Steven Spielberg - classic or dud

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He played one of the sharks?

bark ruffalo (latebloomer), Tuesday, 8 May 2012 22:57 (2 years ago) Permalink

He played Samuel L. Jackson.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 8 May 2012 23:37 (2 years ago) Permalink

Goldman isn't a fan then..

http://achtenblog.blogspot.co.uk/2007/08/saving-private-ryan-goldman-essay.html

piscesx, Wednesday, 9 May 2012 00:09 (2 years ago) Permalink

ha i remember reading that in Premier. pretty OTM to be honest.

bark ruffalo (latebloomer), Wednesday, 9 May 2012 00:35 (2 years ago) Permalink

6 months pass...

Munich
"It's almost over-the-top to some degree, right?" admits Kaminski

Bobby Ken Doll (Eric H.), Wednesday, 14 November 2012 19:19 (1 year ago) Permalink

and all the better for it.

saltwater incursion (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 14 November 2012 19:21 (1 year ago) Permalink

What the hell. Ranked my favorite Spielbergs out in response to that Salon ranking and here's what I came up with:

01. A.I. Artificial Intelligence 2001
02. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial 1982
03. Munich 2005
04. War of the Worlds 2005
05. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom 1984
06. Close Encounters of the Third Kind 1977
07. Raiders of the Lost Ark 1981
08. Lincoln 2012
09. Schindler’s List 1993
10. Jurassic Park 1993
11. Minority Report 2002
12. War Horse 2011
13. Jaws 1975
14. Saving Private Ryan 1998
15. The Color Purple 1985
16. Catch Me If You Can 2002
17. The Lost World: Jurassic Park 1997
18. Amistad 1997
19. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull 2008
20. Hook 1991
21. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade 1989

Biggest blind spots still are Duel and Empire of the Sun.

Bobby Ken Doll (Eric H.), Tuesday, 20 November 2012 14:41 (1 year ago) Permalink

Top 3 are always rotating, tho.

Bobby Ken Doll (Eric H.), Tuesday, 20 November 2012 14:44 (1 year ago) Permalink

I'd place Jaws in the top ten instead of JP and our hierarchy differs but otherwise we're in perfect mind meld.

the little prince of inane false binary hype (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 20 November 2012 14:46 (1 year ago) Permalink

our hierarchy differs

LOL, aside from that.

Bobby Ken Doll (Eric H.), Tuesday, 20 November 2012 15:00 (1 year ago) Permalink

No love for Last Crusade then?

I wish to incorporate disco into my small business (chap), Tuesday, 20 November 2012 15:43 (1 year ago) Permalink

The opposite, pretty much.

Bobby Ken Doll (Eric H.), Tuesday, 20 November 2012 15:46 (1 year ago) Permalink

Tho Hook is probably admittedly likely worse.

Bobby Ken Doll (Eric H.), Tuesday, 20 November 2012 15:46 (1 year ago) Permalink

Hook and Lost World would definitely not place in my top 20. Duel would, though. And Sugarland might squeak in at 20, just because of its look as a document of the 70s to me. I also have a soft spot for 1941, and may be the only person of whom this is true.

super perv powder (Phil D.), Tuesday, 20 November 2012 15:49 (1 year ago) Permalink

kael's doom-is-the-best meme is the greatest trick the devil ever pulled, but jurassic park over jaws is a very very important truth.

guys! we can keep on spending! (difficult listening hour), Tuesday, 20 November 2012 15:56 (1 year ago) Permalink

the kind of truth that's not actually true?

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Tuesday, 20 November 2012 17:44 (1 year ago) Permalink

saving Empire of the Sun for a double bill w/ The King of Comedy, eh?

The worst thing I've seen by him is the Twilight Zone movie segment.

saltwater incursion (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 20 November 2012 17:51 (1 year ago) Permalink

it is NOT worse than Hook or Always.

the little prince of inane false binary hype (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 20 November 2012 17:52 (1 year ago) Permalink

all yall complaining about bad hacking scenes in skyfall need to appreciate the master of bad hacking scenes in jurassic park

Philip Nunez, Tuesday, 20 November 2012 17:52 (1 year ago) Permalink

ive given Raiders a bunch of chances and aside from the truck chase i dont think very highly of it. i usually disagree with Kael when it comes to action flicks but she nails that one.

Jaws, ET, Munich, Schindly's, Close Encounters would be at the top of my list; Always, Lost World, Terminal at the bottom (and i can find something to like about all of those anyway)

turds (Hungry4Ass), Tuesday, 20 November 2012 17:56 (1 year ago) Permalink

I have not seen Hook, JP2 or Always.

saltwater incursion (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 20 November 2012 17:57 (1 year ago) Permalink

or Joan Crawford's "Night Gallery" which has gotta be better than several of the films

saltwater incursion (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 20 November 2012 17:57 (1 year ago) Permalink

Schindly's Bulletpoints

Bobby Ken Doll (Eric H.), Tuesday, 20 November 2012 17:57 (1 year ago) Permalink

I've seen Always, but so long ago that I can't even remember it.

Bobby Ken Doll (Eric H.), Tuesday, 20 November 2012 17:58 (1 year ago) Permalink

always is junk but spielberg really pumps that sucker full of movie magic. the filmmaking is virtuosic but there's no restraint (Lincoln really makes you appreciate how far he's come in that respect) - so you're sorta getting his best and worst, in that you see what happens when he uses his full powers on unredeemable material. there's some great, exciting parts that you cant imagine anyone doing better, but the story just doesn't deserve it.

turds (Hungry4Ass), Tuesday, 20 November 2012 18:10 (1 year ago) Permalink

all yall complaining about bad hacking scenes in skyfall need to appreciate the master of bad hacking scenes in jurassic park

it was the '90s

Number None, Tuesday, 20 November 2012 19:27 (1 year ago) Permalink

1.5 years after this:

Bobby Ken Doll (Eric H.), Tuesday, 20 November 2012 19:40 (1 year ago) Permalink

she doesn't hack anything in jurassic park she just uses a computer w an admittedly goofy GUI. like, there are no pop-ups where skulls laugh at you. it is in fact a unix system. now there IS that pop-up in an earlier scene where a cartoon of wayne knight laughs at samuel l jackson but that sets up a great slj delivery ("PLEASE!") so it's excused.

guys! we can keep on spending! (difficult listening hour), Tuesday, 20 November 2012 21:22 (1 year ago) Permalink

The full quote is, iirc, "PLEASE! God, I hate this hacker crap!"

Bobby Ken Doll (Eric H.), Tuesday, 20 November 2012 21:31 (1 year ago) Permalink

if spielberg makes a movie about samuel l jackson fighting kid unix hackers, all manner of sins will be excused.

Philip Nunez, Tuesday, 20 November 2012 21:53 (1 year ago) Permalink

SLJ smoking in Jurassic Park was one of the last times we saw anyone do it (a) indoors (b) in front of children

the little prince of inane false binary hype (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 20 November 2012 22:45 (1 year ago) Permalink

4 months pass...

debating his merits.

Tom Carson: If you compare my two pieces, it should be obvious that I think more highly of Schindler's List than I do of SPR. My problems with the former have to do with how the third act does, in my view, shunt aside the horror of mass death in favor of sentimentality about the handful of people Schindler saved. To my mind, there's an equation between that red coat and Dorothy's red ruby slippers—she's The One—and what about the thousands of children sent to the gas chambers who got stuck wearing gray that day? I'm as grateful as anyone that Anne Frank is famous because we have her testimony. But at some level, to single out an individual victim of the Holocaust is to deny the horror of its anonymity. Like, if the kid hadn't been so noticeable—and sorry, but she's as cute and tough as Shirley Temple, guiding our responses somewhat—Schindler's conscience wouldn't have been stirred?

By and large—because I do admire how Goeth is characterized, and we'll get to that—I also don't agree with you that the movie is really all that informative about the nature of anti-Semitism or how the Holocaust came to be, since a viewer without prior awareness wouldn't find much that explains either. Its power comes from re-creating the Holocaust's atrocities so intensely that you feel you're watching—or, if you're susceptible, almost experiencing—the real thing. That bothers me. We have a lot of newsreel documentation of the actual camps, and the paradox is that Spielberg's very scrupulous and horrific facsimile ends up having more authority for the audience because it's superior as filmmaking. There's something disturbing about the fake version replacing the documentary one at that level.

Matt Zoller Seitz: I don't agree. Where Spielberg excels is where narrative cinema itself excels: at helping you understand the physical, visceral experience of going through something, whether it's a mundane contemporary moment or some grand historical turning point. Where Spielberg flounders, I think, is when his films are trying to hard to put things in perspective, to put a frame around it. The strongest section of Amistad for me is that flashback to the Middle Passage, which conveys the full physical as well as moral (immoral) reality of the slave trade better than any mainstream American film or TV production ever had. The lived experience of being under fire and seeing people blown up around you is the most valuable and memorable part of Saving Private Ryan, although that film's "men on a mission" template tends to turn a story with Apocalypse Now/Dr. Strangelove absurdist aspects into something that feels, or plays, much more conventionally. The guys argue about the logic or necessity of saving this one guy, but the movie makes it clear from the very beginning that they're risking soldiers' lives for a symbolic or PR gesture. And even at the end, the film has a deceptively complex/simple way of asking if it was all worth it: it's concluding, I think, "Yes, it was worth it, in that they saved this one guy's life, and that's what you can take out of it—and maybe it's the only unambiguously positive thing to come out of it all."

But you're still aware that almost everyone else in the platoon died, and they all had lives, too, lives that were just as valuable as Ryan's.

The film is bracketed with those cemetery scenes, which are admittedly very sentimental and perhaps unnecessary from a plot standpoint, but even those aren't as straightforward as they initially read. We start and end with an image of the American flag, but it's not a robust, pristine, poster-ready image of a flag. The flag is tattered, and the sun is behind it. You see the flag, but you also see through the flag, a multi-valent image that might be—as odd as this sounds!—too subtle for the intended audience. Visually Spielberg is incredibly subtle, even when he's being loud and spectacular, but those kinds of subtleties tend to get lost in the din.

http://blogs.indiewire.com/pressplay/steven-spielberg-hollywood-historian-a-debate-between-matt-zoller-seitz-and-tom-carson

Pope Rusty I (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 20 March 2013 16:30 (1 year ago) Permalink

My problems with the former have to do with how the third act does, in my view, shunt aside the horror of mass death in favor of sentimentality

This is the context that makes the ending of AI so powerful and weird.

ryan, Wednesday, 20 March 2013 16:38 (1 year ago) Permalink

I hope you're not saying that ending is sentimental.

Pope Rusty I (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 20 March 2013 16:46 (1 year ago) Permalink

it's overtly sentimental, it's certainly framed as sentimental--but it's harrowing and despairing. i think i said elsewhere around here that it falls into the "uncanny valley" of happy endings.

ryan, Wednesday, 20 March 2013 17:10 (1 year ago) Permalink

i almost feel what MZS is talking about there, Spielberg's great talent for the "qualia" of visceral experience, is what makes that scene (and the rest of AI) so discomfiting and compelling. almost as if kubrick wanted spielberg to direct it just because he knew that quality would put the movie over the top.

ryan, Wednesday, 20 March 2013 17:12 (1 year ago) Permalink

from the comments:

DAVID CONRAD | MARCH 19, 2013 4:56 PMREPLY

I found Seitz's comment about Spielberg working in the "Stanley Kramer vein" of "glossy Hollywood entertainment" a bit difficult to understand. Kramer's Holocaust movie, "Judgment at Nuremberg," is a strikingly unglossy film that includes several minutes of actual concentration camp footage. Those images cause the mostly-theatrical violence in "Schindler's List" to fade from memory. But in Kramer's movie the Holocaust footage, however powerfully disturbing, is not essential to the story. It could have been excised without sacrificing any of the script's quality, but what would "Schindler's List" be without the Red Dress girl and the shower scene?

Both films explore issues of collective guilt and individual responsibility, but "Judgment" has the wider, more challenging sample size. The German cast includes uneducated housekeepers, jurists conversant in American legal theory, and an aristocratic widow in addition to unrepentant Nazis. Contrast Marlene Dietrich or Max Schell's characters in "Judgment" with the almost cartoonish depiction of Goeth in "Schindler's List." "Judgment" knows full well the horrors the Nazis committed, and presents them to us in unvarnished fashion, but it also asks us to think about blame. The farthest "Schindler" goes down this road, I think, is to prompt us to wonder what we would have done in the title character's place. How much more true that is of "Judgment," which asks us to imagine ourselves in a variety of different social positions, and as both accused and accuser. Kramer aims for and hits a much higher mark than does Spielberg.

turds (Hungry4Ass), Wednesday, 20 March 2013 17:24 (1 year ago) Permalink

TC: But even when people find fault with a particular movie of his, he's on a sort of hallowed plane I mistrust. Interestingly, in my experience, that's especially true among younger movie buffs -- who might be expected to think of Spielberg as an oldie and, you know, chafe a bit. Instead, he seems to be a hallowed figure to them, the guy who defines what movies can be.

carson makes some good points in there, but I don't know what planet he's living on here - Spielberg's probably as uncool now as he's ever been. it was a little aggravating during award season to read so many people dismissing Lincoln as boring manipulative Oscar bait, and then go on to praise Argo in the next sentence. spielberg's style has become increasingly unfashionable, whereas Affleck is tuned into the 'moment' - i think he's a far worse panderer than spielberg (in terms of degree and in terms of ability), but he's one that people just accept at face value right now for whatever reason

turds (Hungry4Ass), Wednesday, 20 March 2013 17:28 (1 year ago) Permalink

otm

ryan, Wednesday, 20 March 2013 17:39 (1 year ago) Permalink

totes otes

zero dark (s1ocki), Wednesday, 20 March 2013 17:48 (1 year ago) Permalink

dud beyond dud

yellow jacket (spazzmatazz), Wednesday, 20 March 2013 17:55 (1 year ago) Permalink

Contrast Marlene Dietrich or Max Schell's characters in "Judgment" with the almost cartoonish depiction of Goeth in "Schindler's List."

are you fucking serious

the little prince of inane false binary hype (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 20 March 2013 17:56 (1 year ago) Permalink

at best I would accept (with proof required) that Amon Goeth is as cartoonish as Dietrick and Schell.

the little prince of inane false binary hype (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 20 March 2013 17:57 (1 year ago) Permalink

thinking of 'argo' and spielberg makes me think of 'munich', which has its flaws but is so well-executed and disturbing in places. it makes 'argo' look so lightweight and easy to digest (which it is.)

christmas candy bar (al leong), Wednesday, 20 March 2013 18:05 (1 year ago) Permalink

Munich is dark, majestic, conflicted, difficult and virtuosic.

Argo is a nice, 20-second double dutch routine.

Zero Dark 33⅓: The Final Insult (Eric H.), Wednesday, 20 March 2013 18:10 (1 year ago) Permalink

i like the neat trick argo pulls of making high-powered producers into heroes and PAs into villains.

christmas candy bar (al leong), Wednesday, 20 March 2013 18:14 (1 year ago) Permalink

Union workers literally getting in the way of very important phone calls.

Zero Dark 33⅓: The Final Insult (Eric H.), Wednesday, 20 March 2013 18:15 (1 year ago) Permalink

lol

zero dark (s1ocki), Wednesday, 20 March 2013 18:22 (1 year ago) Permalink

that scene... just the worst

zero dark (s1ocki), Wednesday, 20 March 2013 18:22 (1 year ago) Permalink


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