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Directors - Steven Spielberg


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#1 of 106 OFFLINE   Simon Massey

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Posted May 27 2005 - 02:05 PM

A discussion in another thread about Coppola gave me an idea. I havent seen any threads along these lines so I thought it would be a great idea to discuss different directors and their body of work. The reason I start with Spielberg is to move a discussion point here.


The Terminal (2004)
Catch Me If You Can (2002)
Minority Report (2002)
Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001)
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Amistad (1997)
The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
Schindler's List (1993)
Jurassic Park (1993)
Hook (1991)
Always (1989)
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
Empire of the Sun (1987)
The Color Purple (1985)
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) (segment 2)
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
1941 (1979)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
Jaws (1975)
The Sugarland Express (1974)
Duel (1971)

Me
Quote:
Spielberg has made some of his most interesting films in the last 10 years. May not have had the same box office numbers but I would find it difficult to call any of Spielbergs films "bad" in during the period you mention (maybe "The Lost World")

clayton b
Quote:
I would say that Saving Private Ryan, Minority Report, Catch Me If You Can, and AI (his 98-02 run) is just as impressive of a list as Jaws, Close Encounters, 1941, and Raiders (his 75-81 run). Spielberg is working more prolifically, and turning out as many if not more quality films than he ever has. I'd say he is a national treasure, but that wouldn't be accurate. He's an international treasure. I hope he lives to be 110 years old, and continues to make films until the day he dies. He's the Mozart of our time, people will be marvelling over his body of work for centuries to come. Yeah I said it, flame on. He stumbles from time to time, but the overall quality of his body of work is outstanding.

Kain_C
Quote:
I disagree completely with both of you. Spielberg's earlier works EASILY surpass just about anything in his more current filmography. Easily. Minority Report and especially A.I. shouldn't even be mentioned in the same breath as Jaws, Close Encounters, or Raiders. Throw in E.T. and Duel and that just further tips the scales.

Interesting? Don't know about that word. Doesn't mean they're better. Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan and Catch Me If You Can were great to good movies while Minority Report was just O.K. Lost World, A.I., Terminal, and Amistad were pretty terrible. Definitely not interesting movies.

It isn't far fetched at all to think that Spielberg's best stuff was done a good while back. I am a huge fan of Spielberg, but there's nothing wrong with acknowledging he isn't ever going to hit that same level of quality that he did in the late 70's to mid 80's and a little beyond.

me again
Quote:
Well, first of all his recent films are completely different to his earlier films, and a comparison is pointless. And whilst I agree that Jaws, Raiders and ET are pretty hard to top, that doesn't mean he is on a career downward spiral or that his recent work is "bad" which is what you were initially saying.(does every film he makes have to match these three ?)

What has been great for me about Spielberg is that, ever since Schindler's List and Jurassic Park effectively gave him carte blanche, he hasn't simply churned out summer blockbuster films in the same vein as JP(ok, he did Lost World). He's pretty much trying his hand at lots of different genres, and I'd think you would be hard pressed to find many people that could label any of his films since then as "terrible" (with the exception perhaps of Lost World which I would label "average").

And A.I. is one of Spielberg's greatest films as far as I am concerned.


#2 of 106 OFFLINE   Kevin Grey

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Posted May 27 2005 - 02:11 PM

I'm in the camp that feels he is a better and more interesting director than ever right now. And I'll put Saving Private Ryan up there with any one of his seminal earlier accomplishments.

#3 of 106 OFFLINE   Sam E. Torres

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Posted May 27 2005 - 05:13 PM

i find myself defending his films just as i would defend u2 as artists. they're at an age and a period in their careers where it seems like it's no longer cool to like them, apparently.

we see magazine covers touting shyamalan as "the next spielberg" (and coldplay as "the next u2")...first of all, why should we be looking for "the next.." anything? i hate the blatant comparisons and pressure on modern filmmakers. secondly, why even search for "the next spielberg" when there is no reason for a replacement or a "next generation"?

the first memory i have of a film is watching my late uncle watching the last scene of close encounters...i was in complete...awe. that's also my earliest memory of having goosebumps.

he continues to have that affect on me today, especially with janusz kaminski lensing his films.

#4 of 106 OFFLINE   Bill GrandPre

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Posted May 27 2005 - 06:01 PM

"The Terminal" wasn't a great movie but it was better than "Hook", "Always" and "1941" by far. I believe time will prove that "Jurassic Park", "Schindler's List" and "Saving Private Ryan" will be considered as iconic as his landmark films of the 80's and 90's, which isn't necessarily a statement of quality. I'd rank some of his less-successful films higher, including his recent ones. Anyways, it's hard but here's how I'd rank his films at the moment:

Jaws
E.T. The Extra Terrestrial
Schindler's List
A.I. Artificial Intelligence
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Saving Private Ryan
Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind
Empire of the Sun
Catch Me If You Can
Minority Report
Sugarland Express
The Color Purple
Duel
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Jurassic Park
The Lost World: Jurassic Park
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
The Terminal
Amistad
1941
Hook
Always
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#5 of 106 OFFLINE   MatS

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Posted May 27 2005 - 06:31 PM

me quoting and agreeing with you
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And A.I. is one of Spielberg's greatest films as far as I am concerned.

sure didn't hurt that he had a great source for the material

#6 of 106 OFFLINE   AlexCremers

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Posted May 28 2005 - 12:17 AM

Missers:

Always, Amistad, A.I., The terminal, The Lost World, Jurassic Park, Temple Of Doom, The Last Crusade, Hook, Minority Report.



Winners:

Duel, Jaws, CLose Encounters, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., The Color Purple, Empire of the Sun, Catch Me If You Can, Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan.

#7 of 106 OFFLINE   clayton b

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Posted May 28 2005 - 12:56 AM

Quote:
I disagree completely with both of you. Spielberg's earlier works EASILY surpass just about anything in his more current filmography. Easily. Minority Report and especially A.I. shouldn't even be mentioned in the same breath as Jaws, Close Encounters, or Raiders. Throw in E.T. and Duel and that just further tips the scales.

I don't agree with this. Minority Report may not be iconic or ground breaking as Jaws, Encounters or Raiders. But that doesn't mean that it's not an outstanding film helmed by an outstanding director at the top of his game. I would certainly say that Minority Report deserves to be mentioned along side films such as the ones mentioned above. It's escapist fun, a great murder mystery whodunit. And it also has a very relevant message to today's society. Is it right to sacrifice the rights of the guilty in order to preserve the rights of the innocent? Not to mention it's flawlessly acted, with a great score and it just looks fantastic. Is it as good as Jaws, Encounters or ET? I don't think so. It's nearly as good as Raiders, it won't have the longevity and it isn't as iconic (that goes without saying). But Minority Report is a film with something to say, while being a hell of a lot of fun.

Minority Report may not break any new ground but I would certainly say it's deserving of being mention along side his better films.

#8 of 106 OFFLINE   Lew Crippen

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Posted May 28 2005 - 02:31 AM

JimK has a whole series of threads in Polls devoted to this issue. This is the one devoted to Steven Spielberg.
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#9 of 106 OFFLINE   Kain_C

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Posted May 28 2005 - 03:32 AM

Did you start this thread just to point out your response?

Anyway, A.I. was terrible. Boring and uninspired. You are definitely in the minority on that one. That shows Spielberg at his worst where he doesn't seem inspired.

And NO, comparisons are NOT pointless. It shows his aging and maturity as a director. If you study his life then the type of films he makes is extremely pertinent. Comparisons to early works is vital and for you to dismiss that is rather disappointing.

I guess you missed the part where I said that I am a big fan of Spielberg. But I can't believe anyone would consider his current filmography even close to what he has done in the past. And no one is talking about box office appeal. That was only a result of his work and not an impetus to do the type of work that he did.

And the fact that his recent stuff is rather pale in comparison does mean he is on a downward spiral. The fact that he will probably never be able to match the quality of Jaws, Close Encounters, Raiders, etc. is testament to that. Not saying he is a bad filmmaker at all, just he is at a stage where he has come down from his tremendous peak and has settled into a particular 'grove' of maturity with the occasional hiccups (such as Lost World, Terminal, A.I. which WERE terrible).

Quote:
It's nearly as good as Raiders

To me, not even close. Raiders is almost film perfection. Every element is achieved by someone at the top of their game. Minority Report is an alright film that is too flawed and loses interest with each subsequent viewing, unlike Raiders. Also, MR is too dependent on first time viewing which is the reason it's very hard to watch several times.

#10 of 106 OFFLINE   Mike Graham

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Posted May 28 2005 - 03:59 AM

Minority Report, Catch Me If You Can and The Terminal were some of the better movies I've seen in the past 3 years. I think only time will tell how these works will stand the test of time, although I think Catch Me If You Can will end up being the most popular of the three in the long run. Hanks and DiCaprio are wonderful in the movie, and it will probably end up running on TV for quite some time.

Will they compare to Jaws and Raiders? I don't think so. However, not everyone considers Saving Private Ryan and Schindler's List as perfect films, so even those films may face harder scrutiny in the next decade.

#11 of 106 OFFLINE   BrettB

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Posted May 28 2005 - 04:16 AM

Quote:
Anyway, A.I. was terrible. Boring and uninspired. You are definitely in the minority on that one.
I would beg to differ. Not about the quality of the film but about who's views are in the minority. A.I. has it's detractors but it is a small group who find it to be as "terrible", "boring" and "uninspired" as you do.
Quote:
And the fact that his recent stuff is rather pale in comparison does mean he is on a downward spiral.
If only all directors could crash and burn so elegantly.

#12 of 106 OFFLINE   Simon Massey

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Posted May 28 2005 - 05:56 AM

Quote:
Did you start this thread just to point out your response?

No, as I said in my first post, I started it because we were discussing the issue in a Coppola thread and I didnt feel it appropriate to continue there. I also felt a discussion thread on Spielberg would be a good idea and discussing whether his later work is as good as his earlier work is as good a place to start as any.

Quote:
And NO, comparisons are NOT pointless.

And how exactly do you compare a film like Jaws to a film like Catch Me If You Can. Both are completely different kinds of film. Your original basis for comparison was to say whether his current output is better or worse, not to show how he had aged or matured as a director. Exactly what are you comparing here and how do you reach your conclusion? I'd much rather view each film on its own merits.

Quote:
I guess you missed the part where I said that I am a big fan of Spielberg

Not at all. From the tone of your post though you seem to have taken offense at something and I'm sorry if that's the case.

Quote:
And no one is talking about box office appeal.
Fair enough. I misinterpreted your original post.

Quote:
Anyway, A.I. was terrible. Boring and uninspired. You are definitely in the minority on that one. That shows Spielberg at his worst where he doesn't seem inspired.

Well I could go on for pages on this one, but as A.I. is currently my favourite of Spielberg's films, and it seems to be your least favourite, there is probably little point. But "Boring and uninspired" ? I hardly think members of the HTF would devote over 15 pages of discussion and at times, extremely lengthy discussion to a film that was boring and uninspired. I would say its his most accomplished and complex work to date. Although if you want to tell me why you thought it was uninspired and boring.... Posted Image

If your interested Posted Image
http://www.brightlig...m.com/48/ai.htm

My Top 5 Spielberg films

1. Artificial Intelligence
2. E.T.
3. Schindler's List
4. Raiders Of The Lost Ark
5. Jaws

My Worst Spielberg films

1. Always
2. Hook
3. 1941
4. The Lost World
5. The Terminal (not a bad film, but I expect more from Spielberg than this)

Quote:
If only all directors could crash and burn so elegantly.

I couldnt have put it better.
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#13 of 106 OFFLINE   Kain_C

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Posted May 28 2005 - 06:45 AM

I apologize if my post sounded harsh. Rough morning.

However, I do stand by my statements. Works can be compared with each other and it is a commonly practiced idea. You always hear people talking about how much better or worse someone is compared to their earlier works. If an actor gets better, it's not uncommon to hear someone say something like for example, "Russell Crowe did much better work in A Beautiful Mind than in L.A. Confidential. He really has improved." Or just the opposite.

And again, I am not saying Spielberg is a bad director now. Not even close. He is still great in my eye. I am just saying the quality of his work is diminished from what it use to be. I've read several books on Spielberg and his life has affected what type of films he does. What made his older films so great was that Spielberg still had a child's mind and he brought that wonder of childhood to his films. As he grew and he got married, had/adopted kids, his types of films changed as did their quality. Had Spielberg done Raiders of the Lost Ark last year, I can almost guarantee that it wouldn't have been close to what it is. So many elements, that sense of adventure and heroism found in imaginations of children, would have been lost.

And it really doesn't matter how many pages was spent discussing a film. I've seen films like XXX and the like go on for many pages. Plus this is Spielberg, so it will naturally draw attention regardless of the quality of his work.

#14 of 106 OFFLINE   Joe Cortez

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Posted May 28 2005 - 06:48 AM

Most of the people I talk to seem to feel that Spielberg has been wanning in his later years, but I think he is one of the most consistent directors (in terms of the quality of his output) working today.

While I've enjoyed most every film he's put out in the past seven years, "A.I." remians my favorite of all his incredible achievements. More than just a remarkable cinematic journey, "A.I.," to me, showed the growth of Spielberg as a visual storyteller in the sense that he uses the frame (and not so much the dialogue) to convey his themes and messages, it also proved without a shadow of a doubt that even well into his third decade as Hollywood's most successful filmmaker ever, he's still a cinematic force to be reckoned with.

#15 of 106 OFFLINE   Kevin Grey

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Posted May 28 2005 - 07:54 AM

Had Spielberg done Raiders of the Lost Ark last year, I can almost guarantee that it wouldn't have been close to what it is. So many elements, that sense of adventure and heroism found in imaginations of children, would have been lost.


I disagree here. I don't think Raiders would have changed much. There's an almost ruthless efficiency to the action in Raiders that I think is very characteristic of Spielbergs more recent films.

ET, on the other hand, would probably be a different film from today's Spielberg. But even at that point he was already accused of being overly manipulative which is another characteristic Spielberg has learned from and since reigned in.

I think the Spielberg of today could still have made most of his early just as effectively, if not better. However I don't the Spielber of the late 70s, early 80s would have pulled off Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, Minority Report, or Catch Me if You Can nearly as well. And say what you will about A.I. (I'm in the camp that enjoyed it very much) it would have been an absolute disaster from early Spielberg.

#16 of 106 OFFLINE   Kain_C

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Posted May 28 2005 - 08:07 AM

Quote:
There's an almost ruthless efficiency to the action in Raiders that I think is very characteristic of Spielbergs more recent films.


Yeah, like changing shotguns to walkie-talkies? That's just one reason Raiders wouldn't have been nearly as good. You probably wouldn't have bad guys that are as sympathetic as they are now nor would you have nearly the level of intensity present in the action. Minority Report shows that 'restrained' level of action.

BTW, I may give A.I. another shot. I saw it once and long ago. I may feel differently with another viewing.

#17 of 106 OFFLINE   Kevin Grey

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Posted May 28 2005 - 08:24 AM

Yeah, like changing shotguns to walkie-talkies? That's just one reason Raiders wouldn't have been nearly as good. You probably wouldn't have bad guys that are as sympathetic as they are now nor would you have nearly the level of intensity present in the action. Minority Report shows that 'restrained' level of action.


I thought we were talking about Raiders and not ET? If Spielberg wanted to nerf Raiders at all he had his opportunity with the DVD release and he didn't mess with it.

#18 of 106 OFFLINE   AlexCremers

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Posted May 28 2005 - 09:06 AM

BTW, I may give A.I. another shot. I saw it once and long ago. I may feel differently with another viewing.


If you don't buy 'A.I', like me, then it gets worse with each viewing. The third time I stopped watching in the middle of the third act.
Spielberg is not the same man he was decades ago. His interests have shifted. Today his action movies are somewhat uninspired, with less heart and soul putten into them. He seemingly reserves that for films like 'Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan'.

#19 of 106 OFFLINE   Jeff Adkins

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Posted May 28 2005 - 09:19 AM

I'll throw in my 2 cents here as I have strong feelings on this subject. I think Spielberg has grown into a more mature film directorin the last 5-7 years. He's obviously more concerned with making compelling stories than popcorn movies for the masses (and he was possibly the best at making popcorn movies as any director ever was). My guess is that he's just not inspired to make those kinds of films anymore.

I think A.I. is his best work yet. I was ridiculed by many at the time for saying that but I stand by it to this day. Minority Report and Catch Me If You Can are two of my favorite films in the last few years. I'm sorry, but 1941, Always, and The Lost World are pretty bad films. Hook is almost unwatchable and Jurassic Park is a terrific concept that is flawed by some terrible acting. It's a great film by Jerry Bruckheimer standards, but I like to think of Spielberg on a much higher level than that.

I'd rank his films:

Top 5

1) A.I.
2) Close Encounters
3) Schindler's List
4) Minority Report
5) Jaws


Bottom 5

1) The Lost World
2) Hook
3) Always
4) 1941
5) Jurassic Park

#20 of 106 OFFLINE   Chuck Mayer

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Posted May 28 2005 - 09:24 AM

Quote:
Missers: Always, Amistad, A.I., The terminal, The Lost World, Jurassic Park, Temple Of Doom, The Last Crusade, Hook, Minority Report
And that list is head and shoulders over 95% of what most directors have on their resumes as their best film. As Spielberg has grown up, his films have deepened.

As for A.I., it's not my favorite film, but I see the absolute genius in it. One of those films I don't like nearly as much as I respect. Hard sci-fi is often unpopular.

This is always an interesting discussion. I think the breadth of SS's filmography will be tops in the business when he makes his last film.

A staunch supporter/defender of SS,
Chuck
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