by Noel Murray
Before the Transformers films, before Armageddon, before Bad Boys, Michael Bay was once a director of flashy music videos. But even the first of those videos, an “edgy” clip for Donny Osmond, contains the seed of his future style.
Spike Lee hasn’t made that many videos. But those he has made reveal a lot about his career, and the ways he’s refused to let himself be pigeonholed by others’ concerns and expectations.
What started as a hobby for the director—one born of his success with The Godfather—became a thriving business, and perhaps a metaphor for his filmmaking style.
The prolific musician has a comparatively slight directorial resumé, made up of ragtag, fascinating films that are more personally revealing than work made by directors with way more knowhow.
Cameron Crowe's rock-journalism career heavily informs his film work, and both navigate a fine line between sincerity and sappiness. His lead characters mimic his early life either literally or metaphorically, but at least he knows it.