Is Ron Howard considered a good director?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by MickeS, Dec 18, 2001.

  1. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    I find his movies to be lacking in both style and substance. They usually have good scripts, but his style of directing make everything seem oddly bland. I can't pinpoint it, but his movies always fail to "draw me in".

    Even a (seemingly) highly regarded movie like "Apollo 13" was just nothing special, even though the story was great. It could have been so much more.

    I know his movies usually seem to make a lot of money (like "The grinch who stole Christmas" last yar, which I haven't seen), but what do you guys think of him as a director?

    I haven't seen "A beautiful mind", and thanks to Howard directing it, I'm not really that interested in it.

    /Mike
     
  2. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

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    Ron Howard is something of an enigma to me. His movies always seem to be like the person who has potential, but never completely lives up to it. He tries to make "great" movies. And it shows.
    1 exception - Apollo 13 is a great movie, IMO.
    I am really looking forward to A Beautiful Mind. Russell, Jennifer, and Ed? I haven't disliked a RH movie yet(I haven't, and won't, see Grinch). I have only loved one.
    Take care,
    Chuck
     
  3. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    I agree with you.

    Ron Howard is sort of a movie mechanic as opposed to a director-as-artist. Like Spielberg, he often goes for cheap audience manipulation and plays on people's sentimentalities. I was glad Apollo 13 performed well at the box office simply because it boosted interest in the legacy of the Apollo program (and may even have saved the International Space Station from being killed in Congress). Other than that, though, I'd rather watch a well-made documentary about the Apollo 13 flight than Howard's often silly movie.

    As for how Howard may be regarded among his peers, I just bet you he is looked at in terms of making box-office successes. Martin Scorcese is too much of a gentleman to say what I bet he really thinks about the former Opie.
     
  4. TerryRL

    TerryRL Producer

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    "Apollo 13" was really the movie that elevated Howard to the catagory of "serious director". It also didn't hurt that he did "Ransom" right after. What hurt that standing was that he made "EdTv" and "The Grinch". "EdTv" was a critical and commercial disaster, while "The Grinch" was 2000's biggest hit, but a film that the critics hated.

    Take Spielberg for example, though he'd made both "The Color Purple" and "Empire of the Sun", he wasn't embraced as a serious filmmaker until he did "Schindler's List".

    I think "A Beautiful Mind" will nab Howard his first Best Director nod, but I don't know if the Acadamy is ready to take him seriously yet. The Acadamy can be fickle toward directors who have more blockbusters on their resume as opposed to artistic ventures. There are exceptions, but not many.
     
  5. Zack Scott

    Zack Scott Stunt Coordinator

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    Ron Howard can make a good movie but I wouldn't consider him a good director. He's had his breaks (Splash, appollo 13, Willow) but When I look at some of his other work, there is no big diffenace from it and other no name directors work except that It has his brother clint in it.
     
  6. Craig S

    Craig S Producer

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    I see Ron Howard as a very good commercial studio director. He has transcended that status once in his career, with Apollo 13. He was robbed of a nomination that year, and IMO both he and the film should have won.
    Based on advanced reviews & buzz, it looks like he may have transcended again with A Beautiful Mind. Of all the big Hollywood pics coming out at the end of the year this one seems to have pulled to the head of the pack with reviewers. At this point I'd lay money on Howard getting his first Oscar nomination this year.
     
  7. Dalton

    Dalton Screenwriter

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    Didn't Ron Howard direct Backdraft also? I thought that was a pretty good movie.
     
  8. Jim_K

    Jim_K Executive Producer

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  9. todd stone

    todd stone Screenwriter

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    let's not forget Willow!
     
  10. Jin E

    Jin E Second Unit

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    His lack of "Style" and "flare" is one of the reasons I enjoy Ron's work as a director. One thing for certain when you go see a Ron Howard film, it will be well put together, it will have a good script, and it will be entertaining. That's the reason we go see movies isn't it? To be entertained? Ron is sort of like stock in the electric company. You might not get that big payoff but you get a nice steady return for your money. I hate those cut-rate directors who try to throw their own personal flare into a movie and it turns out looking a lot like... Stigmata. Ron brings in the bucks because of his good solid work. I would like to see him reall take a chance with a film... that's something I think is missing in his resume. Anyhoo... I enjoy his movies and will continue to go see them (well.. cept ED-TV).
     
  11. Jin E

    Jin E Second Unit

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    Oh... to answer your question. I think he is considered a "Good" director, just not a GREAT director.
     
  12. Mark Pfeiffer

    Mark Pfeiffer Screenwriter

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    I think you could describe him as workmanlike. He generally puts things together well--the terribly misconceived Grinch aside--and makes them easy viewing for the audience. I don't detect passion or a visible stamp with what he does, FWIW.

    A Beautiful Mind is probably the best thing he has done to date. It's his most mature film, and I appreciated how he handled the material without succumbing to Hollywood's worst impulses.
     
  13. Brad_W

    Brad_W Screenwriter

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  14. Brian Lawrence

    Brian Lawrence Producer

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    Am I the only one here who,liked The Paper?
    I feel that Howard started off as a solid yet unspectacular mainstream filmmaker, but his efforts in the last few years have been pretty lackluster, I don't know about Beautiful Mind though.
     
  15. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    I would say so (to answer original post) although The Grinch knocks him down a bunch from my viewpoint.
     
  16. andrew markworthy

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    I think the fairest judgement on Ron Howard is that he's a competent director, not an auteur. What I mean by this is that if you saw a set of his movies interspersed with other standard Hollywood products, you'd be hard-pressed to identify which were his and which were the work of others unless you had prior knowledge. This is no disservice to Mr Howard. I'd sooner have a good competent director than a pretentious auteur.
     
  17. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    I would agree with Jack except for one small thing. I think Spielberg reinvented the Capra manipulation thing for modern cinema, and it has to be considered part of his artistic contribution to film.
    I remember Jeffrey Welles discussing CE3K and how it didn't play as well now. We had some coorespondence on it in which I suggested that at the time the "style" of CE3K, and later ET, was something we simply hadn't seen before, and that while it is heavily mimicked now (even by SS himself) that doesn't cheapen how strong it was originally.
    NOW, what the F*** does that mean here? [​IMG] Well, I see Howard as following in SS path in the "workman-like" style already mentioned. His films don't have the emotional reach that SS was able to achieve, but at the same time there is no slop, no mess. So he can frustrate you a tad, yet he also delivers quality films that can generate income and won't be "bad".
    Apollo 13 certainly is the exception to this in which he did reach a pinnacle. If he hits it with A Beautiful Mind again then it might mean that we are seeing him starting to push through at times and might be about to really break it open to a new level.
    I would like to see it. At the very least the guy has paid his dues and seems to really enjoy filmmaking. I do think he cares, it's just a matter of reaching the artistic talent level.
     
  18. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    And we have to keep something else in mind. Grinch told it's story very well. The problem was more the story itself than it was the look or cinematic methods. In fact I think the directorial style of that film is one of it's strengths.

    If you get attached to a project already written, or not being written by you, with producers or a studio with it's own agenda, then you still have to get "their" story down on film in some manner.

    I think we all agree that Grinch required so much padding and retreaded ground that was already cherished that it was behind the 8 ball from the start. But picture it this way, if the film had just been 30 minutes of a live action retelling of the same story (dialogue, etc) would it have been "bad"? I don't think so. The moments when that film matched the cartoon I felt were very well brought to life. That is Howard's contribution.
     
  19. Jay E

    Jay E Cinematographer

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    Ron Howard would have been a perfect fit in the MGM film factory of the 1930's. There, all the director needed to be was solid & competent and willing to work within the MGM system, no auteurs need apply. This describes Ron Howard perfectly. His work is solid & competent and he works within Hollywood's rigid system of making films that appeal to the widest range of audiences. He's a mainstream filmmaker who makes bland but appealing films for the general audience.

    I always group him with Penny Marshall, another bland competent filmmaker. Personally both of these directors don't appeal to me at all. I would much rather see a film made by a director, that although it may fail in it's efforts, tries to attempt something new, takes chances & doesn't try to appeal to every last person in America.
     
  20. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    I think Ron Howard should be appreciated for at least one thing for which he is criticized: The restraint shown in not imposing heavy stylistic fingerprints on everything he touches. Moreso than most successful directors, he seems to regard the material from its own perspective and fashion the movie accordingly. He does not torture the script until it fits into his stylistic mode, but lets it come to him. Another director with a better batting average, but without the same recent frequency of output that fits into this mode is Jonathan Demme.

    Regards,
     

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