Some directors, I think, do come by their "Film By" credit honestly. Not that the picture is truly "A Film By" them, as if there weren't five other major creative collaborators (writer, editor, producer, actors, composer), but that they are the head of a creative team and they bring a style
to the movie that is identifiably theirs. For example, I think it's safe to say that a Michael Bay film really is A Michael Bay Film. He does things with action that most other directors don't know how to do.
For another example... uh, actually, one doesn't come to mind. Er, John Waters.
How about this handy test to see if someone deserves "A Film By." Show ten civilians the new film with the credits blacked out. Then show, in random order, the director's choice of his own films (sequels not allowed), and one other picture from the previous few years in the same genre and budget class. Let someone pick it who has an incentive to pick it well - give him a thousand bucks if the civilians guess wrong. Allow them a third choice, which is "Haven't a clue."
If no more than four members of the audience guess wrong, or guess "Haven't a clue," then the director gets his "Film By." If not, not.
I guarantee you Michael Bay will get his credit every time. Martin Scorsese, almost certainly. (Remember, it's his choice of his own previous film.) John Waters, Woody Allen, David Fincher, Philippe Jeunet, Sam Raimi, they'll all get their "Film By" credits. But all those journeyman Hollywood directors with way too much ego and not enough art ... not so much.
The Film By credit is demeaning to EVERYONE who works on the movie. Michael Bay cannot, all by himself, do what he does. He directs others to carry out his style. And that's the only credit he should get, Directed By. It's a film made by everyone involved in the project.
A director's style comes through not because it's a Film By that person, but because that's how they tend to direct things, for which they already get the appropriate credit.
So yes, in short I agree entirely with Josh Olson.
i think christopher nolan deserves his film by credits (although that could be because he also writes and produces most of his films)
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