11 Awful Directors With One Great Movie

A fluke of greatness.

Frank the Bunny Donnie Darko
20th Century Fox

Hollywood's a tough business at the best of times, and a lot of success relies on luck, but after a point, a filmmaker directs so many duds, and it's hard not to question whether they actually had any talent to begin with.

These 11 directors have pulled off one great movie over the course of their entire careers, the rest of which have been littered with flops and embarrassments critically if not also commercially.

While it's hard to call them absolute failures as artists, it's also tough to see their great successes as anything more than flukes achieved thanks to fortunate collaboration with talented actors and writers.

Perhaps some of these directors could stage a comeback and deliver a second home-run before their careers are over, but sadly the numbers just aren't in their favour, as great as it'd be.

Cementing that you don't actually need to show consistent proof of much discernible filmmaking skill to have one great movie to your name, these 11 directors defied probability and created a single diamond atop a heap of trash...

11. Jan De Bont - Speed

Speed 2 Sandra Bullock Jan De Bont
20th Century Fox

The Awful Director: Respected Dutch cinematographer Jan de Bont (Die Hard, Basic Instinct) ditched his lensing career to become a director in the mid-90s, and his relatively scant filmography contains low-effort clunkers such as Speed 2: Cruise Control, The Haunting and Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. Twister was fine-ish if we're being generous, but great? Hardly.

The One Great Movie: Jan de Bont's directorial debut, 1994's Keanu Reeves vehicle Speed, is an undeniable classic of the action genre, and it's clear that de Bont learned plenty from working with filmmakers such as John McTiernan, Ridley Scott, Paul Verhoeven and Richard Donner in his original career path.

Though it goes on about 20 minutes too long, Speed is a frantic, intense and ludicrously entertaining romp, the likes of which he's never even gotten close to again. He's also not made a film since 2003's Tomb Raider sequel, which says it all, really.

Contributor
Contributor

Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.

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