What are your 4 favorite Spielberg directed films ?

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What are your 4 favorite Spielberg directed films ?

Postby GBaxter » Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:40 pm

What are currently your 4 personal favorite Steven Spielberg directed films only and please separately say why
for each fave film named, as in for SS's direction, the script, acting, cinematography, music and/or a combo
of all of these factors.
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Re: What are your 4 favorite Spielberg directed films ?

Postby Steve T Power » Mon Jun 13, 2011 8:52 am

Spielberg is kind of an odd cat in many respects. It's amazing how many people associate him with films like Gremlins or the Goonies, when (all us Jury room locals know of course) he didn't direct them. So much of the "whimsical nostalgia" that gets associated with the man actually comes from ancillary projects he had modest to minimal involvement with.

That said, and I know not everyone agrees here, Spielberg is the single greatest director who's ever lived, and likely ever will. He's the Wayne Gretzky of the film world. Sure Bobby Orr and Gordie Howe were legends, but Gretzky took their game and ran with it. Spielberg does the same to guys like Ford, Hitchcock, Kurosawa, and Curtiz.

My fave five from 5th to 1st:

Duel
Empire of the Sun
Munich
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Saving Private Ryan
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Re: What are your 4 favorite Spielberg directed films ?

Postby Dan Mancini » Mon Jun 13, 2011 9:56 am

Schindler's List
A deeply personal project, completely void of Spielberg's trademark adolescent sensibilities. It's not one of my favorite Spielberg flicks to watch, but I admire it on nearly all levels (despite an ending that gets a bit cloying).

Jaws
A perfect monster movie. Period. Inventively shot, wonderfully acted, and loaded with suspense.

Raiders of the Lost Ark
Great characters, great dialogue, great story, and pound-for-pound still the greatest action movie ever made.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind
To me, this is the quintessential Spielberg movie. One of only a handful of projects that he wrote himself, it manages to be personal (one gets the sense that both Roy Neary and Barry Guiler are versions of Spielberg himself) while also radically reinventing the alien invasion genre. Plus, I just have a great time every time I watch it.
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Re: What are your 4 favorite Spielberg directed films ?

Postby J.M. Vargas » Mon Jun 13, 2011 9:59 am

A.I. Artificial Intelligence (despite the maddening never-ending endings the fusion of Kubrick's and Spielberg's visions are just too strong for this not to be an endlessly fascinating studio picture)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (just the fact Steven has renounced the ending of the movie makes me love the fact he once used to be this ballsy and visionary)
Munich (those weird 'Bana getting off' shots notwithstanding, I really dug the film's palpable sense of time and place along with the political/assassination historical modifications for the sake of expediency)
Jaws (Scheider, Shaw and Dreyfuss on a boat with a giant killer shark on their heels; the first half is no pushover but to me it's all set-up for the killer second half, even if the characters are watered-down from Benchley's original and superior book narrative)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (the best adventure movie ever made, period. The sequels are pale attempts at capturing lightning in a bottle, which is what "Raiders" is).

Since there's many Spielberg flicks I've never seen ("1941," "Always," "Schindler's List," "Duel," "The Terminal," etc.) take that list with a grain of salt. Also I enjoy more movies that Spielberg has produced/endorsed with his name ("Gremlins," "Innerspace," "Men In Black," etc.) way more than the movies he actually directed. This is specially true of the mid-to-late 80's, when Steven went mature ("Color Purple," "Empire of the Sun," "Always," etc.) while the likes of Zemeckis and Dante directed the Spielberg-endorsed magic stuff I dug.
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Re: What are your 4 favorite Spielberg directed films ?

Postby Bryan Pope » Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:05 am

Duel -- Still holds up so well. Spielberg established himself early on as a top-notch director of suspense. And it wasn't a fluke, as we learned with...

Jaws -- Ditto what Dancini said, only to add that I respectfully disagree with Vargas. I found Benchly's "prose" almost unreadable, and the film was one of the best examples of a film improving on its source material.

Raiders of the Lost Ark -- Pure cinematic fun. Sheer perfection on every level.

Minority Report -- Speaking of "minority," I'm probably in it in praising this film. But I like the story and how it's married to the effects (effects that help depict a credible not-so-distant future without calling too much attention to themselves).
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Re: What are your 4 favorite Spielberg directed films ?

Postby HGervais » Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:14 am

Jaws...it is everything Dan said and more.

Raiders of the Lost Arc

Duel...the warm up for Jaws is almost pitch perfect.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind...pretty much the pure form of everything Spielberg had been and would be about for a long time.

Munich...of his later, more "mature" works this one takes the cake.

Temple of Doom almost makes the list. Yeah it is different from Raiders and yes it is scary & creepy in a way he has never returned to but for me that works in its favor. And of the movies he produced but not supposed to have directed I have to throw Poltergeist into the mix. The more I read about it the more I'm convinced Spielberg had a lot more to do with it than Hopper has claimed. I've seen reports of interviews where Zelda Rubinstein claims the only person who directed her in the week she spent on the set was Spielberg. And honestly, Poltergeist looks & feels like a Spielberg movie.
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Re: What are your 4 favorite Spielberg directed films ?

Postby Bryan Pope » Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:26 am

HGervais wrote:The more I read about it the more I'm convinced Spielberg had a lot more to do with it than Hopper has claimed. I've seen reports of interviews where Zelda Rubinstein claims the only person who directed her in the week she spent on the set was Spielberg. And honestly, Poltergeist looks & feels like a Spielberg movie.

I think it was the "F This Movie" podcast that devoted an entire episode to this issue. Something about Spielberg being contractually forbidden to be credited as director of a movie that would be competing with a film that already had his name on it (E.T.). Or something like that. Someone call in Patrick Bromley to clean up the mess I probably just made of this story.
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Re: What are your 4 favorite Spielberg directed films ?

Postby LarryLockyer » Mon Jun 13, 2011 12:31 pm

Raiders of the lost arc
Munich
Saving Private Ryan
Minority Report

in no order


Also Im adding a fifth


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Re: What are your 4 favorite Spielberg directed films ?

Postby Gabriel Girard » Mon Jun 13, 2011 9:00 pm

No order:

Jaws
Minority Report
Schindler's List
Close Encounters Of The Third Kind
Raiders Of The Lost Ark

Never Seen : Amistad, Always, 1941, The Color Purple, Empire Of The Sun, Saving Private Ryan.
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Re: What are your 4 favorite Spielberg directed films ?

Postby cdouglas » Mon Jun 13, 2011 9:20 pm

Dan Mancini wrote:Schindler's List
A deeply personal project, completely void of Spielberg's trademark adolescent sensibilities. It's not one of my favorite Spielberg flicks to watch, but I admire it on nearly all levels (despite an ending that gets a bit cloying).

Jaws
A perfect monster movie. Period. Inventively shot, wonderfully acted, and loaded with suspense.

Raiders of the Lost Ark
Great characters, great dialogue, great story, and pound-for-pound still the greatest action movie ever made.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind
To me, this is the quintessential Spielberg movie. One of only a handful of projects that he wrote himself, it manages to be personal (one gets the sense that both Roy Neary and Barry Guiler are versions of Spielberg himself) while also radically reinventing the alien invasion genre. Plus, I just have a great time every time I watch it.


These are the four I would go with, but it pains me to leave A.I., E.T. and Munich off the list. I need to check out Always at some point, as it's the only Spielberg flick I haven't seen. The only Spielberg films which I actually dislike are The Lost World and 1941 (though Hook comes close).
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Re: What are your 4 favorite Spielberg directed films ?

Postby mavrach » Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:41 pm

Raiders of the Lost Ark - One of the few movies that I grew up with that has consistently been a favorite, regardless of my age. Absolutely rewatchable.

Jaws - Along with Raiders, I submit this as proof that you can make a fun action blockbuster, that is still a well-told story with perfect performances of memorable characters. Those do not have to be exclusive to one another.

Schindler's List - What else can be said about this one? To be honest I held off on seeing it until only a couple years ago because I expected it to be depressing. I knew it would be amazing, but held off because I didn't want to be saddened by a movie. I was shocked to find it to be an uplifting experience.

A.I. - A blend of Kubrick's darkness with Spielberg's sentiment worked for me. They did not know how to market this movie, with its tagline "He is not real but his love is," reeling in the E.T. crowd. I've said this before but I can't believe this movie hasn't found an audience at this point. The flaw is the downer ending, I'm convinced they couldn't figure out how to end it.

I saw Poltergiest & Close Encounters when I was very young and think I need to give them another shot. Still haven't seen Munich, which has been sitting on my shelf unwatched since it came out.


I have a love/hate relationship with Spielberg. Sweet warm stories don't usually sit well with me, even if it's well-made. It's just me, I like to see darkness in my movies. I cannot watch E.T, but I won't argue that it's a bad movie.

Spielberg has proven time after time that he's capable of making amazing and groundbreaking movies, moreso than most people in Hollywood. When he tries, he can make a PERFECT movie. So that's why I get so angry when I see him crap out duds like Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull or The Terminal, or just make bland movies like Catch Me if you Can. Maybe I've seen it too many times, but I consider Jurassic Park to be bland. The Lost World completely falls apart, and War of the Worlds starts out amazing but just drops the ball.

Spielberg could be 100% in my book if he just made less movies, maybe one every five years or so, just make those perfect movies that I know he can make. I think he tries too hard to make blockbusters that reach everybody and shatter box office records. After all, he's one of the only directors that mainstream movie audiences can name. I'd like to see him try something darker, maybe that isn't wholesome that's for the whole family.

That's the other thing. When I think of all the directors that I love, most of them are making movies for adults. Spielberg makes movies for families, hence why most of us grew up watching his movies. Did any of us grow up with Peckinpah or Cronenberg? I don't think so. But as an adult, I want a little more than action heroes, suburban families, sweet aliens, or historical documentation. Spielberg doesn't have that, he'll always go for the blockbuster. That's my problem with him!
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: What are your 4 favorite Spielberg directed films ?

Postby Paul Kile » Wed Jun 15, 2011 6:37 am

I agree the best Spielberg movies are the ones which don't try to be blockbuster material. The best part of his career is his early days, before he became a Hollywood god. He is also at his best when he pays homage to an earlier film or style. I am going to cheat a bit here and include some TV shows:

Duel - there was a period in the late 1960's and early 1970's when TV movies were more than dreck cranked out by unimaginative clones. This movie roared through living rooms like the starring tanker truck, leaving stunned audiences in its wake. Dennis Weaver was also perfectly cast as the milquetoast victim, driving the ultimate plain vanilla Valiant. They don't make 'em like this anymore!

Amazing Stories - The Mission A segment involving a B-17 crew trying to make it back to base with a shot-up plane, a crewmember stuck in the ball turret, and the main gear inoperative. The "oddball" crewmember who spent his free time drawing cartoons ends up saving the day.

Catch Me If You Can - Someone previously characterized this film as "bland". I think they missed the point. The movie was a perfect homage to the "caper" movies of the 1960's, complete with cool Saul Bass-like opening credits and a smokin jazz soundtrack. I was so blown away by the opening credits that my wife used them as a theme for my '50th birthday party, my cake even had a Shag airport lounge motif.

Always - Another example of Spielberg showing his love for an earlier movie, in this case A Guy Named Joe. The plot was lifted almost exactly from the earlier effort, with the only change being the substitution of wildfires as the enemy. Sure it was maudlin, but so was every other love story made during WWII. And anyone who enjoys aviation has to love the opening scene with the PBY flat-hatting the guys in the fishing boat!

The Name of the Game - LA 2017 One of the most memorable episodes of the rotating series "The Name of the Game", publisher Glenn Howard (Gene Barry) is in an auto accident, waking up 46 years in the future. LA has been devastated by an environmental disaster, and the population has moved underground. Not only did Spielberg direct, but Philip Wylie wrote the script - he was co-author of "When Worlds Collide". My favorite scene was watching a rock band perform, consisting of all really old guys with long hair...sort of like what the Rolling Stones have become today!
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Re: What are your 4 favorite Spielberg directed films ?

Postby Andrew Forbes » Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:53 am

Glad to see Muich getting some love. It's one of the best movies of the past decade. Blu-ray now!
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Re: What are your 4 favorite Spielberg directed films ?

Postby the5thghostbuster » Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:25 pm

To be fully honest, it would be much easier for me to come up with 4 Spielberg films I hate rather than 4 favourites. With the exception of Jaws, the first three Indy films, and Duel, most of the supposed Spielberg greats just strike me as rather constructed works that are trying to seem like a fun time rather than being a fun time.

If I had to have a list, it would probably be: 1) Jaws 2) Duel 3) Raiders of the Lost Ark, and, maybe, 4) Munich, though I have never felt a desire to rewatch that film.

My hate list would be: 1) Jurrassic Park (I will never figure out how he managed to take a cinematic novel and make it into a such a lifeless film) 2) The Lost World (technically worse than Jurrassic Park, but given that it was working from terrible source material, it didn't have as far to fall), 3) Empire of the Sun (only he could take a bleak, dark, and brilliant novel and say to himself "This would be a great boy's adventure film!") and 4) the final scene of Saving Private Ryan, a scene so bad that pretty much ruins an otherwise excellent film.

Now, if this was a list of Spielberg produced films, this would be another situation entirely. I would take nearly every film he has ever produced over the films he has directed. A top four list would be: 1) Gremlins 2: the New Batch 2) Gremlins 3) Who Framed Roger Rabbitt and 4) Back to the Future, with regret for not including Young Sherlock Holmes, Twilight Zone the Movie and Poltergeist.
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Re: What are your 4 favorite Spielberg directed films ?

Postby stypee » Sun Jun 19, 2011 9:09 pm

The film that made me want to make films, write and all the such in the first place and I don't care how cheesy you think I am..

First and foremost..

E.T.

Second,

Schindler's List which has been on my mind lately for some reason.

Third and how could you not even mention..

Jaws the film that created the 7 minute rule, which is a tad bit unfortunate but never the less great

Fourth

I have to carefully think about number 4.. That's going to be a tough one since I love nearly all his films.
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Re: What are your 4 favorite Spielberg directed films ?

Postby stypee » Sun Jun 19, 2011 9:15 pm

mavrach wrote:[
I saw Poltergiest & Close Encounters when I was very young and think I need to give them another shot. Still haven't seen Munich, which has been sitting on my shelf unwatched since it came out.




Allot of people keep calling "Poltergeist" a Spielberg movie. While yes, he did produce it and he was involved with the infamous ending, it was Tobe Hooper who directed it. I always feel bad that Hooper doesn't get credit for that "Poltergeist". He's only done a handful of movies (yes, mainly misses but a few good ones in there never-the-less) however he does deserve credit where it's due!
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Re: What are your 4 favorite Spielberg directed films ?

Postby HGervais » Sun Jun 19, 2011 9:43 pm

stypee wrote:
Allot of people keep calling "Poltergeist" a Spielberg movie. While yes, he did produce it and he was involved with the infamous ending, it was Tobe Hooper who directed it. I always feel bad that Hooper doesn't get credit for that "Poltergeist". He's only done a handful of movies (yes, mainly misses but a few good ones in there never-the-less) however he does deserve credit where it's due!

Except the production of the film continues to be muddled. Does Hooper have the director's credit? Of course he does. Does that mean Spielberg didn't direct the lion's share of the film? We don't know. All I know is over the years I have moved from your camp to unsure. The more you watch the movie, the more it films like a Spielberg movie through & through.
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Re: What are your 4 favorite Spielberg directed films ?

Postby stypee » Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:55 am

HGervais wrote:
stypee wrote:
Allot of people keep calling "Poltergeist" a Spielberg movie. While yes, he did produce it and he was involved with the infamous ending, it was Tobe Hooper who directed it. I always feel bad that Hooper doesn't get credit for that "Poltergeist". He's only done a handful of movies (yes, mainly misses but a few good ones in there never-the-less) however he does deserve credit where it's due!

Except the production of the film continues to be muddled. Does Hooper have the director's credit? Of course he does. Does that mean Spielberg didn't direct the lion's share of the film? We don't know. All I know is over the years I have moved from your camp to unsure. The more you watch the movie, the more it films like a Spielberg movie through & through.


I agree with you on that one.. I just recall the whole ending having allot to do with Spielberg, I am now second guessing the whole thing.. you have a good point.
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Re: What are your 4 favorite Spielberg directed films ?

Postby Attrage » Fri Jun 24, 2011 11:34 pm

Empire of the Sun – This would probably make my top four films of all time, nevermind ones directed by Steven Spielberg. Some of the finest shots ever committed to film, a score that is both understated and overwhelming, pitch-perfect casting and performances, and a brilliant story to tie all that together.

Jaws – As entertaining to me today as it was when I first saw it as a kid, and a great example of the “less is more” principle in filmmaking. Quint’s story on the boat in the dead of night while they are quietly stalked by a killer shark is still spine-tingling even after many viewings.

Schindler’s List – I can still remember being in the audience seeing this film for the first time and how the whole theatre sat in silence until the very last credit had rolled. Some even sat there long after the lights had come up. Any doubters that Speilberg was a “serious” filmmaker were firmly STFU by this film.

And last but not least, Raiders of the Lost Ark – probably the best action adventure ever made. Again, a perfect combination of great casting, score, script, everything coming together to tell a fantastic story in a fantastic way.

But just for the hell of it, I must be a voice of dissent and say, that I cannot understand the big fuss over Saving Private Ryan. Don’t get me wrong here folks, the first 20 minutes or so depicting the Omaha Beach landing are some of the most harrowing and brilliant minutes in any film, ever. But for me, it’s all downhill from there.
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Re: What are your 4 favorite Spielberg directed films ?

Postby HGervais » Sat Jun 25, 2011 12:39 am

Attrage wrote:But just for the hell of it, I must be a voice of dissent and say, that I cannot understand the big fuss over Saving Private Ryan. Don’t get me wrong here folks, the first 20 minutes or so depicting the Omaha Beach landing are some of the most harrowing and brilliant minutes in any film, ever. But for me, it’s all downhill from there.

That isn't such a radical statement around here. There are a lot of people who fell the same way. Still, it's due to the strength & power of that opening sequence that Saving Private Ryan is remembered so fondly.
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Re: What are your 4 favorite Spielberg directed films ?

Postby JoshRode » Sat Jun 25, 2011 1:56 am

HGervais wrote:
Attrage wrote:But just for the hell of it, I must be a voice of dissent and say, that I cannot understand the big fuss over Saving Private Ryan. Don’t get me wrong here folks, the first 20 minutes or so depicting the Omaha Beach landing are some of the most harrowing and brilliant minutes in any film, ever. But for me, it’s all downhill from there.

That isn't such a radical statement around here. There are a lot of people who fell the same way. Still, it's due to the strength & power of that opening sequence that Saving Private Ryan is remembered so fondly.


And the slow knife-death scene near the end that keeps me from ever watching it again.
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Re: What are your 4 favorite Spielberg directed films ?

Postby mavrach » Sat Jun 25, 2011 7:42 am

One more point I forgot to add:

Jaws & Raiders of the Lost Ark are proof that you can have an awesome action movie without a lead that's a 25-year old beautiful person. That seems to be the requirement nowadays.
+1. this is very interesting.
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