Every film lover has his or her pet filmmakers, ones they absolutely adore and don't quite understand why the rest of the world doesn't embrace. (Ours was David Gordon Green for a long time, until David Gordon Green started making movies in which Danny McBride wore a minotaur's penis as a necklace.) Usually these are independent filmmakers, like Green; usually someone doing big studio movies is adored enough, or at least wealthy enough that giving them the "underrated and underappreciated" designation feels unnecessary. But for the last five years, ours has been Matt Reeves.
Why has Reeves become one of our plucky faves? We think it's probably because of the contrast with J.J. Abrams. Reeves has been best pals with Abrams since they were adolescents; it's very likely one or more of the cherubic young filmmakers of "Super 8" is based directly on Reeves. But Abrams' career, thanks to television, took off faster, so there has been a perception that Reeves was somehow Abrams' protege, or his little buddy, like he's Roger Avary to Quentin Tarantino, or Nick Swardson to Adam Sandler. This ignores all evidence that points to the fact that Matt Reeves is a far more accomplished filmmaker than J.J. Abrams. We liked "Star Trek" and "Mission: Impossible 3" as much as anybody -- we had our issues with "Super 8" -- but they don't have the freakish, almost wunderkind talent behind the camera that "Cloverfield" and "Let Me In" do. Abrams made great pains to show off his Spielberg chops in "Super 8," but "Let Me In" effortlessly both channels Spielberg and breaks off into new territory on its own. (It's all the more impressive that it's a remake -- and we believe an improvement upon -- a beloved film in its own right.) If anybody's the next Spielberg, it's Reeves.
Let's show off the best scene of "Let Me In," once more:
This is a much-heralded scene -- Matt Zoller Seitz had a terrific breakdown of it at Salon, and Reeves himself broke it down for The New York Times -- but watching it again, it's really amazing how it manages to combine genuine terror with humor and nostalgia in a way that Spielberg could do, and, frankly, in a way Abrams has yet to show he can. We just root for the guy, that's what we're saying.
Thus, we were ecstatic to see this weekend that Reeves will be directing "The Twilight Zone" for Warner Bros., a project that once had big names like Michael Bay, Christopher Nolan and even Abrams himself attached to. Reeves is a dead solid perfect choice, and after he lost out on "Man of Steel" to Zack Snyder -- Zack Snyder! -- we're downright giddy to see him get his chance. In 20 years, we bet people will be asking Abrams, "Hey, didn't you used to be childhood buddies with Matt Reeves?"