Duke & The Movies

Film Criticism


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Written by: Sam Fragoso on October 28, 2011

October 28, 2011 | 20 comments | Featured, Old Format

Alexander Payne vs. Jason Reitman

Note: For those who care… I’m well aware of the less than frequent posts occurring lately. School, unfortunately, has taken a lot of time. While it’s easy, it’s also equally draining in its lackluster education.

Fore some reassurance, here’s what’s coming up within the next few days:

Puss In Boots Review
Anonymous Review
Punch Drunk Love Review
The 80s – List your Ten Favorites

I admit that after numerous Battle of Directors the themed hit post gets a tad… monotonous. That’s why, from time to time, I take a break from it and when posting, serve up unique, relatively equal directors.

This week the selections are quite similar. Both have made only 4-5 films. Both have a new picture being released within the next three months. And both have directed a film that claimed a spot on my Favorite Films of the 2000s list.

As always, leave your thoughts in the comment section below. Have a good Friday everyone…

4 Examples From Alexander Payne:

Alexander Payne's deeply hilarious and touching, "Sideways"



About Schmidt

The Descendents


A film that needs no introduction. Jason Reitman's "Juno"

4 Example Films From: Jason Reitman


Up In The Air

Thank You For Smoking

Young Adult

Now it’s your turn to foster discussion. Places which director your prefer below.

Thank you for reading.


There are 20 comments for this post.

  1. Brian Roan on October 28, 2011 8:35 am

    Got to go with Payne on this one. I loved Thank You For Smoking, but everything else Reitman has done since – Juno and Up In The Air – has been cloying, overly saccharine and just plain grating to me. Granted, I haven’t seen Young Adult, but even if it is as great as Smoking, it will still take a lot for Reitman to reach the plane Payne has hit.

    About Schmidt and Sideways are mature, resonant, and deeply effecting. I’ve watched each film a number of times without their power being diminished. Again, I have no seen The Descendants, but even if it tanks, Payne’s oeuvre would still support his esteem in my mind.

  2. Duke on October 28, 2011 8:48 am

    I love Up In The Air – So I’m always interested in those who have such animosity towards the picture.

    What you described Juno and Up In The Air as is exactly what I’d say about About Schmidt.

    Thanks for reading.

  3. Eric on October 28, 2011 8:48 am

    I have really enjoyed everything from Jason Reitman so far, although I haven’t seen Young Adult yet. Based on what I have seen from the two directors, my vote goes to Reitman, but I am also a big fan of the underrated Election.

  4. Duke on October 28, 2011 9:41 am

    What did you think of “Sideways”

  5. Steven Flores on October 28, 2011 1:59 pm

    The only film of Reitman’s I haven’t seen is “Thank You for Smoking”. I’ve seen everything else he’s done and I like what he’s doing. Yet, I’m leaning towards Payne because there’s more of an identity to his work where if you take it by frame. You know who it is.

    It’s really an unfair pairing you put when really, it should’ve been Jason Reitman vs. Rian Johnson who are both currently feuding with each other at the moment. That’s more interesting even though Johnson has only made 2 films so far.

  6. Duke on October 28, 2011 2:09 pm

    I’m aware of the pseudo feud Steven. Johnson has made two films. One of which is brilliant the other dribble. All three of Reitman’s films can be considered great. The matchup would be unfair on multiple proportions.

    Little advice, though. Johnson should stop concocting fake arguments, and just write. He’s interesting and shouldn’t waste his potential talent.

  7. NeverTooEarlyMP on October 28, 2011 3:31 pm

    This is a tough battle! I enjoyed Sideways and adore Sandra Oh. I loved Election too, but wasn’t as impressed by About Schmidt. On the Reitman side I’d say that I liked Up In The Air and Thank You For smoking more than Juno, although it was cute too. I’m also hearing great things about both The Descendants and Young Adult, although I haven’t seen either yet.

    I think I’m going to go with Reitman for my vote. But that could easily shift over the course of the next few months as their new films come out.

    As an aside, don’t beat yourself up over post frequency (or let others beat you up). You post a great deal, and do quality posts when you do. Life is always going to throw more obstacles in the way, so just keep writing whenever you can.

  8. Duke on October 28, 2011 4:11 pm

    Thanks for the sage advice.

  9. Andrew Buckle on October 28, 2011 4:38 pm

    Well, I actually haven’t seen About Schmidt (or The Descendents) so my decision to pick Payne rests solely on Sideways and Election. The latter was ‘okay’ I guess. The former is one of my favourite films. I love it. As for Reitman, his films have been improving each time – with Up in the Air he created a film that will forever resonate with me. I have never had any desire to revisit Juno, though I did enjoy it. I’m going to go Payne, because the buzz surrounding The Descendents gives the impression it is one of 2011′s big films – and may pick up some Oscar noms.

    But this is tough to pick. Both are talented directors, with plenty more ahead of them.

  10. Duke on October 28, 2011 7:56 pm

    Thanks for reading Andy.

  11. Tyler on October 28, 2011 9:37 pm

    Such a tough choice, but I have to go with Payne.

  12. Duke on October 28, 2011 10:13 pm

    You and seemingly everyone else.

  13. James Ward on October 28, 2011 10:36 pm

    Tough. Both directors have hit home runs with all their films. But I’d go with Reitman because … well I just flipped a coin.

    (May I suggest your next battle of the directors: Billy Wilder vs. John Ford.)

  14. Duke on October 28, 2011 10:40 pm

    Good thing I’ve seen next to zero of either filmography. ;)

  15. James Ward on October 29, 2011 8:29 am

    Go forth and watch. You will have hours of great movie watching. Trust me:

    John Ford
    The Searchers (1956) (masterpiece, a must see for anyone who says they are a film fan)
    The Grapes of Wrath (1941) (masterpiece, a must see for anyone who says they are a film fan)
    Stagecoach (1939) (masterpiece, a must see for anyone who says they are a film fan)
    Mister Roberts (1955) (masterpiece, a must see for anyone who says they are a film fan)
    The Quiet Man (1952) (masterpiece, a must see for anyone who says they are a film fan)
    My Darling Clementine (1946)
    Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)
    The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
    She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949)
    How Green Was My Valley (1941)

    Billy Wilder
    Sunset Blvd. (1950)(masterpiece, a must see for anyone who says they are a film fan)
    The Apartment (1960)(masterpiece, a must see for anyone who says they are a film fan)
    Double Indemnity (1944) (masterpiece, a must see for anyone who says they are a film fan)
    Stalag 17 (1953) (masterpiece, a must see for anyone who says they are a film fan)
    Witness for the Prosecution (1957)(masterpiece, a must see for anyone who says they are a film fan)
    Some Like It Hot (1959)
    The Fortune Cookie (1966)
    The Lost Weekend (1945)
    Ace in the Hole (1951)
    One, Two, Three (1961)

  16. Duke on October 29, 2011 12:23 pm

    Haha. That’s certainly a lot of film viewing.

    Thanks Ward.

  17. Kevyn Knox on October 29, 2011 10:14 pm

    I have yet to see a Jason Reitman film that I thoroughly enjoyed, but Sideways is one of my favourite films of the last decade, and About Schmidt and Election each have a quality of some sort. So in other words, I’ll take Payne.

  18. Duke on October 30, 2011 1:16 am

    That’s a shame that you haven’t found value in Reitman.

  19. Alex on November 1, 2011 9:38 am

    Funny how their most popular films (Juno, Sideways) are the ones I like the least. I love Up in the Air and Thank You for Smoking, but honestly, Payne’s segment from Paris, Je T’Aime is enough to merit him a winner here.

    Another great match up.

  20. Duke on November 1, 2011 11:08 am

    I love Sideways, not crazy with Juno – still a good film, though

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