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 Post subject: Steven Spielberg
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2005 5:13 am 
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Steven Spielberg (1946 - )

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"When I grow up, I still want to be a director."

Filmography as Director

Juvenilia
The Last Gun (1959), also screenplay
Fighter Squad (1961), also screenplay
Escape to Nowhere (1961), also screenplay
Firelight (1964), also screenplay
Amblin' (1968), also screenplay

Television
Night Gallery "Pilot Episode: Eyes" (1969)
Marcus Welby M.D. "The Daredevil Gesture" (1970)
Night Gallery "Make Me Laugh" (1971)
The Name of the Game "L.A. 2017" (1971)
The Psychiatrist "Par for the Course" (1971)
The Psychiatrist "The Secret World of Martin Dalton" (1971)
Columbo "Murder by the Book" (1971)
Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law "Eulogy for a Wide Receiver" (1971)
Duel (1971)
Something Evil (1972)
Savage (1973) - unsold pilot
Amazing Stories "The Mission" (1985)
Amazing Stories "Ghost Train" (1985)

Theatrical Features
The Sugarland Express (1974), also story
Jaws (1975)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), also screenplay
1941 (1979)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial (1982)
Twilight Zone: The Movie - segment "Kick the Can" (1983)
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
The Color Purple (1985)
Empire of the Sun (1987)
Always (1989)
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
Hook (1991)
Jurassic Park (1993)
Schindler's List (1993)
The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
Amistad (1997)
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001), also screenplay
Minority Report (2002)
Catch Me If You Can (2002)
The Terminal (2004)
War of the Worlds (2005)
Munich (2005)
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
The Adventures of Tintin (2011)
War Horse (2011)
Lincoln (2012)
Bridge of Spies (2015)
The BFG (2016) [post-production]
The Kidnapping Of Edgardo Mortara (2017) [pre-production]
Ready Player One (2018) [pre-production]
Indiana Jones 5 (2019) [pre-production]

Selected Filmography as Producer
Poltergeist (Tobe Hooper, 1982), also story & screenplay
Gremlins (Joe Dante, 1984), also produced sequel
Back to the Future (Robert Zemeckis, 1985), also produced sequels
The Goonies (Richard Donner, 1985), also story
Young Sherlock Holmes (Barry Levinson, 1985)
An American Tale (Don Bluth, 1986), also produced sequel
*batteries not included (Matthew Robbins, 1987)
Innerspace (Joe Dante, 1987)
The Land Before Time (Don Bluth, 1988)
Who Framed Roger Rabbit (Robert Zemeckis, 1988), also produced subsequent shorts
Joe Versus the Volcano (John Patrick Shanley, 1990)
Cape Fear (Martin Scorsese, 1991)
Men in Black (Barry Sonnenfeld, 1997), also produced sequels
The Mask of Zorro (Martin Campbell, 1998), also produced sequel
Memoirs of a Geisha (Rob Marshall, 2005)
Flags of Our Fathers/Letters From Iwo Jima (Clint Eastwood, 2006)
Transformers (Michael Bay, 2007), also produced sequels
Super 8 (J.J. Abrams, 2011)

Selected Television Series/Miniseries as Producer
Amazing Stories (1985-1987)
Tiny Toon Adventures (1990-1992)
Family Dog (1992)
seaQuest DSV (1993-1996), first two seasons only
Animaniacs (1993-1998)
ER (1994-2009)
Pinky and the Brain (1995-1998)
Freakazoid (1995-1997)
High Incident (1996-1997)
Toonsylvania (1998)
Band of Brothers (2001)
Taken (2002)
Into the West (2005)
Terra Nova (2011-2012 )
The River (2011-2012 )
Smash (2012-2013)
Under the Dome (2013-2014)


Print Resources
Steven Spielberg: A Biography, Second Edition (Joseph McBride, 2011)
Cahiers Du Cinema's Masters of Cinema: Steven Spielberg (Clelia Cohen, 2010)
The Cinema of Steven Spielberg: Empire of Light (Nigel Morris, 2007)
Empire of Dreams: The Science-Fiction and Fantasy Films of Steven Spielberg (Andrew M. Gordon, 2008)
Steven Spielberg and Philosophy: We're Gonna Need a Bigger Book (Dean A. Kowalski, 2010)
Steven Spielberg: Interviews (Lester D. Friedman & Brent Notbohm, editors, 2000)


Web Resources
Senses of Cinema entry by Stephen Rowley
"The Peter Panning of Steven Spielberg" - Harry Sheehan revisits his 1992 film comment essay
Film Reference entry featuring an extensive bibliography and critical career overview by Charles Derry

Forum Discussion
The Armond White Thread
Spielberg Invents New, Better Cinema
Jaws (DVD and Blu-ray release)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (DVD and Blu-ray release)
Indiana Jones Trilogy (DVD and Blu-ray release)
Poltergeist (DVD and Blu-ray release)
Back to the Future Trilogy (DVD and Blu-ray release)
The Goonies (DVD and Blu-ray release)
Jurassic Park (Steven Spielberg, 1993)
Schindler's List (Steven Spielberg, 1993)
Minority Report (Steven Spielberg, 2002)
The Terminal (Steven Spielberg, 2004)
War of the Worlds (Steven Spielberg, 2005)
Munich (Steven Spielberg, 2005)
Indiana Jones and the KOCS (Steven Spielberg, 2008)
Super 8 (J.J. Abrams, 2011)
The Adventures of Tintin (Steven Spielberg, 2011)
War Horse (Steven Spielberg, 2011)
Lincoln (Steven Spielberg, 2012)
Bridge of Spies (Steven Spielberg, 2015)
Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg, 2018)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2005 5:48 am 

Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 6:55 am
Narshty wrote:
cinephrenic wrote:
Who cares what Truffaut thinks. Afterall, he loved Spielberg. :lol:

But he died in 1984. Who didn't love Spielberg at that point?

Seriously? Spielberg has always made money and been popular (which is worse?) and hence has always been hated by a certain section of the critical community. Thank god we don't have anyone as narrow minded as that on this forum!


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2005 1:29 pm 
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We got plenty of that.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2005 1:34 pm 
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Everyone loves a winner.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2005 2:17 pm 
Coppola Killer (give us Napoleon!)
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Thank god we don't have anyone as narrow minded as that on this forum!

:oops:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2005 2:55 pm 
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I never hated Spielberg because he was popular and made money. I hated him because he made shitty movies. I like his more recent stuff, though.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2005 3:06 pm 

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And I hated him because under the terrific technique he's a simple-minded moralist, with easy answers to the most difficult questions. Where great directors (Ozu, Renoir) show us there's no end to cause and motive, Speilburg reduces everything to what we already know, or should know. He's dazzling to watch and empty to think about.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2005 3:57 pm 
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I always feel that Spielberg betrays his films by adding on a tacky, audience friendly ending.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2005 5:44 pm 
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I think he's an absolute master. I think all of us are shooting our mouths off by claiming Scorsese to be the best living director in America or the world. Sometimes I feel Spielberg could've done films like Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas, but could Scorsese have pulled off Close Encounters, Raiders, and E.T.? I think not. Sure they're different, but Spielberg has mastered a wider palette. I think it says a lot that he is by far the most successful director in history, and that he is a studio boss, meanwhile everyone his age, sans Lucas, is struggling to get their work off the ground. Look at Coppola and his project, Megalopolis. I would say by far and wide, he is the most vibrant director to come out of the 70's who's still working today. He has more masterpieces under his belt than any of his contemporaries: Jaws, Close Encounters, Raiders, E.T., Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, and my personal favorites, Last Crusade and Jurassic Park.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2005 6:23 pm 
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If not for the 30+ minute ending of AI, I would say that it is the best film of the decade.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2005 6:31 pm 
Spielberg an 'absolute master'? No argument that he makes great event films and can be quite affecting with a masterful touch from time to time, but to call him an 'absolute master of cinema'. War of the Worlds is a sentimental ridulous yawn after the first 40 minutes. An 'absolute master' did not make Minority Report, or A.I. Much of the rest of his movies are so 'safe' they could have been made by a machine. Instead of pushing to create engaging dense characters he's content to portray one-diemsional stereotypes to service his ultimately fairy tale simple, stories of good and evil. Boring.

And I swear, Enough with the Nazis! We get it, you're a jew, you hate Nazis. Great. We hate Nazis too. Enough. Way to simplify the myriad of extremely complex political machinations into bite size movie format. If you are compaing him to McG, Brett Ratner, Paul W. Anderson, and their ilk, yeah he's an absolute master. But when you place him in the greater pantheon of world directors I think it becomes apparent that while he has a knack for creating crowd pleasing, and heartstring pulling sentimental favorites, and bloated explosion films, the only real contributions he's made to the art of film have been on the business side.

I can rely on Spielberg to make entertaining, decent, popcorn flicks, and movies about the Jewish diaspora. I guess I'll allow him to be an absolute master of that.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2005 7:51 pm 
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I think Minority Report is his best film.

Yes, I'm being serious.

note: I have not seen A.I.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2005 10:21 pm 
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Sometimes I feel Spielberg could've done films like Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas,

What do you mean by "done"? Anybody can do a film, but will they will do it well? There's so much that's personal in these three films, most especially Goodfellas, and so much of Scorsese's sensibility that any argument positing they could have been done better by someone else will be shaky, let alone asserting that Spielberg could have done anything of comparable quality with the material. He's never once done a film with the sensibility of, say, Raging Bull; and certainly few films as complex. Even Spielberg's grittiest movies--Saving Private Ryan and Schindler's List--show a deep warmth and humanism, plus an often naive sentimentality, at their core that would be misplaced in any of films listed. The probability that he would momentarily forget this sensibility and pump out a Raging Bull is doubtful.

As for Goodfellas, Scorsese was perfect for that movie because he so thoroughly understood the allure such a life had on a young boy, not to mention his first hand knowledge of living in lower New York and little Italy. This is even evident in Raging Bull, from Jake's early home life down to the choice of music.

No, I think both are 'auteurs' enough to not be well at home in each other's pictures; nor do I think their respective approaches would appeal to either of them as much as their own.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2005 10:24 pm 
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matt wrote:
I never hated Spielberg because he was popular and made money. I hated him because he made shitty movies. I like his more recent stuff, though.

Ditto! Though I would replace "hate" with something more mild, like "dislike" - though it's probably just because I'm a mild-mannered Canadian. Actually, I don't enjoy the majority of his earlier films, but I'm enjoying the stuff he's been making lately - even War of the Worlds and its ridiculously comforting ending (in fact, most of his movies require me to ignore the last 2 minutes so I can enjoy them more). I'm much more interested in his characters now than I was in his early work, because they seem more human in their flaws. For the record, I think Catch Me If You Can is his best film because it openly embraces everything he has been criticized for focusing on in the past, and in doing so he admits his own flaws and more importantly admits he's also a con-artist. It's his version of Goodfellas.

exte wrote:
I think all of us are shooting our mouths off by claiming Scorsese to be the best living director in America or the world. Sometimes I feel Spielberg could've done films like Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas, but could Scorsese have pulled off Close Encounters, Raiders, and E.T.? I think not. Sure they're different, but Spielberg has mastered a wider palette.

Ok, first off how many of us are claiming Scorsese is the best living director in America? I'd say not very many of us. In fact, I'd say there are a number of us who think Scorsese is washed-up, past-his-prime, sucks, etc. (A great deal of these people probably hate Spielberg as well - because they are both so popular). There are some who would make the "best living..." claim, but you can usually chop this faction down once you reduce the fan-boys who don't really know why they love Scorsese other than the fact that "he's awesome".

Also, why does a wider pallette matter so much? Some directors simply know their strengths and stick to a certain genre or scale of movie. Look at Bresson and Ozu? If we were judging director simply on technical mastery, then maybe we could say a wider pallette is important. However, I bet a great deal of people believe that no matter what type of film Spielberg makes, it's general "safe" in terms of plot, character, and material. It matters some that he can jump to different genres, but it's how he handles himself within that genre and what he does with the material that's really important. In terms of complexity, intelligence, and maturity, has Spielberg conquered a wider pallette? He's still focused on family and still has that strange desire to end his films on a reassuring note. That isn't necessarily a bad thing when the material deems it appropriate (a cynical ending every time would be just as insulting), but repetition isn't exactly a daring strategy. I always find that Spielberg is praised by people who work in the industry and envy his success and still enjoy movies as pure entertainment, but for those that use movies to understand the world around them, he doesn't enjoy the same esteem.

I also cannot understand the idea that Spielberg could make Scorsese movies, but Scorsese couldn't make Spielberg movies. For anyone that understands what a director does, I think it's pretty obvious neither could switch their material very easily, if at all, and if they were to do so, the results of both would be incredibly hollow. The reason both are considered "masters" is because we can see their personal influence within their work - we see the hand of the auteur (and I'm not getting into whether we can only consider someone an auteur if we like their work). There is no way in my mind that Spielberg could ever make something as openly distasteful as Raging Bull. It's fairly easy to see from their body of work that Spielberg could never create a character like Jake La Motta - someone utterly vile and barbaric, but who also controls the screen with his presence - without making him somewhat charismatic. Instead, Scorsese's decision is to make Jake completely unlikeable and vicious, and that's what makes him compelling to some. Spielberg seems to require that the character must appeal to him, while Scorsese doesn't need his characters to be charming - he prefers to examine. Likewise, I doubt Scorsese can make a film like Saving Private Ryan (I'm pretty sure if Scorsese were to make a war film it would be more like Full-Metal Jacket) or Jurassic Park. It's a question of creative choice. Scorsese quite often chooses to narrow his focus on singular characters and then illustrate their world, while Spielberg chooses to make grand spectacles where he can focus on the story of a single character.

This is going to sound extremely rude, but if you honestly think Spielberg can sub in for Scorsese, then I don't think you truly recognize what Scorsese is accomplishing in his films (or at least what he intends to accomplish), because it's very different from what Spielberg is attempting to achieve. When artists are striving for different goals through different paths, I doubt either could (or would want to) just switch routes.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2005 11:55 pm 
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All I'm saying is that Spielberg has the power, has the command of the form, can direct an actor to such depths, to such extents. He can, in my honest opinion, he truly can go there, even if he chooses not to. Can Scorsese really do spectacle? Is he a David Lean? If he had to be, could he? Can he make exhilarating films like the Jones films? I think of The Aviator and Gangs, and I see him struggling with the material. Can he hold all that shit back, and make a crowd pleaser? This is my point, however minute or irrelevant.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2005 4:14 am 
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Andre Jurieu wrote:
For the record, I think Catch Me If You Can is his best film because it openly embraces everything he has been criticized for focusing on in the past, and in doing so he admits his own flaws and more importantly admits he's also a con-artist. It's his version of Goodfellas.

Well said. The best film by him since Schindler. For the record, I still think Raiders is my favorite. Not sure about his best, but certainly my absolute fave.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2005 9:16 am 
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If not for the 30+ minute ending of AI, I would say that it is the best film of the decade.

How come? I thought the long ending of AI was among the most depressing.


I haven't seen Catch Me If You Can and War of the Worlds yet.

Quote:
As for Goodfellas, Scorsese was perfect for that movie because he so thoroughly understood the allure such a life had on a young boy, not to mention his first hand knowledge of living in lower New York and little Italy. This is even evident in Raging Bull, from Jake's early home life down to the choice of music.

Absolutely! Coming from a New York Italian background, watching Scorsese's Mean Streets, Raging Bull, and Goodfellas bring me tears mainly for the nostalgia and Scorsese tackles the air and language of this background so perfectly that you could almost smell the sausages and peppers grilling. :) I think of my family, my grandparents and parades of uncles, aunts and cousins - the weddings, the streets, the food, the clothes, etc.


Last edited by Michael on Sun Feb 06, 2011 9:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2005 10:52 am 
All I know is, if you have to defend Spielberg by saying "You guys just hate him because he's popular" and/or "Well, Spielberg is better than Scorsese", then you are reaching. And Minority Report his best film? Jeezus Chrissy this board has taken a turn for hell.

exte wrote:
All I'm saying is that Spielberg has the power, has the command of the form, can direct an actor to such depths, to such extents. He can, in my honest opinion, he truly can go there, even if he chooses not to. Can Scorsese really do spectacle? If he had to be, could he? Can he make exhilarating films like the Jones films? I think of The Aviator and Gangs, and I see him struggling with the material. Can he hold all that shit back, and make a crowd pleaser? This is my point, however minute or irrelevant.

I totally agree that Scorsese is struggling with his recent work, but I don't think the ability to make a crowd pleaser is the mark of a master filmmaker. And if your capable of reaching depths with your characters, why wouldn't you choose to? It seems it would only help the film overall.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2005 12:30 pm 
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I enjoyed War of the Worlds, and I think the ending is perhaps more interesting than it seems - it's simply too sickly-sweet for it to be intended merely as the obligatory happy ending. If anything, it strikes me as a commentary on such endings. Or perhaps only independent auteurs are allowed to make comments about their medium when making films?

Spielberg is a capable director and a good editor, but his films reflect a bland, risk-adverse morality and ask no tough questions, even when they should be asked. In a thousand years his films will be stuided along side tv commercials and fashion magazines by sociologists trying to delve into common denominator entertainment. Although he's not obligated to do anything risky with his vast resources, it's unfortunate that he doesn't.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2005 2:23 pm 
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Spielberg is a director, but not an auteur.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2005 2:27 pm 
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analoguezombie wrote:
All I know is, if you have to defend Spielberg by saying "You guys just hate him because he's popular" and/or "Well, Spielberg is better than Scorsese", then you are reaching. And Minority Report his best film? Jeezus Chrissy this board has taken a turn for hell.

Spielberg misses as often as Scorsese (The Terminal was crap), only his misses still make a lot of money, which might explain why Spielberg isn't so concerned with depth and presenting his characters with difficult choices that don't have simple black and white answers. But I don't go shopping to Spielberg for what Scorsese sells. When I go to a Spielberg film I'm going to marvel at his mastery of the craft, the way he can make a chase scene not only exciting, but innovative.
When I look at his filmography I see some of the best films from every decade. Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., Jurassic Park, and the great Minority Report are the kind of the movies that are difficult to compare to Raging Bull or the 400 Blows. Raging Bull is a great film. Raiders of the Lost Ark is a great entertainment and I believe escapism is an important part of the movies. If I just watched my dad slap my mom around and I decided to watch a movie to take my mind off how shitty my family life is, does it make sense for me to watch Raging Bull (love it as I do)? Of course not. I want to see Indy beating the shit out of the Nazis.
Martin Scorsese is obviously a great director. Is Steve Spielberg a great director? Fucking right he is.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2005 2:29 pm 
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exte wrote:
Sometimes I feel Spielberg could've done films like Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas, but could Scorsese have pulled off Close Encounters, Raiders, and E.T.? I think not.

This is simply fucking retarded. Sometimes I feel like a nut, sometimes I don't. Do those three Scorsese films speak of his entire oeuvre? Thankfully Andre already adressed the personal nature of each's films better than I can.

exte wrote:
Can Scorsese really do spectacle? Is he a David Lean? If he had to be, could he? Can he make exhilarating films like the Jones films? I think of The Aviator and Gangs, and I see him struggling with the material. Can he hold all that shit back, and make a crowd pleaser? This is my point, however minute or irrelevant.

This is one of those one-two comic punches, right? Spielberg's childhood memories conjure up frivolous matinee entertainment and I'm fine with that. Scorsese's clearly are a little bit different. Guess what? It's reflected in their respective films and no amount of daydreaming or irrelevant internet speculation can make one into the other.

And just so you can know what a hate-filled Spielberg basher I am, I haven't enjoyed one of his films since E.T. when I was 13, thought one to be great thrilling fun since Raiders of the Lost Ark when I was 12, or saw any of them since the rather crap Temple of Doom until Saving Private Ryan, which was the hokey shit viewing equivalent of Titanic, although I only rolled my eyes instead of laughing and it didn't have Kate Winslet topless. I simply cannot bear the thought of enduring another of his emotional hand-holding exercises, although Andre has had me at least thinking of giving Catch Me If You Can a chance when it comes on the movie channels.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2005 2:39 pm 
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All I know is, if you have to defend Spielberg by saying "You guys just hate him because he's popular" and/or "Well, Spielberg is better than Scorsese", then you are reaching. And Minority Report his best film? Jeezus Chrissy this board has taken a turn for hell.

Spielberg misses as often as Scorsese (The Terminal was crap), only his misses still make a lot of money, which might explain why Spielberg isn't so concerned with depth and presenting his characters with difficult choices that don't have simple black and white answers. But I don't go shopping to Spielberg for what Scorsese sells. When I go to a Spielberg film I'm going to marvel at his mastery of the craft, the way he can make a chase scene not only exciting, but innovative.
When I look at his filmography I see some of the best films from every decade. Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., Jurassic Park, and the great Minority Report are the kind of the movies that are difficult to compare to Raging Bull or the 400 Blows. Raging Bull is a great film. Raiders of the Lost Ark is a great entertainment and I believe escapism is an important part of the movies. If I just watched my dad slap my mom around and I decided to watch a movie to take my mind off how shitty my family life is, does it make sense for me to watch Raging Bull (love it as I do)? Of course not. I want to see Indy beating the shit out of the Nazis.
Martin Scorsese is obviously a great director. Is Steve Spielberg a great director? Fucking right he is.

I totally agree with this. It's funny how nobody here ever complains how depressing and too true to life something is, but totally jumps on something that is purely escapist entertainment. I'm actually on the fence since I like both of those extremes, make of that what you will.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2005 2:53 pm 
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He is the master of predictable Hollywood narrative.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2005 6:26 pm 
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exte wrote:
All I'm saying is that Spielberg has the power, has the command of the form, can direct an actor to such depths, to such extents. He can, in my honest opinion, he truly can go there, even if he chooses not to.

He might have "the power" (and I quote that because I honestly have no idea what it means - industry influence? technical mastery?), but does he truly have command of the form? He does what he does well, but is he all that flexible in terms of style, mood, atmosphere, or narrative? Spielberg makes a certain type of film and he makes it well, but his work doesn't show that much flexibility. He has a certain degree of command of the form in that he can shape films to reflect his own sensibility, but he (just like many other artists) is also constrained by the form because he can't seem to do anything and everything other artists do.

Also, I'm not so sure he can direct an actor to such depths/extents. He can direct an actor to convey the simply morality he chooses for his characters, but he doesn't seem to have his actors attempt to illustrate overly complex characters.

I'm also wondering how you can just assume he is capable of doing so, and why you assume he chooses not to rather than assuming he isn't capable of doing so. I know everyone preaches that Spielberg can do everything, but that's often just industry praise and marketing of a powerful industry personality. Where's the evidence, or can he just hide behind the "I don't feel the need to make that type of film" argument? Since he is so successful, no one challenges Spielberg to make anything out of his comfort zone.

Since the crux of this debate seems to be that Spielberg can do it all, and can be everything that any other director can be by snapping his fingers (hyperbole), and since he's so easily subbing in for Scorsese, I have to ask if Spielberg can make a Bresson film, or a Godard film, or a Wong Kar-Wai film? Could he have made Elephant? Could he have made What Time is it There? Could he have made Vengeance is Mine, or Late Spring, or Ugetsu, or Persona? I believe on all accounts the answer is "no". He could go through the motions of making these films, and I'm sure he could shoot the material well, but I guarantee the results would be compromised. They might be interesting in some fashion, but I guarantee you they would not be as praised as they are at present.

It's not like I think Spielberg is some hack, incapable of handling different material outside his specific tastes. I actually thought A.I. was really interesting. However, it remains a flawed film and the interesting thing is seeing the influence of Spielberg and Kubrick on the final product.

exte wrote:
Can Scorsese really do spectacle? Is he a David Lean? If he had to be, could he? Can he make exhilarating films like the Jones films? I think of The Aviator and Gangs, and I see him struggling with the material. Can he hold all that shit back, and make a crowd pleaser? This is my point, however minute or irrelevant.

But why is it so important to make a crowd-pleaser? Just because an artist fails (and that is a personal evaluation) when making an epic, doesn't mean he is any less of an artist. There are many supporters of Gangs and Aviator who do praise the artistry in both films. Also, I highly doubt Gangs was meant to be a crowd-pleaser. It functions as an epic, but, however flawed it is, it seems obvious it's not attempting to be a cookie-cutter picture. It's obvious these films are not supposed to function in the same manner as Indiana Jones movies.

bunuelian wrote:
I enjoyed War of the Worlds, and I think the ending is perhaps more interesting than it seems - it's simply too sickly-sweet for it to be intended merely as the obligatory happy ending. If anything, it strikes me as a commentary on such endings. Or perhaps only independent auteurs are allowed to make comments about their medium when making films?

Hey, I never restricted comments on the medium to independent auteurs. Spielberg has just as much right to these tactics as any other artist, but I simply didn't see it when I saw the film. I'm open to being convinced otherwise, but I'd need someone to tell me how it functions as such a comment. To me, it just acted as any other Spielberg ending, where he sort of ignores the destruction that's occurred and returns to the comfort of family. But, seriously, up until the family re-unites, I thought it was a great film in Spielberg terms.

bunuelian wrote:
Spielberg is a capable director and a good editor, but his films reflect a bland, risk-adverse morality and ask no tough questions, even when they should be asked... Although he's not obligated to do anything risky with his vast resources, it's unfortunate that he doesn't.

Don't know about the TV commercials part, but I agree with this statement. Actually, that first part is how I viewed the ending to War of the Worlds.

cinephrenic wrote:
Spielberg is a director, but not an auteur.

Care to explain at all? It seems obvious that he is the main contributor/author of the films he directs. I don't know if you're making an evaluation of his work with that statement, but just because we don't enjoy his work, doesn't really prove he's not an auteur.

flyonthewall2983 wrote:
I'm actually on the fence since I like both of those extremes, make of that what you will.

I'm probably standing beside you, though I'm not such a fan of the extremes.


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