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Director & Actor Teams: The Overlooked & Underrated (Part 2 of 2)

Director & Actor Teams: The Overlooked & Underrated (Part 2 of 2)

Following are some supplemental sections featuring notable director & actor teams that did not meet the criteria for the main body of the article.  Some will argue that a number of these should have been included in the primary section but keep in mind that film writing on any level, from the casual to the academic, is a game of knowledge and perception filtered through personal taste.


Other Notable Director & Actor Teams

This section is devoted to pairings where the duo worked together at least 3 times with the actor in a major role in each feature film, resulting in 1 must-see film.

da other t young

Terence Young & Sean Connery

Must-See Collaboration:  From Russia with Love (1962).

Other Collaborations:  Action of the Tiger (1957), Dr. No (1962), Thunderball (1965).

Director Young and actor Connery teamed up to create one of the very best Connery-era James Bond films with From Russia with Love which features a great villainous performance by Robert Shaw and a spectacular fight scene inside a cramped train compartment.

If Young had ended up directing 1964’s Goldfinger instead of Guy Hamilton, this duo would’ve made the main section of this article.

da other ritt  newman

Martin Ritt & Paul Newman

Must-See Collaboration:  Hud (1963).

Other Collaborations:  The Long, Hot Summer (1958), The Outrage (1964), Hombre (1968).

Director Ritt and actor Newman’s Western Hombre, based on the Elmore Leonard novel, is a solid film but the stark, black & white Texas-set character study Hud is their crowning achievement.  Make no mistake about it, Paul Newman was one of the all-time great American screen actors with his performance in Hud is must-see for anyone studying his career.

da other jf burt lancaster

John Frankenheimer & Burt Lancaster 

Must-See Collaboration:  Seven Days in May (1964).

Other Collaborations: Birdman of Alcatraz (1962), The Train (1964).

Lancaster turned in memorable performances in all of his films with Frankenheimer but it’s their work together on the political suspense thriller Seven Days in May about an Army General plotting to take control of the government that is this team’s finest work.  This film is also notable for being considered one of Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling’s two most successful forays into screenwriting along with his work on Planet of the Apes (Franklin J. Schaffner, 1968).

da other sollima milian

Sergio Sollima & Tomas Milian

Must-See Collaboration:  The Big Gundown (1966).

Other Collaborations:  Face to Face (1967), Run Man Run (1968).

Director Sollima and actor Milian’s European Western The Big Gundown with Lee Van Cleef is a classic and easily one of best of the genre.  Sadly, the duo fared less well in their subsequent Westerns Face to Face and the weakly scripted, Van Cleef-less Big Gundown follow-up Run Man Run with Milian reprising his role as the knife-throwing Mexican outlaw Cuchillo.

da other penn hackman

Arthur Penn & Gene Hackman

Must-See Collaboration:  Night Moves (1975).

Other Collaborations:  Bonnie and Clyde (1967), Target (1985).

Director Penn’s absurdly overrated Bonnie and Clyde may have netted actor Hackman an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor and given his career a massive boost but this duo’s masterpiece is the too-often overlooked 1970’s crime film classic Night Moves from a screenplay by Alan Sharp (Ulzana’s Raid).

In this dark take on the private detective film, Hackman’s Harry Moseby character works on a missing person case that becomes more convoluted and unfathomable the deeper the investigation gets.

da other the sting

George Roy Hill & Paul Newman

Must-See Collaboration:  The Sting (1973).

Other Collaborations:  Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid (1969), Slap Shot (1977).

Director Hill reunited with actors Newman and Robert Redford from the critically and financially successful but goofy and almost stunningly overrated Western Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid to create the best film of the director’s collaborations with the very talented Newman.

Newman and Redford famously played a pair of con men out for revenge in 1930’s Chicago in the genuinely clever The Sting.  Hill later teamed with Newman on the popular hockey comedy Slap Shot but The Sting is this duo’s greatest work.

da other altman gould

Robert Altman & Elliott Gould

Must-See Collaboration:  The Long Goodbye (1973).

Other Collaborations:  MASH (1970), California Split (1974).

MASH was eclipsed by the long-running television series it inspired and the gambling comedy California Split falls flat but director Altman’s eccentric Raymond Chandler adaptation The Long Goodbye is this team’s obvious crown jewel that still holds up today as a classic of 1970’s crime cinema, featuring one of actor Gould’s finest performances in a unique, idiosyncratic interpretation of the famous private detective character Philip Marlowe.

da other aguirre

Werner Herzog & Klaus Kinski 

Must-See Collaboration:  Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972).

Other Collaborations:  Nosferatu The Vampyre (1979), Woyzeck (1979), Fitzcarraldo (1982), Cobra Verde (1987).

The stormy nature of director Herzog’s partnership with actor Kinksi is well-documented in the 1999 film My Best Fiend but the duo managed to produce the classic Aguirre: The Wrath of God which, among other things, was an obvious influence on Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1979) and Nicolas Winding Refn’s Valhalla Rising (2009).  While many consider Fitzcarraldo to be Herzog’s masterpiece, Aguirres quest for gold that turns to madness and death is a much more compelling and focused portrayal of obsession.

da other the mechanic

Michael Winner & Charles Bronson 

Must-See Collaboration:  The Mechanic (1972).

Other Collaborations:  Chato’s Land (1972), The Stone Killer (1973), Death Wish (1974), Death Wish II (1982), Death Wish III (1985).

The attention heaped on the poorly directed Death Wish and its sequels has robbed the Winner/Bronson crime film classic The Mechanic of its proper status as the finest achievement of this particular director & actor team.  Guided by Lewis John Carlino’s excellent screenplay, Winner’s story of an aging hitman and his young protégé maintains its high level of quality even in the face of a mediocre supporting performance from Jan-Michael Vincent.

The less said about the atrocious 2011 remake of The Mechanic the better.

Winner and Bronson also made an interesting but not fully satisfying Western in 1972 with Chato’s Land.

da other reitman murray

Ivan Reitman & Bill Murray

Must-See Collaboration:  Ghostbusters (1984).

Other Collaborations:  Meatballs (1979), Stripes (1981), Ghostbusters II (1989).

Warming up with the summer camp film Meatballs and the military comedy Stripes, director Reitman’s masterpiece Ghostbusters is one of the great comedy films of the 1980’s and the finest of his team-ups with actor Murray who is at his comedic best as a professional paranormal exterminator.  Lightning did not strike twice, however, as the sequel Ghostbusters II is forced and highly disappointing.

da other lau lam

Ricky Lau & Lam Ching Ying

Must-See Collaboration:  Mr. Vampire (1985).

Other Collaborations:  Mr. Vampire 2 (1986), Mr. Vampire 3 (1987), Encounters of the Spooky Kind 2 (1990), Mr. Vampire 1992 (1992).

This duo made the Hong Kong classic and one of the few horror-comedies that actually works with Mr. Vampire in 1985 but were unable to hit that high mark again in subsequent attempts, including a number of direct sequels with actor Lam Ching Ying reprising his most famous role as the vampire slaying Master Gau, an Asian Van Helsing-type character.

The talented veteran actor passed away in 1994 at the age of 44.

da other donner gibson

Richard Donner & Mel Gibson

Must-See Collaboration:  Lethal Weapon (1987).

Other Collaborations:  Lethal Weapon 2 (1989), Lethal Weapon 3 (1992), Maverick (1994), Conspiracy Theory (1997), Lethal Weapon 4 (1998).

Like the Ricky Lau & Lam Ching Ying team mentioned above, this partnership is, unfortunately, largely a wasted opportunity. After combining to make one of the very best 1980’s cop/action films with the first Lethal Weapon which contains one of the best acting performances of Gibson’s career as an ex-Special Forces soldier turned police officer, Donner and Gibson subsequently failed to make a great film in multiple outings, including 3 Lethal Weapon sequels.

da other tl jones

Andrew Davis & Tommy Lee Jones

Must-See Collaboration: The Fugitive (1993).

Other Collaborations:  The Package (1989), Under Siege (1992).

Director Davis had previously cast Jones as a military-trained assassin in The Package and an ex-CIA villain in the “Die Hard on a ship” Steven Seagal film Under Siege but their greatest success is the excellent “innocent on the run” suspense thriller The Fugitive in which Jones plays an unstoppable Deputy U.S. Marshall in pursuit of Harrison’s Ford’s Dr. Richard Kimble.

Jones very justly won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance and that role remains a major milestone in Jones’ career.  Jones returned to star but Davis did not return as director for the mediocre follow-up film U.S. Marshals (Stuart Baird, 1998).

da other ed wood

Tim Burton & Johnny Depp 

Must-See Collaboration:  Ed Wood (1994).

Other Collaborations:  Edward Scissorhands (1990), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), Sweeney Todd (2007), Alice in Wonderland (2010), Dark Shadows (2012).

This popular creative team has worked together many times to bring director Burton’s unique vision to the screen. The black & white biopic Ed Wood is the true masterpiece of the lot, showing Burton’s ability to deftly handle material that could’ve easily turned into a tonal nightmare.  Working from a screenplay by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski based on the book Nightmare of Ecstasy by Rudolph Grey, Burton wisely turned the much-maligned director’s story into the portrait of a band of lovable misfits instead of a darker, more realistic portrayal of Wood’s life that would have resulted in much different film.

da other bottle rocket

Wes Anderson & Owen Wilson

Must-See Collaborations:  Bottle Rocket (1996).

Other Collaborations:  The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004), The Darjeeling Limited (2007).

Director Anderson and screenwriter/actor Wilson expanded their short film Bottle Rocket into a very sincere and unforgettable 1996 comedy feature film classic about a group of reluctant criminals that’s highlighted by a brilliant performance by Wilson.

Since then, the critical focus has been primarily on Anderson’s work with actor Bill Murray but the strength of the unforgettable Bottle Rocket is more than enough reason to put the spotlight on the Anderson/Wilson team.

Anderson and Wilson collaborate next on a film called The Grand Budapest Hotel, currently in production and set for a 2014 release.

da other cure

Kiyoshi Kurosawa & Koji Yakusho 

Must-See Collaboration:  Cure (1997).

Other Collaborations:  Charisma (1999), Doppelganger (2003), Retribution (2006).

If you ever wondered “what would a horror film directed by Andrei Tarkovsky be like?”, you should definitely seek out Kurosawa’s Cure, easily the best of the director’s team-ups with accomplished Japanese actor Koji Yakusho, star of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s 2006 Babel and Takashi Miike’s 2010 Thirteen Assassins among many other films.

Cure is the very deliberately-paced tale of a series of murders being investigated by a police detective that, although not for everyone especially the casual horror movie fan, is a creepy, thought-provoking and rewarding experience.

Unfortunately, Kurosawa and Yakusho fell short of this high water mark in subsequent collaborations.  Yakusho also appears in a cameo role in Kurosawa’s highly regarded apocalyptic horror film Kairo (aka Pulse, 2001).


The Great Two-Timers

These are notable director & actor teams who worked together only twice in their careers with memorable results.

da 2 timers sorcerer

William Friedkin & Roy Scheider

Collaborations:  The French Connection (1971), Sorcerer (1977).

Actor Scheider turns in a great supporting performance and earned an Academy Award nomination in that category for The French Connection, still widely considered a 1970’s crime classic but the film has not aged well and has been eclipsed by any number of hard-edged crime films over the years despite Scheider and Oscar winner Gene Hackman’s memorable acting.

Scheider delivers a superb performance in Sorcerer, his second and final collaboration with director Friedkin, which is a fantastic remake of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s 1953 film The Wages of Fear based on the novel by Georges Arnaud.

Sorcerer, despite its troubled production history and critical and box-office failings at the time of its original release, is a grim and compelling masterpiece in the suspense thriller genre that has gone on to influence a number of films, including Vertical Limit (Martin Campbell, 2000) and Adrian Garcia Bogliano’s 2010 horror film Cold Sweat.

Friedkin has stated in interviews that casting Roy Scheider as the lead in Sorcerer was a huge mistake.  Far from it.

Scheider passed away in 2008.

da 2 timers dd afternoon

Sidney Lumet & Al Pacino

Collaborations:  Serpico (1973), Dog Day Afternoon (1975).

Director Lumet and actor Pacino sadly only worked together twice but the results were two 1970’s crime films classics driven by a pair of the legendary actor’s greatest performances, one as a cop battling rampant police-force corruption and the other as a desperate bank robber.

Lumet was rightly considered a true talent at working with actors and these two films-both based on actual events-are incredibly impressive proof of that.

Lumet passed away in 2011.

da 2 timers grizzly

William Girdler & Christopher George

Collaborations:  Grizzly (1976), Day of the Animals (1977).

Although cinema lovers aren’t likely to confuse this director & actor team with Sidney Lumet & Al Pacino, director Girdler’s sometimes ridiculous but always highly entertaining “revolt of nature” horror films both get a quality boost from actor’s George’s rugged, charismatic screen presence.

Girdler was tragically killed in 1978 in a helicopter crash at the age of 30 and Christopher George passed away in 1983 at the age of 52.

da 2 timers aura

Fabian Bielinsky & Ricardo Darin

Collaborations:  Nine Queens (2000), The Aura (2005).

Director Bielinsky’s death at the age of 47 in 2006 robbed the cinema world of potentially amazing director & actor team.  Bielinsky’s first team-up with the renowned Argentinian actor Darin was on the entertaining Sting-like con man film Nine Queens but the duo’s masterpiece is the dark, neo-film noir The Aura, about an epileptic taxidermist who gets tangled up in a dangerous robbery plot.

Darin delivers one of his great performances in The Aura and who knows what this creative duo might have done with more opportunities to collaborate.


Looking to the Future…

These are director & actor teams who worked memorably together twice and are both still active with the possibility of pairing up again.  In some cases, the director & actor team have a third film in the pipeline that’s awaiting release.  In keeping with the format of this article, all the pairings in this section are listed as “must-see collaborations”.

da future carlito's way

Brian DePalma & Al Pacino

Must-See Collaborations:  Scarface (1983), Carlito’s Way (1993).

Clarity is very important here.  Scarface is not a good film.  Not even close.  But it’s included in this article as a must-see collaboration because it demands viewing simply to try and solve the riddle of why there is so much misplaced hype about a one-dimensional movie.

Carlito’s Way, on the other hand, is an underrated classic based on two novels by Edwin Torres featuring a fantastic Al Pacino performance as a former career criminal trying to go straight, some of DePalma’s best directing and by far the best screenplay major Hollywood screenwriter David Koepp has ever produced.

It’s been reported DePalma and Pacino will team up again for a biopic of highly controversial Penn State football coach Joe Paterno.

da future denzel

Carl Franklin & Denzel Washington

Must-See Collaborations:  Devil in a Blue Dress (1995), Out of Time (2003).

Time will tell if there will be another team-up with director Franklin and actor Washington who have already combined to make a great crime film with the 1940’s Los Angeles-set private detective picture Devil in a Blue Dress and a less remarkable but undeniably entertaining film noir-influenced suspense thriller Out of Time.

da future cillian

Danny Boyle & Cillian Murphy

Must-See Collaborations:  28 Days Later (2002), Sunshine (2007).

Director Boyle and actor Murphy have combined to make two gripping but very different portraits of the apocalypse with the zombie/infected classic 28 Days Later and the disturbingly overlooked Sunshine-one of the great apocalyptic films of all time despite some poor directing choices during the film’s climax.

One could only hope that Boyle would recruit Murphy once more for yet another take on the end (or almost end) of the world, but Boyle has stated he has no intention of making another science fiction-based film.

da future stakeland

Jim Mickle & Nick Damici

Must-See Collaborations:  Mulberry Street (2006), Stake Land (2010), We Are What We Are (2013, not yet released).

Director Mickle and screenwriter/actor Damici first made the ambitious but very low-budget apocalyptic film Mulberry Street-an ambitious but under-funded portrayal of the residents of a New York apartment building besieged by mutant rat creatures.  Their second outing Stake Land-about a group of survivors traversing a vampire-infested countryside-was a far more successful take on the end of the world as we know it marred only by the poor casting of the film’s villain.

The duo’s latest film We Are What We Are-a remake of the 2010 Mexican film by Jorge Michael Grau about a cannibal family- is currently making its festival rounds to much critical acclaim.  The Mickle/Damici team has announced they are going to make a film adaptation of author Joe Lansdale’s excellent crime novel Cold in July as their next project.

da future mr73

Olivier Marchal & Daniel Auteuil

Must-See Collaborations:  36th Precinct (2004), The Last Deadly Mission (aka MR 73) (2008).

Jean-Pierre Melville’s influential movies may be widely considered the high water mark for French crime films but actor turned screenwriter/director Marchal teamed up with actor Auteuil to set a new standard with the outstanding 36th Precinct and The Last Deadly Mission (aka MR 73).  In these films, the versatile Auteuil plays two very different cops with highly memorable results.

Interestingly, Marchal’s film and television work is informed by his real-life experiences as a police officer.

da future qt waltz

Quentin Tarantino & Christoph Waltz

Must-See Collaborations:  Inglourious Basterds (2009), Django Unchained (2012).

Christoph Waltz is a great actor and Tarantino deserves credit for bringing this highly talented thespian to the world’s attention.  However, Waltz’s very impressive performances remain the best parts of the rambling, wildly uneven films they are a part of.

The highly praised screenwriter/director Tarantino-too sure he’s some kind of genius auteur that no principles of drama apply to-has made Waltz’s characters actually break character and do things they, as portrayed in the film up to that point, would simply never do just in order to be dispatched in one way or another at the end of Inglourious…and Django Unchained.

Waltz’s Colonel Hans Landa in Inglourious…, after directing the slaughter of a defenseless family at the beginning of the film and later brutally choking the life out of Diane Kruger’s character, becomes another person at the end of film and basically tells the American soldiers “hey, I’m not really into the whole Nazi, Jew-hunting thing, let’s make a deal”.

In Django Unchained, Waltz’s bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz-a highly perceptive killing machine who stays one step ahead of all enemies at all times inexplicably lets his guard down-something this character just doesn’t do-and is shot dead by a single man his character as portrayed up to that moment would’ve taken out in a heartbeat.

This kind of filmmaking laziness is inexcusable and does a huge disservice to the films, the actors and the audience.  Another embarrassing and crystal-clear example of this monumental creative ball-dropping is what Tarantino did with Kurt Russell’s Stuntman Mike character in 2007’s disastrous Death Proof, inexplicably transforming a fearless killer into a frightened buffoon.

da future fassbender

Steve McQueen & Michael Fassbender 

Must-See Collaborations:  Hunger (2008), Shame (2011), 12 Years a Slave (2013, not yet released).

Actor Fassbender’s accomplished acting is the main reason to see the very uneven IRA prison drama Hunger and Fassbender turns in an incredible performance in screenwriter/director McQueen’s Shame-a bold study of one man’s self-contained world of sexual addiction.

McQueen and Fassbender’s next team-up 12 Years a Slave is set to be released later this year.

da future yellow sea

Na Hong-jin & Ha Jung-woo & Kim Yun-seok

Must-See Collaborations:  The Chaser (2008), The Yellow Sea (2010).

This dynamic South Korean trio has united to make two outstanding crime films with director  Na Hong-jin cleverly and very effectively casting The Chaser’s lead actor Kim Yun-seok as the villain in the sadly under-seen Yellow Sea and having Ha Jung-woo-who portrayed the serial murderer in The Chaser-take the role of Yellow Sea’s protagonist.

Watch The Chaser and you’ll understand why an American remake is planned.  Watch The Yellow Sea and you won’t believe how little this amazing and intense film noir-influenced picture is discussed.


Special Mentions:

These are directing & acting teams that fell outside the criteria for other sections of this article but are worth notice as they’ve made one very memorable film and have another film awaiting release sometime this year.

Edgar Wright & Simon Pegg 

Must-See Collaboration:  Hot Fuzz (2007).

Other Collaborations:  Shaun of the Dead (2004), The World’s End (2013, not yet released).

After the beloved but underwhelming zombie comedy Shaun of the Dead, director Wright and actor Pegg teamed up with regular partner actor Nick Frost to make the highly entertaining and uniquely British action-comedy Hot Fuzz.

The Wright/Pegg duo again teamed up for the soon-to-be-released apocalyptic comedy The World’s End, also starring Nick Frost.


Nicolas Winding Refn & Ryan Gosling

Must-See Collaboration:  Drive (2011).

Other Collaborations:  Only God Forgives (2013).

The Danish director and the American actor combined for the brutal, 1980’s-influenced Los Angeles crime film Drive and have another film, the Thailand-set revenge movie Only God Forgives coming out soon.

This is a duo to watch even if their announced remake of Logan’s Run, based on Michael Anderson’s 1976 film and the William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson novel appears to have fallen apart.


Notable Omissions

These are director & actor teams that worked together at least three times and have a substantial critical and/or fan base but didn’t make the main section of this article.  These teams may have been included in articles on the subject by other writers, but as stated earlier, film writing on any level is ultimately dictated by personal taste.

Sidney Lumet & Sean Connery

Collaborations:  The Hill (1965), The Anderson Tapes (1971), The Offence (1972), Murder on the Orient Express (1974), Family Business (1989).

No fault of actor Connery’s performances, his team-ups with director Lumet never fully ignited to produce great films.


Sergio Corbucci & Franco Nero 

Collaborations:  Django (1966), A Professional Gun (1968), Companeros (1970).

Many consider these films to be must-see European Westerns but Nero has never had the charisma/screen presence of other actors famous for lead roles in the genre like Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef or the Sartana series star Gianni Garko.


Monte Hellman & Warren Oates

Collaborations:  The Shooting (1966), Two-Lane Blacktop (1971), Cockfighter (1974), China 9, Liberty 37 (1978).

Some call Warren Oates one of the great film actors of all time, others disagree.  The ambitious, bizarre Western The Shooting-shot back-to-back with director Hellman’s Western Ride in the Whirlwind-and the existential road movie Two-Lane Blacktop are the key entries in this critically acclaimed team-up but the problem is that character actor Oates shines in smaller roles and cannot carry a film by himself even though Hellman fans and admirers of Sam Peckinpah’s 1974 Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia will strongly disagree.


Jean-Pierre Melville & Alain Delon 

Collaborations:  Le Samourai (1967), Le Cercle Rouge (1970), Un Flic (1972).

Director Melville’s French crime films have influenced a number of notable directors including John Woo-especially 1986’s A Better Tomorrow and 1989’s The Killer-and Michael Mann-especially Mann’s 1989 television film L.A. Takedown and its vastly superior 1995 big screen remake Heat.

In this case the students have bested the teacher as The Killer, Heat and Olivier Marchal’s brilliant French crime films 36th Precinct and The Last Deadly Mission (aka MR73) have totally eclipsed Melville’s work in terms of quality.


Sam Raimi & Bruce Campbell

Collaborations:  The Evil Dead (1981), Crimewave (1985), Evil Dead II (1987), Army of Darkness (1992).

After the landmark, extremely low-budget horror film The Evil Dead, this popular duo combined to make the cartoonish misfire Crimewave then went on to combine un-horrifying horror with un-funny comedy in two Evil Dead sequels.  Campbell pops up, as all Raimi fans know, in cameo appearances in a number of other films by the director.


Sammo Hung & Jackie Chan

Collaborations:  Winners & Sinners (1983), Wheels on Meals (1984), Dragons Forever (1988), Mr. Nice Guy (1997).

Actor/martial arts wizard Chan’s collaborations with actor/martial arts wizard turned director Hung are light, entertaining affairs that ultimately have more natural, goofy charm than Chan’s bigger, more highly-budgeted films with director Stanley Tong.

The problem with the Hung/Chan films is the same issue that plagues Chan’s films with Tong and many of Chan’s own self-directed films:  the movies come off as collections of incredibly impressive stunt and fight scenes strung together with a loose narrative.  When discussing Chan’s films, viewers are guaranteed to focus on the combat sequences and the very dangerous, jaw-dropping stunt work than the film’s story.


Tsui Hark & Jet Li

Collaborations:  Once Upon a Time in China (1991), Once Upon a Time in China II (1992), Once Upon a Time in China III (1993), Flying Swords of Dragon Gate (2011).

Actor/martial arts wizard Li’s historical martial arts films with director Hark are, like Li’s team-ups with director Corey Yuen mentioned below, tremendous showcases for Li’s phenomenal martial arts/athletic skills but the film’s narratives always seem very secondary to the immensely impressive combat scenes.


Corey Yuen & Jet Li

Collaborations:  The Legend (1993), The Legend 2 (1993), The Defender (1994), The Enforcer (1995).

See above entry.


Wes Anderson & Bill Murray

Collaborations:  Rushmore (1998), The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004), The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), The Darjeeling Limited (2007), Moonrise Kingdom (2012).

Some may disagree but no subsequent Wes Anderson film has had the unique charm of his first feature Bottle Rocket.  Anderson definitely re-invigorated Bill Murray’s acting career in a big way but there always seems to be something lacking in Murray’s more subdued performances despite their widespread critical acclaim.


Martin Scorsese & Leonardo DiCaprio

Collaborations:  Gangs of New York (2002), The Aviator (2004), The Departed (2006), Shutter Island (2010), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013, not yet released).

This director & actor team has a big following in both critical and fan circles but there’s no getting around the fact that DiCaprio is an actor you can really see exerting effort in his performances unlike his more gifted contemporaries like Michael Fassbender.


Bong Joon-ho & Song Kang-ho

Collaborations:  Memories of Murder (2003), The Host (2006), Snowpiercer (2013, not yet released).

A favorite team-up among fans of South Korean cinema, actor Song Kang-ho’s previously mentioned collaborations with director Park Chan-wook, are ultimately more satisfying viewing experiences than Memories… or The Host.  The duo’s newest film, the apocalyptic Snowpiercer is set for release later this year.


Most Overrated Director & Actor Team:

Steven Spielberg & Harrison Ford

Collaborations:  Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom (1984), Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade (1989), Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008).

-Terek Puckett