Top 10 Good Movies by Bad Directors

Top 10 Good Movies by Bad Directors

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Quinn Hough.

These are the films that we begrudgingly embrace. Join as we count down our picks for the top 10 good movies with bad directors.

Special thanks to our users duller, Marcus Kyle Cotton, LyleVSXyle, moviemeister, Carlos ANdres Torres Arcentales, Jose Miguel Alvear Carrion, arimazzie, Leo Logan, Shawn Mark, MattyMo13, Tristan Hartup, JoaoFerreira93, Ashlark, coolminecrafter8000, KiethSomataw99, mrstephen3490, jose enrique anaya v, Søren Saunders, Jacob Koopmann, Irzi Ahmad Rizani, Van Nguyen, longjohnsilver, Andrew A. Dennison, datmovieclubber.dfco and Victor Gustavson for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest

Script written by Quinn Hough.

Top 10 Good Movies by Bad Directors

These are the films that we begrudgingly embrace. Welcome to, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 good movies with bad directors.

For this list, we’re choosing films that are generally considered to be good, either through a mix of their popularity, critical or commercial success, but which have been directed by filmmakers who are usually known for low quality productions or who often produce flicks of the cookie-cutter variety.

#10: “Happy Gilmore” (1996)
Dennis Dugan

Adam Sandler was on the verge of box office success after leaving “Saturday Night Live” in the mid-‘90s, and teamed up with a relatively unknown TV director to star as a foul-mouthed golfer in this sports comedy. While Dennis Dugan would ultimately be known as a poor director, the comedic antics of “Happy Gilmore” and a brilliant Bob Barker cameo lit a small fire of hope. Although the movie’s dialogue wasn’t Oscar-worthy, Dugan managed to sprinkle a magic dose in each scene without having things become overbearing and downright annoying.

#9: “The Fugitive” (1993)
Andrew Davis

This Harrison Ford blockbuster reminded fans of the television classic and captured the interest of tech nerds with explosions and breathtaking chase scenes. Director Andrew Davis managed to beautifully blend suspense with comedy while maintaining a high level of energy throughout, and although he earned a Golden Globe nomination for his direction, some evil force of cinema allowed him to make “Steal Big Steal Little” just two years later. But, for one shining moment, Andrew Davis brought the goods.

#8: “Event Horizon” (1997)
Paul W. S. Anderson

Due to the immense popularity of the 1995 film “Mortal Kombat,” an average 30-year-old director was given a $60 million budget for a sci-fi horror flick. Despite poor box office receipts, “Event Horizon” ultimately earned a cult following for its graphic violence and captivated audiences with a ride through a hellish dimension of interstellar evil. While some cried openly as the characters unraveled into monsters, Paul W.S. Anderson later forced single tears of horror by directing films like “Soldier” and producing movies like “Pandorum.”

#7: “Speed” (1994)
Jan de Bont

This cinematic vehicle earned $350 million worldwide and was Jan de Bont’s directorial debut. Truly a popcorn thriller, the maniacal antics of Dennis Hopper kept audiences glued to their seats as they surrendered to a complete Keanu takeover sponsored by Sandra Bullock. Despite the wild success of “Speed,” Jan de Bont proved to be less Hitchcockian in talent and more of an “assembler” of Hollywood hits. “Speed 2,” anyone? Just as Humphrey Bogart had Paris, we’ll always have “Speed” to remind us of his early ‘90s movie magic.

#6: “Donnie Darko” (2001)
Richard Kelly

Directed when he was in his early 20s, Richard Kelly’s “Donnie Darko” was a mild financial success in the wake of the September 11th attacks, but the film’s supernatural elements served as a cerebral magnet amid a world of cookie-cutter productions. Incidentally, Jake Gyllenhaal was designated as Hollywood’s next crown Prince and visions of Frank the Bunny both frightened and amused viewers of all ages. Kelly earned a Best First Feature nomination from the Independent Spirit Awards, but his follow-up became one of the biggest flops of the decade and he’s done few other films of note since.

#5: “Independence Day” (1996)
Roland Emmerich

This 1996 disaster film approached $1 billion in worldwide revenue and introduced Will Smith as a true leading man. Sure, Roland Emmerich’s films typically don’t adhere to narrative logic and sense, but “Independence Day” succeeded with eye-popping visuals and cinematic swag. Although “Independence Day” didn’t cause film critics to applaud, the public wasn’t expecting “Citizen Kane” and buckled up for a couple hours of fun. Emmerich’s filmography may cause some to snooze, but this modern classic did no such thing.

#4: “Falling Down” (1993)
Joel Schumacher

One year after starring in the psychosexual thriller “Basic Instinct,” Michael Douglas embraced an exquisite buzz cut and his inner madman in this tale of an epic Los Angeles meltdown. “Falling Down” inspired legions of moviegoers to speak openly to the big screen, as William Foster battled gangsters, racists and his own conscience. Director Joel Schumacher made one of the most horrible films of all-time just a few years later, but “Falling Down” offered a poignant glimpse into American society, thus opening up a dialogue about race and violence.

#3: “Red Dragon” (2002)
Brett Ratner

Hannibal Lecter slithered his way into American pop culture with 1991’s “The Silence of the Lambs,” and a biting prequel reintroduced audiences to the stone-faced cannibal in 2002. Brett Ratner surprised critics with his directorial acumen by maintaining a dark tone tinged with quiet humor, while bringing out the best in his prestigious cast. A successful prequel relies on complete commitment to the story, and Ratner backed off from his ego to deliver a hit. “Red Dragon” incited terror and laughs among viewers and serves as the highlight in the career of its average director.

#2: “The Rock” (1996)
Michael Bay

Lights, camera, action. It’s time to blow shit up. Michael Bay came out swinging with his 1995 debut “Bad Boys,” and followed it up by teaming Nicolas Cage with Sir Sean Connery on Alcatraz Island. Although “The Rock” wasn’t the smartest movie ever made, it’s a cinematic beauty that you just have to watch. Let’s just forget about those “Transformers” sequels…

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
- “Grease” (1978)
Randal Kleiser
- “We Are Marshall” (2006)
- “Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back” (1980)
Irvin Kershner

#1: “The Sixth Sense” (1999)
M. Night Shyamalan

Once upon a time there was a movie so powerful that moviegoers began to subconsciously chant the director’s name. M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Sixth Sense” produced one of the most famous lines in movie history along with a twist that had audiences hyperventilating from pure shock, and became a social phenomenon that demanded a second viewing. Shyamalan caused mass confusion with his following productions, but “The Sixth Sense” remains a film worth putting in a time capsule.

Do you agree with our list? What is your favorite good movie by a bad director? For more mind-blowing Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to
Adam McKay for The Big Short. He won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for writing the script.
More like Joel Shumacher for The Lost Boys. Otherwise, damn good list.