With today’s release (and concurrent critical savaging) of Cat Run, it’s time to once again lament the saga of John Stockwell — an extremely bright, hip and likable guy who started out as an actor in the ’80s (Top Gun) but really found his footing as a director — first with the entirely decent, well-shaped, movingly performed Crazy/Beautiful (’01) and then Blue Crush, one of the best modestly-proportioned surfer movies I’ve ever seen.

But since then Stockwell has fallen into a trap in which the only films he’s been allowed (or been able) to make are callow thrillers and youth-market programmers — Into The Blue, Turistas, Middle of Nowhere, etc. And now Cat Run, which Time Out‘s Nick Schager calls “a third-generation Tarantino rip-off distinguished only by its equal-opportunity nudity.” Knowing Stockwell as I do (which is to say slightly or somewhat), I believe he’s much better than the material he’s managed to work with over the last eight years. Which is really too bad because life is effin’ short, man.