Also that none of your "top 5" directors appear in your top 25 movies. Do you judge directors on criteria besides their output?
Yes. I hate the belief that the best movie is the best directed movie, as if the two are one and the same. I’ve seen plenty of great directors who filmed bad scripts or great actors and crew working for a bad director. You can argue that the poorly structured Full Metal Jacket with the aimless middle is Kubrick’s fault, but the direction of the individual scenes and sequences is consistently captivating.
Takeshi Kitano’s films up through Zatoichi are some of my favorites in terms of direction, but the overall films vary wildly in quality.
Casablanca is Michael Curtiz’s best film, but Captain Blood and The Adv. of Robin Hood are better directed.
James Cameron is my favorite director working today. While his scripts have grown increasingly problematic, and he does bear some responsibility for that, but the way he chooses to film those scripts are jaw dropping.
And 3 Teal puts him in a very small group. I don’t have the stats but I think Wilder, Kubrick and maybe Spielberg have the most number of Essentials.