for just a few seconds to see how wonderful she is.
The show has that classic everything-comes-crashing-down-at-the-end comedy structure and sometimes (when the fancy dinner party gets derailed by a stripper, for example) it works but the level of punch isn’t consistent in a way that gives me confidence in the writer’s ability to nail such complex plots that shows like “It’s Always Sunny”, “30 Rock” or “Seinfeld” can consistently land.  Some might say it’s early in the show’s run and shows often get funnier over time as character beats develop, but the show is already starting out with strong characters and character beats don’t fix plot mechanics.

On the whole, the show is about women  being of value to one another and what they bring to friendships. If the Bechdel test ever was an accurate measure or effective use of encouraging a fresh female perspective to sitcomdom, this might very well be it.

Friday, January 03, 2020

My director's list progress report

Here's where I stand at the end of the decade (updates over the last 18 months in bold)
18 Alfred Hitchcock-Family Plot, Torn Curtain, Rebecca, 39 Steps, North by Northwest, Saboteur, The Wrong Man, Strangers on a Train, Shadow of a Doubt, Topaz, The Birds, Psycho, Lifeboat, Spellbound, Vertigo, The Man Who Knew Too Much (both versions), Rear Window

15 Stephen Spielberg-Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, ET, Temple of Doom, Color Purple, Last Crusade, Schindler's List, Jurassic Park, Bridge of Spies, Saving Private Ryan, Catch Me If You Can, Terminal, War of the Worlds, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Ready Player One

14 Woody Allen-Hollywood Ending, Curse of the Jaded Scorpion, Manhattan, Annie Hall, Small Time Crooks, Sweet and Lowdown, Mighty Aphrodite, Manhattan Murder Mystery, Melinda and Melinda, Midnight in Paris, Sleeper, Bullets Over Broadway, Wonder Wheel

11 Joel and Ethan Coen-Oh Brother Where Art Thou, Man Who Knew Too Much, Lady Killers, Intolerable Cruelty, Big Lebowski, Fargo, No Country for Old Men, Burn After Reading, Serious Man, True Grit, Ballad of Buster Scruggs
11 Steve Soderbergh-Erin Brockovitch, Ocean’s 11, Ocean’s 12, Full Frontal, Good German, Ocean’s 13, Informant, Side Effects, Logan Lucky, High Flying Bird, Laundromaut

10 Billy Wilder-Spirit of St. Louis, Some Like it Hot, The Apartment, Irma la Douce, Double Indemnity, Sabrina, Ace in the Hole, Major and the Minor, 1,2,3, The Front Page
10  Rob Zemeckis-Forrest Gump, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Back to the Future I-III, Contact, Romancing the Stone, Flight, The Walk, Welcome to Marwen
10 Martin Scorsese-Color of Money, Age of Innocence, Goodfellas, Cape Fear, Aviator, The Departed, Gangs of New York, Shutter Island, Hugo, Wolf of Wall Street

9 Clint Eastwood-Mystic River, Unforgiven, Bronco Billy, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Invictus, Gran Torino, White Heart Lonely Hunter, Play Misty for Me, Bridges of Madison County

9 Mike Nicholls-Primary Colors, The Birdcage, The Graduate, Working Girl, Charlie Wilson’s War, What Planet Are You From?, Postcards from the Edge, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff, Regarding Henry
9 Jay Roach-Austin Powers I-III, Meet the Parents, Mystery Alaska, Dinner for Schmucks, The Campaign, Game Change, Trumbo
8 Bryan Singer-Usual Suspects, Apt Pupil, X-Men, X2, Superman Returns, Valkyrie, X-Men Days of Future Past, X-Men Apocalypse, Bohemian Rhapsody
9 Tim Burton-Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns, Ed Wood, Charlie and the Chocolate Factor, Alice in Wonderland, Corpse Bride, Big Eyes, Dumbo

8 Howard Hawks-Sgt. York, Bringing Up Baby, Big Sleep, Ball of Fire, Rio Bravo, His Girl Friday, Gentlemen Perfer Blondes, Monkey Business
8 Ron Howard-Apollo 13, Beautiful Mind, Da Vinci Code, Frost/Nixon, Angels and Demons, The Paper, Cocoon, Solo

8 Sidney Lumet- 12 Angry Men, Murder on the Orient Express, NetworkPrince of the City, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, Dog Day Afternoon, The Verdict, Pawnbroker

7 Vincente Minelli-Meet me in St Louis, American in Paris, The Pirate, Brigadoon, The Band Wagon, Kismet, The Sandpiper  
7 Rob Altman-Mash, McCabe and Mrs Miller, California Split, Buffalo Bill and the Indian, The Player, Dr. T and the Women, Prairie Home Companion
7 Ivan Reitman- Ghostbusters, 6 Days 7 Days, Old School, Space Jam, Fathers Day, Beethoven, Beethoven’s 2nd, Ghostbusters II
7 Chris Columbus-Mrs. Doubtfire, Home Alone, Home Alone 2, Stepmom, I Love You Beth Cooper, Rent, Pixels
7 Terry Gilliam-Time Bandits, Brazil, Fisher King, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Brothers Grimm, Baron Munchhausen, 12 Monkeys
7 Johnothan Demme-Silence of the Lambs, Melvin and Howard, Manchurian Candidate, Married to the Mob, Rachel Getting Married, Rikki and the Flash, Justin Timberlake and the Tennessee Kids
7 Rob Reiner-Stand and Deliver, Princess Bride, Rumor Has It, American President, Ghosts of Mississippi, Misery, Shock and Awe
7 Adam McKay: Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Step Brothers, The Other Guys, Anchorman 2, The Big Short, Vice

6 Frank Capra-It Happened One Night, Arsenic and Old Lace, Mr Smith Goes to Washington, Mr Deeds Goes to Town, Meet John Doe, It's a Wonderful Life
6 Stanley Donen-Take Me Out to the Ballgame (most sources insist that he really was the director, not Bugsy Berkley), On the Town, Singing in the Rain, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Charade, Bedazzled
6 Stanley Kramer-Defiant Ones, Inherit the Wind, Judgment at Nuremberg, It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad Wold, Ship of Fools,  Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
6 Barry Levinson-Tin Men, Rain Man, Sleepers, Good Morning Vietnam, Man of the Year, Wag the Dog
6 Mel Brooks-Spaceballs, High Anxiety, Young Frankenstein, The Producers, Blazing Saddles, History of the World Part I
6 Roland Emmerich-ID4, Stargate, The Patriot, Day After Tomorrow, 2012, White House Down 
6 Gore Verbinski-Pirates of the Caribbean 1-3, Weatherman, The Mexican, Rango
6 Brett Ratner-After the Sunset, Rush Hour 2, Family Man, X-Men 3, Red Dragon, Tower Heist
6 Frank Oz-Bowfinger, In and Out, Stepford Wives, The Score, What About Bob, Housesitter
6 Peter Segal-Naked Gun 33 1/3, Tommy Boy, My Fellow Americans, Anger Management, 50 First Dates, Get Smart
6 Wes Anderson-Rushmore, Royal Tannenbaums, The Life Aquatic, Darjeerling Limited, Grand Budapest Hotel, Moonrise Kingdom
6 Christopher Nolan-Batman Begins, Dark Knight, Dark Knight Rises, Inception, Interstellar, Dunkirk
6 Ridley Scott-Blade RunnerGladiatorKingdom of Heaven, Prometheus, Martian, All the Money in the World
6 Lasse Holstrom-What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Cider House Rules, Shipping News,  The Hoax, Salmon Fishing in YemenNutcracker and the Four Realms

5 Orson Welles-Citizen Kane, Lady of Shanghai, Othello, Magnificent Ambersons, Touch of Evil
5 John Ford-Stagecoach, The Searchers, The Hurricane, How Green was my Valley, The Whole Town's Talking 
5 Tony Scott- Enemy of the State, Déjà Vu, Crimson Tide, Top Gun, Taking of Pelham 1,2,3
5 George Lucas-Star Wars I-IV, American Graffiti
5 Peter Weir-Witness, Dead Poet’s Society, The Truman Show, Master and Commander,Year of Living Dangerously
5 Blake Edwards-A Shot in the Dark, Pink Panther, Return of the Pink Panther, Great Race, What Did You Do in the War Daddy
5 Sydney Pollack-Sabrina, Out of Africa, Tootsie, The Interpreter, Slender Thread
5 Robert Rodriguez-El Mariachi Trilogy, Spy Kids and Lava Girl, Sin City 
5 Curtis Hanson- LA Confidential, Wonderboys, In Her Shoes, Lucky You, 8 Mile
5 Barry Sonnenfeld-Men in Black I, II, Wild Wild West, Big Trouble, MiB III
5 Cameron Crowe-Almost Famous, Jerry MaGuire, Vanilla Sky, Elizabethtown, We Bought a Zoo
5 Joel Schumacher-Time to Kill, 8 MM, Batman and Robin, Batman Forever, The Client
5 John Glenn-5 Bond films
5 Tom Shadyac-Liar Liar, Bruce Almighty, Patch Adams, Evan Almighty, Ace Ventura
5 John Lynn-Whole Nine Yards, Trial and Error, Sgt Bilko, Whole Ten Yards, My Cousin Vinny
5 Peter and Bobby Farrelly-Kingpin, Dumb and Dumber, Fever Pitch, Shallow Hal, Osmosis Jones
5 Jon Favreau-Elf, Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Cowboys and Aliens, Chef
5 Christopher Guest-For Your Consideration, Mighty Wind, Best in Show, Waiting for Guffman, Mascots
5 Ernst Lubitsch-Shop Around the Corner, Ninotchka, Merry Widow, Trouble in Paradise, To Be or Not to Be
5 David O Russell-Three Kings, I Heart Huckabees, Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, Joy
5 James Cameron-Terminator, Aliens, Terminator 2, Titanic, Avatar
5 Elia Kazan-A Face in the Crowd, Gentleman's Agreement, Pinky, Viva Zapata, East of Eden
5 Richard Linklater-School of Rock, Bernie, Fast Food Nation, Me and Orson Welles, Where'd You Go Bernadette

4 John Lassetter-Toy Story 1, Cars, Toy Story 2, Cars 2
4 David Lean-Lawrence of Arabia, Bridge on the River Kwai, Passage to India, Summertime
4 John Huston-Beat the Devil, Key Largo, African Queen, Man Who Would be King
4 Alexander Payne-Election, Sideways, Descendants, Nebraska 
4 Terrence Young-Wait Until Dark, 3 Bond films
4 Harold Lloyd-Safety Last, Feet First, The Freshman, Kid Brother
4 Guy Hamilton-4 Bond movies
4 Kevin Smith-Chasing Amy, Mallrats, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Dogma
4 Penny Marshall-Awakenings, Rennisance Man, Big, League of their Own
4 Sam Raimi-Spiderman 1-3, Oz: The Great and Powerful  
4 Michael Moore-Roger and Me, F 411, Sicko, Capitalism: A Love Story 
4 James Mangold-3:10 to Yuma, Walk the Line, Kate and Leopold, Knight and Day
4 D. Herek-Mr. Holland’s Opus, Three Musketeers, Mighty Ducks, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventures
4 John Turtletaub-Cool Runnings, National Treasure, National Treasure 2, Last Vegas
4 JJ Abrams-Super 8, Star Trek, Star Trek into Darkness, Star Wars VII
4 Sam Weisman-George of the Jungle, Dickie Roberts Former Child Star, Out-of Towners, Mighty Ducks 2
4 Dennis Dungan-Happy Gilmore, Beverly Hills Ninja, Big Daddy, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
4 Spike Lee-Do the Right Thing, Bamboozled, 25th Hour, School Daze
4 Shaun Levy-Cheaper by the Dozen, Big Fat Liar, Night at the Museum 2, The Internship  
4 Larry Charles-Borat, Religious, Bruno, The Dictator
4 Stanley Kubrick-The Shining, Eyes Wide Shut, Paths to Glory, Dr. Strangelove
4 Eric Darnell-Antz!, Madagascar, Madagascar 2, Madagascar 3
4 Roman Polanski-Rosemary's Baby, ChinatownGhost Writer, Carnage
4 Gary Ross-Pleasantville, Seabiscuit, Hunger Games, Ocean's 12
4 David Cronenberg-Videodrome, Eastern Promises, Dangerous Method, Maps to the Stars 
4 Edgar Wright-Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim vs the World, This is the End,Baby Driver
4 Quentin Tarantino-Pulp Fiction, Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
4 Fernando Meirelles-City of God, Constant Gardener, Blindness, The Two Popes
4 Bill Condon-Gods and Monsters, Kinsey, Dreamgirls, The Good Liar