It is my firm belief that a person only has so many good stories in them. That number may differ for people, but it’s still true that once that person has reached his or her limit, it’s just downhill from there. It doesn’t mean that a career in film is over. It just means that they need to scoot aside and produce or play some other role in support of some fresh blood.

It’s part of the circle of life…or the circle of filmmaking. Once you’ve told your stories, assume the mentor role to help others tell their stories.

Here are three directors that I have absolutely loved in the past, but recently their movies have been stuck in a rut.

Tim Burton

I used to absolutely adore a Tim Burton film, but after Big Fish, his movies just haven’t been what they used to be. It seems like he is just going through the motions with his films instead of really stretching himself.

Since he has said that the story of Big Fish was a lot like his own relationship with his father, he obviously poured a lot of emotion into this project, which is one of the reasons it is so touching.

As a writer and director myself, I know that one of the main reasons I tell stories is to work through some of my own issues and try to make sense of the world. So part of me wonders if this was the story Tim Burton needed to tell. It was brilliant, meaningful, and cathartic, and maybe that’s where he should have stopped. Of course, this is purely speculative.

M Night Shyamalan

This man wrote and directed some truly amazing films, particularly Unbreakable and Signs, in my opinion. I love stories that make some sense out of a seemingly chaotic world, and these two definitely did that. His films were so meaningly and poetic, and then came Lady in the Water.

I don’t know what happened, but instead of just a downward spiral, he plummeted to the bottom and has stayed there ever since.The minute the characters were reading signs from the backs of cereal boxes, I knew Shyamalan was in trouble. And sadly, he hasn’t been able to recover.

It’s hard to figure out what happened, so I stick to my opinion that a person only has so many stories in them until they’re just done. Maybe he feels like there is still another one there, and he has to get through several bad movies to find it. I hope he finds it soon because I doubt funding will continue supporting flops.

Steven Spielberg

I know there is some controversy about whether he will ever “lose it,” but just hear me out. With as many movies as this man has made, he is bound to have some flops along the way. Overall, his work has been monumentally influential to the cinematic experience.

However, lately his films haven’t been what they used to be. Granted, I will say that I have not seen War Horse, and I’ve heard that it’s a decent film. But when I saw the trailer, I wasn’t very inclined to go see it because I kind of feel like “been there, done that” when it comes to Spielberg.

I think at this point, Steven Spielberg has probably done everything he’s going to do that will be hugely impacting. I could be wrong, but I think he is in a position where he can do more good in producing and passing on knowledge and experience to younger directors. He obviously does a lot of that already, but Hollywood needs all the help they can get these days. Their directors just aren’t what they used to be, and we need a cinematic legend to lead us through the fog of bad films.

What other directors should stop directing? 

Rachel M Taylor

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Rachel is a writer/director. She loves character driven movies and really good cheese.

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