20 Bad Movies Made By Great Directors

7. Planet of The Apes – Dir. Tim Burton

Planet of The Apes

Most of us remember the “face-palm” feeling walking out of the theater from this one. A very bizarre teaming of the typical fantasy-oriented Burton with an already famous Sci-Fi classic for a remake. It all sounded shaky, especially with the casting of the not-quite-yet-leading-man Mark Wahlberg. It turned out that our fears were correct especially with the very tacked on time travel reveal of a “Lincoln- Ape” memorial statue.

Redemption Film: Sweeny Todd or Frankenweenie

Tim hasn’t quite gained his footing after this sci-fi stumble. But the brilliantly designed and performed “Sweeny Todd” seemed like a big step in the right direction, if it wasn’t for all the questionable singing. And returning to an old friend in “Frankenweenie”, Tim may finally be coming back.


6. Death Proof – Dir. Quentin Tarantino


This second half of the experimental “GrindHouse” project was expected to be a classic when looked at on paper. Tarantino, car chases, a murderous Kurt Russell in a badass car… all good marks. But what came to fruition was far from the kinetic action pulpy extravaganza we were expecting. What we did see was a slow wordy paced 70’s style drive-in movie, and some car chasing thrown in at the end for good measure. Tarantino has since admitted this to be his poorest effort.

Redemption Film: Inglorious Basterds

Well, it didn’t take long for Tarantino to get back in the ring with his stunning Nazi hunting fantasy of a WWII film. Homage to the “French Film” style, he created a twisting tale of revenge and international intrigue, introducing the world acting wonder that is Christoph Waltz, all was forgiven.


5. Pret – a – Porter – Dir. Robert Altman

Pret - a - Porter

The late Robert Altman is in a class of his own, a renowned director in the league of all time greats like Hitchcock and Capra. But this unfocused look into the fashion world left audience with an empty stomach. Characterized by seemingly un-connecting stories revolved around a fashion magazine shoot in Paris, the stories were a little too unconnected. And was left with a circulating view of “why do we care” moments.

Redemption Film: Gosford Park

Altman came through with a few strong if somewhat unremarkable films, but it was this beautiful guessing game of murder that reminded us of his true talents.


4. The Color of Money – Dir. Martin Scorsese

The Color of Money

Tom Cruise and Scorsese made a movie together so long ago. This somewhat sequel to the Paul Newman classic “The Hustler”, had young pool shark Cruise being mentored by grizzled veteran Newman in prep for a huge Pool tournament.

It failed to reach the standard greatness of Scorsese, under par editing and a clumsy script led to this dud being a mocking point for both Cruise and Scorsese, writing it off as nothing more than a studio grab and a hot team up with no foundation. A surprisingly lifeless film where there should have been a gritty redemption tale.

Redemption Film: Goodfellas

All was forgiven after the release of this unmistakable classic of a film. Brilliance from the opening credits to the closing shot.


3. Fear and Desire – Dir. Stanley Kubrick

Fear and Desire

The now notoriously bad first film from Kubrick wasn’t even seen until the last few years when the national registry decided to release it on DVD… Some 15 years after Kubrick’s death in 1999. It’s a strange fever dream of a war film, and not surprising that Kubrick wanted to keep it hidden from the general public. Filled with heavy-handed metaphors and confusing pacing and editing, it showed a filmmaker feeling it out… all over the screen.

Redemption Film: Everything else

Kubrick made one classic after another for his entire career. Even the less grand entries are still standout pieces of a brilliant artist who always pushing and stretching his talents in all directions.


2. Family Plot – Dir. Alfred Hitchcock

family plot

This unfortunate comedy from the master of suspense didn’t land with the solid feet one would expect from arguably the greatest director of all time. It’s a film with stumbling, not quite funny, not quite drama, mixed toned tale of an overly complicated plot.

Redemption Film: None

Unfortunately this was the last film for the great Alfred Hitchcock, but fortunately he left a body of some of the greatest films ever made. His legacy is safely secured.


1. Pirates – Dir. Roman Polanski

Pirates movie

Arguably the greatest “living” director of our time, Roman Polanski tried his hand at the large set piece of high seas with this story of Captain Red (Walter Matthau), famous pirate kidnapped by the Spanish and in turn steals their ship and the governor’s daughter. An almost laughable swashbuckling adventure absent of Polanski’s usual sardonic wit, and just comes off as flat unfunny or excited studio blah.

Redemption Film: Frantic, Bitter Moon, or Death and The Maiden

Almost all of the films following this bloated misstep turned to gold for Polanski. His tense story of a man and his missing wife in the great paranoid thriller “Frantic” with a phenomenal Harrison Ford, or the twisting tale of obsessive love in “Bitter Moon”, and the calculating cat-and-mouse game between political torture survivor Sigourney Weaver and her accused torturer Ben Kingsley in the fabulous “Death and The Maiden”… not to mention his Oscar winning personal holocaust tale in “The Pianist”.

Author Bio: Michael James Edwards is a California native, he moved to NYC to work in audio before realizing his passion for cinema was too great to ignore. Now he’s living in Los Angeles working in film festival operations and writing about cinema here and on his own blog, forreelsreviews.blogspot.com.