They've got self-help books for just about every disorder you can think of out there, but I can think of one more niche that needs filling, namely, "Why Good Directors Make Bad Films." Chapter One: The Angle.

The Angle is a crutch, a lifesaver for a director to cling to as he enters the sucking whirlpool of formulaic big-budget films. The angle allows the filmmaker to retain his pride, to imagine that somehow his artistic vision and thematic depth remain intact, even as he squanders his insight in favor of pork-barrel special-effects action.

It's easy to spot this dependency at work: Listen to James Cameron explain how "Terminator 2" is a testament to nonviolence, or Danny Boyle digress on how "The Beach" is the portrait of a generation detached from reality. Or if you really need a case study, try George Lucas, who is prone to describing the "Star Wars" series as some kind of ur-myth of all mankind. (Yeah, that and Jar-Jar Binks, all in one film. I bow down to his genius.)