At the risk of getting hammered, I’ll go even further with E.T.- in my opinion, it’s the most overrated film I’ve ever seen. I saw it twice- when it was still new in the theaters (I was 19 at the time, and uneducated in film)- I didn’t like it. I gave it another chance about 10 years ago, being a more educated film fan with a wider
scope of tastes, and my opinion changed not
in the slightest.
I saw it on its opening day. Got completely suckered into it. A week later, an out-of-town friend was visiting, and she hadn't seen it, so I dragged her to the theater. By the end of the film, I couldn't for the life of me figure out why I had been so enamored of it the first time. Nor could I quite put my finger on just what I thought was wrong with it.
A half-year later, I saw Airplane II. There's a scene where a boy and his family arrive at the space shuttle gate. The boy is excited and tells the security guard about how he's especially excited because he's taking his dog Scraps to the moon! The guard frowns, and says in a concerned voice, "I'm sorry, but they don't allow dogs on the moon. I'll have to shoot him here." He pulls out a gun, fires it, and the dog falls over on the floor. The kid is distraught, the parents horrified. Then the guard laughes and says, "I'm only kidding; just blanks!" Scraps bounces to his feet, and the boy and parents heave a sigh of relief, and they all have a laugh.
And I said to myself, "That's what was wrong with E.T.! Spielberg killed the title character, and after wringing every tear out of his audience, said, "Only kidding; just blanks!"
I slowly lost interest in Spielberg's work after that. He's just too manipulative. I feel odd saying that, because all art is manipulative. Inherently so. But Spielberg isn't subtle about it. As I put it to a friend later on, when I see a film from a director like, say, Kubrick, I see Oz The Great And Powerful. When I see a film from Spielberg, I see a man behind a curtain throwing switches and barking into a microphone. And sorry to say, given that many people hear seem to like Minority Report, I didn't. I hadn't bothered with it until FOX started their failed TV series based on it, and found it just barely watchable. On the SF end of things, I also thought his War of the Worlds was a yawner.
I still like Jaws, and maintain a fondness for the Indiana Jones movies (even, much to my surprise, Crystal Skull), but otherwise, I can't think of a single film of his I liked unreservedly.