The 10 Best Generation X Directors

5. Richard Linklater

Best Of: Before Midnight, Bernie, Boyhood

Why He’s Huge: There are not many romantic movies that aren’t based on Nicolas Sparks novels, not on a larger budget, and make a ton of money, and spawning two sequels, and on top of that, all of them are widely acclaimed.

Well, a little movie called Before Sunrise is one of them. Before Sunrise very well might have been Richard Linklater’s best film, if it wasn’t for the fact that he directed about 11 other great films (not counting the remake of Bad News Bears, although you judge for yourself). You name it. Slackers, Dazed And Confused, and even School of Rock. As far as mainstream movies go, that’s a pretty good resume, especially from someone who never went to film school.

Yes, Richard has an even wider resume, with even better films, but what’s important is that Richard can work with all kinds of budgets, stars, etc. Richard is a great director, and whatever comes next will be great too.


4. Spike Jonze

Best Of: Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Her.

Why He’s Huge: Spike Jonze isn’t only a great director, he’s a great guy to be around, which is why so many 90s bands could connect with him. Spike was already directing a ton of music videos in the 90’s before he met Charlie Kaufman. Kaufman wrote a crazy little screenplay called Being John Malkovich. He went to a ton of studios, and no one was willing to take it.

Finally, we get to Spike. Spike is very thoughtful, and decides to take the job. What he didn’t know is that he and Charlie were about to make one of the greatest movies of all time. People loved it. It was incredibly successful. The duo went on to make the best Nicholas Cage movie of all time.

Those were the only two films they made. Charlie disappeared from the business after his directorial debut, Spike directed some more movies, that was it. We’re not sure what his next movie will be, but maybe Charlie will come back into the business and make another great film, but we could only hope.


3. David Fincher

Best Of: Fight Club, The Social Network.

Why He’s Huge: David Fincher did not get off to a good start for his first movie. That was Alien 3. Directly after that, David got his footing, and directed Se7en and Fight Club. David shows us that even without a good head start you can make it closer to the finish line than the other guys. David has directed a good 10 movies, 8 of which are outstanding.

David has been critically acclaimed and hailed as a movie making prodigy, and he’s got the stuff to show it. One of the most interesting things that has ever happened in one of David’s films is the ending from Fight Club. No spoilers though, but many people point out that what happened was directly related to the 9/11 attacks, which happened 2 years later.

Either David Fincher is a prophet, or maybe it was coincidence. Prophet is a rather stronger word to describe a movie director, so I guess we’ll just leave him ‘3rd best director’ at best.


2. Darren Aronofsky

Best Of: Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler.

Why He’s Huge: I wont say that all of Aronofsky’s films are perfect, but his lowest rated on isn’t even as terrible as it was rated. Jeeze, even with that movie, which is The Fountain, all of his movies are damn near some of the best movies of all time. You’ve got to respect someone who makes a decent movie with Marlon Wayans in it. You just have to.

Darren’s first movie, Pi, was made on a shoestring budget and filmed in black and white. It was incredible. Groundbreaking, shocking even. His next film was even better. Requiem For A Dream really brought Darren into mainstream. He paid special attention to assure that is actors were trying their damned hardest to be perfect. Same with his cinematographer, editor, everything else.

In two movies, he basically taught us how to use the materials that he was given. Color, bigger budget, better actors, etc. In short, Darren is like the David Lynch of a generation. Lynch might not even be a proper comparison. Think on that yourself.


1. Paul Thomas Anderson

Best Of: The Master, There Will Be Blood, Boogie Nights.

Why He’s Huge: Behold, the greatest new director, PT Anderson. Anderson has directed 7 movies, all of them are amazing and critically acclaimed.

If Darren Aronofsky can make a decent film with Marlon Wayans, PTA can make an even better one with Adam Sandler. Yes, you heard me. Adam Sandler. Same with Paul Dano, Mark Whalberg, PTA doesn’t just make sure the actors are good, he makes sure that they’re perfect in every sense, and that’s what a director should do, which means he can make Daniel Day Lewis or Joaquin Pheonix look like the greatest actors in the history of ever.

Perfect actors aren’t just what he does. He makes perfect everything. You name it. In short, PT Anderson has the quality in his films that only certain people possess. Sure they are darker at times, but PTA is showing us what reality looks like. His movies will definitely live on through generations, and that is why he is the greatest X director.