I was perusing the trades (that’s slang for entertainment industry trade papers) recently in an effort to live vicariously through the people who actually do what I just imagine doing for a living, and I came across an article by Peter Bart (former Editor-in-Chief at Variety) regarding The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart and his foray into the world of film directing (the dickishly titled “Memo to Jon Stewart: Stick with Your Day Job Behind the Desk”).
You can read the article if you like, but the general idea is that Peter Bart spends 600 words essentially just shitting on Stewart’s desire to sit in the director’s chair. How does Peter Bart justify his Debbie Dickhead attitude toward Jon Stewart’s project? Well, Bart points out, Bob Dyaln was a celebrity who directed a movie…and it was bad! Not convinced? Well, Bart says, Madonna was a celebrity who directed a movie…and it was also bad!
So just to recap: because Bob Dylan made a bad movie in 1978, no one should try to direct a movie ever again. Got it. And obviously this has everything to do with the fact that Dylan and Madonna were already established stars that tried to transition into directing, and nothing to do with the fact that they were just bad directors (the Dylan film’s final cut clocked in at OVER four hours long, but yeah, I’m sure it was only a flop because he was a celebrity trying to direct). Double got it.
Bart goes on to reference successful directors (Clooney, Sean Penn, Scorsese, Oliver Stone, Elia Kazan, and Francis Coppola) who didn’t release their best work until later on in their directorial careers, and whose first projects either weren’t well-received or just weren’t that good. Basically Bart’s message is if you haven’t already done something, you shouldn’t do it.