Top Ten Ron Howard Directed Movies

With the release of the excellent Rush this week, time to re-evaluate the career of Ron Howard as a director. Please note, it’s my opinion and so I am sure these won’t be everyone’s choice. If it’s not, let me know.

10. The Paper

Ron Howard’s ensemble piece maybe slightly flawed but it’s still good fun to see Michael Keaton and Glenn Close battling it out to get a front page story that could turn the fortunes around. Plenty to enjoy here, none more than the strong cast of top notch actors in the kind of film they don’t make anymore.

9. The Grinch

Howard’s vision of Dr Seuss’s classic Christmas story is pretty spot on with the characterisation and Jim Carrey makes for a delightfully naughty Grinch. It never hit the same magical Christmas spot that some movies do (It’s A Wonderful Life still wins that for me) but it’s not bad for a gathering of small family likes over the festive season.

8. Cinderella Man

Russell Crowe once again is directed by Howard in another biopic, this time about depression time boxer James Braddock, who became a huge inspiration to others during the 1930s when his career was over and he made a massive comeback. With Renee Zelwegger, this was nicely done if a little heavy on the sentiment in places.

7. Backdraft

A huge hit in the 90s, this tale of sibling rivalry while fighting fires included some incredible special effects but did suffer from being overlong and having a slightly contrived mystery thriller thrown in. Still the first class cast, led by Kurt Russell and William Baldwin (whatever happened to him?) kept this movie going.

6. Cocoon

Proof that not all science fiction had to be for kids, this tale of aging folk who find a new lease for life while swimming in a pool filled with strange cocoons was not only a huge surprise but an utter joy and delight and made stars of the like of Don Ameche and Jessica Tandy all over again. The sequel didn’t have that same magical feeling about it.

5. EdTV

Hugely underrated (thanks to The Truman Show) this slice of comic satire had Matthew McConaughey as the unlikely star of a reality TV show that followed his life and his loves. At a time when Big Brother was huge and reality television was just making it big, this was somewhat spooky considering what was to come but still a delight with a terrific supporting cast.

4. Frost/Nixon

With first rate performances from Frank Langella and Michael Sheen and a cracking script from Rush writer Peter Morgan, this is an intriguing and fascinating look at a piece of television history.

3. Splash

Howard’s first big budget feature is a delightful romantic comedy with Tom Hanks as a lonely man who finds love in Daryl Hannah but she’s a mermaid. Loads of big laughs and a very sweet heart plus John Candy on terrific comic form.

2. Parenthood

For all it’s schmaltz and sickly sweet attitude to family life, this is still a delicious ensemble piece with a great comic turn from Steve Martin. It is very disjointed but it makes me smile every time I see it so that’s good enough for me.

1. Apollo 13

Proof that in the hands of a skilled director and with a perfect cast, even something that we all know the outcome of can still be gripping and tense. Howard’s crowning glory is this excellent telling of the events of the doomed space mission.

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