With the release of Rush and the high praise it has received, there’s been a recent uptick in Ron Howard think pieces. Here are two recent examples: LINK
Look, it’s cool to bag on Ron Howard. He is a technician and a “studio director”. He does make middlebrow films for suburban dads. But I AM a suburban dad, so he’s pretty much right in my wheelhouse. And while it’s pretty rare for someone to say Ron Howard is their favorite director, I rarely see someone say he’s terrible.
Look at his filmography: LINK
That’s a solid list of singles and doubles. One of our big gripes with Hollywood is the blockbuster culture in which everyone swings for the fences but usually strikes out, then we turn around and criticize the guy who keeps turning out quality entertainments.
But what I like best about Ron Howard is this: the guy can tell a story. So many guys working today are so adept with deconstruction and symbolism and all that. But they can’t do something as simple as tell a friggin’ story. It’s such a basic, foundational skill that even some great directors lack (I love David Lynch, but that guy couldn’t tell a coherent story if his life depended on it). And at the end of the day, film is just another method of storytelling.
He is not re-inventing the wheel, he’s just one of the guys who realizes the wheel is a great f’n invention. And if you look at our highways, no one else has come up with a better wheel just yet.
Sure, he's not an "artist". He's a professional. It's probably why many of his best films deal with professional competency: The Paper, Apollo 13, Gung Ho, Backdraft, even Cinderella Man. The world needs artists... it needs professionals, too. We need stories to deconstruct.