Thursday, June 28, 2007

Steven Spielberg

I've been thinking about Spielberg recently, and thought I'd open it up for discussion here. Spielberg is inarguably one of the most accomplished and celebrated directors in the history of film. That's not to say he hasn't done some stinkers. That's also not to say he's on everyone's favorite list -- there are definitely people who, on the whole, aren't fans of his. However, I'd bet most everyone could look at his body of work (I'm talking as a director) and find at least one movie that, if you didn't love, you liked a hell of a lot.

So what's your favorite Spielberg movie and why?
Top five?
Least favorite?
Where does he rank for you in the pantheon of famous directors?


Joe the Troll said...

Wow. There's a lot of his movies that I've never seen. Many I don't want to.

Off the top of my head, I liked "Jaws" and the 1st and 3rd Indy movies the best.

I thought Jurassic Park was a stupid piece of crap. In fact, if you took Yul Brynner out of "Westworld" and replaced him with a velociraptor, you have the same frigging movie. No surprise - same second-rate writer for both.

Don said...

Agreed. I hated the book. Technically it was good story-telling, but ... ah, nemmind.

I'm astounded that Spielberg directed my favorite episode of "The Name of the Game", which I haven't seen since a rerun sometime in 1972. The intrepid magazine writer or whatever he was finds himself in a dystopian L.A. forty-five years in the future, survivors living underground, rusted out cars with skeletons at the wheel littering the ground above ...

"Duel" is also one of my faves. "Jaws". "Raiders", pure fun. Never forget seeing that on opening night. I'd heard of it because I was driving through Richmond, CA one afternoon and saw the Flying Boat out amongst some warehouses, guy gave me a tour and showed me this novel they'd based a movie on and used his airplane.

Teacake said...

Raiders of the Lost Ark, hands down for me. Of course it's not an important movie in the way some of his others are or aimed to be, but it IS executed nearly flawlessly, and in movies as well as books I'm as big a fan (bigger even) of the perfectly done genre piece as I am of Important Art.

Also Saving Private Ryan, Jaws.

E.T. is a very good movie, but I can't help feel it's a weeny bit overrated.

Honestly, I would've been fine with no Jurassic Park movies at all.

An interesting one to me is Hook, because I think that movie had a lot of ingredients that could've made it great - general concept, cast, director - but it sucked. He blew it, and that's not like him.

As for how he fits in the world of directors, I'm not really qualified to say. He's no Tim Burton.

Jeff said...

"He's no Tim Burton."

Tim Burton has done some of my favorite movies of all time. I'm truly envious of the dude's mind. I've probably seen "Nightmare Before Christmas" more times than any movie other than Star Wars. But Jurassic Park was brilliant compared to the piece of shit Burton put out under the name "Planet of the Apes." I was literally angry when that movie ended.

Jeff said...

As far as Spielgberg goes, I'm a big fan. Were I to rank my top-5, they'd probably be:

Raiders of the Lost Ark
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Saving Private Ryan
Catch Me If You Can

I loved the first 4/5 of Minority Report, but I hated the last 1/5.

Unlike 99% of those who saw it, I really liked A.I., except it should have ended 20 minutes earlier than it did.

I think Schindler's List is a powerful, powerful film. One of the more powerful I've ever seen. But my top-5 are movies I can watch multiple times, and SL isn't one I pop in the DVD player annually.

Finally, I love 1941. Love it. It's probably #6. Maybe #5 and Catch Me is #6. Aw, hell, glad I'm not getting graded on this.

Jodie K said...

My fave Spielberg stuff, hands down, is "Pinky and the Brain", "Animaniacs" and “Freakazoid!". Loving cartoons as I do, those three are perfect in every sense and some of the best ever done. I would rank him top in that category.

Given I tend to prefer movies by genre, most of his work I've not seen. I'm not into Sci Fi, action or military flicks (and why I didn’t care for “Casablanca” but that’s a discussion for another forum).

Truth told, of the ‘Bergs I’ve seen, only “Catch me if You Can” is a stand out.

Teacake said...

I've probably seen "Nightmare Before Christmas" more times than any movie other than Star Wars.

Jack Skellington was the first character my daughter could recognize, right around a year and a half, just edging out Elmo and probably a good half year before Mickey. She still loves Jack and likes to walk around singing "This is Halloween" and "since I am dead, I can take off my head..." (She hasn't seen the whole movie, but we have the soundtrack too.)

Does this make us weird?

Agreed on PotA being a PotS.

Miz UV said...

Haven't seen a lot of these, but I love love love Raiders! AI was pretty damn cool too. Good family discussion afterward -- though it can freak out kids a little bit.

O' Tim said...

Indy 1
Close Enc
Catch Me
Color Purple

HM: The Terminal, Duel, 1941. Always is beautiful, and yeah, I'm a sucker for E.T. Wholesome American cinema - that's a lot of what SS is, a latter-day Capra. Harry Ford is James Stewart. You see? Well...

Eden said...

This is so funny b/c I've been thinking about him too. TCM is doing a "Spielberg on Spielberg" thing on July 9. They're showing Close Encounters, The Color Purple, Raiders & SPR plus this documentary.

I hate E.T. so yeah, it's totally overrated.

My faves are Jaws, Indy 1 & 3, and Minority Report (the only Tom Cruise movie I like btw). I also like The Color Purple.

#1 is Jaws though. If I'm flipping around and I see it, I don't even care if there are commercials. I have to watch all the way through. In fact, I watched it on network TV not long ago and my 3 yr old watched too. When the commercials would come on, she'd say "Where did the shark go?" I loved that b/c we hadn't seen any sharks, just dorsal fins. It proves that Jaws just works. Oh and when we did see the shark, she was thrilled. Oh and her first favorite movie character? Gollum.

Joe the Troll said...

I hated Planet of the Apes too, so much that I had banished Burton's connection with it from my mind, but he made up for it with Big Fish.

Teacake said...

I had banished Burton's connection with it from my mind,

Ha! Me too. I am a HUGE Nightmare Before Xmas fan and beyond that I associate Tim with Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow, Big Fish, and Batman. Corpse Bride, fine. But Planet of the Apes and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory I just flat out don't acknowledge.

Oh and her first favorite movie character? Gollum.

Okay you win! Scarier than Jack any day. I got her the old Rankin & Bass cartoon of The Hobbit from the 70's for Christmas but she didn't like it - trolls and Smaug too scary.

Paticus said...

I seem to really like or really hate his movies. I like him as a filmmaker, but i think he's a bit overrated.
Now, Stan Spielberg, there's some talent.(The Muse, anyone ?)

The ones I like:
Raiders Of the Lost Ark
Close Encounters of the Third Kind

I won't go into a tirade about the ones I don't like.

Joe the Troll said...

"trolls and Smaug too scary. '

well, Smaug I could understand.....

a.k.a. Zooomabooma said...

Gotta be Raiders and Jaws and Close Encounters and no one's mentioned Schindler's List?

Spielberg to me is a great storyteller... but he's got no interesting creatively cinematic eye... he just unrolls the story but what really makes you go WHOA? Nothing (for me) but still they're great movies.

Natsthename said...

My favorites

Close Encounters
Saving Private Ryan
Duel (I still watch that one every time I can find it on tv!)

Never seen Schindler's...I'm one of the few.

RC said...

i do like saving private ryan, and schindler's list too.

The Janitor said...

Personally, I've found that nearly every movie Spielberg has had a hand in has been shallow and overbearingly sentimental. That is, quintessential Hollywood.

I'm a bit at a loss why a film club would bother seeking out to hold a discussion of the man's work. Surely enough has already been said about the man?
Eden, here are a few movies with Tom Cruise:
Eyes Wide Shut
Vanilla Sky
Risky Business
Rain Man

Though, perhaps they are already familiar to you? At any rate, I do have particular tastes. Considering that you mention minority report favorably, I imagine that it differs widely from yours.

The Janitor said...

Sorry, It's late and I'm typing somewhat bleary-eyed. I meant to say that those are a few *good* movies with Tom Cruise.

KELSO'S NUTS said...


les eche a el y las otras a la fucking basura, pue'

Looney said...

Janitor's out of his mind. That said, here are, VERY LATE, my five:

Schindler's List
Close Encounters
Saving Private Ryan