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Spielberg on Spielberg

post #1 of 213
Thread Starter 
This is mainly just to inform or remind that TCM is doing a 90 minute documentary on Spielberg Monday night. But if this thread should turn into an excuse for people to rip on SAVING PRIVATE RYAN solely for the old man scenes then I guess that's alright as well you heartless whores.

Anyway, I liked the Scrosese doc that TCM did a few years back so hopefully this will be just as good.
post #2 of 213
Thanks for the heads up.
post #3 of 213
I still never got to see that update of Bogdanovich's John Ford documentary that they've been running on and off. I really hope they spend an equal amount of time on all of his work, and don't just get stuck on the difficulty of shooting Jaws, since there are now two feature-length docs on the subject. In fact, as much as I love early Spielberg, I am really interested to see an in-depth analysis of his post-Private Ryan work. It's not as consistently good, but I think he's been at his most interesting and intellectually adventurous in the last decade. His recent "trilogy" of dark sci-fi has been frustrating but really unusual, Catch Me if You Can works for me on a whole bunch of levels, and Munich is the best thing since sliced bread.
post #4 of 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moltisanti
Anyway, I liked the Scrosese doc that TCM did a few years back so hopefully this will be just as good.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that doc on disc 2 of The Departed. Supposedly there's a Woody Allen doc (done by Richard Schickel in this format) out there as well, but I haven't seen it.

I also read that they go through almost all of his films, with only a couple excluded. Can't seem to remember where I read that, though....
post #5 of 213
Thread Starter 
I saw the Scorsese one when it first aired and loved it. I was also glad to see it placed on THE DEPARTED disc but I haven't yet gotten around to revisiting it. I'll have to fix that soon.

I read one of the few films they bypass on the Spielberg doc is HOOK. No big loss.

I went through a period where I wasn't too high on Spielberg. Both A.I. and MINORITY REPORT left me cold and CATCH ME IF YOU CAN was just so-so for me. I've never even seen THE TERMINAL. But the 1-2 punch of WAR OF THE WORLDS and MUNICH was a fantastic reminder of just how amazing he can be behind the camera.
post #6 of 213
Forget ripping on SPR... When is SCHINDLER'S LIST going to be on a grindhouse double feature?
post #7 of 213
I hope Spielberg discusses his relationship with proteges like Joe Dante, Phil Joanou, Kevin Reynolds, and others. It would also be nice to get some perspective on what he typically does as a producer.
post #8 of 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moltisanti
I went through a period where I wasn't too high on Spielberg. Both A.I. and MINORITY REPORT left me cold and CATCH ME IF YOU CAN was just so-so for me. I've never even seen THE TERMINAL. But the 1-2 punch of WAR OF THE WORLDS and MUNICH was a fantastic reminder of just how amazing he can be behind the camera.
Agree with everything you wrote except for Minority Report - I really liked it when I saw it in the theater. I'd love to see a better DVD release for it, something like the War of the Worlds 2 disc SE. I do wish they had kept the ending about the murder rate increasing, instead of going with the "happy" ending.

Never seen The Terminal (and I don't really have any desire to remedy that), but it will be interesting to hear him talk about it. Maybe it'll convince me to check it out, but somehow, I doubt it.

While he'll surely discuss Raiders, I get the feeling that Temple of Doom & Last Crusade are going to be skipped in the interest of discussing other films. The fourth disc in the DVD set gives a decent amount of info, so that's fine by me. The less said about Hook, the better...

Quote:
Originally Posted by beamish13
I hope Spielberg discusses his relationship with proteges like Joe Dante, Phil Joanou, Kevin Reynolds, and others. It would also be nice to get some perspective on what he typically does as a producer.
I wouldn't expect it. The Scorcese doc stayed pretty close to just discussing the films, characters, and working with the actors. It probably won't get too in depth with his producing, given that they don't even include all the films he's directed.
post #9 of 213
Thread Starter 
My problem with MINORITY REPORT probably has more to do with how the film was sold than the actual film itself. It was sort of billed as a sci-fi RAIDERS so I went in expecting that. When it didn't quite turn out that way I felt a bit burned. I haven't seen it since that one time in the theater so I wouldn't be against giving it another shot without those expectations.

I do hope Spielberg talks about MINORITY REPORT and explains just why he hasn't made any films with Patrick Kilpatrick since. I'm tired of him dodging that question.
post #10 of 213
For some reason, I'm looking forward to what he says about Munich. Is he going to cover Munich, even?
post #11 of 213
I'm kinda dissapointed that he doesn't discuss Hook, actually. For as much crap as he gets about it, I've always been interested to hear what his personal take was on the results.
post #12 of 213
Shit, can't believe I missed this to watch Child's Play and Child's Play 2. Are they going to be repeating some other time this month?
post #13 of 213
In a way, it is almost just as important for him to discuss all the perceived failures as the great successes. I wonder if there are any particular films of his that he kind of regrets, or any that he feels deserved a better reception or at least a critical re-evaluation.

I sat through The Terminal, and I can't really tell you anything about it. There's nothing glaringly awful about it, but it just passes through you with no real weight or even base enjoyment. To me, that's a far greater crime than the sloppy third acts of Minority Report or A.I.

Interesting side note, and something that I hope gets brought up on the doc: A friend of mine took a Spielberg class at USC, and one day the man himself came to talk to them. When asked about A.I., he insisted that the "happy" ending was all part of Kubrick's initial plan for the movie, contrary to popular belief. When asked why he didn't change it if it wasn't working, he simply said that he didn't want to go against the wishes of a dead friend.
post #14 of 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Ripoll
Shit, can't believe I missed this to watch Child's Play and Child's Play 2. Are they going to be repeating some other time this month?
You didn't miss it. It premieres Monday night at 8.
post #15 of 213
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Ripoll
Shit, can't believe I missed this to watch Child's Play and Child's Play 2. Are they going to be repeating some other time this month?
It airs Monday night. I believe it runs twice on TCM, once before an airing of JAWS and again before an airing of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS. So you should be able to catch it and still find time for CHILD'S PLAY 3. Military school has never been so horrifying.
post #16 of 213
For a minute there, I forgot where I was.

Psychotic military barber, here I come!
post #17 of 213
Andy Robinson, where have you gone?
post #18 of 213
Thanks for the heads up on the doc Molt. I'll be definitely checking it out probably at 7, unless I'm unable to, then I'll see the repeat for sure. I'm looking forward to what he says about his flicks. I agree that he should also talk about his failures, as well as his sucesses.
post #19 of 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Sherman
Interesting side note, and something that I hope gets brought up on the doc: A friend of mine took a Spielberg class at USC, and one day the man himself came to talk to them. When asked about A.I., he insisted that the "happy" ending was all part of Kubrick's initial plan for the movie, contrary to popular belief. When asked why he didn't change it if it wasn't working, he simply said that he didn't want to go against the wishes of a dead friend.
Welcome to six years ago.

Also, it's stuff like having classes all about Spielberg that made me wish I could've gone to USC.
post #20 of 213
Totally zoned that this was coming up, thanks for the warning Molt.
post #21 of 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by WayDen
Supposedly there's a Woody Allen doc (done by Richard Schickel in this format) out there as well, but I haven't seen it.
I also read that they go through almost all of his films, with only a couple excluded. Can't seem to remember where I read that, though....
It's called "Woody Allen: A Life in Film", and it's fairly recent, from 2002.
Also of note is the book "Woody Allen on Woody Allen". I picked this up at a book sale and thought it was an excellent journey through his films; it definitely goes into more depth than a feature length documentary ever could, and you get a real sense of who Woody Allen is as a person, beyond the 'character' he plays in films.
post #22 of 213
I agree that Minority Report is very underrated.

My guess is that the other film the special ignores is Always, a film that everyone forgets is Spielberg. I remember really liking it when it first came out, but haven't been compelled to see it since.
post #23 of 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Clark
Also, it's stuff like having classes all about Spielberg that made me wish I could've gone to USC.
Seriously I was just thinking this. I couldn't think of a more personally enjoyable class for me to take, being a huge fan of the Beard.
post #24 of 213
Don't even get me started. I was actually accepted to USC film school, but couldn't afford it. I did get to take a Scorsese class, which was pretty neat, although we only had time to watch and discuss about half of his stuff.
post #25 of 213
SWEET will be watching this tonight. I love the Beard.
post #26 of 213
Just got done watching. Plenty of stuff I already knew (the shark didn't work), but also plenty I was hearing for the first time (like his little partial ownership of Star Wars). The problem is, this thing really needed to be it's own week-long mini-series. As it stands, we just get a little sampling of his career. I found him to be a pretty engaging guy (who sure loves saying "infatuated") who gave plenty of credit where credit was due in regard to his successes. He was also pretty blunt, especially with regards to the failure of 1941 and the hostility with which Munich was received by some.

Maybe it's because he's given 8 billion interviews about the early blockbuster period of his career, but he seemed really excited to talk about his more recent work, especially Private Ryan and the sci-fi stuff. His defense of A.I. makes me really want to give that film another look, since I haven't seen it in about 5 years. Also, his home movies are a lot less embarassing than mine. Hope this makes it onto a DVD of one of his movies down the road.
post #27 of 213
Yeah, that could have run for another hour or two easily. It was interesting to see him admit to buying into his wunderkind status while making 1941 and how grateful he was that it bombed and gave him a dose of reality.
post #28 of 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Sherman
Just got done watching. Plenty of stuff I already knew (the shark didn't work), but also plenty I was hearing for the first time (like his little partial ownership of Star Wars).
I don't have a TV at my 'rents house so, can you hit a bruddah up with the specifics of this info? I'm damned curious.
post #29 of 213
It's nothing that exciting. Lucas visited the Close Encounters set and was sure that Spielberg's movie with aliens would be a much bigger hit than his movie with aliens. So, as a friendly bet, they exchanged 2 1/2 percent of each film. Spielberg laughs that he still receives residual checks from Star Wars all the time.
post #30 of 213
Speilberg comes across as such a down to earth guy even if he has 4 gazzilion dollars. I really wish it was longer thou, it was just like 15-10min of each of his flicks and most of the stuff we all have heard before. Regardless, just listening to the man talk and how humble he seems to be is astonishing. Wish he would go back and do commentary's on all his films.
post #31 of 213
I want to see this. What has been his take on the controversy around Munich? On the DVD, which I'm sure many of you have seen, he put that little piece at the beginning, and I felt like it was sort of a disclaimer. It seemed to take away some of the vitality of any kind of political message the audience could take from the movie - at least for myself as an audience member.
post #32 of 213
I hope there's a longer version of the documentary on some DVD soon. So many movies they skipped.
post #33 of 213
He basically insists that the Israeli retaliation on which he and Tony Kushner based the film is way more accurate than Israel would like to admit. He also says that going into it, he knew it was going to piss a lot of people off and didn't seem that upset by it. He never comes out and says what his ultimate political message was, but that he hoped to start a dialogue. Although the doc sort of directs us to what he wanted to say with the film by cutting to Avner and the toy/bombmaker discussing how what they're doing strips them of their righteousness.

Interestingly enough, Spielberg gets the most politically worked up when talking about Pre-Crime and the post-9/11 mentality of governing by fear and intrusion.
post #34 of 213
Quote:
When asked why he didn't change it if it wasn't working
I still dot get how people can say this, Stanley did it for a reason, and if you pay attention its even more down beat than being stuck staring at the blue fairy for eternity. Because there he was frozen, unfrozen and fixed he had is one day but will never be able to have it again, which will be a while because he is not human. Not to mention also the thing he was built to aspire to and become has become extinct, which not hurts David but the audience.
post #35 of 213
Remember last night when I got upset because I thought I missed this? Well I was so gung-ho about watching this tonight but I missed the first showing. That's ok, I said to myself, I'll watch the one playing at 11:00 instead. Then this girl called...so bittersweet.

Are there going to be any other airings of this?
post #36 of 213
I am so glad I caught this. It was really a thrill, especially the little preview of "the making of Poltergeist." Gave me goosebumps! So great.
post #37 of 213
I only just tuned in during the rerun in the middle of the saving private ryan section. I've got to start writing these things down when they show up on the boards so it doesn't slip my mind and end up popping up half-over during a channel surf. Seeing those clips from A.I. also make me want to watch it again, Sherman.

Someone care to fill me in on what was covered before that?
post #38 of 213
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Ripoll
Are there going to be any other airings of this?
I just did a search through the listings and there are none scheduled over the next week. Can't tell if there will be any beyond that but I kinda doubt it. It'll end up on DVD at some point.

There was a lot of stuff he has said before but enough new stories to make it worth watching. Like Scorsese, he just has so much enthusiasm about filmmaking that you can easily listen to him ramble on forever.
post #39 of 213
I'm not keen on A.I. ending with David underwater for the sake of being downbeat, if anything I'm usually desperate for a happy ending unless it absolutely does not fit the material. I just remember going to see this twice in the theater and watching the entire audience (not all of whom can possibly be idiots) totally lose it in a bad "what the crap was that?" way the second they faded in on the Supermecha expedition. I just happen to think that tormenting him with fake temporary happiness isn't as integral to the stated purpose of the film as leaving him forever hoping to be a real boy.

Nice to see Spielberg stick to his guns on this ending, saying that he would have ended it that way too instead of blaming Kubrick. Still, as hard as it is to believe, even Kubrick and Spielberg are capable of making the wrong (or at least less effective) storytelling decision.
post #40 of 213
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike the Fang
Someone care to fill me in on what was covered before that?
He told a lot of stories about first starting to work on the Universal lot and dropping out of college to start directing for television. From there it was mainly discussion of his films. Some of the ones that got glossed over were the INDY sequels, HOOK, ALWAYS, and THE LOST WORLD. SCHINDLER'S LIST probably got the most amount of coverage. He said that's the only film he has done that led to something greater (his foundation) than the movie itself.
post #41 of 213
This was a superb documentary. I caught the rerun at 11, and listening to Spielberg talk, makes me wish so much that he would do audio commentaries for his movies.

I was also disappointed when they skipped over a couple of his flicks, but it was awesome just seeing him talk so enthusiastically about movies. I really liked the bit in the beginning about how he used a 3 day pass to the studio over the course of 4 months. I hope this documentary comes out on dvd soon.
post #42 of 213
I really liked towards the end how he insisted the running theme throughout his career was humanity's need to communicate, to befriend, and the frustration and conflict that arises when they can't. Looking back throughout his career, I can actually see that. Excellent, excellent documentary, and since I DVR'd it, I'll be watching it again.
post #43 of 213
Yeah, this was a great way to end my day with yesterday. One of those things which reminds me why I am in this business and why I love movies so much. I also would have loved to seen a longer version, but then again, as others have said, like Scorscese Spielberg is so good and enthusiastic at talking about movies.
post #44 of 213
The communication thing was an interesting thesis, though not one I would really say applies 100% to his body of work. Was Bruce the shark looking for a friend? I would say that basically all of his films follow either the communication thing, or man's hubris in trying to control or manipulate other people or that which is beyond them (see most of his action stuff). Mainly though, I thought it was a poor choice to end the documentary on something as weak as The Terminal.
post #45 of 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Sherman
The communication thing was an interesting thesis, though not one I would really say applies 100% to his body of work. Was Bruce the shark looking for a friend?
Actually, you really see that theme play out on the boat, especially between Quint and Hooper (who I view as a proxy for Spielberg).
post #46 of 213
I would say the communication angle works in JAWS through Brody and Hooper's insistence that the waters were dangerous and the Mayor failing to understand that, and the Mayor insisting that if the beaches were closed, it would be a disaster for Amity the town financially. Thing is, they were both right.
post #47 of 213
Touche...although I still think greed is the real villain in Jaws, not miscommunication. If Mayor Vaughn thought people would keep swimming if only a couple kids got eaten, the beaches would have stayed open.
post #48 of 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Sherman
The communication thing was an interesting thesis, though not one I would really say applies 100% to his body of work. Was Bruce the shark looking for a friend? I would say that basically all of his films follow either the communication thing, or man's hubris in trying to control or manipulate other people or that which is beyond them (see most of his action stuff). Mainly though, I thought it was a poor choice to end the documentary on something as weak as The Terminal.
I don't think The Terminal is weak at all. It is a sweet nod to Frank Capra movies. It accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do.

Is it his best movie? Nah. But it's much better than people give it credit for. A pretty tidy script, good performances, well shot, and a fun little score.
post #49 of 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Ripoll
Remember last night when I got upset because I thought I missed this? Well I was so gung-ho about watching this tonight but I missed the first showing. That's ok, I said to myself, I'll watch the one playing at 11:00 instead. Then this girl called...so bittersweet.

Are there going to be any other airings of this?
I'm ripping a copy to my computer tonight. I can send it to you when I'm done if you want.
post #50 of 213
I enjoyed it, but agree that this needed to be much longer and expansive. My favorite sections were when he discussed 1941 and A.I.
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