With the amount of studio interference that plagues movies, it’s understandable that directors would want greater control over their films, letting them fully show off their vision. One way to do that is to take up the scriptwriting duties themselves rather than relying on someone else.
There are times this works out amazingly well, and Quentin Tarantino is a prime example of that. His movies wouldn’t be the same if he wasn’t also writing the dialogue himself. Other times, the results are less than stellar: The talents needed to be a great director don’t always translate into being a good writer.
10 Duncan Jones’s Spiritual Successor To Moon Proves He’s Not As Good A Writer As He Is A Director
Most people remember Duncan Jones as the guy who made the ill-fated Warcraft film. While that movie was a failure, he can’t be fully blamed for it. The games have too much story to tell in a single film and are better served as a television show. It was a film doomed to fail.
Mute, on the other hand, rests solely at his feet. As a successor to Moon, Jones’s best movie, it lacks any narrative flow. The plot’s muddled, losing the intimate experience that made Moon so good.
9 Neill Blomkamp Is More Of An Idea Guy Who Needs Someone To Help Mold The Ideas Into A Finished Product
Neill Blomkampf himself would likely admit writing is the weakest part of his toolkit. While making the rounds for Chappie, he admitted that Elysium wasn’t as good as it should have been. He says the script wasn’t there, and the story wasn’t fully developed. It’s rare someone would admit that level of fault, but they were still present in Chappie.
It’s a shame because his costume design and special effects are on point. A movie directed by him with a skilled scriptwriter could be an utter classic.
8 Nicolas Winding Refn Struggles To Make Likable Characters When He’s Writing
Nicolas Winding Refn’s most famous work is Drive, an incredible movie that showed how fantastic an actor Ryan Gosling is. His performance mixed with Refn’s directing created magic.
Few directors can capture such a sense of realism with the brutal moments in their films. The way he shot the car chase at the start of the movie was top-notch as well. The problem is the two follow-up films he wrote lacked a key element present in Drive: there are no likable characters at all. Everyone in Only God Forgives is an awful person, making the film almost impossible to enjoy.
7 Zack Snyder Makes Visually-Stunning Movies With Amazing Fight Sequences & Should Stick To That
Few directors have a grasp of action sequences quite like Zack Snyder. No one has visually captured Superman on the big screen as well as he has. The battle between Superman and Faora is still a highlight of the entire DCEU. Even his poorly received movies like Sucker Punch have had sprawling battle scenes that were jaw-dropping.
The problem with Snyder is that he thinks he’s a better writer than he actually is. He tries to introduce these sprawling themes yet never delivers on any of them. Army of the Dead, his most recent effort, is a prime example of him trying to make a movie seem smarter than it is.
6 Rob Zombie Is An Underrated Director, But One Who Can’t Plot Out A Coherent Movie
Given how bad many of his movies are, many would mistakenly think Rob Zombie is awful as both a writer and director. On the contrary, his sense of horror is actually rather good. He knows how to paint a grotesque picture and understands the genre quite well. Lords of Salem is a visually stunning film in its genre.
The problem is that his movies have incoherent plots that never make any sort of sense. His remake of Halloween is a prime example of that. The decisions he made with the character were awful all around, aside from the brutality of the kills.
5 George Lucas Is A Master Worldbuilder Who Can’t Write Believable Dialogue
Few writers are as good at building a world as George Lucas. The world of Star Wars is vast and filled with fantastic lore for even the most minute things. That said, every writer has their weaknesses; and for George, that’s dialogue.
The prequels showed that in full, namely the awful romantic dialogue between Padmé and Anakin. His movies have always been at their best when he’d help craft the story and let someone else write the actual script. It freed up his time to get down the excellent lightsaber fights from both trilogies.
4 There’s A Reason That Josh Trank’s Most Well-Received Movie Was Written By Max Landis
Only one movie needs to be mentioned when talking about Josh Trank’s track record as a writer, and its Fantastic Four. He can blame Fox all he wants to, but his name’s still on the script. There are so many outright confusing decisions in the story, notably what was done with Dr. Doom, that it’s hard to fathom why anyone would want him to write again.
On the other side of the coin, Chronicle is a well-directed film that made the found footage aspect work very well. Even his most recent Capone film was well-made, proving that he still has the good behind the camera.
3 Peter Jackson Doesn’t Write A Compelling Narrative When He’s Not Adapting Someone Else’s Work
Some will take exception to Peter Jackson slander, but the fact is, the man’s movies have almost exclusively been films from adapted material. No one can take away the greatness of Lord of the Rings and, to a lesser degree, The Hobbit. They all gave him a framework to work within and allowed him to focus on the thing he does exceptionally well, direct. Few can touch him as a director.
That said, Mortal Engines showed how flawed his scripts can be. It was an ambitious undertaking and a cool concept that lacked a strong narrative.
2 Spike Lee Overloads The Films He Writes With Too Many Subplots
Everyone knows what a Spike Lee-written movie is going to be about. Almost all of his films revolve around race in some fashion or another. It’s led to some great movies like Malcolm X, He Got Game, and Do The Right Thing.
The issue isn’t so much his focus as it is his need to inject movies with an abundance of subplots. They can drag his movies down immensely, making them a slog. Contrast that with Inside Man and The 25th Hour, two films that are tightly wrapped and incredibly well-directed but were written by someone else.
1 Robert Rodriguez Is Allowed To Flex His Directorial Muscle More When He Isn’t Writing
Robert Rodriguez tends to have two formulas when it comes to writing a film. Either he goes the G-rated route where he makes endless Spy Kids movies, or his films always have a very dark and gritty feel to them.
There are times that’s worked, as is the case with the fantastic Sin City or even one of his earlier movies, Desperado. He doesn’t bring much variation, as opposed to his directing style. Both The Faculty and Alita feel so out of the mold for a Robert Rodriguez film. No one should be typecast into only doing a certain type of movie.