Director and Oscar-winning screenwriter -- via the New York Times. An excellent writer, and a filmmaker who didn't mind trying all the genres, or working with no budget. He wrote standout screenplays, such as the under-rated "Silent Partner" and "White Dog"; he made horror movies, spring-break comedies, even the "Karate Kid" ripoff "The Little Dragons." But he made really good thrillers, such as "The Bedroom Window" and "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle." When he got the chance to make a noir with style, he gave us "L.A. Confidential," which both revels in the style of the period and shatters its conventions at the same time. "Wonder Boys" is another gem, a grown-up stoner comedy. "8 Mile" is compelling, and his last big project, "Too Big to Fail," took a tough complex story and made it understandable.