The Incredible Career Followed By The Abrupt And Tragic End Of Director Martin Brest

Photo: Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage (Getty)

Brest wrote and directed his first two features, including his debut movie, Hot Tomorrows, in 1977 after filming a short film in 1972, starring Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman. It wasn’t until his last time directing that he wrote again, and Hollywood hasn’t seen hide, nor hair, of Brest since.

Join us as we celebrate four decades of directing Martin Brest’s incredible career, including its abrupt and tragic end in 2003. If you’ve never heard of Gigli, you’re about to find out just how bad of an actress Jennifer Lopez is. The only questions that remain: Where is Brest now? And is he planning on a comeback? Read why this may be the one necessary comeback we’ll never get.

Going in Style (1979)

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

The original Going in Style starred George Burns, Art Carney and Lee Strasberg as a trio of old men who decide to rob a bank. The clever idea, written by Brest, was rebooted by Zach Braff in 2017 with Michael Caine, Alan Arkin and Morgan Freeman.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Actor, 1982)

Brest didn’t direct, but he did play the role of Dr. Miller. We figured we’d give you a different kind of “Brest” with many of our first topless movie experiences: Phoebe Cates.

Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

A classic among classics, Brest directed for the first time without writing the script. But that’s alright, given that he had the funniest man in comedy at the time. The film grossed more than $234 million on a $14 million budget. And it was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Comedy.

Keep it going: 12 Directors Whose Soundtracks Are Always On Point

Midnight Run (1988)

Four years later, Brest’s work was again nominated for a Golden Globe in the category of Best Motion Picture Comedy. The film, starring Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin, chases an accountant on the lam after skipping bail with failed bounty hunters and the FBI on his tail. The movie didn’t score as well in the box office but still made money.

Scent of a Woman (1992)

Photo: Universal Pictures/City Light Pictures

Hoo-ah! Brest hit it big in the ’90s, coming into the directing chair with Al Pacino, who plays a blind prick, who schools Chris O’Donnell, a preppy student who can’t take a punch. Brest got an Academy nod for Best Director and Best Picture, but he managed to get Pacino a statue for Best Actor. And he doubled the studio’s investment in the US alone.

Meet Joe Black (1998)

Although Brest was probably a bit perky after the success, it took him another six years to get a movie in the theaters, albeit with his most star-studded to date: Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins and Claire Forlani. The movie pits Brad as death in a handsome dead man’s body taking a tour of the world with Hopkins’s guidance as the old man bides his time and Pitt bangs his daughter, obviously. The film garnered little respect from the Academy, but it’s one of his best works and one of the best three-hour movies out there, although it fell way short of making back its money in America and had to rely on international sales.

Gigli (2003)

Photo: Columbia Pictures

And then there was the final dagger. Albeit Brest had success in his films, he had started to slip in the box office. But this, this was the Hindenburg of movies, but James Cameron couldn’t help this Titanic from sinking. With a budget of more than $75 million, the box office cleared just over $7 million with Bennifer (Ben Affleck, J-LO)at the helm of a cheesy, unwatchable disaster. The one impressive thing: It became the first feature film to sweep the Razzies with Worst Actor, Worst Actress, Worst Director, Worst Movie and Worst Screenplay.

Brest was devastated, was dropped from his agency and disappeared. Those close to him said he took it pretty hard, but nobody knows where he is today. Many assume New York, where he’s from, but at 66, although his friends would like to think he’ll be back, it’s looking like there’s no saving the Brest for last.