Well, the first two match–ups of the “Sick Boy Invitational Tournament: Director’s Edition” are in the books; with former-master-now-middling-at-best Sir Ridley Scott, and formerly-tolerable-turned-insufferable-weed-enthusiast Kevin Smith moving on after beating Carpenter and Friedkin respectively.
A quick refresher on the scoring and guidelines:
The scoring is as follows: each feature’s Rotten Tomatoes (RT) score is added to its Flixster/RT Community (FLX) score. The two are then averaged to create the cumulative score.
(ex: Clerks: RT-88 FLX-89/2=88.5 cume)
I used the RT scores because it’s already an aggregate of the majority of available critics’ reviews for a movie. The way they arrive at fresh or rotten can be kinda stupid, but at least there’s a statistically significant amount of reviews per movie. Usually. I chose the Flixster reviews rather than the IMDb ratings because they tend to be less obviously insane. The IMDb reviews are a special kind of wacky.
The cumulative scores of the first half of the director’s career are all added together, then divided by the number of movies in the first half.
The cumulative scores of the second half are also added together, but, because I think output is a tremendously underrated factor in how an artist is judged; the director receives two extra points per film after their tenth movie to add to the second half score, before it’s divided by the number of films.
(ex: Director A made twenty movies. For this example, let’s say that each film scored a ten. So: the first half would be 10×10 = 100/10 which would be a first half score of 10. The second half scoring would be (10×10) + 20 = 120/10, for a second half score of 12.)
We then find the percentage change between the first half and the second, to arrive at the SBI (sick boy index) number. The greater value wins, so -2 beats -4, 6 beats 2, etc.
The Brackets as they stand:
John Woo: Born in May, 1946. Golden Lion recipient at the 2010 Venice Film Festival. Most recent feature: The Crossing, 2014. You may not have seen, but totally should: A Better Tomorrow II, 1987.
Richard Linklater: Born in July, 1960. Nominated for the Academy Award for best adapted screenplay for Before Sunset 2004, and Before Midnight 2013. Nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay for Boyhood 2014. Most recent feature: Boyhood 2014. You may not have seen, but totally should: A Scanner Darkly, 2006.
Woo- Oh, lord. Woo has a dozen features that don’t qualify, either due to lack of review data, or movies that have been released multiple times under different titles. Unfortunately, that includes his last three features, which have been reviewed well, but don’t meet our criteria.
Ready? Let’s rock and/or roll.
Richard Linklater 1991-2014
- Slacker 81.5
- Dazed and Confused 92
- Before Sunrise 96.5
- Suburbia 65.5
- The Newton Boys 53.5
- Waking Life 83.5
- Tape 77
- School of Rock 78
First Half Score 627.5/8= 78.4
- Before Sunset 93
- Bad News Bears 47
- Fast Food Nation 46
- A Scanner Darkly 71.5
- Me and Orson Welles 73
- Bernie 81
- Before Midnight 90
- Boyhood 89.5
Second Half Score (591+12)/8= 75.4
Richard Linklater’s SBI: -3.8% Linklater steamrolls every director so far. An SBI of under 4% is so negligible that it might as well be even. If we took out Fast Food Nation, he would actually have a positive SBI, which would be fucking nuts, given the numbers we’ve seen so far.
Biggest Surprise: Linklater’s been fucking busy. I totally forgot he directed The Bad News Bears remake, and School of Rock.
John Woo 1986-2008
- A Better Tomorrow 91.5
- A Better Tomorrow 2 83
- The Killer 96
- Bullet in the Head 93.5
- Once a Thief 57.5
- Hard Boiled 93.5
First Half Score: 515/6= 85.8
- Hard Target 49
- Broken Arrow 49
- Face/Off 87
- Mission Impossible 2 50.5
- Windtalkers 41
- Paycheck 36.5
- Red Cliff 83.5
Second Half Score (396.5+6)/7= 57.5
John Woo’s SBI: -33% Poor John Woo. The man has been responsible for some of my all time favorite movies. The Killer, A Better Tommorow, and Hard Boiled are all damn-near indisputable masterpieces, and with A Better Tomorrow 2 not too far off. But his second half? Woof. Also, it’s funny that his midpoint seems to hit right at the beginning of his American career. I also think that Hard Target suffers critically from the old anti-action movie stigma. If it was released today, I think it’d fare a lot better.
Biggest Surprise: Critics sort of loved Face/Off. I get why, but it’s surprising when you see the reaction to his other silly American action movies.
Bonus note: This is our first “Battle of Philip K. Dick Source Material,” with Scanner kicking the shit out of Paycheck.
The Verdict: If this was a boxing match, it’d have been stopped in the third round. On the positive side, Woo seems to be making a nice comeback overseas. Selfishly, I hope that leads to a few more English-language films, but even if it doesn’t, I’m glad Woo still has some juice. For our purposes,though, all of that is irrelevant. Linklater’s the jizz. He moves on to round 2.
Next time: Crash into Heat.