We know all about music's one-hit wonders. Semisonic's "Closing Time" can make you nostalgic for a cup of coffee you drank yesterday; its sensitive charm is so strong. That band still makes a good living touring off that one hit. One-hit wonders also exist in the film world, too. In fact, there is quite a few of them. But unlike the music industry, the film industry isn't too kind; directors can't tour with that one movie to adoring fans. Your last movie, is just that, your last movie. Some directors have disappeared into the fog and some continue to work, even successfully, today.
Unlike music, however, film directors' one-hit wonders tend to be more powerful and demand regular revisitations, other those in music. When was the last time you had a sudden hankering to listen to House of Pain's "Jump Around"? The answer is you haven't. If you have, seek help. You might, however, have given Heathers or Slling Blade multiple viewings and found it a rewarding experience each time.
Let's take a look at
Film: American History X (1998) (op: one of my top 10 films imo)
Most recent project: Kaye directed the 2012 school drama, Detachment starring Adrien Brody.
Tony Kaye's war against Hollywood began with American History X, which is notorious for its brutal story of two brothers who become drawn into the Neo Nazi movement after their father is murdered by a black teenager. Wait, you know American History X. If you don't, what's address of the rock you live under?
The movie we got, Kaye still vehemently argues, wasn't the true cut of the movie he filmed. He has not been shy about his anger about what studio people did to his movie. In fact, he was so disgusted at Hollywood's stiff-arming both him and his vision that he went away for eight years before coming back to the film business in 2006.
He was portrayed as the bitter wild-haired troublemaker in the years since, but we think there's more of us who sympathize with him than we'd like to admit. Kaye has directed three films since his return to the chair, helming Detachment in 2012, but it was dismissed by a large population of critics and ignored by audiences, barely breaking $1 million in revenue. Detachment was a promising glimpse into Kaye's intention of making films he wants to make, and we hope he sticks around this time.
Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez
Film: The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Most recent project: The Myrick/Sanchez directing team never worked together again on another major project, instead making their own paths in recent years. Myrick has recently struck a deal with the Radar Pictures studio to make a thriller/horror filmed named Under the Bed. Sanchez has been a bit more active in the intervening years, most recently in post-production with a Bigfoot horror film titled Exists with a 2014 release date.
Your mind already went to green-tinted actors with runny noses breathing heavily into the camera and made your excuses to not go hiking with your friends look downright legitimate. All you have to do to be left in peace with your mega-size of Cheetos, your couch, and your big screen TV is to mention one title: The Blair Witch Project.
It is weird to consider, but directors Daniel Myricks and Eduardo Sanchez's The Blair Witch Project is an imporant part of film history. It's return on investment numbers were incredible. It made over $350 million off a budget of less than $30 thousand. They are the godfathers of the found footage style (which added the is-this-real horror to their movie) that has since been bludgeoned to the point of dullness today.
Myricks and Sanchez have not been co-directors since, but they have some appealing projects coming up that may be worth a look.
Film: Heathers (1988)
Most recent project: Lehmann is currently enjoying an illustrious career as a television director, having directed for Bored To Death and True Blood to name a couple.
Five years after Risky Business shook up the conventions of the teen movie, Michael Lehmann brought his own tnt to the operation in 1988 with Heathers. The story centers around a plain girl who wants to infiltrate her high school's upper crust where the popular clique of girls, all named Heather, reign as the queens. A rebellious loner named J.D. (Christian Slater) notices her and soon takes it upon himself to propel her into what she so cautiously desires, thrusting her into a world of rapid, uncontrollable escalation that she was not prepared for. And neither are you.
Lehmann has directed a few other feature-length films, but none remotely close to the cultural impact of Heathers. He has also shown impressive reserve in resisting that tiny Armani-suited devil on his shoulder, constantly whispering in his ear that he should make a sequel.
Fernando Meirelles and Katia Lund
Film: City of God (2002)
Most recent project: Meirelles has several projects in the works till 2016, including a couple documentaries currently in production. Katia Lund has directed episodes for documentary television series Carminhos in 2012
It's hard to believe that it's already been more than a decade since Brazilian filmmakers Fernando Meirelles and Katia Lund collaborated to co-direct City of God, a film that instantly earned classic status the second the credits ran, the lights went on in the theater, and not a body stirred. Based on a novel of the same name (also recognized as an iconic signature of Brazilian literature) by Paulo Lins, revolves around the story of three friends growing up in the favelas of Brazil around swarming with gangsters and small-time criminals. The violence and adolescent romance are all rendered beautifully and the sounds of the favelas are lucid and authentic. Though its a lengthy film, clocking in at round 135 minutes, you'll get the urge to start back at the beginning.
Mereilles would go on to keep very busy in the feature film business, though we'll whistle and look away whenever Blindness is brought up. We know some would like to argue Mereille's second feature The Constant Gardener was great. Rewatch it again, and when you've woken from your nap, you can try to make your argument again.
Katia Lund would produce a show City of Men based off the film which became very popular in Brazil. She also contributed to the All the Invisible Children documentary series in 2005.
Paul BrickmanFilm: Risky Business (1983)
Most recent project: Brickman last directed a short in 2012, titled Allison.
If all you know about Risky Business is Tom Cruise's slip n' slidin across his living room floor in only a button down and tighty whiteys, do yourself a favor and watch the entire film to understand why it's a total iconic work. When Paul Brickman dropped his debut feature on the world, he accomplished two things: he singlehandedly made Tom Cruise an all-universe movie star and he tore the traditional teenage movie blueprint into a million pieces.
Risky Business's brilliance lies in Brickman's self-aware obliteration of the genre. He carefully lays out the pieces: a high school nobody with dopey friends is desperate to lose his virginity, and one night his parents leave the house to himself as they go on vacation. It is here Brickman darkens the tint and begins his deconstruction of teen movie expectations that still feels fresh and honest, even 30 years later.
Paul Brickman, however, after directing a couple underwhelming comedies disappeared from Hollywood completely by 1990. In interviews, Brickman admits that the big studios were knocking down his door after his Risky Business's release, but instead chose the path of intentional obscurity, where he felt more comfortable. He has not since touched a feature film, and by accounts, looks like he never will again. But before making his premature exit, Brickman left us (and filmmakers) a cinematic gem and touchstone.
10 more at the source
some classic films on the list (including at the source). my teeth hurt just thinking about american history x tho