151 Great Directors: Mike Nichols

“I’ve never understood that aspect of DVDs, where you suddenly put back the things you took out that could go. Why ruin your movie? With material that you’ve taken out? I never get that. I don’t have that impulse… To put them back seems very unpleasant to me. And pointless. It’s like when you’ve written something, when you cut a paragraph, doesn’t it seem dead to you? Doesn’t it look like something you’d never want to include, because the point is, it could go? You’ll never see anything in my pictures, the stuff that came out, stays out.”

What Got This Director Here?
: The Graduate and Virginia Woolf, mostly.

My Favorite Past Experience Was…: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

What Did I Watch: Silkwood.

Where Does He Fit: Silkwood is the sort of film you wish they would make more of. Yes, it’s middlebrow and safe, but Mike Nichols is very good at making boring white people problems feel so epic, and having the weight of nuclear anxiety looming over the heads of the people in the story is very real seeming. We get to see our three stars in Streep, Cher, and Russell right away, and they all feel like real individuals slamming their way through life at a nuclear plant. My minor complaints are rooted in the vein of having Streep sing too many times, but otherwise, this is genuinely enjoyable toughness in the right Hollywood vein.


Most Valuable Asset: Humanism and a sense of character space.
Most Excited For: Carnal Knowledge.
Did They Deserve a Spot?: Yes.

Coming Up Next: Spielberg protogee Robert Zemeckis.


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