Thursday, January 9, 2020

Thursday Movie Picks-Favourite Films of Steven Spielberg


Anyone watch the Golden Globes? Fashion was crazy and they all seem to be loving all over themselves with many not happy at how spot on Ricky Gervais was. He was biting, truthful, uncomfortable for the stars and funny. No one spoke about the Me Too even though Weinstein was appearing in court the next day, no women directors nominated, no Mira Sorvino or Ashley Judd, no minorities well represented and no unison in wearing black. Oh well, the fad is done. Now, on to nicer stuff...it’s all about Spielberg and he is a stellar director, no doubt about it. Some of his most famous adventures are ones I am not really enamoured with( sorry Indiana and E. T) so I am going with still famous choices just  not the most popular. Head on over to Wandering Through The Shelves to see what the others have chosen. Here are my 3...

1. DUEL-1971


This is actually a TV movie starring Dennis Weaver as a family man who is travelling to meet a client  through the desert in his little car, where he passes a slow moving truck driver. This was the wrong thing to do because this truck driver is nuts and so begins a tense and harrowing film about a man being chased by a trucker who is bent on killing him. We never see the trucker but the fear he instills in the businessman is all too real. This is an excellent movie that, thankfully, was on a regular tv network because, today, it would be scooped up by Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime or whatever...see it if you get the chance.

2. EMPIRE OF THE SUN-1987


I think this might be my favourite Spielberg film starring a young Christian Bale as a privileged brat growing up in China who ends up separated from his parents and is taken by the Japanese to one of their prisoner of war camps. Through his eyes, we see how the other British and Americans  try to survive this horrific time. He becomes someone where many depend on since he can scrounge and he even becomes friends with a young Japanese boy. He is enamoured with the head of the American POW’s played by John Malcovich and wants to be one of them not knowing he is much better than they are. This got barely a mention at the Oscars which is a crime in my book.

3. SCHINDLER’S LIST-1993



This is, I believe, his most important work and one that still leaves me speechless at the end. I still remember how everyone just walked out of that film numb, not talking, slowly leaving the theatre. This is based on the true story of Oskar Schindler, a wealthy German who hobnobs with the Nazi elite and is, himself, a member of the Nazi party. When he sees what is truly happening to the Jewish people, he decides to try to save  as many as he can enlisting the help of a Jewish man played brilliantly by Ben Kingsley who should have won the Oscar but was not even nominated. Liam Neesom should have won as well as he gave his heart to this role as a man who must make a list of people he will do his best to save. He does save many and this man is the only German from the Nazi Party buried in Jerusalem on Mount Zion and is highly revered to this day.

Which 3 would you choose?

41 comments:

  1. Empire of the Sun was really good. Little mention at Oscars? What a shame.
    My favorite in order - Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Jurassic Park.

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    1. I feel Empire is a forgotten gem. Your 3 I have a feeling will be very popular today

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  2. Schindler's List is a great film but one I haven't rewatched in a long time. I've never seen the first two picks, though I'm familiar with the second.

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    1. You have to see the first 2-they are so good

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  3. I liked that you picked a TV movie! Thinking outside the box is always fun to see on lists like this!

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    1. Thanks and Yes, this was such a good tv movie

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  4. Hi Birgit - I didn't see the Golden Globes... and sadly I've never seen Schindler's List - which I really should do. But thanks for the reminders - cheers Hilary

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    1. Schindler's List should be shown in schools

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  5. I appreciated the skill of Empire of the Sun more than liked it. Bale, before he became an insufferable jackass, is very good as the protagonist.

    I put off watching Schindler's List for years because of the subject matter but in my quest to see all the Best Picture Oscar winners I finally sat down and gave it a proper viewing. It was very powerful and Neesom brilliant but it's not one I'll watch again.

    We match! Duel was such a water cooler sensation when it was released. I remember EVERYONE talking about it and rightly so. It's a gripping experience.

    I’ve used all of my favorites (Raiders, Saving Pvt. Ryan, Catch Me If You Can, Lincoln, Bridge of Spies and The Post) of his theatrical releases before so I turned to a handful of his early TV films that I admired.

    Duel (1971)-Suspense film of salesman Dennis Weaver driving through the desert and unconsciously offending a psychotic truck driver who then doggedly pursues him with the object of killing him. While it sounds simple Spielberg makes it incredibly taut. His first solo film directing effort was an enormous hit making his reputation.

    Something Evil (1972)-Married couple Paul and Marjorie Worden (Darren McGavin and Sandy Dennis) move into what seems to be a bucolic Pennsylvania farm house with their kids and at first all is good. But suddenly disturbing events begin to transpire and Marjorie suspects what had only been hinted at by the locals before-the house is possessed by the Devil! Good acting and Spielberg’s firm hand make it a cut above. A precursor of his later Poltergeist.

    Savage (1973)-Martin Landau plays Paul Savage, a renowned TV investigative reporter with his own weekly show (think a 70’s Anderson Cooper) covering the proposed nomination of a candidate to the Supreme Court. When the news is announced Savage is contacted by Lee Raynolds, a young woman in possession of damaging evidence she’s willing to sell. Savage goes to the network boss (a very young Dabney Coleman) for the cash but then word arrives that Lee is dead, a supposed suicide. But is that really so? Looking for answers leads Savage into a labyrinth of lies and deceit. A decent story enhanced by Spielberg’s directorial touches and aided by a strong cast including Barbara Bain (Landau’s wife at the time), Will Geer (Grandpa Walton) and Pat Harrington. This was Spielberg’s final TV gig before moving into features.

    Bonus:
    Eyes (1969)-Claudia Menlo (Joan Crawford) a fabulously rich but mercenary woman (she tells her doctor "My single abiding interest is MYSELF"!) who has been blind since birth blackmails a surgeon (Barry Sullivan-who also appears in Savage) to transplant the eyes of a desperate man she has bought so she can see for twelve hours. The surgery is a success but an unexpected hitch pitches her back into darkness. The second segment of the pilot for the TV show Night Gallery was Spielberg’s first professional directorial job and he aces it with an assured hand helped by Crawford’s accomplished performance.

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    1. Yes, Christian bale needs a kick in the ass! I am so glad we match! Duel is excellent and one I would love to own on DVD. I think I might have seen Savage but, if I did, it was when I was a kid so I need to see it. I have always wanted to see this Night gallery episode with Joan Crawford playing herself I think. I had read that Spielberg had to cater to the "star". Oh and loved your picks from last week. I have to see all of them and they all intrigue me!

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    2. I saw an interview with Spielberg where he talked about working with Joan and he said she was initially a bit put back at his youth but after talking to him she said "He's young but he knows what he's talking about" and on the first day of filming stood up in front of the crew and basically said "I'm comfortable being directed by this man and I expect you to treat him as you would me because we're all in it together. He said from that point on it was smooth sailing.

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    3. Ahhh good to know and I believe you because you never know what one reads even though I am not a Crawford fan at all and do believe she had some major issues

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  6. Happy New Year Birgit..sorry not to have been around but I have been ill since December and only just getting back on my feet.....
    love love love schindler's list...xxxx

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    1. That movie is profound I feel. I hope you are feeling better as it sucks to be so ill during the holidays

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  7. Amazing - I have seen 2 out of 3 (not Duel). I’d also read the books long before seeing Empire of the Sun and Schindler’s List and felt the films lived up to them which is not always the case. I do have a certain affection for ET.

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    1. Wow! The films lived up to the books. I am shocked because that rarely happens

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  8. Schindler's List is the only I've seen and, while it's not one of my favourites, it's an excellent film.

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  9. I saw Schindler's list on tv, but haven't heard of the others. I agree that it should be shown in every classroom in MY country, too. It is so special and counters the idiots who say the Holocaust never happened. Thanks as always for your great synopses. I wouldn't miss them for the world, even though I've not seen them.

    BTW, I didn't even know the Oscars was on. I must live in a bubble. Guess I'll wait for the SAG awards, where swag is sometimes more expensive than the films. Unfortunately, they are only shown on cable tv. Don't know if you get it in Canada: TNT and TBS, both Turner cable shows.

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    1. The Oscars were not on..the Golden Globes were so you are not in any bubble.The SAG awards to come on Tv but I usually don't watch that one. How some morons think the Holocaust didn't exist is beyond me.

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  10. Birgit,

    I think the only one of these films I've seen is Schindler's List which is an incredible story. When ever I think of Speilberg I think of ET instantly. That's a cute movie. :)

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  11. Hi there Birgit, I thought I had commented here this morning, but it seems I've not.
    Anyway, Schindler's list is the only film of your choices that I've seen. A brilliant film I thought and the all three main actors were amazing in their roles. The little girl in her red coat wandering through the scenes was incredibly poignant, Kate x

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    1. The point in colour was meant to grab your attention and it does. It's a great film but a difficult one to watch

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  12. Schindler's List is a standout, for sure. Haven't seen the other two. My pick for 3 Spielberg favourites: Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Always, and Catch Me If You Can. I did watch the Golden Globes, for once, and enjoyed Ricky Gervais' irreverence. ☺ He may not be back, as he himself said, since a lot of Americans have an aversion to profanity.

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    1. I'm glad you liked Ricky Gervais too. he hit many nails on the head. You picked good one and I have yet to see Always which is a remake of a Spencer Tracy film

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  13. I still need to watch Empire of the Sun

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  14. Sure many indeed. Never even heard of the first though. Have to give it a look. Not sure what my top 3 would be, Indy 4 would be the worst though. Awful movie.

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    1. I think you will like Duel. Oh god..Indy 4 was horrible. From him surviving in a fridge to the ants to Cat Blanchett looking like Natasha from Rocky and Bullwinkle

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  15. Oh man, I hated Empire of the Sun. That's one I got dragged to, and I just didn't get it. (I was young. I'd probably react differently today.) And Schindler's List... Holocaust movie; can't watch.

    My three? Probably Lincoln, The Post, and The Color Purple.

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    1. I love Empire but it is a long movie and it takes place in an internment camp by the Japanese so you may not like that. I still need to see The Post but love your other 2 picks

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  16. Oh this is a tough one. He's made so many good ones. I haven't seen Empire of the Sun, but Schindler's List is an amazing film. I also rather like Close Encounters and of course the box office Indiana Jones. But nice list today. Happy almost weekend. Hugs-Erika

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    1. Close Encounters is excellent and hope you see Empire of the Sun one day. We are supposed to get a storm tonight into tomorrow through Sunday starting with rain, freezing rain, snow...blecchhh

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  17. Gosh.. I haven't seen any of these... I really should though.

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  18. Schindler's List is a classic! I don't think there's another movie like it.

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  19. Duel is fun to watch and Weaver perfect for the part who plays the custy coward driver well afraid of the big bad truck. Its neat watching the vehicles gather pace towards the end. Your either for the truck or the car. I wonder now what it would have looked like with a little cgi? Empire of the Sun I havent seen but Schindlers List was excellent. I was amazed Neeson didn't get caught out by his Nazi buddies when he sold everything to save the Jews. its amazing to think a German risked everything - this guy Oskar Schindler who gave so much to save people and if it hadn't been for you Birgit I'd never have found out where they buried him. Liam Neeson should have won an oscar. No3 is my choice.

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  20. I just couldn't bring myself to see Schindler's List.
    Though I love Liam Neeson.
    How are you doing?

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  21. I've never seen any of these... which is really bad I know! I definitely want to watch Schindler's List though!

    Have a good week! :)

    Amy x Wandering Everywhere

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  22. I’ve never seen any of these movies but Jilda and I watched Joe vs the Volcano last night.
    I love that film.

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