Directors: Spike Jonze

1382049397000-GTY-184261820-59117702BIOGRAPHY (from Wikipedia)

Spike Jonze is an American director, producer, screenwriter and actor, whose work includes music videos, commercials, film and television. He started his feature film directing career with Being John Malkovich (1999) and Adaptation (2002), both written by Charlie Kaufman, and then started movies with screenplays of his own with Where the Wild Things Are (2009) and Her (2013).

Jonze is well known for his music video collaborations with Fatboy Slim, Weezer, Beastie Boys, and Björk. He was a co-creator and executive producer of MTV’s Jackass.

He has been nominated for four Academy Awards: Best Director for Being John Malkovich, and Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay and Best Original Song (“The Moon Song”) for Her. He won the Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay, the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay, and the 2014 Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Her.


1999 – Being John Malkovich
2002 – Adaptation
2009 – Where the Wild Things Are
2013 – Her

Do The Right Thing 1989 The rising temperatures on the hottest day also raises racial tensions as the film descends from feel-good comedy to a tragic and brutal crescendo. A Spike Lee masterpiece. 4.5 Gordon
Crooklyn 1994 Spike Lee's semi-autobiographical family drama is a stunningly presented look at 70s Brooklyn and the people that inhabit it. Though the story doesn't hit as hard as you might hope. 3.5 Gordon
Summer of Sam 1999 Click to see our detailed review. 3.5 Gordon
Being John Malkovich 1999 A wonderful script from Charlie Kaufman is amazingly brought to life by Jonze. Turning the surreal into a surprisingly real film. 4.5 Gordon
Adaptation 2002 The lines of film making and reality are blurred again in another excellent Kaufman's screenplay. Jonze does an amazing job of crafting the normally skinny, hyperactive Nicolas Cage into a depressive, overweight introvert. 4 Gordon
Inside Man 2006 Even when you know the brilliant twist ending this is still a great heist thriller which shines most when Owen and Washington share scenes. Only the odd subplot involving Jodie Foster's character brings it down a little. 4 Mat
Inside Man 2006 An interesting twist, but just a little too generic. 3.5 Gordon
Where the Wild Things Are 2009 A beautiful film that is true to the books darker themes. WTWTA could easily swap monsters on an island for colleagues at a team building retreat and work just as well in the 'real' world. 4 Gordon
Her 2013 Despite its 'artiness' making it less accessible, once you start to believe in the relationship between Theodore and Samantha the film shines, as does Joaquin Phoenix. A beautiful dystopian/utopian dream. 5 Gordon
Her 2013 Unique, funny, sad, disturbing and almost certainly prescient, but the film is marred by being overlong and becomes a little tedious. 3.5 Mat
Chi-Raq 2016 Powerful stuff. Some amazing monologues tear the American gun lobby and street gang culture to shreds. 4 Gordon
BlackKKlansman 2018 As funny as it is powerful, as thrilling as it is harrowing, Spike Lee's film delivers an incredibly strong message in the most entertaining way possible, with an ending that is both shocking and necessary. A film the whole world should see. 5 Mat
BlackKklansman 2018 Despite its wewighty subject matter Spike Lee has crafted an engaging film that works as both history and entertainment. 4 Gordon

The Verdict – 4.2 Stars

Working with superb scripts (either his own or from the excellent Charlie Kaufman) is a good start, but it is what Jonze does with these works that impresses. The strange worlds he realises are so close to home, but twisted in strange directions. I am always excited to hear that Spike Jonze has a new project but unfortunately, since the wonderful HER all has been quiet on the directorial front as he continues writing and producing for his Jackass franchise.


This page will be updated as we watch more Spike Jonze films and therefore his overall rating will change over time. You can see where Spike sits on in the Directors League here.


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