What Spielberg movies you didn't like and why?

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Sam Davatchi, Aug 26, 2009.

  1. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    Amistad.

    It's the only one that I just kept checking my watch. The story itself may be a lot better then it is, but wow, on screen.. woof.
     
  2. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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    I disliked "Color Purple" because it was so emotionally manipulative and phony. It's a fairy tale, and a simplistic, ineffective one.

    Sometimes movies earn lots of noms even though they're not very good. Friggin' "Godfather III" got seven Oscar noms!!!

     
  3. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    The ending is emotionally manipulative and phony, but the rest of the movie rang pretty true to me. Real life has ups and downs, too, even in such circumstances.
     
  4. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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    Ehh, I thought the whole thing was phony. It was too (literally) black and white. All black women good, all white people bad, most men bad - did I miss something?
     
  5. Pete-D

    Pete-D Screenwriter

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    War Of The Worlds is kind of a funny thing for me ... as a cohesive film, it's cold and doesn't really work.

    But in terms of set pieces it is pretty mind blowing, I think maybe even up there with anything he's done in the "popcorn movie" realm. It works better as a demo reel for action sequences than it does as a full film.

    The Terminal is the Spielberg movie I'm probably least fond of. It just didn't click for me.
     
  6. MielR

    MielR Advanced Member

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    I haven't seen all of his films, but of the ones I have seen, I dislike 1941 because I find it chaotic and stupid, and Indy 4 because I think it was a painfully forced attempt to squeeze one more film out of a successful franchise.
     
  7. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    It took place in a time and place where most white people were awful to most black people, and many men were abusive to many women. Celie had it far worse than most, which is what makes her a compelling protagonist. What happened to Sofia was, I would argue, inevitable given the social lines she crossed with defiant regularity. (One of the most heartbreaking moments in the film is, as she sees the crowd tense up for the attack, yell to make sure her children make it out of there safely) Shug Avery represented what it was possible to be as a black woman in a time and place where being a black woman was one of the most dangerous things to be. They way those three interact and grow from one another is the crux of the movie's power and the source of the film's sophistication.

    You also have to take into account that it was adapted from a play. Different rules apply to the stage than the screen, and the broad strokes are necessarily broader.
     
  8. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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    Originally Posted by Adam Lenhardt

    I know I'm in the minority about "CP", but I just think it's a pretty awful movie. I don't dislike it because it depicts life as a black female as tough - of course that was/is true. I dislike it because it's just so simplistic and cartoony.

    It doesn't help that Spielberg didn't have the schnutz to give the movie a harder impact - everything's pretty and lovely, which diminishes any edge the movie could/should have had...
     
  9. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    Originally Posted by Colin Jacobson
     
  10. Jesse Blacklow

    Jesse Blacklow Cinematographer

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    I'm with those who said AI fell apart in the last portion, although even the rest of it was only marginally above average. The Lost World was a hack book and and even hack-ier script, although the T-Rex rampage in LA was at least somewhat entertaining. I can't really speak to the quality of Always, if only because (like others) I find it so mind-numbingly boring that I couldn't make it past the first 15 minutes or so.

    I have to say to those who haven't seen Empire of the Sun that you should do so ASAP. I think it's not just underrated, it's one of Spielberg's best movies, if not his greatest. It's amazing seeing a 12-year-old Christian Bale giving such a wonderful performance, backed up by a cast that includes John Malkovich, Joey Pantaliano, Miranda Richardson, and Ben Stiller's big-screen debut. John William's soundtrack is gorgeous (their version of "Suo Gan" in particular), as well. I was hoping it would be on Warner's leaked Blu-ray list for 2010 catalog, but unfortunately it's missing. Of course, Clash of the Titans kind of snuck up on the list, too, so I'm not giving up hope.
     
  11. Kevin Hewell

    Kevin Hewell Cinematographer

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    I watched 1941 again on one of the movie channels for the first time in many years and it's still a big, loud, chaotic mess.
     
  12. Dick

    Dick Producer
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    I have for ages wished that I could replace the opening sequence of JP1 with the opening of JP2 (where it belongs), and somehow shoehorn-in the other wonderful compy bits (the killing on the riverbed, the all-too-brief shot of the high grass being pushed down into trails in the meadow). The trailer ..hanging from the cliff is decent too. If I could edit these into JP with a minimum of continuity problems (such as having Julianna Moore suddenly appear) I would happily discard JP2 from memory.

    I didn't find THE TERMINAL at all enjoyable (I never for a moment believed Tom Hank's accent - it's as bad as John Malkovich's "Russian" in ROUNDERS) but for the fact that Catherine Zeta-Jones is about the most delightful eye candy on screen these days. And I usually like Stanley Tucci. Not here. The film felt like a breather between Spielberg blockbusters, which is essentially what it was.

    IJ4 was not up to the first three, but I found it tolerable. Shia LeBeouf makes me want to gag.

    HOOK had its moments, but it was a travesty of the Peter Pan story, a revisionist plot that did Barrie's original no favors or justice. Dustin Hoffmann was pretty good, though, and John William's score pleasant enough.

    AMISTAD grows on me. The first half-hour remain the most compelling, but the rest has begun to seem better to me now that my expectations have been lowered.

    ALWAYS has a very cute Holly Hunter and a few exciting fire-fighting sequences, but otherwise it just isn't very memorable.

    EMPIRE OF THE SUN is a mixed bag. Another fine Williams score, and some great moments, but over-long and emotionally aloof.

    1941 has some stunning choreography and amazing effects (especially the miniatures), but it leaves me cold. Broad performances like these worked in the 30's, but somehow, juxtaposed with modern special effects, they seem incongruous.

    WAR OF THE WORLDS. This is one of the few films of the past thirty years that I have been to see multiple times at a theater (SIN CITY was the only other one until AVATAR). I agree that Tom Cruise was not the ideal choice, but given the revisionism of the main character to the 21st century, it could have been a worse one. My main caveat: setting the film in modern day New Jersey instead of 19th century London. I think a period adaptation could only have helped this become a more seminal re-make. The ending felt truncated and unsatisfying. Still, in spite of Roger Ebert's disdain for the design of the tripods, I found them to be scary as hell and the first half of the movie to be worth the problems in the second half.

    I find the rest of Spielberg's output (as director, at least) to be quite exemplary, and feel grateful we have such a talent providing us with terrific entertainment and social commentary on a regular basis.
     
  13. wayniac

    wayniac Auditioning

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    Great question and my answer goes to nearly all of Spielberg's work.
    I'll start by saying I think he is a thoughtful, well organized craftsman.
    With that said, I ALWAYS, get the feeling while watching his films, that the scene has an applause meter attached to it.
    That everything in the film is timed and adjusted for tears and cheers. Indiana Jones could be chased by a T-Rex or visa versa, does'nt really matter, its the same movie. Same for the broken family theme that runs through most of his films. Although I like the cinematic quality of Saving Private Ryan, again the applause meter pokes its lil head up.
    The giant budget he has I think is part of the problem.
    Most of the films I like the best have low budgets, numerous flaws in acting and assembly. But somehow, when you see a film like "Carnival of Souls" or "Detour" you feel your watching something alive, not just made to be a product for the public.
     
  14. Rick Thompson

    Rick Thompson Screenwriter

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    I don't go to the movies for sermons, which is why I passed on "Color Purple" and "Amistad." As for the rest:

    Jurassic Park -- When I read the book, I thought Spielberg had to do it, because with anyone else it would be about the special effects. "Lost World" was more remake than sequel, with the California part being the weakest. JP, though, was great, a slam-bang treat.

    Jaws -- Necessity the mother of suspense. Shark didn't work, so we only saw the havoc it caused. Not seeing the shark itself made it scarier.

    Schindler's List -- Great until the ending. Didn't believe Schindler's self-flagellation for a minute.

    Empire of the Sun -- Two great sequences (City in chaos and attack on airfield), but otherwise a snoozer.

    AI -- Puh-leeze.

    Raiders & the sequels -- All fun until that ridiculous ending to 4.

    Catch Me If You Can -- Fitfully amusing.

    Always -- Sorry, but I like it. One of my favorite Spielbergs. I guess I'm a sucker for a good love story, and this is one.

    Duel -- A model of how to scare the bejeesus out of you on a small budget.

    Sugarland Express -- Can take it or leave it.

    1941 -- Way overblown. While Spielberg is great at defusing terror with humor, he's not a comedy director.

    Hook -- I agree with the others. A bore from start to finish. Woof, woof, woof.

    The Terminal -- See above.

    Munich -- Eh, okay. Maybe.

    Saving Private Ryan -- A masterpiece. That it didn't get Best Picture was pure politics and envy. "Shakespeare in Love" is better? Get real. At every showing I went to (four in all, and I NEVER repeat see a film until the DVD/Blu-ray out), no one said anything as the lights came up at the end. It was that powerful.

    and finally,

    War of the Worlds -- I really liked Spielberg's decision to tell the same story as the George Pal/Byron Haskins film, but at a much lower level (by level, I mean closer to the ground). Spielberg focused on one man and his children, and how it affected them. That low angle worked marvelously. While many criticized the ending, it was the only logical one. "Independence Day" is the same story but with a stupid ending. Spielberg used the same ending Pal and Haskins did: the one H.G. Wells wrote in the first place.

    Conclusion: Spielberg is a storyteller who for the most part subordinates his technique to the story. That's why he's been so successful.
     
  15. Neil Middlemiss

    Neil Middlemiss Producer
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    What an odd thing to say! What exactly is it that these two films in particular make you think they would be 'sermons'? The Color Purple in particular is an extraordinary film - and is without anything that would have me characterize it as being a sermon.

     
  16. Rick Thompson

    Rick Thompson Screenwriter

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    Write it up to the advance publicity, reviewers and promo appearances by those involved. They dripped -- no, GUSHED -- standard white bathos. Listening to it all is what made the decision that I got better things to buy with my eight bucks. Give me Spike Lee any day.
     

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