Spielberg -- Why?

Which director made the best films, made the best visuals, or smelled the best? This is the forum to find out.

Postby tapehead on Fri Aug 25, 2006 1:09 pm

For me, it fades into the background like no other work of Senor Spielbergo I can think of - Goldie was cute though.

I don't know why MW brought it up really :D
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Postby monorail77 on Fri Aug 25, 2006 1:13 pm

Speilberg has had a drought of passion before in his career, but I don't think its what's happening now at all.

For example, I can't get behind the sentimentality or love or whatever people have for Last Crusade. I can't say its awful, parts of it are fun, but its certainly not up to the standard of the other two. I don't think Spielberg had the passion for making this one that he had for the other two. I get a distinct "going thru the motions" vibe from this film. Its like the TV movie version of Indy. "All the old favourites are back" in a cookie cutter return to the format of the original Raiders, to make up for fan disappointement, I suppose, with Temple of Doom (which has enjoyed much more fan aprreciation as time goes by then when it was originally released). Its like the Love Boat episode of Indy. If you want to talk about Spielberg losing his heart and zeal for a project, I think this was the film. I think he was tired of that shtick already by the time he made Last Crusade. he went on to do much more exciting and passionate work.

Who said he's lost his sense of wonder in his films? I disagree strongly. Just look at Minority Report. This is a jaw dropping film, popping with innovations in narrative and visuals. It remains one of my favourite films of all time.

Who said he's lost the passion in filmaking from his younger days? I point you to Munich. He made this right from his gut. Its, as far as I know, the first time he broke from his habit of rigorous pre-planning and storyboarding, and just went out and shot the thing in a hurry and full of passion and zeal. See, he's still experimenting. His "shoot from the hip, straight from the heart" (forgive me the cliches) really shows in Munich. Its a visceral film and its saying many things without necessarily a clear idea of where exactly they lead. The film presents, but doesn't make conclusions for the viewer. Its like Speilberg's version of a Jackson Pollock painting: thrown up in a frenzy of creativity and left for others to ponder. I don't think even Speilberg knows what it all means, but he was compelled to tell the story, so he up and did it. I think the result is pretty teriffic. Its his most exciting work in ages and like to see more of this "new" Speilberg style.

Stevie's still got it, IMO, and I look forward to his next pic. Anyone know what it might be.
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Postby MasterWhedon on Fri Aug 25, 2006 1:13 pm

tapehead wrote:I don't know why MW brought it up really :D

On principle, I like to keep this place in as much disarray as possible.
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Postby tapehead on Fri Aug 25, 2006 1:17 pm

MasterWhedon wrote:
tapehead wrote:I don't know why MW brought it up really :D

On principle, I like to keep this place in as much disarray as possible.


ah yes, divide and conquer
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Re: RogueScribner

Postby TheBaxter on Fri Aug 25, 2006 1:23 pm

HeadlessCrane wrote:No, not if they can help it. I know plenty and none of them prefer that kind of life. Don't mistake fucking around for a year and then killing yourself at the last minute to get your work done with having to do it for 8 months at a time. It's not the same. Be honest... did we really need to lose Stanley Kubrick in exchange for getting Eyes Wide Shut? No doubts, his health went to shit with that movie and he died early because of it. That's not cool, that's sad.


if that's what it took to see nicole kidman's magnificent ass... then yes, it was worth it.
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Re: RogueScribner

Postby tapehead on Fri Aug 25, 2006 1:26 pm

TheBaxter wrote:
HeadlessCrane wrote:No, not if they can help it. I know plenty and none of them prefer that kind of life. Don't mistake fucking around for a year and then killing yourself at the last minute to get your work done with having to do it for 8 months at a time. It's not the same. Be honest... did we really need to lose Stanley Kubrick in exchange for getting Eyes Wide Shut? No doubts, his health went to shit with that movie and he died early because of it. That's not cool, that's sad.


if that's what it took to see nicole kidman's magnificent ass... then yes, it was worth it.


You can just dig out 'Windrider' from '86 for that - I'd rather have had a little more Kubrick
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Postby TheBaxter on Fri Aug 25, 2006 1:30 pm

Chilli wrote:I think there is, for me, a difference between respecting what Spielberg's done and liking it.

He didn't need to move to adult stuff in my book. Stuff like Indiana Jones is classic cinema, and doesn't deserve to be dismissed by so many as 'trifling' under the comparison of Munich's and the like.


this reminds me of the people who complain about bands who change their sound, like radiohead or the beatles. do you think any artist just wants to keep doing the same thing over and over? he probably DID need to move on to more adult subjects... otherwise he would've gotten burned out and stopped making movies altogether.

it's a shame no one else has come along who can make a popcorn movie as good as spielberg once did. instead we get stuck with the likes of michael bay and roland emmerich. but that's not steve's fault. instead of blaming him for doing what all artists do and moving on, we should blame all the crappy directors who never learned from him how to make those movies properly.
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Postby austenandrews on Fri Aug 25, 2006 1:31 pm

What Spielberg always has that makes him outstanding is a passion for the craft. Even when he's not emotionally invested in the material (like on The Lost World) he knows all the rules and tricks of how to put together a good scene with nice pictures and forward motion. In that respect he and Scorsese are two of a kind. Even with weak material, even when they're phoning it in, the technical skill is always evident.
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Re: Spielberg--Why?

Postby HollywoodBabylon on Fri Aug 25, 2006 1:48 pm

MasterWhedon wrote:
HollywoodBabylon wrote:
MasterWhedon wrote:
tapehead wrote:I think if you want to see where Spielberg learnt his most valuable lessons, look at '1941', and 'Empire of the Sun' - there are reasons, for the first one good, for the latter, bad, that these films are amongst his most obscure. I'd be willing to bet there's quite a few Speilberg fans who haven't watched either (or 'Always' for that matter)

P-51! Cadillac of the sky!

The truest test is who's seen Sugarland Express?



Me! It's been on the Filmfour channel here in the UK a few times. And it's a pretty good film - no, infact, it's more than that; it's a small jewel of a movie with a jazzy, freewheeling kind of direction and great performances (especially Goldie Hawn). It deserves a far higher profile in the Spielberg canon than it currently has. I'd certainly put it in his top 10 best, for sure.

Really? I was really underwhelmed, and I loves me some Spielberg.


There's something really zestful and youthful about it, IMO. I love Spielberg's unbridled approach to the story and how uninhibited he films it - I think he did a marvellous job in conveying the eagerness and chaos of the outlaws frenetic journey. For a large screen debut movie it's a pretty assured effort, I think. Not a Badlands I know, but all the same it's one of the most underestimated US movies from that early-mid 70's period (along with Bogdanovich's Paper Moon).
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Re: Spielberg--Why?

Postby TheBaxter on Fri Aug 25, 2006 1:59 pm

MasterWhedon wrote:
HollywoodBabylon wrote:
MasterWhedon wrote:
tapehead wrote:I think if you want to see where Spielberg learnt his most valuable lessons, look at '1941', and 'Empire of the Sun' - there are reasons, for the first one good, for the latter, bad, that these films are amongst his most obscure. I'd be willing to bet there's quite a few Speilberg fans who haven't watched either (or 'Always' for that matter)

P-51! Cadillac of the sky!

The truest test is who's seen Sugarland Express?



Me! It's been on the Filmfour channel here in the UK a few times. And it's a pretty good film - no, infact, it's more than that; it's a small jewel of a movie with a jazzy, freewheeling kind of direction and great performances (especially Goldie Hawn). It deserves a far higher profile in the Spielberg canon than it currently has. I'd certainly put it in his top 10 best, for sure.

Really? I was really underwhelmed, and I loves me some Spielberg.


i saw it a few months ago. i thought it was just OK too. if i hadn't known ahead of time this was a spielberg film, i never would have guessed it. it was competent, but didn't really show his greatness like later films.
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Re: RogueScribner

Postby TheBaxter on Fri Aug 25, 2006 2:02 pm

tapehead wrote:
TheBaxter wrote:
HeadlessCrane wrote:No, not if they can help it. I know plenty and none of them prefer that kind of life. Don't mistake fucking around for a year and then killing yourself at the last minute to get your work done with having to do it for 8 months at a time. It's not the same. Be honest... did we really need to lose Stanley Kubrick in exchange for getting Eyes Wide Shut? No doubts, his health went to shit with that movie and he died early because of it. That's not cool, that's sad.


if that's what it took to see nicole kidman's magnificent ass... then yes, it was worth it.


You can just dig out 'Windrider' from '86 for that - I'd rather have had a little more Kubrick


never heard of it. but is she as hot in that as she was in EWS? that shot of her that goes up from her ankles to her head as she's getting dressed... that's a shot worth dying for. but i guess i'd have to say, i'd rather have a little more of both.
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Postby Ribbons on Fri Aug 25, 2006 2:05 pm

Sorry for the off-topic-ness, but everytime I see this thread title I think of that episode of "Family Guy":

Wife: Thomas, will you please go out and look for a job?

"Philosopher" Thomas Griffin: ..........wwwwwhy?


It keeps cracking me up. Just figured I'd, y'know, umm... share that. :oops:
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Re: RogueScribner

Postby Al Shut on Fri Aug 25, 2006 2:08 pm

TheBaxter wrote:never heard of it. but is she as hot in that as she was in EWS? that shot of her that goes up from her ankles to her head as she's getting dressed... that's a shot worth dying for. but i guess i'd have to say, i'd rather have a little more of both.


That's easily said if someone else does the dying.
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Re: RogueScribner

Postby tapehead on Fri Aug 25, 2006 2:08 pm

TheBaxter wrote:
tapehead wrote:
TheBaxter wrote:
HeadlessCrane wrote:No, not if they can help it. I know plenty and none of them prefer that kind of life. Don't mistake fucking around for a year and then killing yourself at the last minute to get your work done with having to do it for 8 months at a time. It's not the same. Be honest... did we really need to lose Stanley Kubrick in exchange for getting Eyes Wide Shut? No doubts, his health went to shit with that movie and he died early because of it. That's not cool, that's sad.


if that's what it took to see nicole kidman's magnificent ass... then yes, it was worth it.


You can just dig out 'Windrider' from '86 for that - I'd rather have had a little more Kubrick




never heard of it. but is she as hot in that as she was in EWS? that shot of her that goes up from her ankles to her head as she's getting dressed... that's a shot worth dying for. but i guess i'd have to say, i'd rather have a little more of both.


Nah it was before her Hollywood/Cruise makeover - just a few years on from BMX Bandits - but still a very attractive young woman - 'Dead Calm', from '89 is a movie where you see a fair bit of delightful, pre-Cruise Kidman - with Billy Zane no less (back when he had hair)

She was hot as hell in 'To Die For', if you ask me
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Postby Chairman Kaga on Fri Aug 25, 2006 2:25 pm

TheBaxter wrote:
Chilli wrote:.
it's a shame no one else has come along who can make a popcorn movie as good as spielberg once did.

This I disagree on. I think the first POTC was right in line with the vibe of Raiders in terms of a fun popcorn movie. Other than that I can't think of a recent one.
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Re: RogueScribner

Postby TheBaxter on Fri Aug 25, 2006 2:52 pm

Al_Shut wrote:
TheBaxter wrote:never heard of it. but is she as hot in that as she was in EWS? that shot of her that goes up from her ankles to her head as she's getting dressed... that's a shot worth dying for. but i guess i'd have to say, i'd rather have a little more of both.


That's easily said if someone else does the dying.


yes. it is.

so easy, in fact, i'll say it again.

that was a shot worth (someone else) dying for.
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Postby Peven on Fri Aug 25, 2006 3:00 pm

Spielberg can't help he has a different perspective on things than he did 20-30 years ago. he's older, has a lot more money, and a much more respected and important position in the film-making community. that doesn't mean he can't still make good films, though. he's not so old that we shouldn't expect at least a few more great films from him before he's finished too, imo.
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Postby LeFlambeur on Fri Aug 25, 2006 6:44 pm

I actually like the new Spielberg. I thought War of the Worlds was unfairly maligned. I mean sure, the script was utter shite, but the direction was among some of the best of his career. Both Munich and AI are among his best, easily in his top five as far as I'm concerned.
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Postby Doc Holliday on Fri Aug 25, 2006 6:55 pm

magicmonkey wrote:innocent, curious people getting slaughtered and mass panic, where is the heart in abject slaughter?


You're not looking hard enough MM - you should commute to London 5 days a week, gain a fresh perspective :D

I don't want to write Spielberg off - he's given us way too many classics already. But I do agree with Lady S's view on what has caused the shift in his films' tone more recently.

I'm down with him trying to make different types of film to those he was making twenty, even ten years ago - but he used to be excellent in terms of the types of shots he used and how he used them - more recently his films have been quite ordinary in how they've been shot. I cite that whole alien tentacle searching the house scene in WotW. Just left me flat - like a rubbish version of the Raptor in the Kitchen sequence - there was once a time Spielberg did scnees like that which had me cowering in terror within seconds...
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Postby Chairman Kaga on Fri Aug 25, 2006 10:03 pm

In that instance Doc could it be you who has changed with regards to how you view films? (same goes for everyone)
Isn't the heart of this thread a two part process where Speilberg is growing as an artist and you are growing as a viewer and sometimes you end up going in different directions? You can't put your foot in the same river twice.
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Postby monorail77 on Sat Aug 26, 2006 4:32 am

Chairman Kaga wrote:In that instance Doc could it be you who has changed with regards to how you view films? (same goes for everyone)
Isn't the heart of this thread a two part process where Speilberg is growing as an artist and you are growing as a viewer and sometimes you end up going in different directions? You can't put your foot in the same river twice.


Man, that's deep. :wink:

But OK, I admit its got merit. In my case, however, I find I've gotten less sophisticated and more immature. Keeps me in tune with the kids, y'know. Also keeps me appreciative of a decent piece of popcorn entertainment. I used to be a fucking highbrow snob Struggling Background Artist. Now, I'm a lowbrow Struggling Background Artist. Its working much better.
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Postby Tyrone_Shoelaces on Sat Aug 26, 2006 4:54 pm

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Postby Peven on Sat Aug 26, 2006 5:12 pm

Chairman Kaga wrote:In that instance Doc could it be you who has changed with regards to how you view films? (same goes for everyone)
Isn't the heart of this thread a two part process where Speilberg is growing as an artist and you are growing as a viewer and sometimes you end up going in different directions? You can't put your foot in the same river twice.



i dig your post and agree with the sentiment, but isn't the quote more specific, like "you can't step on the same piece of water twice"? something like that?






(at least, thats the way i remember it from "Circle of Iron" :wink: :D )
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Postby Doc Holliday on Sat Aug 26, 2006 6:29 pm

Chairman Kaga wrote:In that instance Doc could it be you who has changed with regards to how you view films? (same goes for everyone)
Isn't the heart of this thread a two part process where Speilberg is growing as an artist and you are growing as a viewer and sometimes you end up going in different directions? You can't put your foot in the same river twice.


Its something I've tried to be as honest with myself as possible about....

I reckon "no" though. Quint getting chomped still screws with my head. And the death of Goldberg in SPR fucked with me too (I often-times skip that scene when watching the DVD)

The one shot as the tank arrives...the building of tension. Hell - the whole T-Rex sequence in JP. Spielberg CAN still do it...he just doesn't - - that sequence in WotW doesn't give me anywhere near that sense of dread anticipation / rising tension because it just isn't very good...IMO. Its phoned in.

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Re: Spielberg--Why?

Postby Doc Holliday on Sat Aug 26, 2006 7:05 pm

tapehead wrote:I can't agree with this - a 'pariah'?, and 'outsider'? Spielberg is the most consistently succesful member of his generation of filmmakers - he and Lucas essentially defined the Blockbuster, whether you want to praise or lament that fact. Spielberg does not make 'outsider' movies - he works in mainstream Hollywood and makes films with themes that almost everyone can relate to. He is the very antithesis of a rebellious voice in Cinema, but he is still held in the highest esteem by geeks, and pop culture, and academia.
His generation were the Film Students who got a look in after the studios starting to pay attention to the fact that a movie like 'Easyrider' could have commercial success. From what I've read, these guys were like a gang - they hung out together. His contemporaries today: Peter Bogdanavich and Hal Ashby have laboured on into relative obscurity, Robert Altman, who was older to begin with, is now coming to the end of his career but still making movies,and nobody has discussed Coppola as an auteur very much since 'Apocalypse Now'. Lucas has 'the franchise' and his future as a Director is, frankly, uncertain - he may go more the direction of his old mentor Coppola and produce film but diminish greatly in the public's eye.
Spielberg, for his last couple at least, is making adult films. They do lack a sense of whimsy, because they are not films for children, but his adult films have always been like that - there's little whimsy in 'Jaws' for instance, or 'Duel' for that matter.

The Academy is not 'Hollywood', and hasn't ever been.

I think if you want to see where Spielberg learnt his most valuable lessons, look at '1941', and 'Empire of the Sun' - there are reasons, for the first one good, for the latter, bad, that these films are amongst his most obscure. I'd be willing to bet there's quite a few Speilberg fans who haven't watched either (or 'Always' for that matter)
This is a good thread and already there's been some very interesting arguments made, but I had to get past these contentions made in the first post.


As always a very informed POV. He is Mr Mainstream - sure. But...and most probably because of the fact he came from that rebellious stock with Coppola, Scorsese et al - it was power brokers, such as the Academy, that didn't acknowledge him for so long. Not that I'm contending that Hollywood and The Academy are one and the same...far from it...but Spielberg definitley stung that there was an element in the industry that wouldn't accept him....in mmany ways the fact he was Mr Mainstream and was successful actually accentuated this....like the less it made sense the more important it became to him to overcome this hurdle.

Last ten years or so? Not so much - but there was certainly a context where Spielberg was an outsider once upon a time.....
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Postby Peven on Sat Aug 26, 2006 7:08 pm

Doc Holliday wrote:
Chairman Kaga wrote:In that instance Doc could it be you who has changed with regards to how you view films? (same goes for everyone)
Isn't the heart of this thread a two part process where Speilberg is growing as an artist and you are growing as a viewer and sometimes you end up going in different directions? You can't put your foot in the same river twice.


Its something I've tried to be as honest with myself as possible about....

I reckon "no" though. Quint getting chomped still screws with my head. And the death of Goldberg in SPR fucked with me too (I often-times skip that scene when watching the DVD)

The one shot as the tank arrives...the building of tension. Hell - the whole T-Rex sequence in JP. Spielberg CAN still do it...he just doesn't - - that sequence in WotW doesn't give me anywhere near that sense of dread anticipation / rising tension because it just isn't very good...IMO. Its phoned in.

There - I've said it. Now, Chairman - (Aragorn addressing King of Dead voice)

WHAT SAY YOU! :D


Doc, do you think you might have unrealistically high expectations for Spielberg at this point? i mean, even the best don't get it right all the time, and Spielberg's worst are better than some other working Hollywood directors' best. i really do think that there is a decent chance he has some of his best work ahead of him yet.
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Postby Doc Holliday on Sat Aug 26, 2006 7:23 pm

Ah. I was worried that this might happen. Let me take a breath a second, because I'm not representing myself quite as I mean to if thats the case.

I'm not looking to hate on Spielberg...I'm certainly not writing him off. No no no. Talent like that doesn't go away.

But I do feel that his recent crop of films have been less technical. Thats my point. I'm not so fussed about how much it makes...or that he makes less blockbuster and more whimsy....my only point is with the technical.

I haven't seen Teh Terminal...but after SPR his film-making has just been orthodox. Previously he could take a film like Always and still tell it using angles, shots and techniques that helped take it up a notch...helped you catch your breath and be mesmerised. It never was all about bicycles in front of full moons with Spielberg.....I do get that....but in his last few movies there hasn't really been a single scene that stood out for me.
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Postby Peven on Sat Aug 26, 2006 7:27 pm

ok, thats a fair assesment. though i really do think he didn't "mail in" his work on "Munich". are you pessimistic about his work to come? do you think he has lost "it"?
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Postby Doc Holliday on Sat Aug 26, 2006 7:50 pm

Hmm. Munich isn't without its faults....but on balance I did enjoy it. Perhaps "dialling it in" is a bit harsh...I don't know. I'm sure he does care about his work still - he is a lover of the medium...I just don't sense a great deal of invention going on in the recent crop.

But do I write him off? Nope, no way. I don't think he's lost it forever more - I just don't think its been there for the past half dozen or so movies. Not for me anyways.

I think I'd subscribe more to the idea that his films have evolved and will continue to evolve. This current "phase" isn't doing it for me - but a talent like his is innate and I'm sure there will be great films to come again. Even if he stopped making movies today, he'd remain virtually peerless.

Besides which...I'm not even "Prince Poo", far less "King Shit" - and I couldn't even tell you where fuck mountain is...so, you know.... :wink:
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Postby Chairman Kaga on Sat Aug 26, 2006 10:35 pm

Doc Holliday wrote:
Chairman Kaga wrote:In that instance Doc could it be you who has changed with regards to how you view films? (same goes for everyone)
Isn't the heart of this thread a two part process where Speilberg is growing as an artist and you are growing as a viewer and sometimes you end up going in different directions? You can't put your foot in the same river twice.


Its something I've tried to be as honest with myself as possible about....

I reckon "no" though. Quint getting chomped still screws with my head. And the death of Goldberg in SPR fucked with me too (I often-times skip that scene when watching the DVD)

The one shot as the tank arrives...the building of tension. Hell - the whole T-Rex sequence in JP. Spielberg CAN still do it...he just doesn't - - that sequence in WotW doesn't give me anywhere near that sense of dread anticipation / rising tension because it just isn't very good...IMO. Its phoned in.

There - I've said it. Now, Chairman - (Aragorn addressing King of Dead voice)

WHAT SAY YOU! :D

Hey I'm not picking on you directly. I am simply using your example to pose that question. I think for any art an artist that thrives for years eventually grows and changes as well as the audience that grows with them (take the Beatles for instance with their multiple "phases"). I don't think it's un common for the artist and the audience to grow apart in some ways as a result. Nothing personal.
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Postby MonsieurReynard on Sun Aug 27, 2006 8:46 am

Chairman Kaga wrote:
TheBaxter wrote:
Chilli wrote:.
it's a shame no one else has come along who can make a popcorn movie as good as spielberg once did.

This I disagree on. I think the first POTC was right in line with the vibe of Raiders in terms of a fun popcorn movie. Other than that I can't think of a recent one.


I'd add Mask Of Zorro and Robin Hood: Prince Of Theives!
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Postby Chilli on Sun Aug 27, 2006 8:51 am

I love POTC, and Mask of Zorro rocks, but for me Indiana Jones... and the Last Crusade is the best action/adventure film ever made. It's pacy, it's funny, it's dynamic, and it doesn't have a single weak link. In the first POTC I felt they those two guys under Norrington were boring and took time away from Depp, and in Mask of Zorro I feel that (despite being a truly great film) Zeta Jones is pretty damn bland.

Plus the interplay between Connery/Ford is genius... and for me the other two films don't have that.
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Postby MonsieurReynard on Sun Aug 27, 2006 11:42 am

Chilli wrote:I love POTC, and Mask of Zorro rocks, but for me Indiana Jones... and the Last Crusade is the best action/adventure film ever made. It's pacy, it's funny, it's dynamic, and it doesn't have a single weak link. In the first POTC I felt they those two guys under Norrington were boring and took time away from Depp, and in Mask of Zorro I feel that (despite being a truly great film) Zeta Jones is pretty damn bland.

Plus the interplay between Connery/Ford is genius... and for me the other two films don't have that.


Not really, just different- some films require the partnership, other are more savvy vs stooge.
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Postby Doc Holliday on Sun Aug 27, 2006 12:34 pm

Chairman Kaga wrote:
Doc Holliday wrote:
Chairman Kaga wrote:In that instance Doc could it be you who has changed with regards to how you view films? (same goes for everyone)
Isn't the heart of this thread a two part process where Speilberg is growing as an artist and you are growing as a viewer and sometimes you end up going in different directions? You can't put your foot in the same river twice.


Its something I've tried to be as honest with myself as possible about....

I reckon "no" though. Quint getting chomped still screws with my head. And the death of Goldberg in SPR fucked with me too (I often-times skip that scene when watching the DVD)

The one shot as the tank arrives...the building of tension. Hell - the whole T-Rex sequence in JP. Spielberg CAN still do it...he just doesn't - - that sequence in WotW doesn't give me anywhere near that sense of dread anticipation / rising tension because it just isn't very good...IMO. Its phoned in.

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WHAT SAY YOU! :D

Hey I'm not picking on you directly. I am simply using your example to pose that question. I think for any art an artist that thrives for years eventually grows and changes as well as the audience that grows with them (take the Beatles for instance with their multiple "phases"). I don't think it's un common for the artist and the audience to grow apart in some ways as a result. Nothing personal.


but....but.....I didn't think you were picking on me directly :?

anyhoo....I hope I answered your query in my last post, for it was a good one...(the query I mean)
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Re: Spielberg -- Why?

Postby TheButcher on Sat Jun 04, 2011 10:33 pm

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Spielberg v Quint

Postby King Of Nowhere on Mon Jun 06, 2011 8:31 am

Steven Spielberg and Quint have an epic chat all about JAWS as it approaches its 36th Anniversary

Quint: How’s it going, sir?
Steven Spielberg: Hey, Eric. How ya’ doing?

Quint: It’s going well. How’re you?
Steven Spielberg: Good! So, what’s up? Well, I know what’s up with you. I read all your stuff.

Quint: Well, I watch all your movies, so we’re even.
Steven Spielberg: Last time we talked was a long time ago, it was on the (War of the Worlds) set (You can read about that visit here and here). You did the Indy thing, too. I remember that. (Referring to this not-quite set visit gathering of geeks during the filming of Indiana Jones 4).

Quint: Yeah, the War of the Worlds set visit was the big one for me. That’s where I had my big geek out.
Steven Spielberg: (laughs) Well, I geek out, too. So don’t think it’s just you!

Quint: Of course you do. I loved that when we met on the set the first things we talked about were Ray Harryhausen and Willis O’Brien. Their influence can be felt in your films and your movies were almost gateway drugs to discovering more about their work for me.
Steven Spielberg: Well, I’m glad you’re amongst us, making us remember that every decade there’s a new trend and one trend owes legions to its predecessors.

Quint: Especially now it must be hitting you dead center seeing how your very specific visual style is being replicated by the next generation of filmmakers. I mean, JJ Abrams’ Super 8 is obviously a loving tribute to your films, down to a very specific look.
Steven Spielberg: JJ was raised in those decades of movies that all of my colleagues made and continue to make. So, JJ (was brought up in) the same way I was raised, by a decade of filmmakers who I am beholden to. So, it all comes out in the laundry.

Quint: I really appreciate you taking the time to look back at Jaws with me….
Steven Spielberg: Sure, sure.

Quint: Obviously the movie means a lot to me and going through that new making of book, Jaws: Memories From Martha’s Vineyard, it really did strike me just how important it was that you made the personality Amity that of Martha’s Vineyard. It makes Amity feel like a real town. So, I was wondering if we could talk a little bit about how you pulled so many locals into the movie and how much of that was a creative choice and how much of that was political to help you ease the troubled waters of filming on location.
Steven Spielberg: Well, I didn’t know anything about politics in those days. I was just trying to find as much naturalism to play against the basic size of the shark. I didn’t want this film to be a mythological tale and if everybody played as big as the shark weighed and measured nobody would have believed the shark was real if the people hadn’t been as real.
So, I looked to the community of Martha’s Vineyard, and also off into the Boston area, to find local people that would make the audience feel that the story was truly happening not in Hollywood, but on a fictitious island called Amity.

Quint: That was also your reasoning for wanting to actually shoot on the ocean as well, right?
Steven Spielberg: Right, exactly, because if I made the movie in a tank it would have had that same mythological feel that the Spencer Tracy film, The Old Man and the Sea, has.

Quint: Or 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. When you see Kirk Douglas fighting a giant squid, as awesome as that is, you know they shot that on a backlot somewhere.
Steven Spielberg: Yeah, exactly. I was naïve about the ocean, basically. I was pretty naïve about mother nature and the hubris of a filmmaker who thinks he can conquer the elements was foolhardy, but I was too young to know I was being foolhardy when I demanded that we shoot the film in the Atlantic Ocean and not in a North Hollywood tank.
But had I to do it all over again I would have gone back to the sea because it was the only way for the audience to feel that these three men were cast adrift with a great white shark hunting them.

Quint: I think the real key to the fear that you put into the world populace, the fear of swimming, is the fact that it’s so obviously not just in a pool somewhere. Those creatures actually live and hunt in those waters and almost everybody has been swimming in the ocean, so there’s an easy access to that base fear.
Steven Spielberg: Right, right.

Quint: Even if the average filmgoer doesn’t know how movies are made, there’s something in their brain that clicks, that registers when something is real and sees the difference.
Steven Spielberg: That’s so true.

Quint: I know it was a headache, but I would hope looking back on it now you could say all the aggravation and stress was worth it.
Steven Spielberg: It was worth it because, for number one, Close Encounters, which was a film I had written and a film nobody seemed to want to make, everybody seemed to want it right after Jaws was a hit. So, the first thing Jaws did for me was it allowed a studio, namely Columbia, to greenlight Close Encounters. For number two, it gave me final cut for the rest of my career. But what I really owe to Jaws was creating in me a great deal of humility, about tempering my imagination with just sort of the facts of life.
That movie was more than just a filmmaking and eventually a filmgoers experience, that movie was all about human relationships both in front of and behind the scenes because people started to lose their noodles as we spent weeks and then many months on Martha’s Vineyard and then, later, in the Pacific Ocean around Catalina. It took its toll. It feels like half my work was talking people off the ledge, when cast and crew had no idea when we’d ever leave Martha’s Vineyard, when people could return to their wives and families and real lives. They kept turning to me saying, “When are you going to finish the movie?” I kept saying, “Ask Mother Nature! I don’t know! Ask the tides!”
What was going down was not human error, it was just the conditions at sea that made it untenable to really be doing what we were somehow doing. Everything on land went normal! Everything I shot on any form of land went like a normal movie. I actually was on schedule for the first part of the picture. I mistakenly blew all my cover; the scenes I could have held back in case there was a mechanical problem with the shark, in case there was a bad day at sea and we couldn’t shoot because of the height of the waves or the strength of the wind. I foolishly didn’t have enough cover to be able to go back to the shore to keep shooting the shore portions of Jaws and that was completely my fault and no one else’s.
So, when we were shut out many days because of mechanical problems and weather problems, all we could do was wait and bounce up and down on the waves and watch each other vomiting over the side.

Quint: Correct me if I’m wrong here, but you also used that time to come up with some creative workarounds and to flesh out the script, right.
Steven Spielberg: Yeah, it’s true. The shark not working was a godsend. It made me become more like Alfred Hitchcock than like Ray Harryhausen in the sense that Ray Harryhausen in his day could do anything he wanted because he had control of his art. When I didn’t have control of my shark it made me kind of rewrite the whole script without the shark. Therefore, in many people’s opinions the film was more effective than the way the script actually offered up the shark in at least a dozen more scenes that today is history.

Quint: Losing that creative thinking is something that worries me today when I see so many filmmakers using CG as a crutch. I worry that we lose some of give and take that often times forces creativity. I don’t know if you think about that at all now…
Steven Spielberg: I think that CG is a tool that often becomes a weapon of self-destruction. I certainly have done my share of CG since I was at the forefront of the revolution as a producer of YOUNG SHERLOCK HOLMES, that had the first CG shot ever, and then JURASSIC PARK that the first CG characters ever. Jim Cameron in-between did brilliant CG work on THE ABYSS and then T2…
I’ve actually suffered from the wealth of riches that CG can give a filmmaker to almost over use the technology to get everything out of our brains and on to the screen when sometimes what’s fun is being denied your best ideas and then you’ve got to fall back on a compromise, which often turns out to be an even better idea. I fall victim to that, too.

Quint: I have to say that to this day, for whatever reason… perhaps the combination of the digital effects and Stan Winston’s dinosaurs, but when I watch Jurassic Park I don’t see the CG.
Steven Spielberg: That’s a testament to Dennis Muren, to Phil Tippett and to Stan Winston because the blend between… I mean, 65% of the first Jurassic Park is Stan Winston. I believe there’s only between 58 and 60 digital shots in the whole movie. That’s it. The sequel, that I directed, there were four times more digital shots than that.
In the first film it was actually Stan Winston actually working together with Dennis Muren putting their heads together to try to figure out how to make these blends from mechanical full-sized puppeteering to the digital wider shots.

Quint: Not to diverge too much into Jurassic Park, but there’s something to the personality of the dinosaurs as well. Look at the Raptor scene in the kitchen, for instance. The Raptors have a very stop motion quality, they remind me a lot of Ray Harryhausen’s creatures.
Steven Spielberg: What Ray Harryhausen did, and Ray’s always been a humongous influence on my work and I was so honored to be able to show Ray Harryhausen the very first digital shot that Dennis Muren cranked out as a test. Ray happened to be visiting me that day and I said, “Ray, do you want to see a CG dinosaur?” He said, “Sure,” so he went over to the art department where I was prepping Jurassic Park and I put on the three-quarter inch cassette into the big machine and Ray and I watched the Gallimimus (scene). They were all just rendered as skeletons, they had not been fleshed, but the movement was so smooth that I just got to watch Ray Harryhausen’s face watching the natural evolution from his art to the new era of digital characters.
Harryhausen embraced it immediately as a positive. He wasn’t sad to see the paradigm shift; he was a jubilant as you can imagine a young boy would be. I saw the child in him at that moment, which was for me one of the greatest moments of my life; looking into his eyes as he was watching what Dennis Muren had created.

Quint: I can imagine, man.
Steven Spielberg: What was I talking about before I went into my Ray Harryhausen fugue state? What I was saying was I was inspired by Ray Harryhausen because a lot of Ray Harryhausen’s characters stalked the humans. They just kind of like stalked them and they got into these frozen poses of real frightening imagery. I remembered that and so did Dennis Muren and so did Phil Tippett who really helped Dennis create dinosaurs that were natural and not cinematic.
I always brought the guys back to Ray Harryhausen because he was the one whose characters did such a scary job stalking all the humans in those big tableaus.

Quint: If you’re able to give a personality to your creatures that gets you 9/10ths of the way there. Once there’s a personality there it doesn’t feel like an effect.
Steven Spielberg: Right.

Quint: But let’s go back to Jaws. We have to talk about the casting of your leads. You must have sweated that a little bit because if the chemistry between your Quint, Brody and Hooper was flat then the whole second half of your movie doesn’t work.
Steven Spielberg: That’s true. Casting sometimes is fate and destiny more than skill and talent, from a director’s point of view. First I went to Lee Marvin and he said no. Then I went to Sterling Hayden and he said no. Then finally David Brown, who had just worked with Robert Shaw on The Sting, and said “What about Robert Shaw?” I said, “David, you’re a genius!” And Robert said yes. That was a simple story, although it took six months to cast Quint.
And I went to several actors before Roy Scheider. They didn’t turn me down, I just had decided they were not right for the part. I tested dozens of possible Brodys. I don’t want to mention any names because many of them are still with us.
But I was at a party at Andre Eastman’s house and I met Roy Scheider for the first time. He walked over to me and I was literally sitting on a couch with a Coca-Cola in my hand fretting over Jaws, that I wasn’t able to get this shark movie cast, and Roy sat down and introduced himself. Of course, I had loved him so much in The French Connection and then in The Seven Ups. Roy actually said to me, “You have such a glum look on your face. What’s the matter?” I said, “Aw, I’m having trouble casting my picture.” He actually said, “Who have you gone out to?” I named a few names and looked at me and said, “What about me?!?” He actually said, “What about ME?!?” in only the way Roy could do that, with his voice kind of cracking the way it does when he hits that high note.
I looked at him and said, “You’re right! What about you? Will you make my movie?” Without even asking for a script he said, “Of course! If you want me, I’ll do it!” And we actually agreed at a party that he would play Brody… that night… at Andre Eastman’s house. And then he read the script and loved it, which was good because he could have read the script and thrown it back in my face. But he loved it.
And Richard Dreyfuss was my first choice. Richard Dreyfuss and Lorraine Gary were both my first choices and they said yes when I asked, so that was all good.

Quint: What’s great about the three leads of Jaws… it’s such a perfect product of its time. Those were guys who were both leading men and character actors. They still exist today, but it’s much rarer to find that combination. It was much more common to see character actors getting to top the bill in the ‘70s and, again, with those guys in the lead the movie automatically has kind of reality, so you buy the shark. That’s something I’ve noticed you’ve done on a lot of your movies, you cast really interesting people in your lead roles.
Steven Spielberg: Well, people who are at least touchstones to the human race, that anybody can identify with and say, “That could be me.” That’s all I look for in a movie that I go to see as an audience. Is there any character in the film that I can identify with; that I can experience these events through their eyes. That’s all I’m looking (for), somebody I can believe in.
Harrison Ford, who is iconic now, was so full of vulnerabilities in both Star Wars as Han Solo as well as then casting him as Indiana Jones, even though he was a big hero with a whip and a resolve to achieve all of us could identify with him. He wasn’t so out of reach that nobody could believe they never could become him.

Quint: You also beat the shit out of him in that first movie! (laughs)
Steven Spielberg: Yeah, exactly! That also helps the audience say that within some of the campiness of some of these set pieces there’s a great deal of character reality going on in the way he’s being batted around by the bad guys!

Quint: I’ve read that this is one of your favorite scenes in Jaws… The Indianapolis Speech in Jaws floors me every single time I watch the movie. If I even hear Robert Shaw start that speech I’m zoned in and nothing else exists in the universe, you know? So, do you remember shooting that scene? What was the vibe on the set? Was it weighty?
Steven Spielberg: We shot it twice. The first time we attempted to shoot it Robert came over to me and said, “You know, Steven, all three of these characters have been drinking and I think I could do a much better job in this speech if you let me actually have a few drinks before I do the speech.” And I unwisely gave him permission.
He went into the Whitefoot, which was a big sort of support boat that we always took our lunch breaks on and all the bathrooms were on that boat, it was a big tug boat, and he went into the hold with my script girl Charlsie Bryant and I guess he had more than a few drinks because two crew members actually had to carry him onto the Orca and help him into his chair. I had two cameras on the scene and we never got through the scene, he was just too far gone. So, I wrapped the company at about 11 o’clock in the morning and Robert was taken back to his house on Martha’s Vineyard.
At about 2 o’clock in the morning my phone rings and it’s Robert. He had a complete blackout and had no memory of what had gone down that day. He said, “Steven, tell me I didn’t embarrass you.” He was very sweet, but he was panic-stricken. He said, “Steven, please tell me I didn’t embarrass you. What happened? Are you going to give me a chance to do it again?” I said, “Yes, the second you’re ready we’ll do it again.”
The next morning he came to the set, he was ready at 7:30 out of make-up and it was like watching Olivier on stage. We did it in probably four takes.

Quint: It’s an electrifying moment. And one thing that I notice, if I’m ever able to break my attention away from Shaw himself, is just how spellbound Dreyfuss looks in that scene. That’s not acting. I can clearly tell that he’s enraptured by the performance he’s watching, just as much as I am.
Steven Spielberg: I think we were all watching a great performance and the actors on camera were watching a great performance; Roy and Richard. Richard was in all the shots because Roy was in a cutaway in a separate part of the cabin of the boat, but obviously on Richard’s face… you can see Matt Hooper in character, but you can also see Richard Dreyfuss in complete awe and admiration of this great actor.

Quint: It’s one of my favorite scenes in the history of cinema.
Steven Spielberg: I owe three people a lot for this speech. You’ve heard all this, but you’ve probably never heard it from me. There’s a lot of apocryphal reporting about who did what on Jaws and I’ve heard it for the last three decades, but the fact is the speech was conceived by Howard Sackler, who was an uncredited writer, didn’t want a credit and didn’t arbitrate for one, but he’s the guy that broke the back of the script before we ever got to Martha’s Vineyard to shoot the movie.
I hired later Carl Gottlieb to come onto the island, who was a friend of mine, to punch up the script, but Howard conceived of the Indianapolis speech. I had never heard of the Indianapolis before Howard, who wrote the script at the Bel Air Hotel and I was with him a couple times a week reading pages and discussing them.
Howard one day said, “Quint needs some motivation to show all of us what made him the way he is and I think it’s this Indianapolis incident.” I said, “Howard, what’s that?” And he explained the whole incident of the Indianapolis and the Atomic Bomb being delivered and on its way back it was sunk by a submarine and sharks surrounded the helpless sailors who had been cast adrift and it was just a horrendous piece of World War II history. Howard didn’t write a long speech, he probably wrote about three-quarters of a page.
But then, when I showed the script to my friend John Milius, John said “Can I take a crack at this speech?” and John wrote a 10 page monologue, that was absolutely brilliant, but out-sized for the Jaws I was making! (laughs) But it was brilliant and then Robert Shaw took the speech and Robert did the cut down. Robert himself was a fine writer, who had written the play The Man in the Glass Booth. Robert took a crack at the speech and he brought it down to five pages. So, that was sort of the evolution just of that speech.

Quint: I’d love to read the 10 page Milius version.
Steven Spielberg: I don’t think it exists. I know I don’t have it. I’ve been asked for it, everybody has been wanting to see it and John doesn’t have it because in those days we didn’t have computers, we didn’t have hard drives, it was just on pieces of paper!
I remember just saying, “Hey, this is a movie! Somebody someday should do a movie just about the Indianapolis.”
But the other lucky thing about the shark not working was that we all did have a chance to hone the script and do improvisations and then Carl Gottlieb took the improvisations that I tape recorded and transcribed them, then he structured scenes and then we’d all collaborate with Carl on cutting the scenes down, making them short enough to still put into the movie and let the movie have its own narrative pace.
But Carl made great contributions to the movie. I brought him to Martha’s Vineyard to do comedy punch-up work because he’s a very funny guy, a very funny writer, and he wound up really staying there a long, long time helping all of us with all of the scenes, so Carl did deserve his credit and did great work on Jaws. I’m very beholden to Carl for sticking it out as long as he did with us because that was a lonely island for everybody making that movie over many months.

Quint: Your filmmaking style at that time is very recognizable. It seemed with both Duel and Jaws you’re developing a very iconic style that we started talking about at the beginning of the interview. You used a lot of split-diopter shots, had a lot of overlapping dialogue… it was a very naturalistic style. What is it that drew you to that kind of technique?
Steven Spielberg: That technique for me was always just the way I always observed people having conversations in daily life. I always wondered why movies couldn’t have more naturalism in them; why scenes couldn’t be hybrid scenes between the documentary and the drama.
Robert Altman, of course, made it a fine art: background conversations and foreground conversations and even some midground conversations. Altman probably reached his nexus with that with Nashville, which I think is the best movie Altman made. And I was very influenced, I think, by Altman’s MASH. There’s naturalism in that and yet it’s such a bizarre comedy at the same time. It was realistic because it was about the Korean War, but then it was zany and madcap and he was able to temper all that in a kind of pseudo-documentary style.
I did not want to do a pseudo-documentary style for Jaws ‘cause I wanted Jaws to be a big, slick commercial looking movie, but I needed something to offset the surreality of the shark. The more natural I could make the performances in the foreground I thought the more people would swallow the weight and size of that great white.

Quint: Here’s another thing, though. When you…
Steven Spielberg: Oh, and by the way… Let me say one more thing, Quint.

Quint: Sure, sure.
Steven Spielberg: The more fake the shark looked in the water, at least to the crew watching it being hauled behind a speedboat, the more my anxiety told me to heighten the naturalism of the performances.

Quint: Here’s the thing… what makes horror movies scary… Jaws is always described as a horror movie, but I see it as more of a men on a mission/adventure story…
Steven Spielberg: I agree with you.

Quint: Good, I’m not the only one! But what makes tension work, be it in a thriller or horror film, is when you care for the people in jeopardy. If you’re scared of losing somebody you like then the filmmaker has you. I mean, Quint’s death is so inevitable from the very beginning, the whole Ahab parallel of one’s obsession getting the best of him, but you don’t want him to go. You’re scared when Hooper goes in the water. Hell, you’re scared when Alex Kintner goes into the water and we’ve spent all of 30 seconds with him.
Steven Spielberg: Right, right.

Quint: That naturalistic approach and your casting absolutely worked. You relate to the people in danger. It’s not just sexy supermodels in bikinis wading into the surf, it’s a kid that could be your nephew.
Steven Spielberg: And yet Quint, who is a bigger than life character required a bigger than life death scene, so I was able to mythologize a character like Quint where that death would have been an earned one, you know what I’m saying?

Quint: Absolutely. I never doubted it once and it really freaked me out as a kid. It was two things: when he spits up that bright red blood and when we next see the shark he has bits of Quint hanging off his teeth.
Steven Spielberg: Exactly! Exactly because sharks don’t have toothpicks! There was a lot of raw chicken that contributed to that sequence.

Quint: Now, they must have asked you to come back for Jaws 2…
Steven Spielberg: Yeah, of course. Of course. And Jaws 3. I was done, I was done with the ocean. I would have done the sequel if I hadn’t had such a horrible time at sea on the first film. I would have absolutely jumped at the chance to own the sequel because I knew that when I was walking away from the sequel I was walking away from a huge piece of my life that I had helped to create, but it wasn’t a hard decision to walk way from it. I just could not imagine going back out to the ocean and sitting in a boat for 9 months. I just couldn’t imagine it.
So, I was happy and relieved not to have made the movie, but also I wasn’t happy with the sequel and I realized I had let a franchise go that I could have made a good contribution to.

Quint: Do you have any idea what you would have done with a sequel?
Steven Spielberg: No, no idea at all, but I have a very, very good scene which I thought would have been good for a sequel someday, which I will tell you someday because I don’t want it in print.

Quint: Okay.
Steven Spielberg: But I’ll tell you my scene some day. Every time I think of this scene I think, “Hmmm, could this be another Jaws movie?” and I have to immediately stop myself and immediately pull myself back down to Earth.

Quint: I will turn this digital recorder off right now.
Steven Spielberg: I’ll tell you some day. We don’t talk enough, we’re going to have to talk more. I’ll tell you some day.

Quint: Alright, just remember that!
Steven Spielberg: I will! I won’t forget it! I promise, I promise!

Quint: Is there a Jaws Blu-Ray in the works?
Steven Spielberg: Yes, there is. Yes, there is. I’ve already seen some of it. I don’t have a date yet, but there’s a Blu-Ray absolutely in the works.

Quint: I can’t wait, man. I love that the last DVD release actually had the original mono soundtrack on it as well. I wasn’t a fan of the remixed 5.1 sound… the splashing sounded canned and the gunshots were changed…
Steven Spielberg: Oh, I know. I totally understand that. (In the future) there’s going to be no more digital enhancements or digital additions to anything based on any film I direct. I’m not going to do any corrections digitally to even wires that show.
If 1941 comes on Blu-Ray I’m not going to go back and take the wires out because the Blu-Ray will bring the wires out, that are guiding the airplanes down Hollywood Blvd. At this point right now I think letting movies exist in the era, with all the flaws and with all of the flourishes, is a wonderful way to mark time and mark history.

Quint: I’m in total agreement with you. I wish you could talk George (Lucas) into doing the same thing!
Steven Spielberg: Well, I can’t!

Quint: (laughs) Yeah, I don’t think anybody can!
Steven Spielberg: George goes his own way and I respect him for it, but my new philosophy about this is to let sleeping dogs lie.

Quint: That’s great news for film geeks.
Steven Spielberg: When people ask me which E.T. they should look at, I always tell them to look at the original 1982 E.T. If you notice, when we did put out E.T. we put out two E.T.s. We put out the digitally enhanced version with the additional scenes and for no extra money, in the same package, we put out the original ‘82 version. I always tell people to go back to the ’82 version.

Quint: Having the option is the big deal for me. Using the Star Wars example, I don’t think there’d be an outcry if we could watch a nice transfer of the original versions. We’d be like, “George can do what he wants and I’ll watch it… but you know maybe the fans would like the option of watching the movie they fell in love with, too.”
Steven Spielberg: Yeah. And I think the other good thing is that they understand when they see a movie and they suddenly see something that could have been done much better today and could have been corrected in the DVD/Blu-Ray transfer, they really appreciate seeing the strings attached.
If somebody put out George Pal’s War of the Worlds and took the strings off the machines I’d be very upset. When that machine crashes in downtown Hollywood, and you see the strings going from taut to slack, that’s the thing that allows me to both understand this movie is scaring the hell out of me and at the same time this movie is a creation of the human race.
That little taut-to-slack moment of those wires on that wingtip makes the original George Pal War of the Worlds work for me. It embraces my fears and it also alleviates them in the same breath.

Quint: I notice you don’t do commentaries on your films. Is there a reason for that?
Steven Spielberg: Well, because if I do commentaries it takes you out of the movie. It just takes you totally out of the movie because you’re not really watching a movie, you’re listening to a radio show. So, I’ve just never believed in doing commentaries because once people start one of my movies I want them to get into the film. I don’t want to knock down the fourth wall for them and take them into the handbook of how I did it because I just think it breaks the illusion.

Quint: Now, I’ve heard a story that I wanted to run by you. I have no idea if it’s true, but an effects friend of mine told me about a special screening of E.T. for Ronald Reagan. Have you heard this story?
Steven Spielberg: I was there!

Quint: The story I heard is that when Reagan saw it he started talking about how close to reality it was and he was quickly ushered out of the room. Is that true?
Steven Spielberg: No, he wasn’t ushered out of the room. He was the President of the United States! Nobody could usher Ronald Reagan out of the room! It was in the White House screening room and Reagan got up to thank me for bringing the film to show the President, the First Lady and all of their guests, which included Sandra Day O’Connor in her first week of as a Justice of the Supreme Court, and it included some astronauts… I think Neil Armstrong was there, I’m not 100% certain, but it was an amazing, amazing evening.
He just stood up and he looked around the room, almost like he was doing a headcount, and he said, “I wanted to thank you for bringing E.T. to the White House. We really enjoyed your movie,” and then he looked around the room and said, “And there are a number of people in this room who know that everything on that screen is absolutely true.”
And he said it without smiling! But he said that and everybody laughed, by the way. The whole room laughed because he presented it like a joke, but he wasn’t smiling as he said it.
The room did laugh and then later on I’ll never forget my conversation with the President. He pulled me aside, he said… and I can’t do Reagan. I wish I could do that breathy, wonderful voice of his… And Nancy Reagan was standing right next to him and the President said to me, “I only have one criticism about your movie,” and I said “What’s that?” He said, “How long were the end credits?” I said, “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe three, three and a half minutes?” He said, “In my day, when I was an actor, our end credits were maybe 15 seconds long.”
He said, “Why don’t you let everybody get a credit… three and a half, four minutes, that’s fine, but only show that inside the industry, but throughout the rest of the country reduce your credits to 15 seconds at the end?” Nancy Reagan turned to him and said, “Oh, Ronny, they can’t do that. You know that.” And he went, “Oh, yes, yes. I suppose.” (laughs) That was the extent of my conversation about that . That was his only criticism, he felt the end credits were too long!

Quint: So, do you think he actually let something slip there?
Steven Spielberg: I don’t think he let something slip there, no. I think he delivered a joke without smiling, without a little bit of a twinkle behind the joke. I think the joke landed because everybody laughed, but because I’m a little bit of a Ufologist I was hoping that there was something more to the joke than met my eye. I’m sorry to say I think he was simply trying to tell a joke.

Quint: Cool, man. I think that’s about all I got.
Steven Spielberg: Okay! When can I read this?

Quint: It’ll be posted as soon as I can possibly get it ready.
Steven Spielberg: I can’t wait, I can’t wait!

Quint: Before I let you go, I do want to say that you need to quit beating up so much on Temple of Doom. I love that movie.
Steven Spielberg: You know, sometimes I can’t help myself. But the greatest thing about Temple of Doom was I met Kate Capshaw and I have seven children. We’ve been married for almost 20 years and that was my win on that movie.

Quint: I met Kate very briefly at the War of the Worlds premiere in New York and I made sure to tell her “I know you probably don’t get it enough, but you’re great in Temple of Doom.”
Steven Spielberg: You’re sweet. By the way, she is great in Temple of Doom and I’m very, very lucky to have found my life partner.

Quint: I love that movie because it’s so dramatically different from Raiders. The tone is different, you go from a suave villain in Belloq to a flashy villain in Mola Ram…
Steven Spielberg: Right. Here’s the thing… for all the fans of Temple of Doom who think I beat up too much on it, those fans who beat up on George Lucas 24/7 at the drop of any fedora, I would just say please give George credit. He’s the one that made it dark, he’s the one that decided on the story and on the concept. For all those who love Temple of Doom, you’ve gotta give George credit.

Quint: I’ll absolutely give George credit for that.
Steven Spielberg: Okay, good!

Quint: Thank you so much, sir.
Steven Spielberg: Thanks. It was good talking to you again. Don’t be such a stranger!

Quint: Whenever, man. I could talk your ear off 24/7.
Steven Spielberg: I could talk to you the same way. I really appreciate this.

Quint: No worries.
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Re: Spielberg -- Why?

Postby TheButcher on Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:54 am

From Variety:
Nearing 65, Spielberg is just getting started - 'Action' holds the key to Steven's psyche
Peter Bart wrote:What makes Steven run?

That's the question some folks are asking -- the "Steven" being Steven Spielberg who, on the cusp of his 65th birthday, has become omnipresent, if not omniscient, in the entertainment community.

Steven is everywhere, doing everything. As a director, he is in post-production on two films, "The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn" and "War Horse," is prepping "Lincoln" and has his name on every movie around, from "Super 8" to the "Transformers" sequel to "Cowboys & Aliens" to "Real Steel." In TV, he is executive producer of three new primetime series and is involved overall with six shows. He seems to attend every function, from the premiere of "Super 8" to the DGA's 75th anniversary event.

Besides all this, he runs DreamWorks, working closely with his partner Stacey Snider, consults on theme parks (he receives a reported 2% of the gross from Universal's parks), presides over a family, sails his new boat (which he has rigged to run dailies) and clearly has little time to count his billions.

None of this is to suggest that Spielberg is a greedy power freak. Indeed, he is surely Hollywood's most admired director and arguably its most revered elder statesman.

"Steven is the nicest superstar I know, except I don't really know him and I'm not sure how many people do," observes one Hollywood CEO. "I can't believe anyone can consistently be as gracious and polite and still be so busy."

I first met Spielberg when he was a tortured young director shooting "Jaws" not far from my parents' house on Martha's Vineyard. He was coping with an absurdly lean budget and a uniquely unwieldy fake shark and should have behaved like a Hollywood brat, but even in those desperate moments he came across as a nice guy. He was busting his budget but I sensed he would come out OK. I never thought the picture would change the face of his industry, however.

So why is he driving himself so hard? Ask his associates and you get a range of answers. Several projects simply came together back-to-back, they explain. He is not one to duck previous commitments, especially when it comes to mentoring other filmmakers, like J.J. Abrams. Further, his sense of noblesse oblige prompts him to step up to his duties on industry boards and philanthropies.

And, despite his impeccable politeness, Spielberg is intensely competitive. Having worked so hard to raise the money to refinance DreamWorks, he seems determined to remain at the center of the action. Even in TV, "Steven will not put his name on things unless he is intimately involved with them," says Darryl Frank, the co-head of DreamWorks Television.

And then, again, Spielberg is about to be 65 and, friends say, is responding to intimations of mortality. Spielberg adamantly refutes the Tarantino theory that a director's best work always occurs in his young years and that the post-sixties period is usually disappointing.

Spielberg is not contemplating retirement, but I'm not sure he ever contemplated omniscience. So maybe the best explanation to what makes Steven run is simply that he never planned to slow down.

Why should you when you're Steven Spielberg?
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Re:

Postby Ye Black Knight on Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:57 pm

Chilli wrote:I love POTC, and Mask of Zorro rocks, but for me Indiana Jones... and the Last Crusade is the best action/adventure film ever made.


Lo, this knight hath great fondnesses for "Ye Mummy" with Brenden Frasier and Rachel Weisz (A comely wench, to be sure!). 'Tis a cinemasaga that hath much homage to Lord Speilberg!
Additionallisticly, this knight recommend'eth "Army of Darkness" to one and all, although enstyled somewhat askew from Lord Speilberg's fare!

This post now concludeth!
VIEW THIS KNIGHT'S WEB'TALES OF METAL, PRESENT'ETH'D IN YE ART OF PURE CINEMA:
http://www.heavymetalsuperstar.com
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Re: Spielberg -- Why?

Postby TheButcher on Thu Jul 07, 2011 3:51 am

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Re: Spielberg -- Why?

Postby TheButcher on Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:05 pm

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Señor Spielbergo

Postby TheButcher on Sat Feb 01, 2014 1:50 am

Keepcoolbutcare wrote:
colonel_lugz wrote:VOTE SPIELBERGO


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TIME - Video:
5 Ways You Know You're Watching a Spielbergo Movie
With 26 films over almost 40 years, Señor Spielbergo has both stylistic and thematic tics that pop up again and again in his work. Here are five.
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Re: The other Berg

Postby TheButcher on Wed Nov 19, 2014 1:18 am

Peter Berg Tackling 'The Hunt for El Chapo' for Universal (Exclusive)
'Dallas Buyers Club' writer Craig Borten is attached to pen the adaptation of the New Yorker article
They better cast Luis Guzmán!!
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Re: Spielberg -- Why?

Postby TheButcher on Wed Mar 25, 2015 9:57 pm

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Re: Spielberg -- Why?

Postby Ribbons on Thu Aug 20, 2015 12:32 am

I don't think this has been posted anywhere, but here's the trailer for Bridge of Spies, the latest film from El Spielbergo:



I think I can kind of see what the draw is here, advocating diplomacy between two rival factions that hate each other's guts. But man, some of these shots are pure Spielberg, and I don't mean that in a good way. What better way to visualize international conflict than a single tear rolling down a little girl's cheek while watching a "duck and cover" video, because of course.
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Re: Spielberg -- Why?

Postby TheButcher on Sat Sep 12, 2015 12:36 am

Steven Spielberg's 'Ready Player One' Finds Female Lead in Olivia Cooke (THR Exclusive)
If a deal is made, Cooke would play the teen’s love interest and competitor, a Canadian blogger named Sam whose name in the virtual world is Art3mis.
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Re: Spielberg -- Why?

Postby TheButcher on Wed Jun 15, 2016 1:29 am

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Re: Spielberg -- Why?

Postby TheButcher on Thu Jun 15, 2017 11:57 am

Elizabeth Banks has criticised a huge Hollywood director for his lack of female lead roles
Elizabeth Banks has named and shamed a huge Hollywood director she believes doesn't make enough films focusing on women: Steven Spielberg.
'He’s never made a movie with a female lead. Sorry, Steven. I don’t mean to call your ass out but it’s true.
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Re: Spielberg -- Why?

Postby Ribbons on Thu Jun 15, 2017 12:41 pm

TheButcher wrote:Elizabeth Banks has criticised a huge Hollywood director for his lack of female lead roles
Elizabeth Banks has named and shamed a huge Hollywood director she believes doesn't make enough films focusing on women: Steven Spielberg.
'He’s never made a movie with a female lead. Sorry, Steven. I don’t mean to call your ass out but it’s true.


Even though nobody saw it, literally the last movie he made (The BFG) had a female lead
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Re: Spielberg -- Why?

Postby TheBaxter on Thu Jun 15, 2017 1:19 pm

Ribbons wrote:
TheButcher wrote:Elizabeth Banks has criticised a huge Hollywood director for his lack of female lead roles
Elizabeth Banks has named and shamed a huge Hollywood director she believes doesn't make enough films focusing on women: Steven Spielberg.
'He’s never made a movie with a female lead. Sorry, Steven. I don’t mean to call your ass out but it’s true.


Even though nobody saw it, literally the last movie he made (The BFG) had a female lead


and The Color Purple was a total sausage party.
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Re: Spielberg -- Why?

Postby Peven on Thu Jun 15, 2017 5:25 pm

what about the shark in "Jaws"? :-P
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