Dear Steven Spielberg,

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I am tired of today’s version of the blockbuster film. Action directors like Jerry Bruckheimer, Roland Emmerich, and Michael Bay focus on the doomsday of time and the destruction of the world without hope with wooden characters that say sappy one-liners. They have nothing on you, Mr. Spielberg. You are the king of science fiction. Who could top you? Close Encounters of the Third Kind was profound and altered the world’s idea that meeting extraterrestrials could be a positive experience. You and Carl Sagan looked at space as a marvelous frontier. I appreciate that.

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Your films bring hope, loveable characters and tell the story of the human spirit. You are the definitive director who has changed the world through film. Why are you the best? I know a few reasons why.

The Kids

Nothing creates empathy quicker than watching a cute kid suffer. It’s easy to put oneself into the shoes of a kid, triggering up insecurities of our own childhoods, and looking at their world with the wisdom of an adult. If you are a parent, it’s a double-whammy. You remember how hard it was growing up, and you want to protect the child as if he were your own. I say “he” because you have never had a female girl as the principal protagonist. How come? (No, Dakota Fanning doesn’t count. It was all Tom redeeming himself as Dad in War of the Worlds. And Whoopi Goldberg was a woman in The Color Purple.)

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My favorite of your kids, better than E.T.’s Henry Thomas or A.I’s Haley Joel Osmend is Christian Bale as a twelve-year-old “Jamie” Graham in Emperor of the Sun (1987). Separated from his wealthy parents and surviving alone in Japanese occupation during World War II, he comes-of-age with an opportunist rascal played by John Malkovich.

Simple Plots

Frequently, you select very simple plots for your films. My favorite is Jurassic Park, which I think is one of your perfect films.

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All the characters have to do is go from point A to B. If they make it, they win. In 1993 when this classic came out, you brought to the screen a marvelous philosophical adventure by author Michael Crichton about the possibility of dabbling in God’s domain. It was a modern twist Mary Shelley would have approved of. Only death and destruction to the man who ventures beyond what he should. Lovely, lovely stuff.

Historical Films

I love your historical films. With authenticity and bravado, you recreate the historical climate better than anyone. Your shots are powerful. I mean, in Saving Private Ryan, I was crying in the first ten minutes when the old veteran dropped to his knees at Arlington Cemetary.

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I am excited about commenting on each of them in my new series, “History in Films” but I will say, my favorite two are Amistad and Schindler’s List which are perfect films and all humans should watch them.

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The Middle Passage sequence and the character Cinque played by Djimon Hounsou was some of the best acting I can think of. Speaking of actors…

The Best Talent

Any actor would say yes to working with you. In fact, if you starred them in your film, no doubt, their reputations catapulted. You only sign up the very best to star in your films, and you have cemented the careers of many:

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Tom Hanks: Saving Private Ryan, Catch Me If You Can, The Terminal

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Tom Cruise: Minority Report, War of the Worlds

And these greats have all been a part of your magic over the last 40 years:

Anthony Hopkins, Dustin Hoffman, Ben Kingsley, Daniel Day Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Liam Neeson, Matt Damon, Martin Sheen, Matthew McConaughey, Jude Law, Morgan Freeman, Bob Hoskins, Christopher Walken, Christopher Lee, Colin Farrell, Daniel Craig, Dan Aykroyd, John Malkovich, Ben Stiller, Danny Glover, David Strathairn, Dennis Weaver, Eric Bana, Geoffrey Rush, Hal Holbrook, James Brolin, Jeff Goldblum, Laurence Fishburne, Mickey Rourke, Sam Neill, Paul Giamatti…and on and on and on. Just about all the males in Hollywood have worked with you.

Oh, yeah. I forgot one.

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Harrison Ford.

Mr. Spielberg, I wonder why you have starred relatively few women in your films? And why have you never worked with Robert DeNiro other than Cape Fear as Executive Director? Why not Al Pacino? Really? What have I missed?

John Williams

I’ve mentioned this before, but your relationship with John Williams is a marriage in heaven. I don’t know who benefited more, you or John. He has scored ALL of your major films except for The Color Purple. That is a huge factor in your success. The best score of all time is Star Wars. 

You are my all time favorite director, Mr. Spielberg. I only hope you will see fit to feature more girls and women in your films in the future. As the star of the show. Not the side kick or eye candy. Otherwise, I don’t care if your critics think you are overly-sentimental. I love to cry at films. You are the reason I love going to the movies.

Sincerely,

Your Favorite Fan

21 thoughts on “Dear Steven Spielberg,

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  1. Great post Cindy! LOVE a lot of Spielberg films, both the fun action stuff like Indiana Jones & Jurassic Park, to the heart-wrenching drama like Schindler’s List. War Horse is a bit overly sentimental for me though, but it’s still worth a watch. I love Christian Bale in Emperor of the Sun too, boy even from a young age you knew he’d be a big star. I also LOVE John Williams and most of his best work are his collaboration w/ Spielberg. Both are such Hollywood legends!

  2. Wow Cindy,
    What a beautiful touching open letter to Mr.Spielberg. It would be really nice if he actually came across this post. True he hasn’t had many women oriented films, and with a girl child as a main lead never. But two of my favourite Spielberg flicks are, one ‘Schindler’s List’ and the other ‘The Color Purple’, and the latter is one of the best films ever with a female lead. Whoopi Goldberg was superb in it.
    Amistad, War Horse, Saving Private Ryan, etc etc .. he’s brought out some really good movies.
    From his ‘B’ movies I really enjoyed both ‘ET’ & ‘Jurassic Park’.

    1. Hi, Nuwansen! “B” movies? Jurassic Park and E.T.? Nein! They are “AA” movies. 😉
      Yes, The Color Purple film is one of those rare times the film was better than the book. Whoopi was perfect in it as well as the supporting character (especially Oprah).

  3. I love me some Spielberg but somewhere about 2002 he seemed to take a turn for the sappy. His films seem to have lost that something special. I hope he gets his mojo back but I don’t know if I can ever forgive him for Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull.

    1. HI, nice to see you! Yes, I agree with you he abused his power and we didn’t need Jurassic Park II and III –was there a IV??? I personally disliked ‘Hook’ and was ambivalent about ‘War Horse’. I think in a 40 year career, you are going to make some mistakes and goofs. But what he did right, was better than anyone in the business and he did too many of them to whip him for his mistakes. I’d love to meet the man and would feel compelled to bow before him. 😉

        1. That was so bad! I was buying into Shia (I know you guys don’t like him, but he was believable as Indy’s son and it was nice to see Karen Allen back and Blanchett was a wicked Russian. But yes, the film was boring for me. That’s a sin.

  4. I am very much in agreement about todays blockbusters (which tend to focus on spectacle while ignoring character). The same is true for modern horror films. Filmmakers tend to forget that without fleshed out characters, audiences have absolutely no reason to care about their possible demise. Who would want to save a word full of one dimensional automatons? Let the filmmaker blow them to bits in order to make way for a cinematic universe that allows fleshed out characters to thrive once again.

    1. Oh, my, I wrote that a long time ago. Since then, people have tried to persuade me Spielberg is a manipulative and crappy director who insults his audience. I do think he’s on the sappy side, but his movies are entertaining, and I don’t think he’d apologize for that. Some of his films are quite artistic (Schindler’s List) and I do love his historical fiction even though he can be romantic or melodramatic. I still love him.

      1. I will admit that he isn’t one o my top five contemporary directors, but he is good. He might be a bit overrated, but I love several his films. He is manipulative, but all directors are manipulative (even those that pretend not to be). They simply manipulate in different ways. I never minded the sentimental aspect of his films, because I felt that the sentiment was usually well earned.

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