Sunday, December 25, 2011
My Top Ten Favorite Steven Spielberg Films
(Image taken from: forbes.com)
So, I was going to make a, "My Top Ten Favorite Movies of 2011" list. But since I didn't see The Artist, The Descendents or Melancholia yet, I thought I'd hold off on that. But I DID see War Horse today, and I seriously fell in love with it. So, it got me thinking about my top ten favorite Spielberg movies and...well, here they are. Now, before you even wonder, I don't like E.T., Jaws, or Close Encounters of the Third Kind, so those blockbusters are not on this list. But some other great ones are. So take a look. Some of your favorites are probably on here, too. Read.
10. A.I.: Artificial Intelligence
I know a lot of people hate this movie, but it holds a special place in my heart. It's a highly imperfect film, but it reaches greatness at times, especially in the first act, which showed great potential (And was actually inspired by Stanley Kubrick's vision, as it was his dream project before he died). The ending is typical Spielberg slop, but the beginning and middle are great. A top notch film with a crummy conclusion. I'll take it.
9. The Color Purple
Nowhere near as good (or as graphic) as the book, but very memorable, The Color Purple, along with Amistad and Empire of the Sun, is one of those movies where you actually forget Spielberg directed it until you look it up on imdb. It has a lot of great scenes and some hilarious lines along with the excellent drama. It's an overall enjoyable picture and definitely one of my faves by the man. No question.
8. Catch Me if You Can
Catch Me If You Can is a crowd-pleaser, which is what Spielberg is always best at. It's a quick-paced story about Leo D as a liar, and Tom Hanks trying to catch him. It's energetic, it's fun, and it's entertaining, and I love it. It's one of his better later films in Spielberg's indelible career.
7. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
I know Raiders of the Lost Ark is the better picture, but I just love The Temple of Doom more. The heart scene, the bridge scene, the tube raft on the snow scene, just everything about it is more memorable to the kid in me than Raiders. I can't get enough of it. It even helped create the PG-13 rating. It doesn't get much better than that. It really doesn't.
6. The Terminal
Okay, if I haven't lost credibility yet with this list, I'm sure I have now. Putting The Terminal on this list and not Jaws? I'm crazy, right? Well, yes, but I still like this picture better. The whole movie takes place in an airport and has Tom Hanks kind of sounding like Borat. But you know what, it's entertaining as all hell and has great pacing, which is more than I can say for Jaws, which is incredibly slow. It's not the best film Spielberg has ever done, but it fits nicely in his filmography as a film of his that you may have forgotten about. It's a really great picture if you don't remember it. Watch it again and see what I mean.
5. Saving Private Ryan
Saving Private Ryan was never as good as people made it out to be, as it falls apart after that startling opening scene. But let me tell you, that opening scene is SO amazing, that it has to put this movie on this list, as it's probably the greatest single piece of film Spielberg has ever done. War has NEVER been as scary or as graphic as it was in that opening scene. It's just incredible. Top notch work from a truly prolific director.
4. War Horse
Maybe I have to let it sink in more or watch it again, but War Horse just blew me away when I saw it today. I've only cried watching one other movie (Spirited Away, believe it or not), but I cried watching War Horse. Twice, even. It really got to me. Hell, even the trailer could make you weep. It's mawkish as all hell, sure, but it's also beautiful and touching. I loved it.
3. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
So, yeah, I love The Temple of Doom, but I love Last Crusade even more. Everything about it is just more epic. Sean Connery is great as Indy's dad, River Phoenix falling in a pit of snakes as young Indy is vintage, and that final scene of, "Jesus was a carpenter," is legendary. The best film in the trilogy (And yes, that's right, I'm not including Crystal Skull in the series. Aren't we all better for it?).
2. Jurassic Park
The wonder and scope of this picture is just insane. The book was incredible, the movie is incredible, and the dinosaurs were just amazing. Not only at the time, but even still today. They look great. And Newman from Seinfeld is brilliant. One of Spielberg's very best films, but not the best. That award goes to...
1. Schindler's List
Schindler's List is the only picture Spielberg ever won best picture and best director for, and it was the only picture he deserved it for. Schindler's List is such a deeply personal, horrific and even beautiful film that it shall always go down as the greatest movie the man has ever done. It's a masterpiece. It's HIS masterpiece. Nothing even comes close.