I was talking with a friend the other day. Well, actually I was talking at him. Railing, really, against the injustice of auteur theory.
A large part of my argument is that normal people don’t really care about what a director does. People care about characters (which is at least 50% the writer’s doing) and story (which is entirely the writer’s purview). The average viewer recognizes actors and has favorite genres (which is another way of saying story-types), but they can’t tell one director’s work from another’s.
My friend, who’s not in the industry, disagreed. He said, “What about the guy who made Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind? And Being John Malkovich? And what was that other movie? Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. I don’t know anything about movies, and I can tell who made those.”
Check and mate.