7) Steven Soderbergh. It’s hard to throw the custard pie too hard at Sodes, which is why he only makes it to number seven on our list of sellout directors. After his breakthrough success with the excellent indie smash Sex, Lies and Videotape, he opted to go even more arthouse, with the forgotten flops Kafka and Schizopolis. His next project was as commercial as you can get – a straightforward adapter of an Elmore Leonard novel, Out of Sight, starring George Clooney.
6) Darren Aronofsky. This guy’s debut was Pi, a film about a maths genius having a mental breakdown. Yes, you heard right.It’s so low-budget that you expect the film to snap while you’re watching it. It’s amazing they could even afford black and white. The budget looks like it could only really stretch to one or the other. Then he made the after-you-with-the-cyanide classic Requiem For A Dream. But all that’s behind him now, since he turned his mind to more conventional and profitable projects such as The Wrestler and Black Swan. He was even rumoured at one point to be attached to the next Wolverine film... Verily, those Hollywood big budgeters pay so much better than slumming it with the bohemian Sundance set...
5) Michael Lehmann. Once, Lehmann made Heathers, the acclaimed and still popular high school drama starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater. His follow-ups, Meet the Applegates and (the notorious flop) Hudson Hawk kind of continued this offbeat, risky vibe. But he then made a terrible wrong turn into a bad neighbourhood they call “Shit”. Population: Michael Lehmann. His most recent effort, alleged comedy Because I Said So, starring Diane Keaton, is one of the worst films you will ever see. RIP Michael Lehman.
4) Robert De Niro. I mean, where to start with this guy? From The Godfather Part II to Little Fockers in one mental breakdown.
3) Sam Shepard. Back in the eighties, aspiring boy actors in England would revel in belting out monologues writen by edgy playwright Shepard. A chance to swear, to do a Texas accent, and to, er swear. In a Texas accent. Shepard had a canny sideline as an actor in respectable flicks such as The Right Stuff and Days of Heaven, but now he does any old cack – CGI action romp Stealth, anyone? Hopeless romcom The Accidental Husband? (okay, we haven’t seen it, but it’s obviously going to be hopeless).
2) Luc Besson. Ah oui oui, ou est le gare? Just the kind of phrase you WON’T hear Luc Besson spouting any more, ever since he turned his back on making nifty little flicks like Subway, Nikita, The Big Blue and Leon (and indeed the big budget but equally out-there The Fifth Element) to have a hand as writer and/or director in crudola like From Paris With Love, Taxi 1-4, Lockout and Transporter 3 (okay, we actually like Transporter 3 but you get the idea). Mercredi, maintenant and merde, as they say in France.
1) Martin Scorsese. Gather round, kids, because you might not have heard this story before. You know that due who makes those films you like – that’s right, The Aviator, Shutter Island and Hugo? Well, he was once the most emulated, most respected, most dangerous director working in – stop laughing, it’s true, I tell you! He made classics like Raging Bull, Goodfellas and – I’m serious! Oh, what’s the use, the kids of today are never going to believe it...Tweet