Speaking of Spielberg, saw Empire of the Sun in English class the other day... damn. Made me re-watch some of his others and do a new set of rankings:
1. Schindler’s List
2. Raiders of the Lost Ark
4. Jurassic Park
5. Empire of the Sun
6. Close Encounters of the Third Kind
7. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
8. A.I.: Artificial Intelligence
10. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
11. Minority Report
12. Catch Me If You Can
13. Saving Private Ryan
14. The Terminal
15. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
17. War of the Worlds
still need to see Always, The Sugarland Express, The Color Purple, Amistad, and Duel for it to be a complete list. Fuck 1941.
I'm not entirely sure I'd put Schindler's List at the #1 spot, and well...actually my list would look a lot different from yours, but at least you put the wretched War of the Worlds at the bottom position. :up:
Schindler's, Jaws, and Raiders are basically interchangeable and I'm sure after I re-watch E.T. and Close Encounters they'll be higher. War of the Worlds is the only movie on the list I genuinely dislike.
Saving Private Ryan goes down on the list every time I see it, there's just something missing after the opening sequence. I never fully buy into the characters other than Tom Hanks' Capt. Miller.
I also forgot about The Lost World, pretend it's before War of the Worlds.
Let's see here:
1. Jaws (not a single misstep in this entire picture, it's pure Spielberg doing what he does best)
2. Raiders of the Lost Ark (see above, just make it not quite as amazing)
3. Saving Private Ryan
4. Schindler's List (would be #1 if not for the last 20 minutes)
5. Close Encounters of the Third Kind
6. Poltergeist (would probably be #2 if he has really directed it)
9. Jurassic Park
10. Minority Report
11. The Last Crusade
13. Catch Me If You Can
15. The Temple of Doom
17. War of the Worlds
Should a Top 5 spot be cleared for Interstellar? I'm leaning towards a 'yes.'
The top 5 is a top bunch to crack.
I'm praying to God it will though.
And the new camera system the Wachowskis are using on Speed Racer nearly has my member at full salute.
Everything about that movie screams awesome to me:
the cast, the Wachowskis, and it's fucking Speed Racer!
The world needs a Johnny Quest movie and everything will be alright.
Christ, Lance, Saving Private Ryan at #3? If you can see through the worst moments of Schindler's I would think you'd be equally tough with Ryan, which is flat out RUINED by the bookends. The lack of three-dimensional characters other than Hanks (what Lemon said) and a weak screenplay doesn't help either. It seems to me that people are so blinded by the technical achievements in the Omaha Beach sequence that they can't objectively watch the rest of it. It's like having sex with someone who's loud and acrobatic for 10 minutes and then lays there for the next 30. Would you say they're good in bed?
I can't participate in this listmaking because I have so many problems with many of the films I even partially enjoy. The only three I can say I admire unequivocally are Jaws, Close Encounters, and Raiders, in that order. I think A.I. contains his best work, and wish it and Minority Report didn't end so horribly because so much of them were good. Catch Me If You Can and Always were nice, old-fashioned modest affairs and therefore unmarred by Steve-O's usual tendencies. After that I can't even begin to rank these half-baked productions, like the entertaining but awful adaptation of Jurassic Park, the well-intentioned but uneven Color Purple, the emotional blackmailing of Schindler's List & Saving Private Ryan, etc. I hated E.T. even as a kid, and if you actually thought The Lost World, Hook or War of the Worlds were actually good films I feel very, very sorry for you.
lazarus, have you seen Empire of the Sun or Munich?
The bookends of SPR might not have been entirely necessary, but they also don't cause the movie to break down to a complete cheese-fest (ala Schindler's final rant) or utterly break the illusion of the film like the colour sequence at the end of Shindler's. THe SPR bookends were just short little bits that gave the audience a glimpse of whether of not Ryan actually did "earn it". And while that might not be a good choice (I don't really care either way to be honest), it doesn't break the film in any way like the end of SL does.
Lance--that doesn't take away from the notion that SPR has weak characters and a weak script. Not to mention it was made by someone who was just a student of war films, instead of a veteran himself. You look at the war films of Samuel Fuller and see someone who really knows what it was like, specifically his WW2 epic The Big Red One, which was re-released with an extended cut not too long ago. Fuller was actually AT Omaha Beach, and there is more truth in one frame of his film than the entirety of Spielberg's. You want to talk about "earning it", Fuller did in spades.
Lemon--I have not seen Empire of the Sun and would like to at some point. The less said about Munich, the better. Once again some good filmmaking marred by some truly awful choices--the sex scene at the end juxtaposed with the Munich flashbacks is one of the most awkward things I've ever seen, and the meeting between the Palestinians and the Israelis in the safe house was totally phony, while attempting to have the politics of the film both ways. And it wasn't nearly as thought-provoking as some of its supporters seem to believe. Even when S.S. thinks he's being controversial, it's still a compromise.
Munich wasn't perfect, the sex/flashback scene in particular, but overall it's a good film, at least really enjoyable.
About Spielberg/Private Ryan, does someone have to be involved in the war to make a believable war film?
David Lean wasn't a POW but still made Bridge on the River Kwai.
I don't really care how realistic a film is, as long as it's a good film, which I beileve SPR is. I don't think the characters are weak, and I think it has a fine script. Whatever. :shrug:
No, but it adds yet another layer of disbelief to a film that I find to be a pretty empty flag-waving (literally, at the end!) exercise.
Also, the film suggests you're seeing the action through Hanks' character's eyes at the beginning, only to reveal Damon's character as the old man at the end, which is totally cheap and false. If the old man is Ryan, how could he be remembering the events at Omaha Beach?
As usual with Spielberg, little is left up to the audience to process for themselves, as the screenplay and music combine to make sure you're feeling exactly you're supposed to be feeling as a patriotic American.
Again, I can only suggest a viewing of The Big Red One to see a truly great depiction of World War II, made by a man who was at some of its most famous scenes, and who never tries to beat you over the head with a jingo stick, or convince you how heroic it is to die for the powers that be.
Saving Private Ryan's flawed, but still enjoyable.
Mr Bean's Holiday is coming!!!!!!!!!!!!
I finally got around to watching The Big Lebowski this past week.
I was struck by the perfection of the delivery of every line by every actor. John Goodman in particular was born to be Walter Sobchak.
The scene at the mortuary near the end is my favorite in the film...
THE DUDE AND WALTER
They sit side by side, forearms on knees, in a nondescript
waiting area. Walter bounces the fingertips of one hand off
those of the other. They sit. They wait.
A tall thin man in a conservative black suit enters. He
eyes the Dude's bowling attire and sunglasses and Walter's
army surplus, but doesn't make an issue of it.
Hello, gentlemen. You are the
Francis Donnelly. Pleased to meet
The Dude, actually. Is what, uh.
Yes. I understand you're taking
away the remains.
We have the urn.
He nods through a door. Another man in a black suit enters
to carefully deposit a large silver urn on the desktop.
And I assume this is credit card?
He is vaguely handing a large leather folder across the desk
to whomever wants to take it.
He takes it, opens it, puts on reading glasses that sit
halfway down his nose, and inspects the bill with his head
pulled back for focus and cocked for concentration. Silence.
The Dude smiles at Donnelly. Donnelly gives back a
mortician's smile. At length Walter holds the bill towards
That is for the urn.
Don't need it. We're scattering the
Yes, so we were informed. However,
we must of course transmit the remains
to you in a receptacle.
This is a hundred and eighty dollars.
Yes sir. It is our most modestly
Well can we--
A hundred and eighty dollars?!
They range up to three thousand.
Yeah, but we're--
Can we just rent it from you?
Sir, this is a mortuary, not a rental
We're scattering the fucking ashes!
JUST BECAUSE WE'RE BEREAVED DOESN'T
MEAN WE'RE SAPS!
Sir, please lower your voice--
Hey man, don't you have something
else you could put it in?
That is our most modestly priced
GODDAMNIT! IS THERE A RALPH'S AROUND
Furthermore, the following scene in which Walter actually scatters the ashes and they end up flying all over The Dude, and The Dude just stands there motionless before exploding...fucking perfection.
POINT DUME -- DAY
It is a high, wind-swept bluff. Walter and the Dude walk
towards the lip of the bluff. Parked in the background is
one lonely car, Walter's.
Walter is carrying a bright red coffee can with a blue plastic
lid. When they reach the edge the two men stand awkwardly
for a beat. Finally:
I'll say a few words.
The Dude clasps his hands in front of him. Walter clears
Donny was a good bowler, and a good
man. He was. . . He was one of us.
He was a man who loved the outdoors,
and bowling, and as a surfer explored
the beaches of southern California
from Redondo to Calabassos. And he
was an avid bowler. And a good
friend. He died--he died as so many
of his generation, before his time.
In your wisdom you took him, Lord.
As you took so many bright flowering
young men, at Khe San and Lan Doc
and Hill 364. These young men gave
their lives. And Donny too. Donny
who. . . who loved bowling.
Walter clears his throat.
And so, Theodore--Donald--Karabotsos,
in accordance with what we think
your dying wishes might well have
been, we commit your mortal remains
to the bosom of.
Walter is peeling the plastic lid off the coffee can.
the Pacific Ocean, which you loved
AS HE SHAKES OUT THE ASHES:
Goodnight, sweet prince.
The wind has blown all of the ashes into the Dude, standing
just to the side of and behind Walter. The Dude stands,
frozen. Finished eulogizing, Walter looks back.
Shit, I'm sorry Dude.
He starts brushing off the Dude with his hands.
Heretofore motionless, the Dude finally explodes, slapping
Walter's hands away.
Goddamnit Walter! You fucking
Dude! Dude, I'm sorry!
The Dude is near tears.
You make everything a fucking
Dude, I'm--it was an accident!
The Dude gives Walter a furious shove.
What about that shit about Vietnam!
Dude, I'm sorry--
What the fuck does Vietnam have to
do with anything! What the fuck
were you talking about?!
Walter for the first time is genuinely distressed, almost
Shit Dude, I'm sorry--
You're a fuck, Walter!
He gives Walter a weaker shove. Walter seems dazed, then
wraps his arms around the Dude.
Awww, fuck it Dude. Let's go bowling.
Also, the scene in the bowling alley where Jesus Quintana accuses Walter and The Dude of pulling 'bush league psych out' stuff is classic. Based on this scene, I am now convinced that John Turturro could take a dramatic role in a dramatic film playing a total psycho and at the very least get nominated for an academy award for it.
DUDE AND WALTER
Each with a beer at the scoring table.
Sure you'll see some tank battles.
But fighting in desert is very
different from fighting in canopy
I mean 'Nam was a foot soldier's war
whereas, uh, this thing should be a
fucking cakewalk. I mean I had an
M16, Jacko, not an Abrams fucking
tank. Just me and Charlie, man,
eyeball to eyeball.
That's fuckin' combat. The man in
the black pyjamas, Dude. Worthy
Who's in pyjamas, Walter?
Shut the fuck up, Donny. Not a bunch
of fig-eaters with towels on their
heads tryin' to find reverse on a
Soviet tank. This is not a worthy--
The Dude and Walter look.
Quintana is bellowing from the lip of the lane, and is
restrained by O'Brien.
What's this "day of rest" shit, man?!
Walter looks at him innocently.
What is this bullshit, man? I don't
fucking care! It don't matter to
Jesus! But you're not fooling me!
You might fool the fucks in the league
office, but you don't fool Jesus!
It's bush league psych-out stuff!
Laughable, man! I would've fucked
you in the ass Saturday, I'll fuck
you in the ass next Wednesday instead!
He makes hip-grinding coital motions as O'Brien leads him
You got a date Wednesday, man!
Walter, his head cocked, and the Dude, peeking over his
shades, watch him go.
You ready to be fucked, ma'?!?!
Going back to the Bearded One, I can understand the hate towards WotW because I felt so incredibly frustrated by the ending (I mean, WHY? If he can feed an innocent kid to a shark why not let a feckless one be killed in warfare?) but upon reflection there were some great moments in this below par film.
I loved the way Cruise arrives back at his house after the opening attack in what is viewed as insignificant dust t be scrubbed off, just like how the aliens view us on Earth. I loved the way they were forced out of the car by the crowd of people, everybody thinking only of themselves. I loved the long shot of them weaving between broken down traffic on the freeway beforehand too. And I may be one of the few who thought Tm Robbins character really added something good to the film and appreciated the resolution to that plot strand.
So overall, it may be a sub-par film but Spielberg still has some great moments in it.
Also, Duel is a fantastic debut, wracking the tension up to breaking point and never feeling the need to give the antagonist a back story or superhuman abilities.
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