Riding the coattails of the recent news of my favorite book, Ready Player One, getting it’s film adaptation with none other than Steven Spielberg attached to direct, I thought it would be fitting to tell you about my experiences and influences from his movies.
Where do I even begin? This is going to be a daunting task.
Looking at Spielberg’s IMDB page, even the page itself has a difficult time filtering out all his work based on his contribution. I still don’t know exactly how many films he has worked on up to this point in his career. Not to mention all the others he’s produced, written, and/or was consulted on. So let’s start with a number that everyone can follow. One that when I first saw it, I felt was a much lower number than it probably should be.
Two… as in he’s won two Oscars. Wait, just two?
Those two Oscars were for his directorial work on Schindler’s List (1994) and Saving Private Ryan (1998.) IMDB says three, but one is actually an honorary Oscar called the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award so I don’t count that one. Let’s talk about those two movies a little bit first.
“Saving Private Ryan” is, in my humble opinion, the most realistic and immersive World War II movie made. Ever. The first twenty-five minutes is a scene depicting D-Day, which is a dizzying and terrifying cinematic pièce de résistance. That scene alone-as a short film-could have won the Oscar for best short. What follows is an incredibly gripping story with completely fleshed out characters that you cheer on with every victory and cry real tears for with every tragedy.
“Schindler’s List” is something that I honestly haven’t been able to get all the way through. I tried, but I couldn’t. You know a movie is powerful when you still can’t get through it 20 years later and you know everything that happens.
Look at his work going all the back from the late 1970s to now. Movies like “Jaws”; “E.T.”; “The Goonies”; “Gremlins”; “Close Encounters of The Third Kind”; the “Indiana Jones” series; “Jurassic Park“; “Forrest Gump”; “Hook”; “Empire of The Sun”; “Amistad”; “Catch Me If You Can”; “Minority Report”; “Lincoln” and dozens of others, it’s obvious that whether you’re a film junkie or not, you’ve all seen his films and can probably even name a few of them. Let’s not also diminish his contributions as a producer which have brought us cult classics like the “Back To The Future” franchise, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” and the “Animaniacs” cartoon series. So it’s safe to say that Steven Spielberg films were one of the most frequent I was exposed to growing.
Spielberg’s films transport us to other worlds and introduce us to people and experiences we would otherwise never experience. He traumatized a generation from ever going into the ocean. He brought dinosaurs back to life. He took us deep inside a temple of doom. Introduced us to a curious alien, and had us travel through time based on reality and fantasy. Past, present, and future.
Entire college courses and scholars already exist in his name so it’s impossible for me to give any additional or compelling information that would do the man justice. But I will say this: the fact that Steven Spielberg only has two Oscars is criminal. Despite a career spanning over 40 years, he shows no sign of slowing down. I know that he will have many more films in the upper echelon of cinematic masterpieces and even if he were to retire from directing today (or at least after he finishes directing “Ready Player One”), Steven Spielberg will forever be one of the greatest storytellers to ever walk this earth.