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What's the most interesting failure you've seen a good director make? Check out this week's Ask the Critic question, then post your own

What's the most interesting failure you've seen a good director make?

What's the most interesting failure you've seen a good director make? — Craig

Ever since the '70s, so many filmmakers have swung for the fences, trying to bust the boundaries of their medium, that there is by now an almost established pantheon of Fascinating Failures. The most mythic example is surely Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate, which now enjoys a reputation for being far better than the disaster it was first written off as. (Here's a true revisionist opinion: It's every bit as bad — as arid and indulgent — as the critics initially said.) Other entries I'd include in the pantheon are Martin Scorsese's New York, New York, Steven Spielberg's Empire of the Sun, and Terrence Malick's The New World. The latest I'd add is Vincent Gallo's The Brown Bunny. It meanders, it glorifies self-pity, and its big sex scene provoked little beyond a debate over whether its director-star had used a prosthetic body part. Yet what poetic meandering! Gallo caught the sadness of the open road, making a movie that, in its very flaws, is a true journey.

(Got a question for Owen or Lisa? Post it here.)

Originally posted Feb 20, 2007 Published in issue #922 Feb 23, 2007 Order article reprints
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