Steven Spielberg - classic or dud

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it's not just about that (although, you know, it's nice to have more than the two-shot, the close-up, the master -- nice also to have expressive editing JUST OCNE IN A WHILE). i don't care if he's "great art" (blah jargon) or not; it's just he isn't all that interesting. there are more interesting directors. like spielberg!!! they both have a somewhat limited and audience-minded view of 'human nature', praps.

xp

N_RQ, Thursday, 28 July 2005 09:33 (10 years ago) Permalink

I'm with NRQ here.

Sick Mouthy (Nick Southall), Thursday, 28 July 2005 09:50 (10 years ago) Permalink

i'm gonna have to restrain myself from writing an entire essay here, but suffice to say i think hawks is one of the five greatest directors ever and i can't even begin to say why his best films transcend "expressive editing" and all that film school bullshit. this is verging on "the ramones aren't as interesting as frank zappa" territory. and i hope no one thinks i'm being a boring old film rockist because hawks is like the most ENTERTAINING great director who ever lived. and i don't think your last sentence shows much (or any) understanding of his attitude toward his audience.

i actually LIKE spielberg and feel he gets a bad rap from "entertainment is not art" types, but howard hawks is a greater director than spielberg for the same reason charles schulz is a greater artist than dave sim.

J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Thursday, 28 July 2005 10:15 (10 years ago) Permalink

haha when ppl ask me tomorrow why i look so sleepy i'll have to say "cos i was up at 4 a.m. being the film geek version of that guy who throws a fit because you think picard is better than kirk."

J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Thursday, 28 July 2005 10:16 (10 years ago) Permalink

and i hope no one thinks i'm being a boring old film rockist because hawks is like the most ENTERTAINING great director who ever lived.

i. dis. agree. there, that wasn't so hard. in this context, i don't care about great directors. i care about entertaining films. hawks' films are *quite* entertaining. but they don't stand out particularly from hollywood films of the 'classic' (c. 1930 - c. 1960) period.

he has a slightly nasty, right-libertarian view of society based on the rugged-individualist/masculinist ideal (women have to be men). it's this glib view of 'how to deal' that i mean by 'audience-minded'. he's all about winners.

expressive editing (blah phrase, but whatevs) is not film school bullshit. following the aesthetic choices of 1950s cahiers du cinema is film school bullshit!!

N_RQ, Thursday, 28 July 2005 10:25 (10 years ago) Permalink

when did great exciting crowd-pleasing moviemaking become "film school bullshit"?

s1ocki (slutsky), Thursday, 28 July 2005 13:24 (10 years ago) Permalink

if indy running from the rock is now considered some abstract academic film-school braininess then i don't even know what we're talking about anymore

s1ocki (slutsky), Thursday, 28 July 2005 13:25 (10 years ago) Permalink

i think jd thought that what i meant [that was fun] by expressive editing and non-shot-reverse-shot moviemaking was, i dunno, something hyper-intellectual -- resnais, or whatever. i love resnais, but i *also* meant modern movies LIKE 'SAVING PRIVATE RYAN'. i have my qualms but as movie art there's a shitload more to chew on in 'SPR' than there is in anything by hawks.

N_RQ, Thursday, 28 July 2005 13:30 (10 years ago) Permalink

i'm gonna refuse to take sides on this one

s1ocki (slutsky), Thursday, 28 July 2005 13:33 (10 years ago) Permalink

would the oft-overlooked michael curtiz be a better predecessor comparison?

s1ocki (slutsky), Thursday, 28 July 2005 13:34 (10 years ago) Permalink

no-one has seen all of curtiz's movies. he made 100s. there's no pressing reason to separate his stuff from hawks' or from thatera of hollywood in general: more unites 'to have and have not' and 'casablanca' than, oh i dunno, two curtiz films i've forgotten the names of. it doesn't belittle classic genre films to say that the differences between them are not particularly big -- in the context of the history of film as a whole.

point is the kind of stuff spielberg does, like the beach scene, was beyond the dreams of any classic hollywood director. they'd have fucking killed to have done it. maybe sam fuller with spielberg's crew would be the best thing.

N_RQ, Thursday, 28 July 2005 13:41 (10 years ago) Permalink

Hitchcock was also "middlebrow" (which seems to be the label for a great image-maker who also entertains a mass audience). Not that Spielberg has ever achieved the consistency of Hitch from 1954-64, but his films (esp post-Jurassic) generally show more complexity and disturbingly adult themes than directors who are taken more seriously (cf Spike Lee, Soderbergh, Coens).

Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 28 July 2005 13:46 (10 years ago) Permalink

Here are some movies I have not seen and don't have any real intention of seeing.

# Indiana Jones 4 (2006) (announced)
# Untitled Steven Spielberg/Abraham Lincoln Project (2007) (pre-production)
# Untitled 1972 Munich Olympics Project (2005) (filming)
# War of the Worlds (2005)
# The Terminal (2004)
# Catch Me If You Can (2002)
# Minority Report (2002)
# Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001)

This list, of films I have seen, arranged more or less in descending order of quality (last = best) is the reason why I'm not interested in any of the films above:

# Saving Private Ryan (1998)
# The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
# Schindler's List (1993)
# Jurassic Park (1993)
# Hook (1991)
# Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
# Empire of the Sun (1987)
# The Color Purple (1985)
# Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
# E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
# Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
# Jaws (1975)
# Duel (1971)

In conclusion, Thank You Mr. Spielberg for bringing some really fantastic adventures to the big screen, and showing us some highly exciting moments, No Thank You Mr. Spielberg for saddling nearly all of them with increasingly awful casting as time marches on and for trying to choke us to death with your faith in the human spirit or whatever you want to call that unbelievably smug annoying self-congratulatory horseshit.


xpost,
more complexity and disturbingly adult themes
So do the fucking Matrix movies. OMG HE DIES TO SAVE EVERYBODY

TOMBOT, Thursday, 28 July 2005 14:22 (10 years ago) Permalink

Such soul-crushing cynicism deserves, oh, Michael Bay.

Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 28 July 2005 14:30 (10 years ago) Permalink

"unbelievably smug annoying self-congratulatory horseshit"

this is kinda otm -- it's there in the movies -- but the horseshit bits are outnumbered by the highly exciting moments. or, they're *both* there. same way fall-flat bits of unfunniness and misanthropy coexist with real chills in hitchcock.

otoh, is 'saving private ryan' really that smug? it has those terrible bookends, and the matt damon bits are really annoying, but i've seen far less convinving movies about war.

N_RQ, Thursday, 28 July 2005 14:34 (10 years ago) Permalink

Spielberg has always been very good at provoking a visceral reaction using whatever crap he has available. He knows how to make ostensibly exciting movies. Unfortunately, since you know that all of his ostensibly exciting movies will be ending in some fashion that makes you feel like a baby chickadee just regurgitated golden liquid cuddles of redemption directly into your stomach, the thrill isn't there, because you're just waiting for the hammer to fall and get the brainwashing over with.

The first time I saw Duel I knew it was supposed to be "atypical" Spielberg but I still spent probably half the movie waiting for some insipid deus ex machina to rob me of all my actual emotions and replace them with spoonfed lotus blooms. This is what he's done to his legacy.

TOMBOT, Thursday, 28 July 2005 14:34 (10 years ago) Permalink

into the west was awesome - rachel leigh cook!!

j blount (papa la bas), Thursday, 28 July 2005 14:36 (10 years ago) Permalink

i helped my friend videotape an audition for into the west! he didn't get the part though :(

s1ocki (slutsky), Thursday, 28 July 2005 14:38 (10 years ago) Permalink

I am the only person in the world who thinks Jaws is a shitty, shitty movie. I don't entirely blame Spielberg because the book it's based on is even worse than the film, so in that respect, he did well.

Looking at that list above I realize I've disliked a LOT of his movies, without even really realizing they were Spielberg flix. I mean the only movies that I like in that list are Raiders, Last Crusade, Duel, Catch Me If You Can (and that's not even an active like because I forgot I saw it until recently) and...uh...well, I don't actually like Jurassic Park at ALL but Jeff Goldblum dresses fantastically in it so I'll give it a little bit of a pass (THAT FINAL SHOT OF THE T-REX AND THE RAPTORS IS THE ABSOLUTE WORST SHOT IN THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF CINEMATOGRAPHY AND DIRECTION AND THAT IS A STONE COLD FACT PEOPLE). I'd like Saving Private Ryan better if the bookends were deleted and it was about a half hour shorter.

Dr. Morbius, how about you discuss the "disturbing adult themes" in, say, Catch Me If You Can?

Allyzay knows a little German (allyzay), Thursday, 28 July 2005 14:38 (10 years ago) Permalink

He's okay. I thought Minority Report was pretty decent, up until the ending, anyway.

Leon C. (Ex Leon), Thursday, 28 July 2005 14:39 (10 years ago) Permalink

anyway, i gotta agree with everyone praising band of brothers on this thread, i really liked it so much more than i expected (and overall a lot more than saving private ryan).

s1ocki (slutsky), Thursday, 28 July 2005 14:39 (10 years ago) Permalink

Dud. Fuck him. I am Filmist.

Anti-Pope Consortium (noodle vague), Thursday, 28 July 2005 14:40 (10 years ago) Permalink

Ok the more I'm thinking about that final shot of the T-Rex and the Raptors in the lobby with the fucking banner floating in front of them in Jurassic Park the more angry I'm getting. Goddamn hack.

Allyzay knows a little German (allyzay), Thursday, 28 July 2005 14:42 (10 years ago) Permalink

minority report had a pretty good first third/half, i guess, but boy does it ever go to shit. and it's about as dark and adult as an episode of young indiana jones

s1ocki (slutsky), Thursday, 28 July 2005 14:42 (10 years ago) Permalink

catch me if you can woulda been alot more disturbing/adult/fun if it'd kept true to frank abagnale's motivation in the book (pussy).

jaws fucking rules ally. jpark3's pretty great, the best of the bunch no doubt. poltergeist was pretty great. band of brothers was incredible. into the west was rousing fun.

j blount (papa la bas), Thursday, 28 July 2005 14:44 (10 years ago) Permalink

catch me would've been better if it had been about 30 mins shorter

s1ocki (slutsky), Thursday, 28 July 2005 14:44 (10 years ago) Permalink

WAIT WAIT I ALSO LIKE EMPIRE OF THE SUN.

Jaws does NOT fucking rule!

Allyzay knows a little German (allyzay), Thursday, 28 July 2005 14:45 (10 years ago) Permalink

i think jpark3 is rett bratner or someone...

N_RQ, Thursday, 28 July 2005 14:46 (10 years ago) Permalink

it's jumanji guy... joe johnston

s1ocki (slutsky), Thursday, 28 July 2005 14:47 (10 years ago) Permalink

nrq makes a really good point: that maybe spielberg is - deliberately? that wd be so cool - sacrificing good UNIFIED WORKS for the opportunity to make astonishing scenes or moments

UNIFIED WORKS suck anyway

ie his refusal to end his recent movies unyuckily is the price he is prepared to pay for the chance to shoot [x] idea

i don't buy this really, but i wd admire SS lots if i discovered this is where he's secretly at

mark s (mark s), Thursday, 28 July 2005 14:47 (10 years ago) Permalink

war of the worlds woulda been alot better if richard dreyfuss had come out of the ship at the end.

j blount (papa la bas), Thursday, 28 July 2005 14:47 (10 years ago) Permalink

or if it had turned out it was the nazis!

j blount (papa la bas), Thursday, 28 July 2005 14:48 (10 years ago) Permalink

allyzay i have seen lisztomania and yr hyperbole impresses me none

mark s (mark s), Thursday, 28 July 2005 14:48 (10 years ago) Permalink

jaws rules

j blount (papa la bas), Thursday, 28 July 2005 14:49 (10 years ago) Permalink


from up-coming director's cut

mark s (mark s), Thursday, 28 July 2005 14:51 (10 years ago) Permalink

free frisky

j blount (papa la bas), Thursday, 28 July 2005 14:52 (10 years ago) Permalink

i don't buy this really, but i wd admire SS lots if i discovered this is where he's secretly at

oh, begone intentionality! i think most movies are compendia of bits with lots of redundancies put in to keep front office happy. it's always been like that(?). spielberg is a total enigma as a man -- i have read a biography of him and know NOTHING about him.

but cutting through or ignoring the 'greatest generation' blah i've been impressed by the action scenes in the saving private ryan/band of brothers projects.

as with albums, ignore the rubbish bits.

N_RQ, Thursday, 28 July 2005 14:53 (10 years ago) Permalink

bbbbbbbut what if Richard Dreyfuss was the Nazis?????!

My hyperbole is totally correct, watch JP again and wait for it...that final shot of the freaking T-Rex. Claymation dinosaur, why you ruin shot all the time? I would've liked Jurassic Park better if there was no dinosaurs, but instead Richard Dreyfuss and Roy Scheider.

Anyway I am still interested in finding out how Spielberg classics like Catch Me If You Can or The Terminal or The Lost World explore more disturbing, dark, and adult themes than Bamboozled and are more complex than The Big Lebowski! I'll give Morbius Soderberg.

XPOST ARGH STOP IT WITH THOSE MORPHED ANIMALS

Allyzay knows a little German (allyzay), Thursday, 28 July 2005 14:53 (10 years ago) Permalink

Film school types have a different measuring stick than an ordinary film viewer like me. Speilberg is probably the quinessential film school success story, the Lord of the Film School Graduates, the wet dream of budding director-wannabes. He's filthy rich, can command any script he pleases, casts A-list actors at will, and has all Hollywood groveling before him. He's a One Phone Call kind of guy.

Does this make him classic, or just Darryl Zanuck reborn?

I stick with my B+ assessement. He has good chops, and a consistent record. I like him OK, but nothing he makes excites me much.

Aimless (Aimless), Thursday, 28 July 2005 14:54 (10 years ago) Permalink

'lost world' is about the amoral exploitation of scientific research for profit -- it's an adult theme. treatment another matter.

aimless -- steve is hurt, but he will try to improve his record for next semester.

N_RQ, Thursday, 28 July 2005 14:57 (10 years ago) Permalink

i don't give a penny fig for intentionality nrq, it is a phantom of goofy wackness, i wd still admire SS if this is where he was at!! it wd just be kinda cool given everything, if he too thought john williams wz an gharstly hack but WHAT THE HELL, at least with him on board i get to do x y and z

mark s (mark s), Thursday, 28 July 2005 14:57 (10 years ago) Permalink

well the treatment and exploration of these adult themes would seem to be the key here.

Allyzay knows a little German (allyzay), Thursday, 28 July 2005 14:58 (10 years ago) Permalink

jpark1 wasn't all that but people were just so damn happy to finally get to see a real live dinosaur.

j blount (papa la bas), Thursday, 28 July 2005 14:59 (10 years ago) Permalink

wow you musta sawn i difft version to me blount

mark s (mark s), Thursday, 28 July 2005 15:00 (10 years ago) Permalink

Film school types have a different measuring stick than an ordinary film viewer like me. Speilberg is probably the quinessential film school success story, the Lord of the Film School Graduates, the wet dream of budding director-wannabes. He's filthy rich, can command any script he pleases, casts A-list actors at will, and has all Hollywood groveling before him. He's a One Phone Call kind of guy.

what's your point here exactly? that people in film school like him because he's successful? wtf does that have to do with anything

s1ocki (slutsky), Thursday, 28 July 2005 15:01 (10 years ago) Permalink

claymation dinosaurs

Allyzay knows a little German (allyzay), Thursday, 28 July 2005 15:01 (10 years ago) Permalink

when i finally saw jurassic park 2 i was amazed at how bad and UN-masterful it was actually

s1ocki (slutsky), Thursday, 28 July 2005 15:01 (10 years ago) Permalink

(hmmm i am leavin the surface of planet english i think --- brisk walk off to robster's bday for me)

mark s (mark s), Thursday, 28 July 2005 15:02 (10 years ago) Permalink

give him our best mark

j blount (papa la bas), Thursday, 28 July 2005 15:04 (10 years ago) Permalink

will do! i am sure this will be settled when i am next online

mark s (mark s), Thursday, 28 July 2005 15:04 (10 years ago) Permalink

Just that one scene in Jaws with the wean imitating his gestures seemed much more genuine (did I read somewhere improvised?) than all the weepy moppet shit in CE.

Jonathan Hellion Mumble, Thursday, 4 February 2016 21:32 (1 week ago) Permalink

dmac you don't sense subliterate adolescent revenge onanism with yr eyes, maybe reconsider yr Tarantella fandom

we can be heroes just for about 3.6 seconds (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 4 February 2016 21:34 (1 week ago) Permalink

Duras' The Truck is more like it.

lol

Chicamaw (Ward Fowler), Thursday, 4 February 2016 21:35 (1 week ago) Permalink

hi what's going on

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 4 February 2016 21:36 (1 week ago) Permalink

actually haven't seen Duel or Sugarland Express, this thread inspires

Don't watch anything on my recommendation, the Great Man's films are wasted on me, of course.

Jonathan Hellion Mumble, Thursday, 4 February 2016 21:37 (1 week ago) Permalink

My enjoyment of tarantino's stuff on the level at which it is directed is easily more defensible than yr insistence that Spielberg's late stage mediocrity somehow transcends by virtue of nothing more than its origin tbh!

Yr still my go-to guy for movie opinion don't worry, but yeah as outic notes this is a weird drum to keep beating is all

broderik f (darraghmac), Thursday, 4 February 2016 21:40 (1 week ago) Permalink

Bridge of spies is mad boring, that's what's wrong with that statement

― broderik f (darraghmac), Thursday, 4 February 2016 21:23 (20 minutes ago)

OTM. The guy just cant help himself when it comes to corny sentiment.

i;m thinking about thos Beans (Michael B), Thursday, 4 February 2016 21:45 (1 week ago) Permalink

and the The Hateful Eight was much more fun despite its flaws

i;m thinking about thos Beans (Michael B), Thursday, 4 February 2016 21:46 (1 week ago) Permalink

it's called loving America, you seditionist.

we can be heroes just for about 3.6 seconds (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 4 February 2016 21:47 (1 week ago) Permalink

"Catch Me If You Can" was the last Spielberg I really enjoyed

i;m thinking about thos Beans (Michael B), Thursday, 4 February 2016 21:50 (1 week ago) Permalink

i find CE3K strangely easy to resist, even though there's nothing actually wrong with it. my students seemed to largely feel the same way. i guess maybe compared to jaws certain set pieces feel slightly belabored? the emotional arc of the characters should be very moving, but it all seems somewhat remote.

wizzz! (amateurist), Thursday, 4 February 2016 22:58 (1 week ago) Permalink

but who knows, maybe i just need to see it in the right frame of mind. not spielberg of course, but after seeing and being unenthused by "american graffiti" possibly a dozen times, i saw it again last year and finally got it.

wizzz! (amateurist), Thursday, 4 February 2016 22:59 (1 week ago) Permalink

i guess maybe compared to jaws certain set pieces almost every other movie feels slightly belabored.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 4 February 2016 23:00 (1 week ago) Permalink

CE3K has been one of my fave movies since I was a kid -- it never seemed remote to me, but then I think I basically *was* Roy from the movie. I wanted to get on a spaceship too, and leave behind a world alternately boring/too hard/not friendly/not accessible. This is the *only* Spielberg movie I have that kind of connection to (tho I also love Raiders abt the same, just as a fun adventure ride kind of thing), and why it's easy for me to see it as an outlier.

Dominique, Thursday, 4 February 2016 23:03 (1 week ago) Permalink

i definitely remember being more moved by it as a kid than i have been as an adult, back when "getting on a spaceship" didn't seem all that much more fantastical than "going to high school"

wizzz! (amateurist), Thursday, 4 February 2016 23:06 (1 week ago) Permalink

Isn't there a Second City bit with Rick Moraines jazzing up the Close Encounters theme?

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 4 February 2016 23:08 (1 week ago) Permalink

it's called loving America, you seditionist.

― we can be heroes just for about 3.6 seconds (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 4 February 2016 21:47 (1 hour ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

<3

broderik f (darraghmac), Thursday, 4 February 2016 23:08 (1 week ago) Permalink

I love Tarantino *and* Spielberg, and live a capable & happy life despite my terrible life choices

Flamenco Drop (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 4 February 2016 23:47 (1 week ago) Permalink

so unAmerican

Οὖτις, Friday, 5 February 2016 00:10 (1 week ago) Permalink

tbh I find Morbz' eternal defense of Spielbergo kind of endearing, an achilles heel, a lone almost random populist chink in an otherwise impregnable armor of misanthropy

― Οὖτις, Thursday, February 4, 2016 3:31 PM (3 hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Somebody has to do it after this dudes "Bye Felicia"...

"Damn the Taquitos" (C. Grisso/McCain), Friday, 5 February 2016 00:58 (1 week ago) Permalink

probably essential to see on a theater screen for full impact anyway.

saw CE3K on VHS as a kid and found it super boring

saw a 35mm print of the remaster done for Blu-ray at Cinefamily in 2013, and fell asleep halfway through

glandular lansbury (sic), Friday, 5 February 2016 01:00 (1 week ago) Permalink

it feels so endless

Οὖτις, Friday, 5 February 2016 01:02 (1 week ago) Permalink

Jonathan Hellion Mumble: Glad you like The Sugarland Express. Whenever I mention how much I love it, here and elsewhere, there just doesn't seem to be much interest. I think Duel (which I still haven't seen), because of the novelty of it being made for TV, might be better known--Spielberg's Night Gallery episode might even be better known. (Did see that, ages ago.)

clemenza, Friday, 5 February 2016 01:05 (1 week ago) Permalink

i notice people who viscerally hate religion generally dislike CE3K

we can be heroes just for about 3.6 seconds (Dr Morbius), Friday, 5 February 2016 03:43 (1 week ago) Permalink

I generally dislike religion, and love CE3K.

For real LOLZ re: Grisso's post, btw.

pitchforkian at best (cryptosicko), Friday, 5 February 2016 04:02 (1 week ago) Permalink

Like, I wanna get a t-shirt made with that picture of Armond and the caption "Bye Felicia."

pitchforkian at best (cryptosicko), Friday, 5 February 2016 04:06 (1 week ago) Permalink


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