By Sam Hensel
On Tuesday, Taylor and Sam argued over which movie director should be the subject of their upcoming podcast series. In the series, they will examine each movie in the filmography of a prominent director. When the dust settled, two men remained: Guillermo del Toro and Denis Villeneuve. Next Tuesday, we’ll be holding a live Twitter vote to determine the winner and subject of the series. Today, we are publishing Taylor’s and Sam’s arguments for why you should vote for their chosen director. You can find Taylor’s here. Down below: Sam on del Toro.
I am a connoisseur of advanced metrics.
The goal of this podcast is to watch every movie of one director (ideally to get hyped about a future project they’re making). We started out by selecting five directors to whittle down. I turned to the number-generating questions:
How many movies have they put out? What do the critics think of those movies? How dead or close to dead are they? Are their posters cool? Is Jake Gyllenhaal in their movies a lot?¹
All things are calculable and have binary value. My algorithms for this project were tedious and all-encompassing, creating an altogether perfect system to choose the perfect candidate: Guillermo del Toro,² master of the dark fairy tale.
His attention to oddity and sense for people as cold and haunted as the house they were living in made “Crimson Peak” feel truly icy and ghoulish.
His wariness of the exhausted usage of monsters and Transformer-sized monsters in movies helped him create a surprisingly original and (don’t hate me for this) actually pretty good “Pacific Rim.”
He makes truly escapist movies, not distracting movies. I don’t know where or when “Shape of Water” is supposed to take place, but it looks like a completely singular sci-fi/horror/romantic(?) experience, and I have full faith in GDT to put me there. I don’t know what kind of neighborhood has Pan’s Labyrinth from “Pan’s Labyrinth” just sitting nearby in the woods, but it is certainly a place I’ve never been and never, ever, ever want to go to.
But I’m not here to tell you why GDT has a better resume of great movies than Denis Villeneuve (for example: Villeneuve has 0.00 movies in which an orphaned demon is the main hope for taking down the Nazis; GDT has at least two).
I’m here, ultimately, to prove that GDT is in every way a better person than Dilly Vineuve.³
Isn’t that what we’re really asking ourselves? Because the question, “Which of these directors should I watch every movie of?” in a world where the writer-director puts so much of himself into the movie is really asking this: “Who do I want to hang out with for hours and hours?”
That question can only truly be answered by running del Toro and Villeneuve through the two most relevant and encapsulating scenarios I’ve come across.
They’re featured below:
¹ In full disclosure, The Gyllenhaal Clause was used officially as a tie-breaker between two directors with equal scores in the original calculations. It was not given its own category.
² Technically. it was Guy Ritchie, but he was immediately eliminated, so here we are.
³And tbh I don’t feel comfortable pitting “The Strain” and “Blade II” against “Arrival” and the trailer for “Bladerunner 2049” in a one-to-one comparison. That just feels like something I won’t win.
You go out to the park after school, and you’re looking to ball. You start shooting around and get picked up to play a 5-on-5 game by three guys. They tell you to pick the fifth. You look over and see GDT and Dilly sitting on the bench hoping to get picked. Who do you take?
This is not a decision to be taken lightly.
I’m in the camp of those who believe you can tell everything you need to know about a man by the way he plays pick-up basketball. Competition can bring out the worst in you, but low-stakes competition that you’re letting get the best of you because it’s more competitive than you thought — now that reveals your true self. It’s the best test of character that technology can measure at the moment, and if it were up to me, this would be the only scenario we study.
In the podcast Taylor and I recorded this week, I decided that if the directors¹ were put into actual basketball positions, GDT would be my center. Taylor said in response that Dillineuve would be his shooting guard to “knock down threes.” Let’s play that out for a second.
We’re talking about backyard streetball here. This is a game in which most of the time there is no three-point line, and if it’s anything like Northdale Park, the double rim is bent all the way to the side.
What kind of selfish basketball are you playing if you’re sitting from beyond the non-existent arc tossing bricks at the side of a deformed hoop?
Let me tell you what kind.
Every possession, Dilly walks across half court and starts calling for the ball. He’s the guy who’s “always open.” He waits on the edge for a shot that 90 percent of the time makes a be-dunk! sound off the back of the rim and shoots out to a defender. Guys like Dilly always follow it up with a completely shocked cry of disappointment like it’s some kind of unheard-of tragedy that it didn’t go in, preceded of course by the unwarranted “AND ONE!” that insinuates he was anywhere near close enough to anyone to make contact.
At 6-foot-1, (probably like) 250 pounds, GDT is putting in the work for your team at center. He’s boxing out when Dilly throws up garbage shots, and he’s arm-wrestling for every single ball that skyrockets off the rim. He doesn’t get thanked. and he doesn’t get glory. He bruises his way to the rim, gets the ball, and bounces back out to the shooter. He comes, he eats, he leaves². Selfless.
¹For posterity: Guy Ritchie (Power Forward), Danny Boyle (Small Forward), Kathryn Bigelow (Point Guard), Darren Aronofsky (Shooting Guard).
²Yes I know that this has an entirely different meaning in the movie. Don’t @ me.*
*RTs are fine.
You wake up in Mexico. You have no idea how you got there. You’re lying face down in the dirt, and a member of the Cartel is pointing a gun at your head. Your hands are tied, and you’ve just been informed that your dad has been kidnapped.
This is the easiest test imaginable. Listen to these real-life GDT quotes:
“I worked for months next to a morgue that I had to go through to get to work. I’ve seen people being shot; I’ve had guns put to my head; I’ve seen people burnt alive, stabbed, decapitated … because Mexico is still a very violent place.”
“I remember the worst experience of my life, even above the kidnapping of my father, was shooting ‘Mimic.'”
Skrrt!! What? Even above the kidnapping of my father! We’re talking about a dude who has so much experience with danger that he thinks making a movie — to be fair I haven’t seen it, so maybe its just the worst — is worse than his father being kidnapped in Mexico! That says as much about his dedication to the craft as it does his potential desensitization to violence.
Do you want someone who made a pretty good movie about Mexico (“Sicario”) or THA DUDE WHO HAD GUNS POINTED AT HIS HEAD IN MEXICO AND SURVIVED.
Let’s stop passing the ball to Dilly.
Let’s follow Guillermo down into del Toro’s Labyrinth.
Let’s please watch both “Hellboys.”
Follow us @fauxworthypod, and check in on Tuesday for the live vote. The winner will be the subject for the podcast series. “Blade Runner 2049” comes out October 6. “The Shape of Water” comes out December 8.