Spielberg. Scorsese. Tarantino. Lord and Miller?
Time will tell if Lord and Miller will find themselves on the Mount Rushmore of "Greatest Directors" of all-time... but for right now, they have absolutely earned their place among today's very best filmmakers. Lord and Miller have amassed a resume of the very best reviewed films since their 2009 directorial debut with "Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs."
The RottenTomatoes (RT) scores for Lord and Miller's four films are among the highest scores of any major filmmakers in the past few years.
This isn't about determining the GOAT (aka, "greatest of all-time"), but which directors boast the best body of recent work.
To compare apples to apples, the RT scores of the last four films from several renowned directors will be averaged out and compared side-by-side. And just for fun, their lifetime career RT average score will also be noted.
Woody Allen - 68 percent recent avg / 75 percent career average: Not even the stellar combination of "Blue Jasmine" and " Midnight in Paris" can offset the horrific recent RT scores for "To Rome with Love" and "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger."
Steven Spielberg - 80 percent recent avg / 78 percent career avg : Not even the great director of "Schindler's List" and "Jurassic Park" has a first four-film RT average score that compares to Lord and Miller -- due largely to the 32-percent score for "1941," which ended a brilliant string of well-reviewed successes of "The Sugarland Express," "Jaws" and "Close Encounters." Spielberg's RT average score for his first four films eerily matches the average score for his four most recent films ("Lincoln," "War Horse," "The Adventures of Tin Tin" and " Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull"): 80 percent. Spielberg's total career defines the height of film making, but his current work is surpassed by many new directors.
Quentin Tarantino - 82 percent recent avg / 86 percent career avg: This master screenwriter-director can point to "Death Proof" as the fly in the ointment of his past four films (includes "Django Unchained," "Inglourious Basterds" and "Kill Bill: Vol.2"). The 67-percent for "Death Proof" took down Tarantino's 'last four film average' down to a still respectable 82 percent.
Danny Boyle - 82.5 percent recent avg / 72 percent career avg: "127 Hours" and "Slumdog Millionaire" elevated Boyle to elite levels as a filmmaker - but more genre-specific films "Sunshine" and "Trance" were not as universally beloved.
Martin Scorsese - 83 percent recent avg / 82 percent career avg: Despite having three of his last four films nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award ("Wolf of Wall Street," "Hugo" and "The Departed"), Scorsese still is not at the top of this list (thanks "Shutter Island"). Scorsese's last four films pretty much reflect the critics' take of his body of work - which includes iconic works, such as "Taxi Driver" and "Raging Bull."
David O. Russell - 85 percent recent avg / 87 percent career avg: Russell is in the rarefied air of film making -- all three of his most recent films were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar ("American Hustle," "Silver Linings Playbook" and "The Fighter").
David Fincher - 86 percent recent avg / 77 percent career average: Were it not for "Benjamin Button," Fincher would have one of the very highest RT avg scores for his most recent movies, which include "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," "Social Network" and "Zodiac." It's interesting to note Fincher's overrall average score increasing as his career progresses.
Christopher Nolan - 86 percent recent avg / 86 percent career avg: Despite directing arguably the greatest comic book film of all time, one of the great sequels in film history ("The Dark Knight") and raking in record box office hauls ("Inception"), not even Nolan has better RT scores than Lord and Miller.
Phil Lord and Christopher Miller -- 88 percent recent avg / 88 percent career avg: The fact that Lord and Miller's lowest-scoring movie ("22 Jump Street") is still in the discussion of "funniest movie sequels ever" says everything about their body of work. This creative duo has succeeded in injecting fresh, new energy into timeless properties -- they added heart and warmth to "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" (87 percent), spun the long dead "21 Jump Street" franchise into an insanely funny comedy (85 percent) and made "The Lego Movie" one of the great animated films of all time (96 percent).
It's worth noting Lord and Miller are not at the top of this mountain - the Coen Brothers and Alexander Payne enjoy higher recent RT scores. "Inside Llewyn Davis" and "True Grit" help push the Coen Brothers recent RT average score above 90 percent. Meanwhile, "Nebraska," "The Descendants" and "Sideways" earned Payne a 91 percent recent RT average score.
Lord and Miller may not have earned their place in the GOAT hall of fame - but their RT scores point to a career that throws them into the discussion for best filmmakers working today.