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Richard Donner 
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Post Richard Donner
Tarantino called him a hack, but he has quite the string of popular films stacked up: Omen, Superman, Lethal Weapon, Goonies, Scrooged.

Anyone here a Donner fan that could rank them or name good ones I've missed? Anyone think some of his films are really underrated, like Timeline?

I've only seen Omen and Superman, and am a huge fan of both.


Tue Oct 25, 2011 4:31 pm
Post Re: Richard Donner
I've always been a big fan of Maverick. Just an all-around fun movie.

The "hack" label doesn't make any sense to me. Over the years, he's proven to be adept with working in multiple genres, with a few films being standouts in their respective genres. Lethal Weapon might be the quintessential buddy cop movie, Superman is the classic superhero film, and even The Goonies still holds up as one of the best '80s kid adventure movies (I know, Kunz, I know...). And even though not many posters on this forum aren't fans of The Omen, I think it's one of the more important and influential '70s horror films.

Also, I've always thought Scrooged gets an unfair bad rap. I've watched that one many times over the years around Christmastime.

Sure, he's got some duds in his filmography, but Donner is cool in my book.


Tue Oct 25, 2011 4:53 pm
Post Re: Richard Donner
Scrooged is my favorite interpretation of Dickens' classic, and I don't know anyone who doesn't like Lethal Weapon or the Goonies. The Goonies, I think, was more of a collaboration of Spielberg, Chris Columbus, and Donner though.


Tue Oct 25, 2011 4:55 pm
Post Re: Richard Donner
His work on Superman is obviously excellent. I don't know if there was something in the water at his house or if all the planets were properly aligned, but he approached it with exactly the right attitude and quality of craftsmanship. One of the saddest lost opportunities in cinema was his original planned Superman duology.

I'm not an enormous fan of the rest of his work, but I wouldn't say it's because it comes across as hackwork. I think I'm swimming in the wrong reference pool to really enjoy The Goonies or Lethal Weapon. The Omen is a well-told story, except that it doesn't really scare me, but that's the inherent difficulty of working in the horror genre. What really gets under people's skin varies wildly from person to person.

So yeah. Very talented guy, absolutely. His choice of material just doesn't often overlap with my interests.


Tue Oct 25, 2011 5:10 pm
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Post Re: Richard Donner
Hack? I think not.

Donner may not be an auteur in the sense that Tarantino or Scorsese or even Woo is. But he is a pretty good action director. In a sense, he's on the level of John McTiernan. Both men at the top of their game can make good pictures. In a way he has more range than McTiernan. I'm not sure McTiernan could have helmed Scrooged.

I grew up with the Lethal Weapon movies and I still love em. Those are far better than the automatons cranked out by Bay and Ratner. The original Superman is still the best. It's a shame that the second one was taken away from him as previously noted.

Donner may not ever make the list of great directors. But he's a very good one.

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Tue Oct 25, 2011 6:43 pm
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Post Re: Richard Donner
Dick Blitzen


Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:22 pm
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Post Re: Richard Donner
LOVED:

Lethal Weapon
Lethal Weapon 2
Maverick
Conspiracy Theory


LIKED:

Superman
Lethal Weapon 3
Lethal Weapon 4
Timeline
Assassins
16 Blocks


Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:38 pm
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Post Re: Richard Donner
ilovemovies wrote:
LOVED:

Lethal Weapon
Lethal Weapon 2
Maverick
Conspiracy Theory


LIKED:

Superman
Lethal Weapon 3
Lethal Weapon 4
Timeline
Assassins
16 Blocks

I agree for the most part, though I can't say I was all that big on Maverick or Timeline.


Wed Oct 26, 2011 12:04 am
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Post Re: Richard Donner
I've always been a big fan of the Lethal Weapon films, and I liked The Omen very much. So no, Donner's not a hack. Not by a long shot.

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Wed Oct 26, 2011 12:14 pm
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Post Re: Richard Donner
Well I love the first two Superman movies, and after knowing the story how they could have been, I am definitely a Richard Donner fan. We all know what happened when Richard Lester was in full charge for Superman III.

I like the Lethal Weapon movies a lot for what they are: excellent popcorn movies. The humor never turns into lame slapstick - and the mood at times switches to one of the Gibson, Glover duo (excellent pairing!) being in genuine danger.

Ladyhawke: yeah that one has a lot of flaws, and the infamous soundtrack is truly awful - still: the leads are excellent.

Assassins: well that one has no story to speak of - the pacing is uneven (I am being kind). Still some great moments. Antonio Banderas is excellent in this one.

Maverick is just great fun. A little (well actually quite a lot) like Dirty Rotten Scaundrels remade as a Western. It proves that James Garner should have had a better career. Once again: the humor never descends into lame slapstick. It is on the Lethal Weapon "irony" level.

The Goonies - well I think the less said the better. But the whole project (Indiana Jones II for kids? Unsing Jonathan Ke Quan in another adventure movie while his name as a child actor is still on the map?)was a bad idea to begin with. Not so much blame should be on the director - I guess.

Didn't know Donner directed Salt and Pepper until I saw the list of his movies as a director on IMDB. O.K. that was back in 1968, Richard Donner being about age 38 at the time. Not exactly very young, but I forgive him that one...

Yes: agreed: Donner is not a hack at all.


Wed Oct 26, 2011 1:30 pm
Post Re: Richard Donner
I've tried to watch his stuff in the past week, and I must say I'm pretty disappointed. Superman is still excellent, Omen is pretty good, and enjoy Goonies...but Lethal Weapon is a massive let down; mediocre script, cheap production, completely forgettable. Lethal Weapon 2 is a lot better, but still pretty damn flawed. Timeline gets boring and pointless after the first scene, and I couldn't sit through more than half of Scrooged. Hack he is not, but nowhere near "underrated" either. I'd say he gets about as much attention as he deserves. Oh well.


Mon Oct 31, 2011 12:51 am
Post Re: Richard Donner
Jeff Wilder wrote:
Hack? I think not.

Donner may not be an auteur in the sense that Tarantino or Scorsese or even Woo is. But he is a pretty good action director. In a sense, he's on the level of John McTiernan. Both men at the top of their game can make good pictures. In a way he has more range than McTiernan. I'm not sure McTiernan could have helmed Scrooged.

I grew up with the Lethal Weapon movies and I still love em. Those are far better than the automatons cranked out by Bay and Ratner. The original Superman is still the best. It's a shame that the second one was taken away from him as previously noted.

Donner may not ever make the list of great directors. But he's a very good one.


McTiernan was arguably the best mainstream action director of the 80's and of the early 90's (trumped only by Cameron). Predator, Die-Hard, and The Hunt for Red October are all excellent, utterly captivating action films with the touch of a uniquely gifted professional. If anything, McTiernan's nearly unrivaled ability to create and maintain escalating tension has been underrated, not Donner's strictly decent directorial touch. Tarantino may have been harsh, but was he really all that off? I'd say not by much; after all, Superman was superb, but Christopher Reeves remains an otherwise middling actor. One terrific endeavor does not equate to greatness.


Mon Oct 31, 2011 6:19 pm
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Post Re: Richard Donner
Threeperf35 wrote:
Well I love the first two Superman movies, and after knowing the story how they could have been, I am definitely a Richard Donner fan. We all know what happened when Richard Lester was in full charge for Superman III.


Personally, I would blame "Superman III" more on the Salkinds than Lester (who, like Donner, is a more than capable mainstream filmmaker -- as "A Hard Day's Night," "Help!," "The Knack," "How I Won the War," "Petulia," the "Musketeers" trilogy, etc., proved).

Quote:
Ladyhawke: yeah that one has a lot of flaws, and the infamous soundtrack is truly awful - still: the leads are excellent.


Compared to other '80s kiddie fantasies with prominently synth soundtracks, I'd say it's better than "Krull" and "Legend" (though I know the cut with the Goldsmith score is the preferred version of the latter), but still not on par with "The Neverending Story."


Last edited by H.I. McDonough on Sat Nov 05, 2011 6:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:06 pm
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Post Re: Richard Donner
The producers chose Lester because he remedied both their objections to Donner: Lester had a reputation for making movies quickly and under budget. They had no regard for any other way in which he might or might not be suited to the project, and he clearly wasn't suited to follow up Donner's Superman.

Spengler, the Salkinds, and Lester all share blame for the slide in quality that started with Superman II and reached critical mass with Superman III. The shoddy production values were partly courtesy of the producers. The silliness and lack of understanding for the material? That was Lester.

As much creativity was involved in the first Superman movie, it was also time and money that showed up on the screen. You cannot recreate that lavish, epic feel with a quick-and-dirty shoestring production style. It just doesn't work.

Ilya Salkind claims to have written an unproduced treatment for Superman III that involved a team-up between Brainiac and Lex Luthor. Given that he is full of shit in everything he does, he's probably full of shit here, too.


Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:16 pm
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Post Re: Richard Donner
Donner(who turns 84 this week) says that a Goonies sequel is in the works http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/news ... s-20140422


Tue Apr 22, 2014 3:30 pm
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Post Re: Richard Donner
The Goonies is my wife's favourite film, and also, for my money, a film that has aged really very badly indeed.

It hardly has a redeeming feature of note (there's even some really ropey drop-in backgrounds that I somehow missed as a kid).

It's hard to fault Donner's Superman films, and a couple of the Lethal Weapon entries are good; ditto Conspiracy Theory, which played into Mel Gibson's naturally manic persona very well, even if it nearly collapsed at the end.

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Wed Apr 23, 2014 5:26 am
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Post Re: Richard Donner
Goonies was an OK film, but hardly one that i'd get excited about seeing a sequel to. I'd rather have another Lethal Weapon film myself.


Wed Apr 23, 2014 5:36 am
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Post Re: Richard Donner
I actually found the first two Lethal Weapon films alone almost impossible to sit through, especially next to the slick, pumped up 48 Hrs. Donner's films just look shoddy and awkwardly thrown together. Omen scared the shit out of me when I was 10, but seems pretty silly now. Even his Superman honestly just looks like it was pasted together at random from a bunch of different budgets and productions values. Some shots looks terrific and epic, others look like B-movie stock footage.

Not as big a fan as I was when I started this topic :lol:


Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:16 am
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Post Re: Richard Donner
Vexer wrote:
Goonies was an OK film, but hardly one that i'd get excited about seeing a sequel to. I'd rather have another Lethal Weapon film myself.


I don't want another Lethal Weapon movie because I thought LW4 concluded the franchise in a nice way.


Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:26 am
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Post Re: Richard Donner
MGamesCook wrote:
I actually found the first two Lethal Weapon films alone almost impossible to sit through, especially next to the slick, pumped up 48 Hrs. Donner's films just look shoddy and awkwardly thrown together. Omen scared the shit out of me when I was 10, but seems pretty silly now. Even his Superman honestly just looks like it was pasted together at random from a bunch of different budgets and productions values. Some shots looks terrific and epic, others look like B-movie stock footage.

Not as big a fan as I was when I started this topic :lol:


Lethal Weapon cashed in on Glover and Gibson's chemistry together. Which is the only reason they got to make what seemed like 59 films, but was in fact ... 4

Vexer wrote:
Goonies was an OK film, but hardly one that i'd get excited about seeing a sequel to. I'd rather have another Lethal Weapon film myself.


Another???

Wow, wasn't Danny Glover 50 in the first film? He'd be like 80 by the time that hit the cinemas!!

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Wed Apr 23, 2014 8:19 am
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