Friday, May 12, 2006

What's My Beef with Ron Howard, Oscar Winner

So what is my problem with Opie Cunningham? Why would I take the time to abuse such a beloved American filmmaker? Why am I prejudging Tha Da Vinci Code on anything other than theology? Is there something wrong with me? Everybody loves Opie. He makes wonderfully palatable movies for the entire family. They make us laugh, they make us cry. They make us feel good. We forgot about them immediately.

I agree, a Ron Howard movie is like dining at Applebee's, Chili's or TGIFridays. You know what you are going to get. It is according to plan. Sometimes, as in the case with Applebee's Chicken Fingers, you know it will be pleasing (see Splash, Cocoon). Sometimes, as in the case with TGIFriday's Jack Daniel's Grill it is quite pleasing, unquestionably filling and surprisingly delicious based upon the quality of individual ingredients which overshadow the derivative nature of the product (see Backlash and Cinderella Man- each work because of good acting and story but offer nothing to the genre -Backlash is not really like the life of firefighters and Cinderella Man turns a good man into a evil caricature- Max Bauer). Yes, Apollo 13 is like fajitas. Even an inept chef could not screw it up as long as we have burnt meat, cheese, peppers and guac.

More often than not, if looking for true art, you leave full, but not impressed. Oooh, it was exactly what I expected. Mmmm good, I will not remember this in the morning. Many times it is a disappointment, because the ingredients and picture on the menu leave you thinking, "wow how can this be anything other than perfection?" Then you remember, I am at Chili's. And occasionally you leave so disgusted by the lack of care, the predictability and the horrible ending to an otherwise undistinguished meal (Far and Away) that you need to purge immediately.

Ron Howard is a chain restaurant. There is nothing wrong with that. But, while it is palatable and predictable, even pleasantly surprising, you know it is not going to be dangerous, innovative, or awe inspiring.

So, now you know how I feel about Ron Howard. I do not hate Chili's. I do not hate Ron Howard.

top 10 Ron Howard flicks
1. Apollo 13
2. Cocoon
3. Splash
4. Cinderella Man
5. Backdraft
6. Night Shift
7. Willow (hitting bottom)
8. Parenthood (could be on both lists)
9. Grand Theft Auto
10. I am really stretching things and cannot continue

bottom 5 Ron Howard flicks
1. Far and Away
2. Far and Away (so bad it counts as 2 bad movies)
3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
4. Ransom
5. A Beautiful Mind

(coming soon, Rick compares Ron Howard to the band Bon Jovi, the QB Vinny Testeverde and Miller Genuine Draft).


cade said...

great. now i hate ron howard.

i know this wasn't your intention, but i can't help it.

although, he did have a significant hand in a certain short-lived nugget of television brilliance, so i guess i love him.

but far and away WAS horrific.

i'm confused.

Bob Robinson said...

Made me laugh.

Mediocrity is sometimes so...
not delicious.

shakkahop said...

if ron howard is a chain restaurant, he is at least high on the list. there are plenty of movies that are more predicatable, and he is certainly far from insightful, daring, inventive indie films. richard c. at least brings a stronger 'a' game than so many other 'entertaining' directors.
i will say it again, arrested development.
and i am glad to see parenthood on here, but i will say the direction on this film was far from mediocre. there was a great deal of stories, actors, and children that required strong direction. i think he accomplished it here. thought the film was fun and fluffy.
today's blogger word is 'pvheda'

ylmurph said...


Rick said...

people, people, people...

The connection of Ron Howard to Arrested Development is a mute point. This does not change Ron Howard the film director's standing at all.

Just because he does one thing well, does not nec translate to another (Jordan factor in basketball=10/ Jordan factor in baseball=2).

Ronnie has been connected to many fine television programs, so maybe his is better at that. Or, as in the case with AD, he is rich and knows talent when he sees it (production and direction are not synonymous).

Plus, do I forgive Jerry Bruckheimer for The Rock, Armageddon, Bad Boys II and countless more trash because he is connected to CSI? NO

Is Sylvester Stallone the filmmaker and actor off the hook because he gave us Rocky in his 20s and was connected to The Contender? No

The guy that created My Name is Earl also created Yes, Dear.

In other words, I stand by my assessment of Howard's mediocrity as a filmmaker, even if he has been part of some good films and 1 brilliant television show.

Also, I was kind is my assessment of Backdraft (kinder than I should have been) and Parenthood is like an edgy television show (more cursing). It is no more than a mediocre movie with some funny actors.

Howard is high on the chain rest list (chili's, applebee's) but not Steakhouse quality. He is above the fast food directors, IHOP and Waffle House directors, but that is all I will give him.

An Oscar for a mediocre director, while Scorcese and Altman give us fine dining with an occasional misfire for critics to understand the genius but the masses and Oscar voters (who like Chili's) may not have the palate for the food/ films.