It's so miserable when it happens. You follow a director for years as they throw out masterpieces... or... at least decent enough films, when suddenly you're shocked to IMDB some awful film you looked up for a laugh and find their name attached to it. It just doesn't bear thinking about. It's happened to me so many times, so here's a few I can think of, or that I've discovered through others and their experiences.
5. The Brothers Grimm (2005) Terry Gilliam
Terry Gilliam taking on the Grimm fairytales sounds to many like a match made in heaven. It certainly did to me, but unfortunately all that results from this project is a plot that's been twisted out of shape, with a poorly conceived idea and some seriously poor performances. The only upside is that hopefully the money lining Gilliam's pockets will now go towards something on a par with his usual work.
4. Eyes Wide Shut (1999) Stanley Kubrick
It was a shame that this film was his last, but many argue that the reason for the spectacular panning of this film was Tom Cruise's (lack of) acting. Unfortunately, this has led to a lot of 'Kubrick = overrated' monologues by people who use this film as a directorial example, much to the dismay of Kubrick fans. I was in two minds between this and Barry Lyndon, but decided on this because the unfortunate chronology of Kubrick's films means arguably this one did the most damage.
3. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009) Werner Herzog
This may be a little pre-emptive, but the trailer is here for you to judge my itchy trigger finger for yourself. Werner Herzog has taken on a film which IS (but apparently isn't) the remake of Abel Ferrara's much-debated classic, Bad Lieutenant. This (let's say 'adaptation' for now, for the sake of argument) features Nicolas Cage (touch of death for most films nowadays), snorting cocaine and chasing a rapper around. Very out of character for this well-respected director, even the suggestion that he's making a clumsy comedy with Nick Cage is more than enough grounds for a trip to the shrink.
2. Death Proof (2007) Quentin Tarantino
I've never had Tarantino up there with the greats, since his 'inspiration' for films is dubious, to say the least. However, I do enjoy a bit of punchy Reservoir Dogs-esque dialogue, which has been a running theme for some time. But Tarantino falters in Death Proof, leaving us with long dry patches between senseless violence and explosions. Everything's there, but in the wrong quantities and without the right actors to pull it off, meaning the Grindhouse B-Movie Planet Terror stole the show.
1. Jack (1996) Francis Ford Coppola
I came across this one by accident as I surfed IMDB. The director of The Godfather and its sequels, The Conversation and Apocalypse Now also directed a mediocre-at-best film about Robin Williams aging backwards? This was a shock. I always thought the skeleton in the Coppola closet was Sofia.