The anticipated moment has finally arrived! Well, it actually started yesterday with Kellee’s day 1 post, but co-hosting this is still pretty darn exciting. In honor of the popular filmmaker Steven Spielberg, Kellee of OUTSPOKEN & FRECKLED aka @IrishJayhawk66, Aurora of CITIZEN SCREENINGS aka @citizenscreen and I, Stuntman Mike of IT RAINS… YOU GET WET aka @le0pard13, are paying homage to this beloved master of cinema with a blockbuster blogathon to end the summer with a BANG!
Today I bat clean-up with another impressive array of talented blogger contributors — with a diversity as befitting this American storyteller. » Be sure to check back throughout the day as more entries come in. « Co-host Aurora at CITIZEN SCREENINGS will keep this mega event in the spotlight via social media, too!
Let’s kick this off with a pair of stimulating articles from my friends in the family Kirkham! First up, Richard looks at Steven Spielberg’s underappreciated forte with actors:
“With young actors or inexperienced film actors, the role of the director is even more important. George Lucas has a great instinct for what looks good on screen. He can tell a story that will pull the audience in most of the time, but he does not seem to have the right touch with actors in the same way that Spielberg does.”
Second, Amanda Kirkham from Cashing In centers on Spielberg’s knack with film adaptations of famed novels with her piece:
“While there are a great many things Spielberg excels at, telling stories is what he does best. Nowhere is this more clear than in the films he has made that have been adapted from others’ stories. I know that there are several films in his catalogue that are adaptations but for the purpose of this post, I am focusing on Jaws, Jurassic Park, and The Lost World.”
Speaking about Jurassic Park, our wonderful co-host, Aurora of Citizen Screenings, featured another wonderful perspective on that certified crowd-pleaser:
“JURASSIC PARK has been and remains my favorite film to watch in surround. And loud! It’s thrilling, even after watching the film so many times, to hear the carefully crafted vocalizations of the dinosaurs, and to actually feel the guttural base sound as the water ripples in the glass and puddle as the T-Rex approaches. It’s not surprising that JURASSIC PARK won the Best Sound Academy Award, along with Best Sound Effects and Visual Effects. The movie impresses on both fronts – still.”
Melissa Hunter of The Soul of the Pilot did the one production of the filmmaker’s I’d hope for our event, especially since THE SUGARLAND EXPRESS doesn’t get the coverage as his others. She came through wonderfully.
“The film is incredibly enjoyable. It has sort of a Bonnie and Clyde or Badlands feel to it, as it mostly consists of a young couple on the run. While the southern accents might be annoying to some, after a while I got used to them and found them funny and endearing. There is also a good bit of humor involving an elderly couple. This film marks another first: Spielberg’s first use of a John Williams score.”
One of my favorite bloggers, J.D. Lafrance of Radiator Heaven, looked at the film that was surely bound to fail in the eyes of critics and fans since it followed in the wake of the monumental JAWS, but surely didn’t:
“Close Encounters of the Third Kind was made by someone who sincerely believed that there was intelligent alien life on other planets and that if it did exist would not want to wipe us out. This yearning for answers, for wanting to believe is embodied perfectly in Spielberg surrogate Roy Neary. Whether or not you believe in life on other planets, this film still tells an entertaining and engaging story – a global-spanning epic that still feels personal and intimate.”
My good friend John Kenneth Muir of Reflections of Cult Movies and Classic TV is going over and above with another splendid contribution to the #SpielbergBlogathon that offers a discerning look at the wonder the filmmaker brought to this same awe-inspiring motion picture.
“So the primary question that viewers must reckon with regarding this cult classic is: why have so many reviewers contextualized the Spielberg film as one of an overtly religious nature? Does an understanding of the religious allegory open up new avenues for understanding this work of art?”
To complete the trifecta for this classic Steven Spielberg film, a clear favorite of hers, Terri Wilson of the In the Comfy Chair has pulled out all stops:
“So is UFO mythology something we know because of stories published by investigators like J. Allen Hynek? Or does it stem from Steven Spielberg and his followers in filmmaking? A little of both perhaps? It’s hard to say.”
What can I say that Damian Arlyn over at Cinememories didn’t already express in his stirring piece for SCHINDLER’S LIST:
“Over the years, though, I have found myself returning to one film over and over again: the film that had a profound impact on its director, on the culture at large and on me personally (as a cinephile certainly but also as a human being). It was the film I held up as the standard by which to measure all other films. It was the film I thought of whenever anyone spoke of “cinematic high art” or how the motion picture medium could achieve its true potential.”
Eric Gilliland, 24/7 Movies, put forward to our Spielberg event a thought-provoking piece of “…his boldest and most under appreciated film because it challenged the ethos of post-9/11 America in an unflinching and heroic matter.”
“Politics aside, Munich is one of the best espionage films ever to depict the heady international situation of the 1970s. Recently, (after the bombings in Boston), I’ve heard the word Munich turned into a verb as in, “time to go all Munich on these guys.” If you’re in the mood for harsh reprisals, you will enjoy the revenge scenes.”
Sean Gallagher of The Joy and Agony of Movies came through with another heady look at this under appreciated film by Spielberg.
“Spielberg, Roth and Kushner were slammed on both sides for this movie – some thought it was pro-Israel, others pro-PLO – but I’d argue they’re less interested in demonizing either side than in grappling with those questions. Part of that is dealt with in dialogue, of course (Robert at one point says, “We are supposed to be righteous. That’s a beautiful thing.”
John Kenneth Muir returned today with another stellar set of contributions:
“Upon re-watching Raiders of the Lost Ark for this review, I was reminded how beautiful and textured the cinematography remains. Spielberg conveys a great deal of information about character and plot through visual means, and via compositions that stress shadows, or the interplay of light and dark.”
“Yet even thirty years after its blockbuster theatrical debut, the emotional miracle of Steven Spielberg’s E.T. remains the film’s steadfast ability to make a viewer feel young again; to make the audience sympathize with the world and viewpoint of a child, in particularly the world of lonely Elliott (Henry Thomas). Spielberg accomplishes this miracle in several deliberate and intelligent ways.”
Mikey of Screenkicker! dedicates a portion of our day 2 #SpielbergBlogathon Sunday for the fantastic pairing of Harrison Ford and Sean Connery in the third installment of the Indiana Jones series:
“Last Crusade is a return to form after the dark, strange, out of step Temple of Doom which lost some of the magic and replaced it with the most annoying female character ever committed to celluloid. In fact this time Indie’s love interest turns out to be a villain giving the story another fresher dimension and providing room for Harrison and Connery to provide the fun.”
movierob was generous enough to come up with two fine contributory pieces that shouldn’t be missed:
“The movie is based on a story written by the great Philip Dick and has great themes set in a futuristic world. Like his previously adapted stories; Blade Runner, Total Recall, The Imposter, Next, The Adjustment Bureau and Paycheck, he has always been able to show his knack for compelling, interesting and thought provoking futuristic sci-fi themes.”
“When I heard a few years back that Spielberg was to helm this picture, I was quite excited to see how he would pull it off. He had never done animation and previous attempts at motion caption movies like The Polar Express by Robert Zemekis (as an example) just couldn’t get the humans to not look so creepy.
Thankfully, he figured out how to do it.”
Nathan, aka Bubbawheat of Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights, with his practiced eye joins the #SpielbergBlogathon with a splendid look at the recent collaboration with Peter Jackson.
“One of the biggest things that this movie has going against it is the style of animation which is the motion capture realistic animation style made famous by Robert Zemeckis and while it has a couple things going for it, like several years of technology advancement and the fact that the characters here are going for more of a caricatured and stylized look, it still falls slightly into the uncanny valley.”
The Monkey Boy (honest, that’s the moniker he uses) of Bananas About Movies lines up his reasons for a favorite of his (and a popular film in this #SpielbergBlogathon), which works so very well for us and readers:
“Spielberg said he wanted an “everyman” to play the man driving the car. In that respect, Dennis Weaver is perfect for the part. The everyman is something Spielberg would call upon after Duel — think Chief Brody from Jaws, or Roy Neary from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It’s a quick way to create viewer empathy.”
There’s a reason a certain director is in the mouth of a Carcharodon carcharias in one of our blogathon banners, which happens to be Richard Kirkham‘s and Gary Pratt‘s all-time favorite film. Kerry writes why that is for the #SpielbergBlogathon.
“Great writing and acting make Jaws a wonderful film. What elevates it to top ten list status is the music. Spielberg chose to work with John Williams in Sugarland Express the year before after hearing Williams’ score for The Reivers. He asked Williams to score Jaws and that choice made the film. The soundtrack moves from ominous and suspenseful to joyous and light-hearted seamlessly and Spielberg uses the music to punctuate his scenes. Spielberg knows a good thing when he hears it. Williams has scored all but two of his films.”
Our friend Ted Saydalavong came through to reminisce about a pair of iconic films for our Spielberg Blogathon event over at FlixChatter Movie Blog. Way to go Ted!
“Yes, like many kids back in those days, I was obsessed with dinosaurs and I’ve just finished Michael Crichton’s novel that it’s based on. I still remember to this day which theater I saw the film at on opening weekend and still remember how at awe I was after the film was over. The first time I saw the CGI dinosaurs, my jaw dropped and throughout the film, I had a smile on my face. It’s one of the best experiences I’ve ever had at the cinemas.”
Not to be missed, whenever the lovely Irish lass Kellee Pratt, of the appropriately title Outspoken and Freckled blog (and noted blogathon partner), it’s just best for all to take heed. Especially, with this one, my friends:
“For me, there were three Spielberg films that shaped my childhood. During my early years we dealt with many of life’s struggles often due to poverty, but our single-parent mom battled even tougher struggles with breast cancer. It was during these years of hardship, that I found a companion for the ultimate escape via the movies.”
Though Margaret Perry might be a tad late for the blogathon, she made the most of it by honoring the filmmaker and the late-Robin Williams with her fine tribute piece.
“But how lucky to remember that there is a man named Robin Williams, who, like Peter, never really grew up. Whatever sadness surrounds his passing, I cling to the happy thought that he is now free to be his own happy boyish self. I know wherever he is, he continues to share humour and joy with the world.”
Lastly, some blogger by the strange name of le0pard13 wrote up something or another on Steven Spielberg’s return to the anthology television format during the 80s with his Amazing Stories series. This the first of his two episodes he directed, and surely was the best:
“Tipping the scales at a mere 46 minutes, for television commercial breaks, this episode clearing fought above its weight class. Amazing Stories programs were unusually high for the small-screen budgets of the time. Reportedly, for this show the figure was near $1 million per. Spielberg’s status good for it in NBC’s collective mind, at least for awhile.”
Many thanks to all of the bloggers and writers who contributed and made this so special, and to Kellee who came up with this wonderful end-of-summer event! She invited me to join in with the hosting and it was a blast 😀