Back in 2011, I made a very quick and poorly-conceived list of my top 50 favorite directors. The result was lazy, incomplete, and unfulfilling. So now, as I've given it time to develop and have watched hundreds upon hundreds of movies from many different directors in the meantime, I feel I can make a much more fleshed-out, well thought-out, and ultimately more rewarding (for myself) list of my top 100 favorite directors, and why I love them. This is the result, and I hope you enjoy.
100. Trey Parker
Mostly known for his work on the Comedy Central series South Park and the wildly successful Broadway play The Book Of Mormon, Trey Parker's talents shine through no matter the presentation. One of the great comedic minds of our time, and frequent collaborator with Matt Stone, there are few filmmakers (or artists of any medium) who can more effectively blend comedic absurdities and sharp political/social commentary into their work so seamlessly.
Favorite films - Team America: World Police, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
99. Michael Mann
A director without much of a signature style, Michael Mann is a filmmaker whose sheer body of work speaks for itself. Often taking a fairly straight-forward approach to his films and their subject matter, Mann takes films that could have worked less effectively and makes them better. It's as simple as that..
Favorite films - Manhunter, The Last Of The Mohicans
98. Jan Svankmajer
Possibly one of the most bizarre directors you'll find on this list. Svankmajer, a Czech director who frequently implements stop-motion animation and darkly sexual themes into his work, is a filmmaker that could never gain universal acclaim for his work. Much of what goes into his films is incredibly dark, quirky, disturbing, and unsettling. Not the most accessible directors around, but he certainly has his moments of greatness.
Favorite films - Alice, Little Otik
97. Yimou Zhang
Zhang has never been a director who didn't have a fantastic sense of what makes a film visually stimulating. Starting off with more character-centered dramas, he later moved on to more fantasy/action-based films, and his visuals even took a bigger step forward. Even if you don't enjoy the subject matter of his films, it's impossible not to at least enjoy them on an aesthetic level. Zhang has a varied filmography, one I still need to dig much deeper into.
Favorite films - House Of Flying Daggers, Red Sorghum
96. George Cukor
One of the most highly-acclaimed director of Hollywood's golden era, George Cukor has an impressive filmography filled with many memorable, critically-acclaimed movies. Whatever he may lack in individual greatness amongst his films, he more than makes up for it in sheer volume and consistency. I have never seen a Cukor film that I didn't like. Maybe not the most memorable of the bunch, but certainly a great director.
Favorite films - The Philadelphia Story, My Fair Lady, Lust For Life