5 titles, 66th in points with 12,669
John Cassavetes was a so-so actor, best known as Mia Farrow's husband in Rosemary's Baby, who would rather have been behind the camera, so he picked one up and improvised a few films. The only problem with his improvised films is they look like higher class home movies, with friends like Peter Falk and Ben Gazzara hanging out with Cassavetes himself, all in front of the camera. They look like a would-be rat pack just hanging out and having fun (basically bulling about women), they don’t look and feel like real movies, with a point or even a style. His better films don’t look improvised, like A Woman Under the Influence and Minnie and Moscowitz, but some may like the easy-going nonchalant style of Faces, Shadows, Husbands, Killing of a Chinese Bookie. For me they seem a little effortless and half-baked.
These are all the films of American director John Cassavetes that made the top 1000 in our 2011 update of the Top Ranked 1000 Films on the Net, all polls.
1. Woman Under the Influence, A (1974) #177
2. Faces (1968) #434
3. Shadows (1959) #451
4. Killing of a Chinese Bookie, The (1976) #552
5. Love Streams (1984) #808
Out of the top 1000
6. Opening Night (1977) #1077
7. Husbands (1970) #1223
For me, his most engaging film is missing, Minnie and Moscowitz, starring Seymour Cassel and Cassavetes wife (and often star) Gena Rowlands as two people no one seems to want who find each other in a romance of misfits, she being a museum curator, while he is a parking lot attendant.
A Woman Under the Influence is easily the best acted of these, garnering Gena Rowlands a best actress nomination, but like many other films about alcoholics (Days of Wine and Roses, Leaving Las Vegas) it’s just a major drag to sit through as an audience. It’s hard to make a film about this into something really unique, the whole genre needs the literal shot in the arm that Darren Aronofsky gave addiction in Requiem For a Dream (2000).
See the full list of top ranked 100 directors here: Top Ranked 100 Directors, 2011 Edition