Sunday, April 06, 2008

Jon Avnet vs. Jon Amiel: Who kicks more ass?

I always get these two confused. But they do have a lot in common: both mega-directors, both named Jon without an 'h', and on reflecting on their fruitful careers I think both would agree that the go-go 90s were their favorite decade. Nice for directors trying to be auteurs, still confused about peoples' budget fetish, but hey! It's all good.

But back to our Who Kicks More Ass question. As you can see from the picture, they are indeed Hollywood high rollers. Avnet is pictured hanging out with... Quentin Tarantino, right? And Amiel is pictured on the set of Entrapment, which you might remember was that Breach dude's favorite movie. As much as I hate to say it, these two titans are about equally matched. Even though Avnet is much more prolific as a producer, as directors they're about the same. Although I don't think Amiel made as big an impression on the cultural landscape as did Avnet with Fried Green Tomatoes. Anyone that can make unripe tomatoes hip has got that touch of Hollywood magic, no question. On the other hand, Avnet had a hand in that Inspector Gadget movie. Need more be said? Indeed, what is China to make of Jon Avnet? On the one hand, he knows how to produce an audience pleaser like that Sky Captain crap. On the other, we got Red Corner, which was all well and good in the 90s. There were probably a lot of people who wanted to see Richard Gere disappear into a Chinese labor camp, but now that China's so close to recalling all those loans, not so good.

Now, to the Amiel side. I'll confess, I saw F. Green 'maters all those years ago. Don't remember much about it, except Kathy Bates in a Saran-Wrap evening gown. Oh crap, it's all coming back to me now. Better move on. I think that's the only Avnet-directed thing I saw. Seen commercials for the others, though! As for Amiel, I've seen Sommersby, another Gere flic! Oh, that fight between Bill Pullman and Richard Gere, is that not on some fly-by-night magazines' all time movie fight lists? I also saw The Man Who Knew Too Little, during a time when Bill Murray was testing his die-hard fans. Haven't seen all of Copycat yet, but that was the time, you know. Post-Hannibal times, when movie serial killers were all the rage. You will believe Harry Connick Jr. is a creepy serial killer! Must be doing something right! Still, with a film like Copycat, never mind who's in the thing, it's all about the film stock. Much like with a Peter Hyams film. Could've released in IMAX if they really wanted.

So in summation, Your Honor, even after all that I still see these two as evenly matched. So, I'll go with the underdog here (check out their Wikipedia entries and tell me who's the underdog!) and say Jon Amiel kicks more ass. But I will say that Avnet's got something big on the horizon: another movie with Pacino and De Niro, still enjoying the retirement ends of their careers. Oh, when are Scorsese and De Niro going to get back together? And when is Pacino going to get back together with... Coppola? Harold Becker? Roger Donaldson? Michael Mann? Too many choices. Too many Auteurs to keep clear in our heads, but we'll try to sort all that out together.

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