11. Mark Pellington
Best Music Videos: “Shut ‘Em Down”, Public Enemy (1992); “Jeremy”, Pearl Jam (1992); “One”, U2 (1992)
Best Movies: Arlington Road (1999), The Mothman Prophecies (2002)
Released to moderate success in 1999, Arlington Road established its director, Mark Pellington, as a filmmaker to watch. A domestic tale about a college professor (Jeff Bridges) who thinks his new neighbors (Tim Robbins and Joan Cusack) are evildoing terrorists, Pellington’s taut and paranoid thriller still packs a mean punch today, ripping along at a nervy, Hitchcockian pace on its way to a ballsy, unhappy ending. Three years later, Pellington recaptured a decent amount of Arlington Road’s pervasive mood for The Mothman Prophecies, a dreary white-knuckler that posited the director as a promising craftsman of psychological unease.
Nine years have passed since Mothman, though, and Pellington has yet to nurture his potential any further, losing cred with forgettable crud like the Luke Wilson-led Henry Poole Is Here. A quick revisit to his 1992 video for Pearl Jam’s downbeat “Jeremy” should remind you of just how proficient Pellington is with desolate narrative; the video’s climactic shot, that of its title character blowing his brains out before a classroom full of mime-like seat-fillers, is no less devastating today.