This is it, the final countdown of the Blahblahblahgay Top 10 Favourite Directors. We've assessed the 10 most likely to succeed in Part 1 and we've looked at the fallen 20 in Part 2 but this is the real deal now, the list that ties it all together and makes you realise how crazy I am. By the end of this post you'll be asking yourself how I chose X over Fincher or Y over Tarantino and just where the hell is Z if he doesn't even get a mention in a list of 40 directors? I've been ready for this from the day I realised what I'd done so hit me with your best shot, I wanna see your flabbers gasted in the comments and I especially want you to criticise these directors for not being as good as your choice. The fun is in the contrariness afterall.
10 is Gregg Araki, the director of eight features; one of which I haven't been able to find (Splendor) and one of which was too dumb for words (Smiley Face), all of them shot on an almost micro budget and always innovative, bizarre and fascinating viewing. For me Gregg Araki encapsulates the kind of cinema America could make if it wasn't so fascinated with explosions and Jennifer Aniston's hair.
Essential: Mysterious Skin, Nowhere, Kaboom
Don't Miss This: Totally Fucked Up, The Doom Generation, The Living End
For Completists Only: Smiley Face
9th place for the first Asian director on my list, Wong Kar-Wai, director of the beautiful In The Mood For Love and it's slightly more surreal sequel 2046, spontaneous creator of the brilliant Chungking Express and one of the only men to make a Jude Law film watchable with his American debut My Blueberry Nights. Of his nine movies to date I've only missed his epic historical drama Ashes of Time and he even features in my noir-a-thon with his 1988 debut As Tears Go By. Possessor of a singular visual style for his films he owes a lot to the brilliant Australian cinematographer Christopher Doyle.
Essential: In The Mood For Love, Chungking Express, Fallen Angels
Don't Miss This: As Tears Go By, 2046, Days of Being Wild
For Completists Only: My Blueberry Nights
8 sits my final choice, a late replacement for Vincent Gallo when I realised he didn't deserve a place for only two films yet when it came to placing Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn within the ten I felt he deserved a higher ranking. As a young film maker in Denmark growing up in a culture of Dogme95 it must have taken a strong willed and arrogant man to thumb his nose at von Trier et al and in this case a man with the talent to back it up. The Pusher Trilogy alone was enough to get him noticed but his output since then has been even better, and that's not even considering his early English language film Fear X.
Essential: Pusher, Drive, Bronson
Don't Miss This: Fear X, Pusher II, Valhalla Rising
For Completists Only: Pusher III
7th place is as high as I could allow my folly to place the youngest member of the ten, mumblecore director Aaron Katz. To label Katz as simply a mumblecore director is an insult, for me there's mumblecore and then there's mumblecore directed by Aaron Katz. His work stands out as much better than his contemporaries in the movement and has seen a huge growth in quality between Dance Party, USA in 2006 and Cold Weather in 2010, of all the ten on this list his is the work I am most envious of and the man I most want to emulate with my forthcoming work.
Essential: Cold Weather, Dance Party USA, Quiet City
6th place for quirky filmmaker extraordinaire Wes Anderson seems incredibly low for somebody who has yet to make a bad movie. I think having not seen Moonrise Kingdom yet may have something to do with it but also the fact that his films are a little lighter in their content than some others ahead of him. I am not a huge fan of Rushmore if I'm honest even though I did enjoy it and Life Aquatic just didn't sit right with me despite numerous attempts to enjoy it. I thought the way he transposed his cinematic style to stop motion animation with Fantastic Mr Fox was a particularly brilliant moment in his career however.
Essential: The Royal Tenenbaums, The Darjeeling Limited, Fantastic Mr Fox
Don't Miss This: Rushmore, Bottle Rocket
For Completists Only: The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou
5 opens with Kevin Smith. Possibly the most improbable of all the final ten when you consider his affection for rubber poop monsters and dick & fart jokes and the fact that my growth as a person meant the outspoken QT was kicked off of the list but there's no denying the fact that Kevin Smith has got talent. I've said it previously but if Red State had any other directors name on it there would have been talk of Oscar nominations, it was a bold and brilliant movie and a complete change of pace for him. In addition to that I find him highly entertaining both as a person and as a storyteller. I don't care what anyone says Mallrats is a great movie.
Essential: Clerks, Red State, Mallrats
Don't Miss This: Chasing Amy, Dogma, Cop Out
For Completists Only: Zack & Miri Make A Porno
4th place for the only directing team on the list; The Coen Brothers have yet to make a bad movie. I might not enjoy the farcical nature of some of their cannon but that doesn't make them bad, if it wasn't for the less enjoyable Hudsucker Proxy there might not have been The Big Lebowski for example. Together they have created a body of work over the past 28 years that is second to none in terms of quality and watchability; their affection for film noir certainly goes a long way in my book too.
Essential: A Serious Man, The Big Lebowski, No Country For Old Men
Don't Miss This: Fargo, Miller's Crossing, Blood Simple
For Completists Only: The Ladykillers
Essential: Bad Guy, 3-Iron, Spring Summer Autumn Winter and Spring
Don't Miss This: The Isle, Samaritan Girl, The Bow
For Completists Only: Crocodile
2 on this list but despite his many plus points Steven Soderbergh didn't really stand a chance against my top pick. His range of projects alone is astounding, his ability to ressurrect himself twice in his early career equally so. Practicing the one for Hollywood and one for me approach has seen him squeeze Full Frontal in between intelligent box office fodder Ocean's Eleven and Solaris and indulge his artistic side with the much maligned Ocean's Twelve, he is responsible for quite a few of my all time favourite movies. Not to mention George Clooney's career.
Essential: The Limey, Solaris, Traffic
Don't Miss This: Contagion, Sex Lies & Videotape, Out Of Sight
For Completists Only: Schizopolis, Underneath, Gray's Anatomy
1 director perched in his ivory tower overseeing those lesser mortals out there making movies. Mike Leigh has been that man for quite some time, always creating something brilliant with film from his first movie Bleak Moments in 1971 right through to Another Year forty years later. His approach is unique and his achievements extraordinary. He specialises in the slice-of-life drama but his lighter moments are also something more than others can achieve thanks to the effort he goes to insert reality in to everything he does. He has made eleven TV movies and eleven cinematic features and except for Topsy-Turvy because of the Gilbert & Sullivan content I have enjoyed every moment of the time I've spent with him.
Essential: Secrets & Lies, Bleak Moments, Abigail's Party, Naked
Don't Miss This: High Hopes, Nuts In May, Life Is Sweet
For Completists Only: Career Girls, Topsy Turvy
As I said at the head of the post, go for it, don't hold back in your comments. I want to hear your opinions. I have an idea of some of the names you've missed seeing on the list but as far as I can figure it was deliberate on my part, nobody has been completely overlooked, I just didn't think that highly of them or I am yet to see even one of their films.