Steven Spielberg: You Used to Be Soooo Good
DAN: For decades, Mr. Spielberg has created the most memorable scenes in film history. Chief Brody shooting his fishy nemesis. Henry Jones Jr. getting chased by a Rushmore-sized stone. Elliot chauffeuring ET across the nighttime sky. A giant thunder lizard magically popping outta nowhere and eating tiny bird-like monsters. Incredible moments forever burned into people’s brains…but those were all a looooooong time ago. For sure, he has made some great movies in the intervening years, especially Saving Private Ryan, which I believe is his last great movie. But for me, his output in the last two decades besides that one stellar film has been…eh…I’ve liked some of them, but none have blown me away, or necessitated repeated viewings like his early Jones movies, E.T., and Jurassic Park.
|What an iconic image....|
There have certainly been entertaining films. Minority Report and Catch Me If You Can are both enjoyable to watch. But they are one-and-done type movies for me. I remember liking both when I saw them, but not enough to seek them out and watch again. His films in the last few years have not stuck out to me like his earlier works. Perhaps that’s unfair, being that those are some of the biggest hits of all time. But the truth hurts sometimes.
JUSTIN: I'm forced to largely agree with you, though I'll grant Steven one more recent great film, Minority Report. I consider that one of the best sci-fi movies of this young century. Great story, intriguing cerebral concepts, fine performance by Tom Cruise. But even that was 14 years ago (which blows my mind by the way), and while he's had a few other good films (Lincoln, Catch Me If You Can), yeah nothing has compared with his plentiful iconic work of the 80s and early 90s.
What's extraordinary about Spielberg is that he's been able to make films that appeal to a very broad audience without pandering. His big summer blockbusters have mostly been a lot of fun to watch but also contain heart and a brain. Jaws, Raiders, E.T., Jurassic Park to a lesser extent - all action or fantasy-driven but with characters we can all relate to and a pervading sense of wonder. But at the same time Spielberg is capable of making truly important, culturally significant films like Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan. You'd be hard-pressed to find a more versatile commercially successful director out there. Spielberg knows how to create and present stories in a way that mass audiences can be fully swept up in the story but also feel like they were intellectually engaged.
|Just a smorgasbord of awesome.....|