Let Them Fight! Penny Marshall vs. Sofia Coppola

Welcome to “Let Them Fight!”, where we pit two directors with similar backgrounds against one another and let YOU, the commenters decide on who reigns supreme! For an overview of past fights and what’s coming up, click here .

What to Consider

Obviously, which director do you think is better than the other? But what film of theirs proves your point. Remember, it isn’t so much about which film made the most money or was a critical darling, but in your mind which director is better than the other in terms of style, risk, scope, etc.

How I Tally the Votes

I look at the comments posted (only first comments, no replies) to see who they picked. I don’t count comments that don’t give a clear answer on who they chose. If you want your comment to count make sure it is not a reply to someone else’s comment and has a clear definite winner.

Now on to today’s fighters, another pairing of actresses-turned-directors: Penny Marshall and Sofia Coppola.


Penny Marshall

Date of Birth: October 15, 1943 (age 74)

First Directorial Feature: Jumpin’ Jack Flash (1986)

Latest Directorial Feature: Riding in Cars with Boys (2001)


Sofia Coppola

Date of Birth: May 14, 1971 (age 46)

First Directorial Feature: The Virgin Suicides (1999)

Latest Directorial Feature: The Beguiled (2017)


Alright, FIGHT!

  • Sailor Monsoon

    Yes but it also refers to my mother

  • Ricky Rat and the Loan Sharks

    Finally someone is asking the important questions!

  • Sailor Monsoon

    Ooooooo

  • Poppity 🎀

    Which one? 😛

  • Sailor Monsoon

    Cage but Sean Connery has the best piece in the business

  • Poppity 🎀

    Is Big Al referring to Danny Devito?

  • Poppity 🎀

    Who has more chilled wigs: Cage or Travolta? 😉

  • Sailor Monsoon

    Touche

  • His knife is a metaphor. You’re spot on.

  • Ricky Rat and the Loan Sharks

    Yeah because I’m partying with Satan, and that’s just how we roll

  • Sailor Monsoon

    In my dreams, you’re on fire.
    Constantly.

  • Ricky Rat and the Loan Sharks

    Only in your dreams

  • Ricky Rat and the Loan Sharks

    You get nothing

  • Sailor Monsoon

    I get paid for both

  • Ricky Rat and the Loan Sharks

    I appreciate that video.

    Also, Ricky Rat has a dirty mind, and was thinking something completely different when you mentioned him being paid for stabbing…

  • That’s what he wants you to believe. He gets coins after every stab.

    https://youtu.be/Hkdrau0EzYQ

  • I know nothing, and yet I still know more than you.

  • Sailor Monsoon

    I wanna grilled cheese

  • TheDeadFellow

    Dude. you need to be a writer on this site. YA JUST GOTTA.

  • Ricky Rat and the Loan Sharks

    You got a pocket-full of lint and a half eaten grilled cheese

  • Sailor Monsoon

    You know

  • Sailor Monsoon

    I gots some sheckels

  • Ricky Rat and the Loan Sharks

    The sewer of cheese is full of fun diseases

  • Ricky Rat and the Loan Sharks

    What money? Sailor ain’t got no coins.

  • Good. Someone needs to give him a run for his money.

  • Can I put this up as an article under Zak1? Pretty please?

  • That’s what I came here to say.

  • Oh I’ve seen it. Many times.

    I know no big Al.

  • Sailor Monsoon

    I know you’ve never seen it.
    You just like it because Big Al is in it

  • Sailor Monsoon

    Ricky Rat: The Claptrap King

  • I can’t believe you insulted Renaissance Man. What kind of blaspheme are you?!

  • Ricky Rat and the Loan Sharks

    Like a case of herpes, I’m here to stay

  • Sailor Monsoon

    God knows I’ve tried

  • Ricky Rat and the Loan Sharks

    Ricky Rat will be around as long as Sailor is. He can’t get rid of me.

  • Kemosabe 🦇

    100%.

  • Ricky Rat and the Loan Sharks

    Not even kinda

  • Good luck finding another catcher on Blow Hole Isle. I garotted the last ob who tried.

  • Sailor Monsoon

    Very true

  • Kemosabe 🦇

    Ricky Rat is a fad.

  • We can’t all be the best doctor on Blow Hole Isle. Or the only. I garotted the last fool who tried to practice on my turf.

  • Ricky Rat and the Loan Sharks

    I don’t know, but it sure as shit isn’t gonna be me

  • No I was telling Loan Shark to stop teasing Sailor haha

  • Yeah but who is going to be sitting with their face at the entrance to the cave of wonders with a catchers mit in a few short weeks?

  • Ricky Rat and the Loan Sharks

    Sorry man. Big Al and I go way back though.

  • Poppity 🎀

    I believe that this is the 4th fight in the series thus far and I, too, was shocked to see how short the filmographies of all the women are, whether they are well-known or obscure. In fact, I harassed Duke to get Barbra Streisand on the list because I think she is a very talented director. Turns out that she only directed 3 films. All 3 were outstanding, however, which is probably why I have the impression that she had a much fuller body of work.

  • Ricky Rat and the Loan Sharks

    At least I’m cool

  • Poppity 🎀

    Sailor would never vote against his original vote. In my opinion, he’s not the loan shark. 😉

  • Poppity 🎀

    Zak, you see that I am not the only one to appreciate the attention and brilliance you put into your posts. Your knowlege is beyond measure. It would be a pleasure to have you write amongst us but there is no pressure. 😀

  • Tanis11

    Gonna have to go with Penny on this one just A League of Their Own.

  • That hurts

  • Sailor Monsoon

    Chop it up
    Use the first paragraph as your vote and the rest as your article

  • zak1

    Maybe stage fright? Plus, since this pairing of directors wasn’t my idea I figured I’d support this thread instead. Thanks

  • Sailor Monsoon

    Why isn’t this an article?

  • zak1

    If you’re pairing Penny Marshall with Sofia Coppola as equivalent figures, it doesn’t seem to make sense. Or I should say, it’s harder to bring them together without opening up a much wider conversation.

    INDIE VS HOLLYWOOD
    Coppola has cultivated a career making indie type films designed to attract arthouse crowds, whereas Marshall has aimed straight at the mainstream center of Hollywood.

    Personally, I prefer Coppola because she has chosen such a path, though I think all her films remain touching but minor works (compared to someone like Campion).

    So my pick for your contest is definitely Sofia Coppola.

    However, I somehow feel more inclined to write about Marshall, despite her more conventional vision. What surprises me is that when I look at both of their filmographies, I’m struck by how few films each has made.

    LAVERNE, RICHIE, AND MEATHEAD
    When I consider Marshall, I think of the generation she springs from – an actor who made it in 70s sitcoms who went on to become a successful mainstream Hollywood director. The equivalents that come to my mind are Rob Reiner and Ron Howard.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/738ce70990aa14ee761de2d0714896eb27fab0db4cd1df39c83d3f60c6636e8a.jpg

    All three of these directors seem to have absorbed some Leave It to Beaver vision of life from their early TV work, and then implemented this perspective in their subsequent filmmaking – as directors, I think of them as acolytes of the feel-good Spielberg model that flourished in the 80s. (It’s telling that Marshall and Howard were two of the earliest to unlock the potential in Tom Hanks, who would later work closely with Spielberg)

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2c931f0e701bdcc7e593dcfcb50b4b630a4268e1b1c0a11997af4df3f34c7506.jpg

    However, despite the fact that her films quickly proved successful, it’s striking how much shorter her filmography is compared to that of Howard or Reiner. The quality of her work and her box office success was comparable to theirs, so it strikes me that she got fewer opportunities probably because she was a woman.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7072d726372f7181d894e4b57c19a6434f64830ce0086512ec6695b6bb7f393a.jpg

    But let me move back to this comparison with Coppola. Their divergent paths bring to mind a major shift that happened in US culture and cinema.

    FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA AND THE NEW WAVES – CINEMA AND LIFE
    As we know, the name Coppola is still mainly identified with Sofia’s father. He was part of an international modernist film movement that spread from France to Germany to Italy, from Japan to Cuba to Senegal and Brazil. These “New Waves” incorporated the widespread dissent and upheavals of the times, ranging from the counterculture to the revolutionary climate in the Third World.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ced776a8b8955a812a76752394037c51367ee88b7b98414ea057a05ed454171e.jpg

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bedecc6f062471ba28b7b70991cb7a44957b53c0c7876e2fcdd21cc80a18ad21.jpg

    THE AMERICAN NEW WAVE
    In the United States, Francis Ford Coppola was the leader and den mother of his generation, which included figures like Martin Scorsese, Robert Altman, Stanley Kubrick, and Jonathan Demme.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d8caa6b808cba0835c289eafc335eef9ee92513cde43fd3571584415dfb2641c.png

    The filmmakers of this generation felt that cinema should be connected to life, and that it should embrace its role as an art form and as a force for social change.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8800b7ef5c059b0b9919a6246ff7370a5778c1914945e58dd582ae29a958a2a5.jpg

    SPIELBERG AND 80s ESCAPIST ENTERTAINMENT
    However, as the 80s approached, the establishment reasserted itself in various ways, and the social climate increasingly retreated into conservatism. Instead of the rebellious youth of the counterculture, the entertainment industry cultivated a new, more “innocent” (meaning safely apolitical?) adolescent who would become the primary target of this newly aggressive consumer culture.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0ef0c805e21b579b24fdacff23647307322676d80e33b25fbe0937102804d4de.jpg

    George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg may biologically have shared a generation with Coppola and Scorsese, but politically and artistically they were of a new breed, who would usher in the commercial escapism of the 80s, even as the older and more political tradition rapidly declined.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/94b3fb1a8f433f4b706bcb26fd0fd0e729f3918d22f02c1d272abcc4afb48f17.jpg

    LAVERNE, RICHIE, AND MEATHEAD FOLLOW SPIELBERG
    So in the wake of Lucas and Spielberg, you have figures like Ron Howard, Rob Reiner, and Penny Marshall rise to prominence in the 80s, along with James Cameron, Robert Zemeckis, John Hughes, and Alan Parker, with their feel-good brand of entertainment, even as Coppola, Scorsese, and Altman found themselves flailing to find a foothold in this new environment.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a8fad7f9247053649f9742bfdcd3be55a89a76d47cd687d6cbd9c23a361705c9.jpg

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0c896c151bfa3fa5d45cbcf7a5d4e52b13f48328b22a29d8f2a6beeea2998ee7.jpg

    THE 90s REVIVAL OF THE NEW WAVE SPIRIT
    The exploratory cultural filmmaking of the modernists retreated to the fringes of the industry, and found a new foothold in the independent cinema that would flourish in the 90s, as a stagnating Hollywood looked to festivals like Sundance for fresh blood to replace their already fossilizing Stallones and Schwarzeneggers.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6af35fe7f2ef1a847408baea6a7828a7629e14414cfc2183afa5719e76e967ad.jpg

    It is telling that the 90s commenced with boldly experimental comebacks from the three modernist giants – Goodfellas, The Player, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The decade saw a renaissance of culturally challenging filmmakers and movements, who sought to emulate the cinematic relevance of the 60s and 70s, from the Black New Wave, spearheaded by Spike Lee, to New Queer Cinema with Gus Van Sant, to feminists like Jane Campion, the absurdism of Jim Jarmusch, the surreal David Lynch, and ultimately a new escapist pastiche ushered in by Quentin Tarantino.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/23d6bc52c7ee0facf890ebef97683450a50a00d59866f2b2223b6caf99d53d85.jpg

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/929cb69bb25f2e06169e270f0e7bd5f926318896a1a8e3bb7bb9a984bfa655ce.jpg

    In effect, one might say Titanic brought the 90s to a close – and in its wake Hollywood retreated again into commercial spectacle, franchises, and endless remakes.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f06b55db57944e5114af7e9d16f9b94c9ceffa591a314d3834e2deee666f830e.jpg

    PENNY OF THE 80s / SOFIA OF THE 90s
    So, if Penny Marshall sought inspiration from her Hollywood establishment peers of the 80s, Sofia Coppola modeled herself on the 90s indie movement, and in doing so sought to revive the spirit of her father’s generation, and its subversive engagement with art and life.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b947c1b18e5535a5690dde11411b493052d22e47b9ae49740017aefb9075ee9b.jpg

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/353cb3b23310d555ba39297903925d52a19fe3b688ca11e7baa5fedaf29d413f.jpg

    Penny Marshall represents the commercial 80s, and Sofia Coppola represents a continuation of the 90s indie tradition.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CF7-rz9nIn4

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NeLwtuDkbyU

  • Sailor Monsoon

    Sailor knows everybody

  • Sailor Monsoon

    #true

  • Ricky Rat and the Loan Sharks

    Sailor’s mom is my bff

  • Ricky Rat and the Loan Sharks

    Takes one to know one, ya filthy slut

  • Who is teasing? That’s the gods honest truth.

  • Okay that’s enough teasing Sailor

  • Penny Marshall.

    I cannot in good conscience vote for the woman who directed Marie Antoinette and The Bling Ring without a gun against her head.

  • Ricky Rat and the Loan Sharks

    You better not. I’ll get Big Al on your ass if you try

  • Wait do you guys know each other?

  • Sailor Monsoon

    I won’t deny these allegations

  • Sailor Monsoon

    Ricky Rat, you ain’t nothing but a hoe

  • Ricky Rat and the Loan Sharks

    Penny gets my vote. Big, A League of Their Own…2 of my favorites. Mostly because Tom Hanks, but nevermind that. Also, she was in Hocus Pocus, and thats a win in my book.

    Also, because whatever Sailor votes for, it is my job to vote for the opposite because it annoys him and that’s where my happiness in life comes from.

  • Ricky Rat and the Loan Sharks

    You’re only a fan of Coppola because she’s related to Cage and that glorious wig collection.

  • Ricky Rat and the Loan Sharks

    Heard my name, who’s talking shit?

  • William Dhalgren

    Oh.

  • Sailor Monsoon

    You are the only person on Earth that thinks loggia is the selling point of big

  • Sailor Monsoon

    I haven’t seen it in forever but i don’t remember being particularly fond of it

  • Poppity 🎀

    Not one Coppola film? Duke, you disappoint me. 🙁

  • Poppity 🎀

    Riding in Cars … was not great, yes, but Drew was on fire in her comeback phase. It’s forgivable.

    And don’t forget that Big was great not because of Hanks but because of Robert Loggia!!

  • Poppity 🎀

    I beg to differ about The Preacher’s Wife. It’s very well acted and deeply sentimental. To be honest, you cannot remark Whitney’s substance abuse problems in her performance. There is a great message to this film and, for once, is a suiting remake.

  • Poppity 🎀

    Hell, yes! MUTINY party!!!

  • Poppity 🎀
  • The Beguiled remake looks good tho.

  • Sailor Monsoon

    You rascal

  • Sailor Monsoon

    This ain’t that kind of fight!

  • Sailor Monsoon

    Y’all just love big and haven’t seen the rest of her garbage.
    MUTINY!

  • Kemosabe 🦇
  • Have you seen Big?

  • Kemosabe 🦇
  • Kemosabe 🦇

    MUTINY!!!

  • Kemosabe 🦇
  • Kemosabe 🦇

    It’s one of my all time favorites as well. I really love that movie.

  • Kemosabe 🦇

    Penny Marshall.

  • William Dhalgren

    Coppola’s wrists are weak. Penny Marshall punches sides of frozen beef for fun.

  • William Dhalgren

    MUTINY

  • If Ricky Loan Shark pops up any minute now y’all getting in trouble!

  • Definitely not Sailor Monsoon

    Coppola duh

  • Sailor Monsoon

    New Duke has never seen a Coppola film i take it?

  • Sailor Monsoon

    Yeah but it’s not great because of her.
    It’s great because of hanks.
    She has 3 solid films, 3 forgettable films and 1 really, really terrible fucking movie.
    Her filmography is all over the place.

  • Sailor Monsoon

    Please elaborate what precisely the etc is in regards to.
    Riding in cars with boys is garbage
    Jumping Jack flash is forgettable
    Renaissance man is meh
    The preacher’s wife is a big budget lifetime film
    Awakenings is the only other good film she has.
    Y’all dead to me

  • It’s gotta be Penny Marshall. Big, League of Their Own, etc. I’ve never been a big fan of Sophia.

    Sorry @sailormonsoon:disqus

    MUTINY

  • Instead it’s the other way around. Never underestimate how awesome Big is!

  • Sailor Monsoon

    I thought coppola was going to win this fight by a landslide

  • Joe Newman

    Love me some Near Dark.

  • Joe Newman

    I like both, but I’m going with Penny Marshall.

  • Sailor Monsoon

    Near dark is her best film

  • Poppity 🎀

    Haven’t seen Near Dark and I’ve seen Point Break dozens of times. Still no Bigelow.

  • Sailor Monsoon

    Go watch near dark and point break!

  • Poppity 🎀

    I won’t vote Bigelow myself. That’s really one of the pitfalls of this series that goes beyond personal taste/preference: Not being equally familiar with all directors’ work.

  • Sailor Monsoon

    There’s no way bigelow will lose.
    She’s far too famous and like you said, not enough people have seen the other directors work

  • Poppity 🎀

    You’ve been calling Bigelow since before this thing began. I guess Campion does not stand a chance because not many Exiles have seen her films. 🙁

  • Poppity 🎀

    I tend to agree with you. I think someone like Nora Ephron would be more in her league.

  • Poppity 🎀

    I have seen the majority of both of these ladies’ work and I respect them both.
    Coppola’s films are out-of-the-ordinary and showcase rather unique stories. Though I recognise these qualities, I cannot say that they make a fan of her work. Her movies are a tad too mellow and I think she has received too much overacclaim.
    Marshall’s films are obviously more big budget, name brand studio type deals but they also are movies with a lot of heart, some which teach life lessons.

    My vote goes to Penny Marshall.

  • William Dhalgren

    Well, I seem to excel at disappointing you. Why fix what ain’t broken?

  • Sailor Monsoon

    If Marshall wins, I’m blaming you

  • fight 👍

  • William Dhalgren

    Gonna be honest – I think this is a huge mismatch. These two directors oeuvres are as different as they come, and their experience levels aren’t comparable.

    Playing the cards dealt, though, I give it to Marshall for the volume of above par (and sometimes brilliant) work she has produced. But with a caveat: I think Lost in Translation is objectively better art than any film of Penny Marshall’s I’ve ever seen.

  • DryButSoupy

    Penny Marshall. She’s directed at least a couple classics like Big and League of Their Own. Coppola isn’t quite there yet.

  • Sailor Monsoon

    Coppola
    Two reasons:
    1. She’s amazing
    2. She’s the only one that can take down the bigelow

  • Penny Marshall for directing the best Tom Hanks film

    BIG

  • King Alvarez
  • Vincent Kane

    Penny Marshall- A League of Their Own is one of my all time favorites.