Undoubtedly one of the most influential film personalities in the history of film, Steven Spielberg is perhaps Hollywood’s best known director and one of the wealthiest filmmakers in the world. Spielberg has countless big-grossing, critically acclaimed credits to his name, as producer, director and writer. He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1946. He went to California State University Long Beach, but dropped out to pursue his entertainment career. He gained notoriety as an uncredited assistant editor on the classic western “Wagon Train” (1957). Among his early directing efforts were Battle Squad (1961), which combined World War II footage with footage of an airplane on the ground that he makes you believe is moving. He also directed Escape to Nowhere (1961), which featured children as World War Two soldiers, including his sister Anne Spielberg, and The Last Gun (1959), a western. All of these were short films. The next couple of years, Spielberg directed a couple of movies that would… read more
I've never given anything above 2-star to his movies, and I guess I'll never going to do so, that's how bad he is. Why do you mainstream folks give him any kind of credit? He's just awful, perhaps the worst director alive with this sort of fame...
That's a rather easy question. He was the head behind so many blockbusters/headstart films in the '80s and '90s. In it's genre, it's not that bad, if you do pay attention. He does have some fine films, a few. I don't give him much credit to say he's overrated, but we can't deny that he was a pioneer for many generations of film directions and kids. He did left his mark and I congratulate him for that.
Jaws is not a bad movie; it deserves at least more than 2 stars. Saving Private Ryan, Munich and Empire of the Sun, the same. The Terminal and E.T. are sweet movies. Why not let the movie get you? Why act snob against these? What's wrong about liking them? Or can't I like Vivre sa vie and The Terminal too? As a matter of fact, I think he's a very competent director, lacking only in the approach to the viewer (or to us, who are not his audience); a competent technician who doesn't feel the need to push himself anymore as his films earn more money than he ever wished. I'm not a fan, but I don't get all the hate the man receives either. Is he overrated? Yes, by the media and the blockbuster fans, but there are worse directors than him way more overrated, and by cinephiles. If you want to blame anyone for the blockbuster mania, blame Lucas. Spielberg is just a smart opportunist.
I guess he has never innovated the art of cinema. He's, as you said, an opportunist: he grabs every chance that comes to him and just fills a couple of hours with very basic clichés. He doesn't even know how to use clichés right, that's why I give him no credit at all. None of his movies is deep or even real enough for me to associate with his stupid and childish ideas and philosophies. As much as I want to like him, I just can't, he's like the Madonna of Cinema, too much show, not enough heart...
I understand, I don't give him that much credit too. I like some of his older movies. SPR was my favourite movie in my adolescent years, even though it is very clichéd. And Jaws, E.T., Empire of the Sun and The Terminal all have enough heart for me. I just don't rate them high. I guess I never gave more than 3 stars to any of his movies. But I think it's wrong to call him "the worst director alive of this sort of fame". For instance, Tarantino has not made a decent movie (except Inglorious Basterds) since Jackie Brown; I mean, I gave 1 star to Kill Bill I and II and to Django.
Although I am of the opinion that he has declined since he started doing more "serious" work, no one before or after him has made such entertaining blockbusters. But I don't think you should blame Lucas or Spielberg for the supposed "decline" in American cinema. Blame the studios who took advantage of Star Wars and Jaws. Shall I remind you that both were highly dismissed while they were being made.
In my holy opinion, movies are meant to be meaningful and somehow relatable, something I don't get from Mr.Spielberg, and even less from Lucas. My point is that Spielberg's movies are only good in the way that they're simple and fast paced, and the effect are pretty damn fine as well, that's why a lot of people who don't like complicated matters like him. On the other hand he simply does not innovate: his storytelling is poor, he's filled with stupid and overused cliches and hasn't made something that wasn't already made. A lot of people say he's the greatest director of all-time, I guess Tarkovsky, Tárr, Antonioni deserve that label a lot more than him, and they're not perfect at all, but at least their movies don't seem like an adaptation of a stupid kids show.
Blame the studios? No, blame the people who succumbed to mainstream cinema. "People have the power". One usually makes a cliché out of this expression, nevertheless, it's still a fact. I don't hate Spielberg, I "hate" the masses and its culture (or lack of it). What happened to Cinema (mainly the blockbusters, audiences and box offices, is a strong indicator of the (current, in my opinion) degradation of Humanity. Having said that, Spielberg is still to blame, because he embraced the studios' envisionment of cinema after Jaws, later working as an producer and creating Dreamworks.
I hope you're not a wannabe filmmaker because that elitist attitude will get you nowhere. And no, Spielberg made CE3K, Raiders, ET, Jurassic Park and so on because he wanted to. He's not a journeyman director. Again, it's easy to blame Spielberg for just making blockbusters because blockbusters are so commonplace now, but back when Spielberg started, the types of films he was making were very much unlike anything that were coming out. Sure, they could be compared to genre films of the 30s through the 50s, but they were far more superior in quality.
You mention Tarkovsky as one of the best directors, he happens to be my personal favorite and yet I hold Spielberg up very high (at least his early films). As a child, Spielberg's films played a big role in developing my imagination and enthusiasm for art. And in art there are no rules. What you think film is supposed to be is fine for you, but it can be whatever it wants. Spielberg made films for the imagination. You dont have to care about his cliche philosophy that comes out of the stories, thats not why I enjoyed his films. It's the spectacle, his films are thrill rides and even if the screen is riddled with filmmaking 101 they are all done well and with heart. They aren't slapped together like most crap in hollywood. He is a child, and he is honest. For his films to work I think, you need to open up to your inner child. When you were young things were simple philosophically, and there was optimism. But the most import things were having fun and using your imagination. That's where Spielberg is coming from.
I owe this guy a lot. He's the one that got me into films and filmmaking (specifically Jaws and Jurassic Park). He was the one who made me realize I could make films too. I think as he took on more serious subject matter he started to decline a bit as a filmmaker, but nonetheless, a great inspiration, both as a filmmaker and as a person.