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We are a collection of nerds, geeks, bloggers, podcasters and everything in between who are passionate about….well…..pretty much anything! We come together every month to chat about a single topic (of which you can read the previous articles HERE) but we are a lively community, always talking, sharing ideas and generally having a laugh! If you want to be the next Geekstalker let us know! The only thing we ask in return is that you have fun!
In the Geekstalkers we talk about all kinds of things but the main topic tends to be movies. There are so many brilliant films out there but we wouldn’t have them if it wasn’t for the people who make them. This month we have decided to talk about the best directorial debut! Everyone has to start somewhere and while some have had rocky beginnings in the industry, there are those that have had absolute stunners! Have a read below at what some of the Geekstalkers think are the best directorial debuts!!
James Carroll – @IAmJACsMusings
There are many brilliant directors. Some had less than auspicious beginnings (David Fincher, James Cameron). Some were a bit rough and ready around the edges (Quentin Tarantino, Paul Thomas Anderson). A few appear to emerge fully formed and ready to rock our cinema screens.
The most notable of these, for me, has to be Neill Blomkamp. District 9 is not only a brilliant (feature length) directorial debut but a brilliant, dystopian sci-fi blockbuster that offers something new in a mostly generic and crowded genre.
It also belies it’s meagre $30 million budget to look at least three times as expensive – a feat which no doubt inspired other budding filmmakers to go out and make their visions a reality.
So good is Blomkamp’s debut, it’s arguable he hasn’t ever reached it’s height (on the big screen) again. I hope he doesn’t ever stop trying.
See also: Duncan Jones.
Ben from X-Geeks – @xgeeks
Best directorial debut huh? Tough one. I had three films in mind. On the one hand you have Frank Darabont producing the timeless epic The Shawshank Redemption, on the other you have the artistry and vision of David Lynch and Eraserhead. But in the end I have gone with a film that changed an entire genre. The genre? Horror. The film? George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead.
While his later work was extremely passable, Romero’s early work not only defined the zombie movie, but it also established most of the lore that is still used to this day. Night Of The Living Dead was not only a well-executed horror film, it was also a great piece of social commentary. A horror film that made you think? Female and POC co-leads? Unheard of at the time. It was ground-breaking on so many levels. Romero dared to push the boundaries of genre and blended them into a powerful and terrifying film. The filmed is packed full of iconic moments and sublime cinematography making it one of greatest horror films of all time.
Dave Geekstalk – @JackGeekstalk
I really wanted to pick Frank Darabont’s Shawshank Redemption for this article. Then I decided that because I discovered that film quite a long time after it was released I was going to think of something that I had a bit more of a connection with and have seen countless times! For that reason I have chosen someone who is well known for his work but doesn’t have that many director credits to his name. To list a few of the films he directed, Toy Story 2, A Bug’s Life, Cars and Cars 2, you might notice a theme. I have chosen John Lasseter otherwise known as the Chief Creative Officer for Pixar Studios! And his directorial debut was a little film called Toy Story.
Lasseter’s name is attached to pretty much every Pixar film and a huge number of Disney films as well, whether it was as an animator or producer, he had his fingers in a lot of animated pies. Toy Story was a film that changed the industry, it may look a little dated now but it was ground breaking. The story (which may have been heavily inspired by an earlier film about a toaster) is one we all wondered about when we’re younger, what happens to toys when we aren’t around? It captured the hearts of the world and their wallets grossing more than $350 million worldwide and was even nominated for a couple of Academy awards! Everyone loves Toy Story and it’s one of the strongest cinematic trilogies out there! Know of a better one? Bring it!
We also were looking at who had the best debut trilogy! Not necessarily a series of films but who had the best first three films on their record? Bit of a tricky subject to think about but some of the Geekstalkers managed it!
Markus – @TheMarckoGuy
So this was an interesting topic to write about. Looking at the first three features of a director and see if anyone has a 3-for-3 ratio in that way. It wasn’t easy, but I figured out my choice after a while. So here we go.
For this article I went with my favorite director, David Fincher. And before you shout at me because of Alien 3, let it be known that he’s basically taken his name off of it, basically disowning it due to the mess that the studio caused. And I respect that. So let’s talk a bit about Fincher’s first three features.
First up is Se7en (pronounced “Seven”, but I say “SeSevenen”), the 1995 crime thriller starring Brad Pitt and God (AKA Morgan Freeman), chasing after a serial killer who bases his/her crimes on the seven deadly sins. With this being Fincher’s first (real) movie, Se7en really delivers. It’s a tense, eerie, disturbing, and at times even scary movie filled with excellent performances. Fincher really brought his A-game when he was allowed to work without stupidity from the studio… though they did try messing with the movie, but failed thanks to committed actors. One of my favorite movies.
Fincher’s second feature is The Game, a 1997 thriller starring Michael Douglas as a rich man who receives an experience as a birthday present from his brother (Sean Penn). But instead of the type of experience that you or I might get (parachuting, bungee jumping, diving with sharks), Douglas’ character instead gets his entire life screwed over and he goes through hell because of this. From the start, this is masterful thriller with some incredible tension and one of Michael Douglas’ best performances. My only
problem with the movie is the ending (which is kinda shit), and Fincher himself agrees. But bad ending aside, the movie is an absolute thrillride and definitely worth watching.
The third and final movie in David Fincher’s 3-for-3 startup is of course Fight Club. Ah, Fight Club, the 1999 dramedy about an insomniac (Edward Norton) who meets a charismatic badass (Brad Pitt) and they go through some crazy stuff together. It’s my absolute favorite movie, which I already talked about in the very first Geekstalkers article. Everything about it is perfect. The plot, the characters, the acting, the
music, and especially Fincher’s direction. Without him this movie wouldn’t have been the same. Fight Club, absolute masterpiece.
So that was my choice for a director who made three good movies in a row. David god damn Fincher.
James Carroll – @IAmJACsMusings
There’s surely more celebrated directors than this guy. My guy. I mean, we’re blessed to be watching films in an age when directors such as Christopher Nolan, Denis Villeneuve and David Fincher are given big bucks and carte blanche to make the movies they want. My guy isn’t in this category. Yet. When you consider how good his first three films are though (and I’m in the minority that like his fourth) you have to agree there’s potential there for him to become a future great American director.
Gone Baby Gone. The Town. Argo. The filmmaker behind the lens of these three films? Ben Affleck.
Not only are these deftly-directed films in their own right, they serve as a reinvention of a [wrongly] much-maligned actor in the midst of an identity crisis. People loved to hate on The ‘Fleck’ and his films. To an extent they still do. I was never a naysayer, instead considering him an underrated talent that had admittedly made some dubious career choices.
Then he made Gone Baby Gone and everyone sat up and took notice. Then he made The Town and everyone celebrated his talent. Then he made Argo and everyone said how he should be an award-winning director (to go alongside his award-winning screenwriting status, lest we forget). They jumped on my bandwagon.
That’s why I consider his opening run of three films one of the finest of all-time: I like the underdog story behind it. Alongside the fact that they’re each-and-every one a prime example of classic filmmaking craft of the highest order, of course.
Anyone that disagrees can Argo f*ck themselves!
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