Steven Spielberg

Saving Private Ryan

Year: 1998
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Written By: Robert Rodat

RYAN’S REVIEW

I saw this movie several times in the theater, but there was one distinct experience watching it that I will never forget. It’s a story that matters little when discussing such a fine film but it mattered a lot to me. As for the movie, it’s a great war movie made by one of the greatest directors of all time and starring one of the best actors of his generation.

I think I had already watched this movie three times when I got a phone call during dinner one night. There was a big Pro Wrestling event in town and two of the stars were currently watching this movie at the local theater that I just happened to spend most of my time in. My brother and I bolted from the table mid dinner for the chance to encounter Diamond Dallas Page and The Giant, or some may know him as The Big Show or some other name I am unfamiliar with. They were just watching this movie and my brother and I were just eager fans waiting to flank them when they were out in the world.

We made it to the theater maybe half way through the film and took a seat on the back row. We were sitting maybe two or three rows back from men we perceived to be legends. In truth I was a fan of neither of these guys but that hardly mattered as we were sitting a merely 10 feet from them in the theater.

They were larger than life men and The Giant had stretch out one leg across the front row with his arm covering two seats next to him, literally blanketing an area usually occupied by several people. His head was so enormous and he had a huge mane of hair. The Giant was a loud viewer who screamed at the screen profanely even calling the Corporal a pussy in the climax when he is too afraid to aid his friend.A few seats over sat Diamond Dallas Page who seemed to glow in the darkness of the theater. I distinctly remember how bright of a man that dude was in all his tanning bed bleach blonde glory. He sat for the majority of the movie with his head in his hands and he cried openly during the movie while his friend screamed at the screen.

There were about 5 other people in the theater all sitting on the front row as if it were assigned to them. The precious wrestlers could not be disturbed during the movie in which one screamed at the screen and the other cried the whole time. The two could not have been more different but my brother and I were just so caught up in the moment.

I have always wished I could go back to that moment, knowing out ultimate goal was fruitless, and have yelled at The Giant. When he was screaming obscenities at the screen. How great it would have been to be the little smartass behind him and yell something like “hey! we’re trying to watch a movie here!” or something like that. What I would give to know how that scenario would have played out.

With about 5 minutes left in the film they got up and quickly left as if to avoid being rushed by the five people at the front of the theater. I followed them out hoping to get an autograph. I remember following Diamond Dallas Page to the front and standing a mere two feet from him as he talked to the manager. The Giant wasn’t looming about anywhere but I’ll never forget how DDP did not even acknowledge me. Even when he was done talking he turned away without so much as a glance in my direction. My brother managed to get a low five from The Giant as he exited the theater, but I got nothing but unacknowledgement.

I did not get an autograph that night but the memory of a lifetime none the less. As I said before I wasn’t really a fan of either of these guys so them being rude just strengthened my resolve. Also, the were both wearing fanny packs, so lame.

As to this movie itself what is there for me to say other than it is great? It begins with one of the most emotionally captivating and exciting battle scene of all time. It finishes with a nearly equal battle where the stakes are so much higher. I may connect this movie with a silly memory but there is so much more to it than that.

Truthfully, after recounting such a long remembered story, I have no interest in delving into this movie review wise. My apologies but the best you will get from me right now is that this movie was great. It’s a fantastic WWII pic and it would be worth your time to see it. This movie has one of the best battle scenes you will ever see and after that it only gets better.

NEXT MOVIE: Saw (2004)

 

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Poltergeist

Year: 1982
Directed By: Tobe Hopper
Written By: Steven Spielberg, Michael Grais, and Mark Victor

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is a movie I would have normally waited until Halloween season to review but I just wanted to watch it too much to let it wait till October. I didn’t see this movie until sometime within the last year and it left quite an impression on me. I never watched it growing up and can’t figure out why. I was much too young for it throughout the 80s and in the later 90s my teenage self probably turned my nose up at a horror film with a PG rating. It was actually ABC’s The Goldbergs that got me interested in it when an episode featured the film. When I watched it for the first time I realized I had missed out on something because I found it interesting for so many reasons.

First of all, this is a movie for adults. That seems like a lost cause in the horror movies of today made for teenagers and young dating couples. This movie catered to those of us in full adulthood with children and responsibilities. I love that about this movie because it makes it honest. These are normal and responsible parents who are drinking, getting high, and just trying to get their kids to go to sleep for crying out loud. Sometimes getting your kids to just finally go to sleep feels like a regular losing battle too and we see that in this movie. Despite great efforts, in the end the kids still sleep in their parent’s bed and it’s something most parents can relate to. For whatever reason I feel like I don’t see this honesty in movies today. Parents are either really good or really bad but never honest. In this movie the parents do so many things considered taboo today. At one point the mother watches her oldest daughter get heckled by construction men before the daughter gives them an obscene gesture in response.  The mother just smiles as she looks on without making a fuss herself and just lets her daughter deal with it and go about her day. Such a thing would never be seen on screen today, that mother is supposed to be angry, she is supposed to run out there and tell those dirty men to go straight to hell. Don’t pass go, don’t collect $200, just go straight into the fires of hell and burn. The PC world we live in today drives me crazy and it is all encouraged over time by the media. This movie shows us an example of how things were different before the media got into our heads with what we were supposed to think about things.

Another thing that gets me about this movie is simply that it doesn’t really try. So many horror movies that have come out since are trying to convince us that they’re scary. They are trying too hard and it’s obvious. This movie is scary enough without trying. It didn’t have to try, it didn’t need buckets of blood or even nudity to get our attention. It just told an interesting story that was scary and brought us along for the ride. This movie also didn’t need supermodels to fill in the cast. Aside from the stars we see in this movie we don’t see freakishly good looking children but simply children that you might see in any ordinary family. It all makes this movie strike home harder as it is just simply honest in a way that so many movies aren’t.

This movie is scary by being subtle. For me it’s all in that look on the face of Craig T. Nelson after everything gets started. As he sits behind the table smoking deeply on his cigarette and looking at these college people through very hollowed eyes you can see plainly they don’t believe him. They think he’s crazy but he doesn’t care, it continues as he leads them to his home. Beer in hand, he just has this look of exhaustion on his face that can’t go unnoticed, and he has tells them everything in this tired and nonchalant tone that conveys he doesn’t care if they are skeptical or not. I’m a big fan of Coach, and in this movie he is just the real deal. Not a fake dad like you might see in any typical film but the real life dad that you might see when you travel home. Mr. Incredible is as good as it gets for playing dads. I’ve never watched Parenthood but Amber has and I hear great things about it. I am actually excited at the news that Coach is coming back to TV and can’t wait to see it. The big time TV networks might be getting desperate these days in their efforts to combat Netflix and other channels that used to not matter but there has been a hit here and there. I think too much is being brought back but some of it has worked and if it is bringing Craig T. Nelson back to his keynote character I can’t complain.

This movie has been remade and the remake will be coming out soon. That makes me angry, as so many remakes do. There is no way this new movie will be able to scare or intrigue us like this one did. You can’t recreate Spielberg and it is foolish to try. This man was on a role in the early 80s, a mind exploding with all the creativity possible in his field. In this era he brought us Indiana freaking Jones, E.T. phone home, and in his spare time he wrote this, and The Goonies. Steven Spielberg was/is one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. One of the men who shaped the industry into what it is today. A man who opened our minds to the possibilities of cinema and even until today continues to blow us away with what he is able to make.

Another thing I find interesting about this movie, fresh off the heels of the Reese’s Pieces success of E.T., there is product placement everywhere in this movie. Budweiser, Cheetos, Holiday Inn, and it goes on and on. I find it interesting to look back on a time when this was all a fresh new thing. Today product placement in films is just part of the process and a key element in advertising. Something done in everything, and excessively in something expected to be really big. It was different back in the early 80s but big waves had happened when E.T.:The Extra Terrestrial set records in the box office and was hugely popular. M&M’s had famously turned down a chance to be E.T.’s candy of choice and Reese’s Pieces was happy to reap all the benefits of that bad decision. Obviously, with so much product placement here, you can see how companies were flocking to Steven Spielberg with his next en devour.

This is a really cool movie and if you haven’t seen it don’t waste your time by seeing the crap coming out later this year. It’s a travesty to remake classic films. There is nothing to be improved upon in this story and it’s just a lazy effort to make a few bucks. I have made this argument plenty of times and won’t dig any deeper here. The remake disappoints me, as they all do, because all they do is make their source material forgettable. Movies like this shouldn’t be forgotten because there is too much to appreciate about them. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and it is worth your time to see it.

NEXT MOVIE: Poolhall Junkies (2002)

Minority Report

Year: 2002
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Written By: Phillip K. Dick (short story), Scott Frank and Jon Cohen (screenplay)

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is the only movie about the future that I look at and think “that’s what it’s going to be like.”  I don’t know about psychic pre-cogs who can detect crime before it happens but everything else looks legit. The computer operation, eye scanners, personalized marketing, vehicle models, and so much else that we see in the background of the film I think will hold true in 2054.  It’s hard to say really but I think as that year approaches this film will look more like a vision of the future than say Back to the Future II’2015.  Where the hell are our hover board Robert Zemeckis? Aside from being an interesting vision of the future this movie is a fast paced thrill ride that will keep you on the edge of your seat till the end.  It offers some surprisingly outstanding performances from a director who simply makes hit after hit after hit.  In truth this movie is way down the totem pole for great films from Spielberg, but the man has made so many incredible movies it’s hard to get to the top.

Every time I get the opportunity to discuss Steven Spielberg I feel like I can’t say enough about how incredible he is.  This time around is no different.  The man has shown such growth as a filmmaker and he has never stopped getting better at what he does.  For this movie he rolled up his sleeves and did his research.  He didn’t just want to make any other vision of the future with this film but a more accurate picture of what the world would be like.  He met with specific people in a variety of fields and discussed with them where their business was going in the future. This is specifically why I think that in 40 years the world will look pretty close to what we see in this movie.  I just believe that much in Spielberg.  Not only was this film influenced by the information he gathered in his research but this film has over time influenced society itself.  It’s no secret that science fiction films have been influencing technological developments for decades now but this film specifically has been cited as an influence in new emerging technology today.  If you want specific examples feel free to read about it yourself on the film’s Wikipedia page.

Aside from the film’s vision of the future there is always one other specific thing that comes to mind when I think of this movie.  This too I credit Steven Spielberg for and his ability as a director, because otherwise I can’t figure out any other explanation for it.  What I’m talking about is the performance of Colin Farrell. I think he is incredible in this film, and I just can’t figure it out for the life of me.  How can the guy be so damn good in this movie and so widely suck in his career beyond this?  I’ve been seeing this guy in films for a long time now. I know him to specifically blow as an actor.  I have never been able to get over his God awful performance as Alexander back in 2004.  How is it that Oliver Stone, a director that made Charlie Sheen look great in the 80s, fail to get a good performance out of him when Spielberg did so great? It’s always puzzled me but at the same time only makes me appreciate Spielberg more. Somehow he has to be responsible because I sure as hell am not going to give credit to Farrell.  So, for the record, Colin Farrell blows but in this film he is awesome.

I don’t see the point in discussing Cruise.  He is in this film and he is doing his thing.  Probably just to spite haters like me he is a total professional all the way and turns in another killer performance to add to a killer career.  It’s peculiar that you can look at him in this movie and see no noticeable difference in his appearance 12 years later but I’ve discussed that before.  As a hater of this guy I have to admit that he really doesn’t have many flaws in his trade.  He is an outstanding actor and has made a significant career worth being proud of.  I like Max Von Sydow being the real bad guy once everything is figured out.  How did this surprise anyone?  When Emperor Ming it at the top of the hierarchy his hands are bound to be dirty. I like the short part played by Peter Stormare, always great to see him in anything.  Also in small roles Tim Blake Nelson and Neal McDonough add their talents to the cast.

This movie was based on a short story of the same name written by Phillip K. Dick.  I haven’t read it but I have read two Dick books recently and wanted to discuss him a bit.  Dick has been the influence behind a few science fiction films and is significant because one of them is considered one of the greatest of all time.  Blade Runner was based on a book by Dick called “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.” I read that book recently and found it very interesting.  He also wrote the story that inspired Total Recall, and its remake twenty years later.  Dick was an author far and away ahead of his time.  He wasn’t right about plenty of things but was clever enough to give visions of the future that left a clear impression on his readers.  I also recently read The Man in the High Castle” which has been talked about being adapted into a film since it came out.  The book is about an alternate reality in the United States in 1962 where everything was different because we lost the war to the Axis powers 20 years prior.  In the book the US is divided into three regions where the Japanese rule the Pacific States of America, the Nazis run the Eastern states, and there is a neutral zone in middle America loosely run by a coalition of the two. A fascinating and frightening book that I really enjoyed reading and would recommend to any person with interest in the topic.

Back to the topic at hand, this film is a great example of a great director and a great actor adding another notch to their belts.  They showed up for work and collaborated to create something awesome.  They both continue to make great films and have been doing so for as long as I have been alive, it’s nice to see them get together to do it.  It’s hard to believe that 12 years has passed since this film came out.  Spielberg has reached a point in his career where he can do anything he wants now.  He is in his later 60s now but he isn’t too old to blow us away with his talent and his career will continue to be interesting to follow.  Cruise on the other hand seems to be standing in some different realm where time stands still and we only see him by happenstance.  Any day now that man is going to become an old man and the world will be so weird then.  I imagine there are a lot of older people out there who look at Tom Cruise and just don’t accept the reality of their age.  They see him looking just like he always did and in their disillusion minds they have what Morpheus would call a “residual self image” of themselves still as lively as they were in the 80s.  That’s all part of why I don’t like Cruise; the guy is a hell of an actor but he is screwing with the small minds of people everywhere with his ability to defy time.

When it comes to science fiction films this one is as good as they get and that doesn’t belittle the genre but enriches it.  This movie is interesting and exciting.  It will draw you in with a fantastic vision of the future and keep you on the edge of your seat with action sequences that will have you biting your nails off. This one is easy to recommend because it is awesome.  This movie is worth your time to see it and if you get the opportunity you won’t be disappointed.

 

AMBER’S REVIEW

I always really like watching this movie. It’s an interesting take on how the future will run. It has been really impressive to watch this movie over the years, and to see how close we actually are to a lot of these technologies. Technology and science have always intrigued me. I also love that they did research of true future technologies and incorporated them into the film. I think that’s the best way to make a movie about the future. We can actually watch it evolve over time and see that some movie called it first.

mreport

Having said all of that above, you would think maybe the poster could also be a little advanced. But, no. It looks like that. How boring is this poster? Tom Cruise in an “action pose?” To me he looks a little more like he may have a stomach ache and is doubling over. I can’t even tell what is going on in the background. The typography is completely bored and had barely if any thought put into it. It also looks like they stretched it out across the top. I could be wrong, there might very well be an expanded version. I hate this poster. I can’t even fathom the idea of someone getting paid for crap like this.

NEXT MOVIE: Mississippi Burning

The Lost World

Year: 1997
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Written By: Michael Crichton (book) David Koepp (screenplay)

RYAN’S REVIEW

I think this is a terrific sequel.  It manages to up the ante up on everything but star power.  This continuation of the story from the first film is bigger, more intense, and action packed.  Although it doesn’t feature any big name stars and it is a bit too influenced by King Kong. I remember dismissing this movie as simply alright when it first came out but will never forget when I revisited it in college and was blown away.  Nobody knows how to bring it quite like Spielberg and he lays out such great action sequences. This movie is not very highly rated but I think it is really good.  It’s such a bigger story than we saw in the first one and there is so much more dinosaur action.

I have read the book that this movie was adapted from but admittedly don’t remember it as well as the first one.  The book was written after the success of the first film and at the encouragement of Spielberg.  Michael Crichton didn’t want to write a sequel initially but relented to public demand over time.  From what I remember this movie does not follow the book very closely.  Most notably there is no trip to the US where a T-Rex destroys San Diego. What I remember from the book more than anything was how it was nonstop action almost to a fault, like all Crichton books I have read. Don’t get me wrong I like them and think Crichton was a terrific writer but his books can be exhausting.

I do think the story from the book was a better one than what we see in the film. In the book the rival company from the first film comes back into play.  I don’t understand why they did it differently for the film.  In the first film we see Dodson meet with Wayne Knight’s character and practically orchestrates the entire problem that goes down at the park. Yet in this film we simply see the company of Ingen having internal problems and trying to make as much money from the situation as possible.

One thing I think was really cool about this movie was that it showed us “Compies.” Compsognathus are those little dinosaurs that we didn’t see at all in the first film.  They are really prevalent in the first book.  In the book they are quite a surprise as they come in handy disposing of dino fecal matter.  Also, if I remember correctly I think John Hammond in the book is actually eaten by Compies when he falls down and injures himself.  This movie begins with the them attacking that little girl and I think it is significant for the film. It’s a new dinosaur to the movie franchise that seems small and insignificant but proves to be more dangerous in numbers.  I am a big fan of Peter Stormare from his work in Fargo but saw his death by Compies a fitting end in this movie.

The biggest flaw of this movie I think, aside from the trip to San Diego, was the fact that it required Jeff Goldblum to be the star.  I thought he was great in the first film as Ian Malcolm but he was simply a side character in that one.  In this movie he just gets on my nerves more often than not.  Naturally he is scared but does he have to bitch and moan about it for the whole film? Despite how good of an actress she is I have never really been a fan of Julianne Moore.  She is good in this movie though and has one of the most gut wrenching scenes in the film.  When she has fallen on the glass and it’s slowly breaking beneath her I once found myself forgetting to breath while watching it. One of the best roles in the film goes to Vince Vaughn and I think it is a shame that his character’s role is over before the end of the movie. This was before Vince Vaughn became a really recognizable name and I think it’s to the credit of Spielberg for noticing good talent that he is in this movie.  Spielberg had to screen a copy of Swingers before allowing the Jaws theme to be allowed in the movie and after seeing it decided to cast Vaughn in this movie.  Another bright spot in the cast is that of Pete Postlethwaite who is great as the intimidating group leader set on hunting a T-Rex.  Something about his determination and the way he carries himself tells you that this guy will have no problem hunting and killing the greatest predator of all time.  As things go on these islands though, there is no end to the problems everyone is unprepared for.

I think this movie sports many great scenes and sequences that make it worth wild.  The T-Rex attack on the groups vehicle is incredible, and the pursuit of the T-Rex afterwards will keep you on the edge of your seat.  I love when all the survivors run into the velociraptor zone and are quickly picked off by the cunning pack hunters. I love the overhead shot of all the men running through the tall grass while the raptors descend on them from multiple sides.  However, as great as these scenes are, they seem moot after the closing of the film.  I think the closing takes a lot away from the movie and had a lot to do with why the movie wasn’t as well received.  Having a T-Rex on the loose in downtown and suburban San Diego was a little ridiculous and too much like what we see in King Kong/Godzilla movies.  Not only that but I just don’t think it would be that difficult to dispatch that dinosaur on the lose within our own country.  Where are the authorities to shoot the thing down? It’s just a giant lizard and it’s not indestructible yet it’s just roaming through the city unabashed and allowed to cause all the destruction it can.

I haven’t enjoyed this movie as much this time around but it still has plenty of aspects that make it worth your time.  I think the movie would have been better had it followed the book more closely but it is good enough I suppose.  It can’t live up to the original film but nothing ever will.  No movie about dinosaurs can ever be good enough to excite us the way seeing them the first time did.  They have been trying to continue this franchise for over ten years now and there is still occasional talk about a fourth film but nothing they can do can ever recapture what they achieved the first time.  The third movie in the franchise literally did everything it could in an effort to be successful but still didn’t even live up to this one much less the first one.  However I still think this movie is good enough to tell you that it’s worth your time.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I definitely like the first one way better than this sequel. I still really like a good action flick that involves dinosaurs. I couldn’t believe that anyone wouldn’t like a movie that involves a bunch of dangerous dinosaurs chasing people around.

lostworld

Here is the poster for this sequel, and if you can remember from the last one, I was a big fan. And I really like this poster too. I normally don’t like most of the designs that came out in the 90s, but both of these posters are really working for me. They are simple and iconic, and in my opinion that is exactly what a successful movie poster does.

NEXT MOVIE: Jurassic Park III (2001)

Jurassic Park

Year: 1993
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Written By: Michael Crichton and David Koepp

RYAN’S REVIEW

I was nine years old when this movie came out in 1993.  At the time my father was the manager at the Uptown Theater in downtown Washington D.C. and I was there when this movie premiered there. The theater only had one huge screen with a large auditorium and a balcony. I sat on the first row of the balcony to watch the movie and for two hours and seven minutes my mind was blown.  It is still to this day the largest screen I ever watched a movie on and I don’t know that anything I had ever seen as a nine year old was more exciting than this movie about dinosaurs. I’ll never forget how I felt after seeing it for the first time, it was probably pivotal at my age in my development as a movie fan.  I was so exhilarated; I remember immediately thinking about how awesome the inevitable sequel would be.  I had suddenly discovered the coolest thing that had ever existed, the velociraptor, and here I had spent nine whole years thinking it was the T-Rex.

As I grew up I only came to love this movie more as I was able to understand more with my growing maturity.  Eventually I read the book and was at first disappointed by how different it was but by the end came to love it as well.  Michael Crichton is a good writer but he tends to wear me out as a reader sometimes.  His books are fascinating and always have exciting stories but they are just so nonstop with danger around every corner.  Things never cool down and the danger around every corner can sometimes be exhausting.  Crichton of course was already a very successful writer long before he conceived the idea for this story. So successful that when he approached movie studios with nothing more than the idea for the book he was immediately offered tons of money for film rights.  Four studios fought over the right to make the film, each with a director in mind to attach to the project. So Crichton had his pick of who would make his book into a film even before he wrote it.  He ultimately chose Universal Studios who had Steven Spielberg penciled in to direct and I think we can all agree he made the right choice.

Nobody captures excitement and adventure quite like Steven Spielberg and his people.  He brought along David Koepp to work on the script, John Williams to work up the musical score, and Kathleen Kennedy to produce.  This group of people can almost be likened to a mathematical equation that equals success because they have created it time and time again.  They know how to make great and long lasting movies and did that again when they got together for this one.  Spielberg even tapped one of his other resources for this film by bringing on George Lucas to finish direction when it came time for Spielberg to work on his next film, Schindler’s List. I mentioned in a previous post that Spielberg had a great knack for growing as a filmmaker and adapting to the times and new techniques.  He did that with this movie as the technology used to bring all the dinosaurs to life was very new at the time.

I have always liked the cast of this movie although none of the actors used were really big names.  Sam Neill has never been much of a leading man but I thought he was great in the part.  Most of the other films I have seen Neill in have been horror films and he is awesome in those. The number one that comes to mind is In the Mouth of Madness which I remember being particularly scary. Laura Dern was the female lead and she is another I would not call a leading actress.  Although she has starred in the lead of her own television show on HBO, EnlightenedAlthough the show has been cancelled after two seasons.  I haven’t seen much of it but Amber seemed really interested at one time.  Jeff Goldblum has a large enough role to almost be considered a lead and he probably had the most recognizable name among the cast. I have never been a fan of Goldblum but I think he fit the role of Ian Malcolm really well.  The only problem with him in the role was it required him to be the lead actor in the sequel. I think they could have been more prudent in choosing, but they didn’t know that at the time because the sequel hadn’t been written yet.  Of his two rounds playing the part I think we saw him do better in this film.

I think the strength of this cast lies in all the supporting roles because they had many good people filling in the smaller roles.  Samuel L. Jackson was relatively unknown when he was in this movie.  It wouldn’t be till the following year when he was in Pulp Fiction that his star really began to rise.  I thought he was great as the chain smoking park technician in this movie.  I also particularly like Wayne Knight’s role in the film.  This was probably the highest point in Knight’s career as he was starting to get plenty of face time on Seinfeld as Newman.  Long after Seinfeld Knight saw a dip in his career and as far as I know it is all but over now.  I read an article a few years back that he had lost A LOT of weight. So much so that he was barely recognizable as all his time in the public eye was as such a heavy man.  I read that he was having a hard time getting roles because of his weight loss but he was happier to be in shape and living a healthier life.  I think that is great for him and I hope Wayne Knight is still keeping it up and doing well, but I miss him in parts like this.  Richard Attenborough also brought a lot to the film in his role as the park’s creator.  Although his portrayal in the film is much different than it was in the book.  In the book John Hammond was a real ass and I think all readers were really pleased when he is eaten by some of the smaller dinosaurs in the park.  Of course in the film he lives and not only that but he has that great grandfatherly quality that Attenborough has himself so he is very likable. Joseph Mazzello also played a great part but he has had a hard time transitioning his success as a child into anything else.  He is still out there popping up here and there but hasn’t done much of any significance.

This movie will always be important to me for more reasons than how awesome it might have been.  I will never forget the premier of the film when I was there at the Uptown in 1993.  I don’t remember seeing them all specifically but Jeff Goldblum was there, both of the two child actors, Laura Dern maybe, and I did see Muhammad Ali who attended.  Although I didn’t see him I know that Vice President Al Gore was there as well because I met a Secret Service agent that was there to guard him.  While waiting for the movie to start the VP had taken over my father’s office and when I went there looking for my dad I found my father wasn’t in there but there was a man in a suit standing guard outside.  He was a really cool guy who humored my fascination in what he did with plenty of conversation.  I will never forget it for as long as I live because at nine years he was quite possibly the coolest guy I had ever met in my entire life.  He showed me his gun and even took the clip out to show me the bullets he used.  I doubt this was something he was supposed to or even allowed to do but he left such an impression on me.  I was quite lucky to meet one who was nice to me instead of being a hardass, as I imagine most Secret Service members are and should be.

I don’t have to tell you anything more about this movie because you most likely already have plenty of your own ideas about it.  This is one of those films that simply everybody saw at the time because it was that popular.  Both the film and the book are worth your time and I would suggest investing some in both of them.  Universal Studios is still trying to harness the bank-ability of this film franchise and there is always talk of a fourth film in the works.  Over the year I have heard all kind of ideas thrown out there, even one as wild as velociraptors equipped with laser technology that allows them to fight humans in battle.  I doubt a film like that will ever be made but I am sure we will eventually see a fourth film in the franchise.  Will it match up to this one? Of course not but that doesn’t mean that somebody else won’t pick up the torch and do something significant with it.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This classic movie is a movie that everyone should have seen by now. Who doesn’t love a good story about dinosaurs? I really like this movie. I still don’t mind watching it when it comes on television. It’s a fun ride and a classic flick.

jurassicpark

I really think this is a successful poster. Who needs to show a poster filled with dinosaurs? I love that they decided to simply use the park logo as the focus for this poster. It tells you everything that you need to know. This logo is still iconic today, just as I said about the Ghostbusters logo. People automatically know what this is when they see it. Overall, I think this poster deserves a big kudos. It took a risk being so simplistic, but this works on so many levels. Love it.

NEXT MOVIE: The Lost World (1997)

Jaws

Year: 1975
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Written By: Peter Benchley and Carl Gottlieb

RYAN’S REVIEW

This movie speaks for itself doesn’t it? Is there really anything I can say to add to what has already been said or written about this film? I don’t know but I will give it my best shot.  What can I start with in regards to this film? “It’s awesome,” seems like the best way to go.  It has an ability to draw you in and take you on a wild ride.  Some movies are so good they practically create an entire genre with the copycat films that follow and this is one of them.  This is a movie that will never be matched though.  You can make a movie about a killer snake(Anaconda), a crocodile(Lake Placid), flesh eating fish(Piranha 3D), killer wolves(The Grey), or even something I don’t know about the Loch Ness monster but it will never match up to this movie. It’s legendary, a movie that will still be awesome one hundred years from now.  A movie that creeps into our memory when any of us are swimming or snorkeling in the ocean. A movie we have nightmares about that give us a fear we take to the grave.  Sharks are nothing to be trifled with, most of us know that and one way or another it was this movie that taught us that.

I have read before that Steven Spielberg had a lot of regrets when it came to this film.  Simply because it wasn’t actually accurate and there was plenty he didn’t understand about sharks when he made the movie.  I don’t buy that though, there is nothing wrong with this movie.  Yeah maybe Great White sharks aren’t capable of dismantling a large boat at sea but who cares.  I am more than willing to throw out some suspension of disbelief when it comes to this one.  I don’t think it matters whether it is really accurate or not anyway.  We could all do with a healthy dose of fear when it comes to sharks. They are freaking scary.  Anything that can accidentally mistake you for lunch and take a chunk out of your body is freaking scary.  In so many ways the shark is the face of fear that is the ocean.  It’s such an immense body of water that holds no shortage of creatures that will turn any of us white with fear and the shark is the scariest of the bunch.  It’s a giant eating machine equipped with rows and rows of razor sharp teeth.  I heard once that a shark never stops moving forwards and that if it does it will die.  I don’t know if that is true or not but it has always aided the fear they invoke in me.  Somehow the fact that it is always moving and devouring anything in its path makes it even scarier.  From what I understand sharks don’t actually prefer to eat people, and most attacks are when they have mistaken a swimmer for a seal.  All I have to say to that is God help us if they ever do develop a taste for us.

This movie is based on a book that was somewhat based off of a true story that took place nearly 100 years ago around New Jersey.  I once watched a Shark Week special documentary about the real events surrounding a killer shark that he swam up river and killed several people in fresh water. The documentary was called “Blood in the Water”. It was a really interesting story and I would encourage anybody interested to seek it out.  The story is not even remotely close to the story we see in Jaws but it is a true story about a killer shark that took several lives one awful week. This movie also references another true story of a mass shark attack that took place in the Pacific during WWII.  Quint claims to be a survivor of the U.S.S. Indianapolis that sank during the war. When the ship sank there were 880 survivors left floating in the water and when they were finally rescued only 321 were pulled from the water alive.  The navy was unaware of the ship sinking and for six days the survivors floated in the water waiting and while they were there many of them perished due to exposure while a great many of them were attacked and dragged down by sharks. It is considered the most shark attacks on humans to have ever happened in human history.  It’s nearly impossible for any of us to even imagine how scary those six days must have been and the scar it must have left on those men that survived.  I think it explains quite a bit about the Quint character.

I am really not overly familiar with any of the cast in this movie.  Of course I know Richard Dreyfuss who has probably had the longest and most successful career of any of them.  I like Dreyfuss and specifically his role in this film. He has made many great and memorable movies over the years but I think his best work was in the beginning in roles like the one he played in this film.  Spielberg decided to cast him at the suggestion of his friend George Lucas who had worked with him on American GraffitiSpielberg obviously liked him as he used him again in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I have never seen Roy Scheider in anything else but I think he was great in this movie.  His was terrific in the part but is overshadowed to a degree by Robert Shaw who played Quint.  Quint is the badass of the movie, and Robert Shaw did a great job bringing him to life.  He is the rough and tough shark hunter who doesn’t take orders he gives them, he doesn’t panic when things heat up, and he seems to always know exactly what to do.

As a director I think Steven Spielberg, probably more than any other, has shown an incredible ability to grow and adapt to the times.  He has been making movies for over forty years and is still good at it.  What separates him from some of his contemporaries though is his rate of work.  He has made so many films and continues to hit home runs on a frequent basis.  This movie was his first real hit and I think it set the tone for his career.  Watching this movie in 1975 the critics must have really known this guy was going to be great.  This movie was a financial mega hit and instantly made Spielberg a significant player.  Spielberg is probably the first director I knew by name growing up.  I was born in 1984 and he had already made many significant movies then.  As I grew up there were the Indiana Jones movies, this one, E.T., Jurassic Park, and Hook. The latter two fulfilling all my wildest dreams in movies as I was seven and nine when they came out and saw both in the theater multiple times. I will say, that from a fans standpoint it has really been a privilege to grow up watching his movies and I still look forward to what else he has to offer us before he rides off into the sunset.

This is the kind of film I do not need to tell you is worth your time.  It is one of the most famous movies ever made and it will continue to be great for all time.  It has a timeless quality to it that will help it remain relative and important for decades to come.  If you have not seen this movie you are missing out on one that is great, but don’t watch it before you go to the beach.

AMBER’S REVIEW

When I was a little girl, my dad used to pretend he was shark in the swimming pool. He would do the sound..dun dun dun dun…and then grab us and throw us in the air. I never even knew that was from Jaws until Ryan made me watch it a couple of years ago. It’s a super creepy movie, and a classic. It has nostalgic memories for me.

jaws

This poster is iconic. Most people know it right away. In fact, one Halloween I carved this scene into a pumpkin. I like it, and I think it is extremely effective. We can’t give credit to the movie makers on this one, however. Ryan told me that the poster was taken from the cover of the book. Cool.

NEXT MOVIE: The Jerk (1979)

Innerspace

Year: 1987
Directed By: Joe Dante
Written By: Chip Proser and Jeffery Boam

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is one of the first movies I remember falling in love with. I must have watched it a hundred times as a child. It brings back fond memories of summer vacations at my grandparent’s house.  They owned the movie and never cared how many times I watched it. I can’t pinpoint how old I was when I first saw it but there was a lot to it that I wouldn’t understand for a long time.  This movie does have a PG rating though and offers very little on the inappropriate side. I still think it is an awesome movie today and always enjoy watching it again.

This movie is great because it is both exciting and funny. The story is so imaginative and I haven’t seen any other quite like it.  I like the idea of miniaturization technology, I think the two main characters were well developed and well played, and I think the bad guys were all perfect.  Tuck and Jack couldn’t be more different as characters and they are both thrust together in this unlikely situation that will test both of them.  One is completely isolated and unaware of what’s going on so he just goes about doing his job.  The other is a hypochondriac that nobody wants to pay any attention to when someone starts tinkering around inside of him. They have to struggle with one another before figuring out how to work together and overcome the real dangers at hand.  The villains in this movie are so good too. Mr. Igoe may be a bit too much of a terminator rip-off but I didn’t know that when I watched this movie as a child and I’ll excuse it today.  All I knew then was that he was scary and could shoot bullets from his fingers, but isn’t that enough? Totally awesome. I like the fiery redheaded villainess Dr. Margaret Canker with her ruthless attitude and powerful sexuality.  All villains need a strong and dangerous boss to lead them and Scrimshaw filled that role nicely in his debonair white suits. The Cowboy can’t go unmentioned here, another great villain that came with his own theme music.

The funny thing about Dennis Quaid and Martin Short in the lead roles here is that they have such terrific chemistry despite not having any on screen time together until the end of the movie. Quaid plays his more masculine role with charisma and wit.  While Short is the polar opposite and quite funny in the part. Meg Ryan was young and beautiful as the female lead.  She plays a strong character that is quick to action when things get heavy. As great as Quaid and Short are in this movie they still managed to be showed up by Meg Ryan, she is an ultimate badass in this movie as Lydia. Robert Picardo has his moment playing a really cool part as the Cowboy.

The movie gets a bit cheesy when Tuck is transported back and forth between Lydia and Jack by kissing but that’s the 80’s baby. That kind of thing can be excused today as simply a campy element of the era.  I think this movie has Spielberg’s fingerprints all over it, to its great advantage. Spielberg is one of the greatest directors of all time but as good as he is in that role he has never been short of great as a producer.  He has had his hand in so many great films over the years; there is no end to what he has given us as fans.

This movie was set up for a sequel and to this day I am still disappointed that it was never made.  I for one would have loved to see a continuation to this story. It never happened though and I am not sure why. I think this movie is worth your time because it is funny and entertaining.  I do have a special place in my heart for it though because of the nostalgic feeling it gives me.  If you know this movie let me know what you think about it because I am interested to hear other opinions about it.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I guess this movie is ok. I don’t really know. I know Ryan loves this movie, but I have only seen it a handful of times and that was recently. Maybe if I could appreciate the pure cheesiness of it all. In any case here is the poster, for which I have few words.

innerspace

“This poster needs a bright yellow starburst.” -Said no designer ever.

NEXT MOVIE: Inside Man (2006)