I'm sure every moviegoer has had the experience of being let down by one of their favorite filmmakers, but how many times has a director or writer you dismissed as a hack totally surprised you? Can you recall ever seeing a good movie by someone you thought was a bad filmmaker?
The first film like this that comes to mind for me is Red Dragon, directed by Brett Ratner. I haven't liked a Ratner movie prior to this or since it, but Red Dragon was incredibly well-done. I know this is probably sacrilege, but I liked it a lot better than the previous adaptation of that novel, Michael Mann's Manhunter. Not only was it more faithful to the book (save for the expansion of Hannibal Lector's role), but it felt more intense, the film was paced better, and as much as it pains me to say this - it was more visually interesting.
Yeah, I can't believe I actually gave Ratner a "win" over Mann, either - especially since Collateral is one of my favorite movies and Heat was pretty cool too.
So how about you? When have your favorite whipping boys impressed you?