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Rob Reiner; Rate His Films as Director

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Rob Reiner has had a varied, long, and extremely successful career. Born to comedy legend Carl Reiner, initially known for his television successes as a writer and sometimes performer on Sid Caesar's groundbreaking variety shows in the 1950s and early '60s then as the creator and co-star of "The Dick Van Dyke Show" before turning to the movies with the likes of Where's Poppa?, Oh, God!, The Jerk, All of Me, and Summer School. Rob followed a similar path, starting as a writer on "The Smothers Brothers" show then he became a sitcom star as Archie Bunker's son-in-law Mike "Meathead" Stivic on the megahit and mega-award-winner "All in the Family". Instead of staying on the acting track Rob turned to producing and then directing. He had one of the greatest beginnings to a career one could have with This is Spın̈al Tap, The Sure Thing, Stand by Me, The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally..., Misery, and A Few Good Men all released in succession between 1984 and 1992. His directorial output couldn't keep up that pace, quality wise, but he continued to make films and the Production Studio he co-founded, Castle Rock, is responsible for a slew of hits including City Slickers, "Seinfeld", The Shawshank Redemption, Waiting for Guffman, Michael Clayton, and many others.

Reiner has three of his films on the MoFo Top 100 Comedy Films list: When Harry Met Sally... (#85), The Princess Bride (#16), and This is Spın̈al Tap (#13). Misery was #57 on the MoFo Top 100 Horror Films and Stand by Me was #55 on the MoFo Top 100 of the 1980s where Spın̈al Tap (#33) and Princess Bride (#27) also placed.

Despite all of that directorial success and a slew of beloved titles, we haven't had a thread devoted to Rob Reiner. Until now.

Go ahead and rate his flicks and tell us why you love them!
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I wonder if he doesn’t get talked about with other “auteurs” that often because there are a lot of bigger names attached to his directorial efforts. King adaptations, Ephron, Guest, Sorkin. He’s pretty consistently over shadowed. I like most of his stuff, but haven’t put him with my other favorites. I should rethink that.

Also want to give a shout out to his characters in Wolf Of Wall Street and Bye Bye Love. Enjoy him in both of those. The latter is a movie I never hear talked about and should rewatch. Probably should have for the comedy list. I saw it a few times in my teens and quite enjoyed the character dynamics and energy.
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1) Spinal Tap
2) Princess Bride
3) Stand By Me
4) When Harry Met Sally
5) Misery
6) A Few Good Men


I think these are the only one's I've seen. All are great, with the exclusion of A Few Good Men. And even as dumb and predictable that movie is, it's at least entertaining.



I wonder if he doesn’t get talked about with other “auteurs” that often because there are a lot of bigger names attached to his directorial efforts. King adaptations, Ephron, Guest, Sorkin. He’s pretty consistently over shadowed. I like most of his stuff, but haven’t put him with my other favorites. I should rethink that.

Also want to give a shout out to his characters in Wolf Of Wall Street and Bye Bye Love. Enjoy him in both of those. The latter is a movie I never hear talked about and should rewatch. Probably should have for the comedy list. I saw it a few times in my teens and quite enjoyed the character dynamics and energy.

I think it is mostly that he doesn't really have a distinct style of filmmaking. He tailor's his approach to each project in order to highlight the material, or the actors he employs. I always forget that he's made all of these good movies, because I don't even associate them with eachother.



Also, he's a very lighthearted director, for the most part. And you've got to have made skills (Spielberg, Capra) to get serious artistic consideration when you are making films meant to appeal to the masses.


In some ways though, we need more directors like Reiner, proving to contrarian cranks like me that catering to general sentiments isn't always a bad thing. Not all great art needs to be exclusionary and catering to the individual. You can make it under the big tent too.



I'll go. Grading them all, in order of release...

This Is Spın̈al Tap
GRADE: A+
The Sure Thing
GRADE: B+
Stand By Me
GRADE: A
The Princess Bride
GRADE: A+
When Harry Met Sally...
GRADE: A
Misery
GRADE: A-
A Few Good Men
GRADE: B+
North
GRADE: F
The American President
GRADE: B
Ghosts of Mississippi
GRADE: B-
The Story of Us
GRADE: D
Alex & Emma
GRADE: F
Rumor Has It...
GRADE: C+
The Bucket List
GRADE: C-
Flipped
GRADE: C+
The Magic of Belle Isle
GRADE: C-
And So It Goes
GRADE: C-
Being Charlie
GRADE: C-
Shock and Awe
GRADE: D




What can you say? The man was unbeatable in the 80s, and going into the 90s. He really seemed to have a knack to transmit true earnest interactions, but then proved he could do serious. There are a bunch I haven't seen, and a couple I haven't seen in a good while, but I don't think there's been a single one I disliked. Even something like The Bucket List has that earnestness in the midst of its schlocky, manufactured melodrama.

Rough ranking cause, like I said, some of these I haven't seen in ages...

1. When Harry Met Sally - This one I like to revisit often. It's my favorite romcom, I dedicated an episode of my podcast to it. It's great.
2. A Few Good Men - This is peak Hollywood cinema. A clash of star-power with an excellent script delivered magnificently by a director who knows how to juggle all of that.
3. Stand By Me - Probably the first Reiner film I saw (this or Princess Bride), so it has a special place in my heart. A truly melancholic piece on friendship, expectations, and prejudices disguised as a "children" film. Love it.
4. The Princess Bride - This is one of those I saw a lot when I was a kid, but for some reason, haven't revisited in a while. Still, I remember loving it and a lot of its charm and interactions have stuck with me.
5. This Is Spinal Tap - Like I said in the Comedy Countdown, I came to this one late, but really enjoyed how clever and witty it was.
6. Misery - This is one of those I haven't seen in a good while, but that I remember liking a lot. Great performance from Kathy Bates and a bit of an against-type performance from Caan. Should probably revisit it.
7. The American President - Another instance of Reiner latching onto a clever, witty script (by Sorkin again) and some solid performances. Not as successful as A Few Good Men and falls more into sappiness, but still pretty good.
8. The Bucket List - This is probably the weakest, if it weren't for the fact that I barely remember the next two... but I don't think it's awful either. Nicholson and Freeman sell their friendship pretty well, and Reiner raises a sub-par script a few notches.
9. Ghosts of Mississippi - Remember seeing this back in the late 90s, and enjoying Woods slimy performance, but I literally don't remember anything. Reading about the plot right now, I'm thinking I should probably revisit this.
10. The Story of Us - Another one I remember seeing back then, but that I barely remember now. I do remember thinking that Willis and Pfeiffer did good... but maybe I'm wrong? I don't remember anything.

For what it's worth, 2 and 3 are more or less interchangeable.
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Roger Ebert did not care for North.


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I have no idea why Rob Reiner, or anyone else, wanted to make this story into a movie, and close examination of the film itself is no help. North is one of the most unpleasant, contrived, artificial, cloying experiences I've had at the movies. To call it manipulative would be inaccurate; it has an ambition to manipulate, but fails.

The film stars Elijah Wood, who is a wonderful young actor (and if you don't believe me, watch his version of The Adventures of Huck Finn). Here he is stuck in a story that no actor, however wonderful, however young, should be punished with. He plays a kid with inattentive parents, who decides to go into court, free himself of them, and go on a worldwide search for nicer parents.

This idea is deeply flawed. Children do not lightly separate from their parents - and certainly not on the evidence provided here, where the great parental sin is not paying attention to their kid at the dinner table. The parents (Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jason Alexander) have provided little North with what looks like a million-dollar house in a Frank Capra neighborhood, all on dad's salary as a pants inspector. And, yes, I know that is supposed to be a fantasy, but the pants-inspecting jokes are only the first of several truly awful episodes in this film.

North goes into court, where the judge is Alan Arkin, proving without the slightest shadow of a doubt that he should never, ever appear again in public with any material even vaguely inspired by Groucho Marx. North's case hits the headlines, and since he is such an all-star overachiever, offers pour in from would-be parents all over the world, leading to an odyssey that takes him to Texas, Hawaii, Alaska, and elsewhere.

What is the point of the scenes with the auditioning parents? (The victimized actors range from Dan Aykroyd as a Texan to Kathy Bates as an Eskimo). They are all seen as broad, desperate comic caricatures. They are not funny. They are not touching. There is no truth in them. They don't even work as parodies. There is an idiocy here that seems almost intentional, as if the filmmakers plotted to leave anything of interest or entertainment value out of these episodes.

North is followed on his travels by a mysterious character who appears in many guises. He is the Easter bunny, a cowboy, a beach bum, and a Federal Express driver who works in several product plugs. Funny, thinks North; this guy looks familiar. And so he is. All of the manifestations are played by Bruce Willis, who is not funny, or helpful, in any of them.

I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it.

I hold it as an item of faith that Rob Reiner is a gifted filmmaker; among his credits are This Is Spinal Tap, The Sure Thing, The Princess Bride, Stand By Me, When Harry Met Sally..., and Misery. I list those titles as an incantation against this one.

https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/north-1994



Have never gotten the appeal of Stand by Me...have never seen The American President, but I NEVER get tired of re-watching This is Spinal Tap or When Harry Met Sally. I think Spinal Tap is his masterpiece.



A system of cells interlinked
I have seen most of his earlier stuff multiple times, but beyond that, I can't say I kept up with his work. I find the man himself to be fairly abrasive and annoying, but he sure did make some good flicks...

  1. The Princess Bride
  2. This is Spinal Tap
  3. Stand By Me
  4. Misery
  5. When Harry Met Sally
  6. A Few Good Men
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1. Stand by Me

2. The Princess Bride

3. When Harry Met Sally

4. This is Spinal Tap

5. A Few Good Men

6. The Bucket List

7. Rumor Has It . . .

8. The Magic of Belle Isle


I've seen Misery, but it's been so long ago and I'm pretty sure it was edited for television, so I don't feel comfortable rating it.
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1) When Harry Met Sally...
2) The Princess Bride
3) The American President
4) Stand by Me
5) A Few Good Men
6) The Bucket List
7) Misery
8) This Is Spinal Tap

I've seen The Sure Thing, Ghosts of Mississippi, The Story of Us, and Rumor Has It..., but so long ago that I don't really remember them well enough to rank them.

I haven't seen North because I heard how bad it was back when it was released, so I've always avoided it.
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The movies of Reiner that I really REALLY love are

Stand By Me
One of my Top 10 Favorite Movies

The Sure Thing

When Harry Met Sally...

Misery

A Few Good Men

The American President
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I wonder if he doesn’t get talked about with other “auteurs” that often because there are a lot of bigger names attached to his directorial efforts. King adaptations, Ephron, Guest, Sorkin. He’s pretty consistently over shadowed. I like most of his stuff, but haven’t put him with my other favorites. I should rethink that.

Also want to give a shout out to his characters in Wolf Of Wall Street and Bye Bye Love. Enjoy him in both of those. The latter is a movie I never hear talked about and should rewatch. Probably should have for the comedy list. I saw it a few times in my teens and quite enjoyed the character dynamics and energy.
He was one of the few things I liked about The Wolf of Wall Street



Registered User
Wolf of Wall Street is a clear winner for me. Good Will Hunting, Misery and Rumor Has It are the good ones. The other ones I saw for him are "Meh..." including Stand by Me (Unpopular Opinion, I know)



Wolf of Wall Street is a clear winner for me. Good Will Hunting, Misery and Rumor Has It are the good ones. The other ones I saw for him are "Meh..." including Stand by Me (Unpopular Opinion, I know)
Mr. Reiner is only an actor with a couple scenes in Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street. Rob Reiner has nothing to do with Good Will Hunting, other than his company Castle Rock originally bought the script. But they eventually put it into turnaround where Mirimax took it and brought it to life.



Mr. Reiner is only an actor with a couple scenes in Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street. Rob Reiner has nothing to do with Good Will Hunting, other than his company Castle Rock originally bought the script. But they eventually put it into turnaround where Mirimax took it and brought it to life.
I was thinking I have seen Good Will Hunting at least ten times, where the hell was Rob Reiner.



I wonder if he doesn’t get talked about with other “auteurs” that often because there are a lot of bigger names attached to his directorial efforts. King adaptations, Ephron, Guest, Sorkin. He’s pretty consistently over shadowed. I like most of his stuff, but haven’t put him with my other favorites. I should rethink that...
Late reply...My hunch is Reiner doesn't get talked about as much as other directors because of the subject matter of his films. Image an alternative universe where every Reiner film was directed by Scorsese and every Scorsese film was directed by Reiner. I then suspect that in that universe people would be Reiner fanboys and we'd be wondering why more people don't like Scorsese.



Late reply...My hunch is Reiner doesn't get talked about as much as other directors because of the subject matter of his films. Image an alternative universe where every Reiner film was directed by Scorsese and every Scorsese film was directed by Reiner. I then suspect that in that universe people would be Reiner fanboys and we'd be wondering why more people don't like Scorsese.
Not sure I follow what this means exactly. Like, do you think Goodfellas is just loved because it’s Scorsese, not because it’s good. Or are you thinking people just love gangster, or harder edged movies?



Not sure I follow what this means exactly. Like, do you think Goodfellas is just loved because it’s Scorsese, not because it’s good. Or are you thinking people just love gangster, or harder edged movies?
I think people like Scorsese films because: they are good, and he is a good director too (not saying he isn't) and because they really dig the subject matter (gangster/mafia/crime hard edge films are popular). So what I'm saying is: Reiner doesn't get really acclaimed like Scorsese in large part due to the subject matter of Reiner's movies, even though Reiner has proved himself to be a competent director.