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Ranking 12 Films from the School of J.J. Abrams

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | April 16, 2012 |

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | April 16, 2012 |

Over the weekend, critical favorite — and the best horror movie in years — Cabin in the Woods arrived with mixed results at the box office. It’s $14.9 million pales in comparison to the opening weekends of most teen-driven, cash-in horror flicks, but then again, $15 million is a good start for a film that has been on the shelf for a few years, as long-delayed films typically do not do well at the box office. The terrible Cinemascore of a “C,” is also in keeping with mainstream audiences’ distaste for films that either subvert the formula or do not provide what is being advertised (see also, the “D” for Drive and the “D+” for Haywire). Clearly, the film could not give audiences what was advertised because to advertise the reality of Cabin in the Woods is to give the movie away.

The film comes from Drew Goddard, who is technically a protege of Joss Whedon. However, I also like to put him in the J.J. Abrams camp, simply because he wrote a movie directed by a Abrams’ protege (Cloverfield), as well as many episodes of “Alias” and “Lost.” Plus, it better allows me to seque into this week’s list: Ranking 12 Films from the School of Abrams. J.J. Abrams is one of the most prolific people working in film and television because he surrounds himself with a lot of talent, which he cultivates and then hires on feature projects. Several of them have made quite the names for themselves in Hollywood, like Damon Lindelof, who wrote Prometheus. All these guys below were writers at some point on “Felicity,” “Alias,” or “Lost” or some combination of the three.

12. Cowboys and Aliens, written Roberto Orci/Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof (D-)

10. and 11. Transformers and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, written by Roberto Orci/Alex Kurtzman (D)

9. TRON: Legacy, written by Adam Horowitz (C-)

8. The Island, written Roberto Orci/Alex Kurtzman (C-)

7. Super 8, written and directed by J.J. Abrams (B-)

6. Mission Impossible III, directed by J.J. Abrams (B)

5. Cloverfield, written by Drew Goddard, directed by Matt Reeves (B+)

4. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, written by Andre Nemic (B+)

3. Let Me In, written and directed by Matt Reeves (A-)

2. Star Trek, directed by J.J. Abrams, written Roberto Orci/Alex Kurtzman (A-)

1. Cabin in the Woods, written and directed by Drew Goddard (A)

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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