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.
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.
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.)
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.
Frequently, you select very simple plots for your films. My favorite is Jurassic Park, which I think is one of your perfect films.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Tom Hanks: Saving Private Ryan, Catch Me If You Can, The Terminal
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.
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?
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.
Your Favorite Fan