A Steven Spielberg Poll (1974-1993)

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Has there ever been an ILX poll of Spielberg's films from Duel to Jurassic Park--before he became an artist?
― clemenza, Tuesday, January 30, 2018 5:23 PM (two days ago)

The answer being, as far as I can tell, no, here we go. Theatrical features only.

The post-1993 poll is also probably due for a redux, so standby: Steven Spielberg post-1993: Vote for the best

Poll Results

OptionVotes
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) 31
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) 14
Jaws (1975) 11
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) 8
Jurassic Park (1993) 7
The Sugarland Express (1974) 4
1941 (1979) 4
Schindler's List (1993) 3
Empire of the Sun (1987) 2
Hook (1991) 2
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) 2
Always (1989) 1
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) 1
The Color Purple (1985) 1


Tarr Yang Preminger Argento Carpenter (Eric H.), Thursday, 1 February 2018 19:55 (three months ago) Permalink

top 2 are E.T. and Empire of the Sun

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 1 February 2018 19:58 (three months ago) Permalink

Raiders or Schindler's List

omar little, Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:00 (three months ago) Permalink

my 2nd tier is CE3K, Temple of Doom, Jaws

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:02 (three months ago) Permalink

Wouldn't Schindler's List be where he "became an artist"?

silverfish, Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:03 (three months ago) Permalink

nah, I regard it as the culmination of the imperial phase

Tarr Yang Preminger Argento Carpenter (Eric H.), Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:04 (three months ago) Permalink

Most inclined to vote for:

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
The Color Purple (1985)
Jurassic Park (1993)

Tarr Yang Preminger Argento Carpenter (Eric H.), Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:04 (three months ago) Permalink

Jurassic Park or Jaws for me. With Raiders and Close Encounters close behind.

khat person (jim in vancouver), Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:08 (three months ago) Permalink

Three of these movies are good and I like another one

Haribo Hancock (sic), Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:08 (three months ago) Permalink

SUGARLAND!

Actually, it's been a while. I should rewatch.

Senior Soft-Serve Tech at the Froyo Arroyo (Old Lunch), Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:11 (three months ago) Permalink

why is duel not here, the only film of his I like

she carries a torch. two torches, actually (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:12 (three months ago) Permalink

TV movie i guess

bizarrer Gandhara (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:12 (three months ago) Permalink

Ya, that's quite an omission. Would've liked to see some TV stuff thrown in here (his Amazing Stories episode with Costner is A+).

Senior Soft-Serve Tech at the Froyo Arroyo (Old Lunch), Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:13 (three months ago) Permalink

I suppose Duel deserves to be in here. I'll see if a mod can fix that.

Tarr Yang Preminger Argento Carpenter (Eric H.), Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:15 (three months ago) Permalink

can't mod poll options, you'd have to start a new one

bizarrer Gandhara (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:16 (three months ago) Permalink

Not terribly saddened about that. Anyone who'd vote Duel over E.T. deserves disenfranchisement.

Tarr Yang Preminger Argento Carpenter (Eric H.), Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:17 (three months ago) Permalink

my favourite bits of ET are before ET appears tbh

bizarrer Gandhara (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:17 (three months ago) Permalink

the only good part of E.T. is when he washes up on the rocks and you think maybe they killed E.T. with half an hour to go

she carries a torch. two torches, actually (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:19 (three months ago) Permalink

Maybe we can do a separate TV poll. I'm curious to see how his Night Gallery installment ranks against the Columbo pilot.

Senior Soft-Serve Tech at the Froyo Arroyo (Old Lunch), Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:19 (three months ago) Permalink

the first 3 movies are basically the only truly good stuff he's ever done. (I am voting Sugarland)

Ludo, Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:19 (three months ago) Permalink

Same.

Le Bateau Ivre, Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:19 (three months ago) Permalink

the first 3 movies are basically the only truly good stuff you've ever done, Le Bateau Ivre?

Tarr Yang Preminger Argento Carpenter (Eric H.), Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:20 (three months ago) Permalink

-_-

Le Bateau Ivre, Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:21 (three months ago) Permalink

gonna vote for jaws bc i'm boring

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:21 (three months ago) Permalink

Probably gonna vote for jaws bc it's perfect.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:22 (three months ago) Permalink

yeah it's also that

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:23 (three months ago) Permalink

although i'm really due for a rewatch of close encounters

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:23 (three months ago) Permalink

Raiders

AdamVania (Adam Bruneau), Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:23 (three months ago) Permalink

might vote for 1941 just out of badness and because 14 year-old me was badly lied to by the front cover of the VHS

bizarrer Gandhara (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:24 (three months ago) Permalink

I don't like his mawkish, feelgood holocaust movie at all these days. It has really aged worse than any of these imo.

the 'phet offensive (calzino), Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:25 (three months ago) Permalink

Voldemort is good value imo

bizarrer Gandhara (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:26 (three months ago) Permalink

1941 is so underrated, love that film. However, probably will go with Raiders.

Moodles, Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:30 (three months ago) Permalink

Recently watched the remastered Close Encounters. It still doesn't quite hang together as a film but it is absolutely gorgeous to look at.

Senior Soft-Serve Tech at the Froyo Arroyo (Old Lunch), Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:31 (three months ago) Permalink

Raiders is probably the one film of his that front-to-back i wouldn't change a single thing.

omar little, Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:32 (three months ago) Permalink

dismissing post-'81 Spielberg = arrested cultural development

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:33 (three months ago) Permalink

tbh i've only seen about half of these

prob raiders

i actually like hook

marcos, Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:34 (three months ago) Permalink

i actually like hook

i watched hook on repeat when i was like 5-6 years old and obsessed with peter pan so i have no ability to determine whether it's good

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:37 (three months ago) Permalink

I remember liking the half hour or so of 1941 I caught on TV when I was 10. Maybe I should revisit.

silverfish, Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:37 (three months ago) Permalink

many xps
had to google that, yeah he usually delivers. Neeson is so dull and lacking in the obvious moral complexity his character required, by the end I want him to get ratted to the Gestapo ffs!

the 'phet offensive (calzino), Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:38 (three months ago) Permalink

are you sure you're not thinking of The Sound of Music?

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:40 (three months ago) Permalink

Pia Zadora playing Anne Frank iirc

bizarrer Gandhara (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:41 (three months ago) Permalink

I was of course being facetious--you can guess which half of his career I count as more artistic--but glad Eric started this. I do consider Schindler's List as the obvious beginning of the other phase; no big deal, especially if it doesn't win. 1. The Sugarland Express, 2. Jaws, 3. Close Encounters of the First Kind. I think they're all amazing, and the first two especially are among my favourite films ever. Not sure if I'll vote in the concurrent poll--just don't feel that strongly about anything on there.

clemenza, Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:44 (three months ago) Permalink

I don't see how Schindler's List is feelgood and I think it's aged very well.

abcfsk, Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:47 (three months ago) Permalink

i can't choose between:

Jaws (1975)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

scott seward, Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:47 (three months ago) Permalink

Hook is the worst spielberg movie. that much i know.

scott seward, Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:47 (three months ago) Permalink

Neeson is so dull and lacking in the obvious moral complexity his character required, by the end I want him to get ratted to the Gestapo ffs!

idk I though the point of the movie is his motives are inscrutable until the end.

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:49 (three months ago) Permalink

Neeson is great, i think. his emergence as an iconic actor too.

Fiennes is incredible though...i kinda want to say he gives the best performance in any Spielberg film but i don't want to commit to that statement. there's plenty of competition.

omar little, Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:50 (three months ago) Permalink

Raiders over E.T., Close Encounters, Jurassic Park and the other two Indys.

Haven't seen: The Sugarland Express, 1941, The Color Purple

iCloudius (cryptosicko), Thursday, 1 February 2018 21:34 (three months ago) Permalink

i'm not going to say hook is great exactly but i do think it's better than its reputation, w/ some good performances, and it is definitely way better than a movie with that concept would be likely to be now. it's telling that when spielberg says he doesn't like it his take is "too bad i didn't wait two decades so i could have done it all in cgi."

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Thursday, 1 February 2018 23:03 (three months ago) Permalink

That was easy, this one was great and recent:

http://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/news-bfi/lists/10-great-films-inspired-steven-spielberg

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 3 February 2018 17:03 (three months ago) Permalink

get your stinking scales off me, you damn dirty snakes

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 3 February 2018 17:26 (three months ago) Permalink

Q: Why doesn’t Jurassic Park enter into the discussion anybody higher? Is it the fact that it is so overrepresented in nerd culture? Technically speaking, I think it’s one of Spielberg’s best.

rb (soda), Saturday, 3 February 2018 17:46 (three months ago) Permalink

I saw it once, and thought all the accomplishments were technical, aside from Goldblum's meta japery.

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 3 February 2018 17:49 (three months ago) Permalink

I like that the people are all pulpy archetypes, but the dinosaurs are realistic and scary. It's a nice contrast.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 3 February 2018 17:54 (three months ago) Permalink

i will always sit and watch jurassic park if it's on. the first two-thirds is impeccable spielberg craft with SO many small but effective choices, notwithstanding some kinda thin characterization compared to what we get in jaws or close encounters, say. last third still has real genius (the kitchen) but it's carrying you through on momentum and busy-ness. i babbled about this a little starting at this post: jurassic park

up until that rewatch though i probably would have put it right up there with jaws. it's still one hell of an entertaining movie but i see the seams more now.

Righteous wax chaperone, rotating Wingdings (Doctor Casino), Saturday, 3 February 2018 17:57 (three months ago) Permalink

Jurassic park has nothing on rewatch morbs otm about it

Alderweireld Horses (darraghmac), Saturday, 3 February 2018 18:32 (three months ago) Permalink

all accomplishments are technical

difficult listening hour, Saturday, 3 February 2018 18:44 (three months ago) Permalink

Re: that BFI list the one thing I unashamedly love about "War Horse" is how he was able to fuse a sentimental John Ford patina over a weird pastiche of Kubrick-goes-to-war.

Acid Hose (Capitaine Jay Vee), Saturday, 3 February 2018 18:44 (three months ago) Permalink

I won't disagree with anyone who claims that JP is technical exercise and not much else, but I like it for what it is: a beautifully made monster movie. See any of the sequels (yes, even the one Spielberg directed; if not his worst film--which I might argue it is--it is certainly his laziest) for what this film would look like if made without Spielberg's impeccable craftsmanship.

iCloudius (cryptosicko), Saturday, 3 February 2018 19:02 (three months ago) Permalink

I went to see JP when it came out not knowing anything about it, and it scared the shit out of me.

Moodles, Saturday, 3 February 2018 19:04 (three months ago) Permalink

Jeff Goldblum has that effect on people

fuck you, your hat is horrible (Neanderthal), Saturday, 3 February 2018 19:11 (three months ago) Permalink

Has Spielberg ever made a movie that was not at least technically competent? It's kind of weird, the things that make his movies good or bad seem to be different from the things that make most movies good or bad. His acting and actors are almost always good, his direction is almost always impeccable. Whenever he is let down it is usually by the script.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 3 February 2018 19:12 (three months ago) Permalink

Both technically and thematically speaking, I think he's fallen into a creative rut in the last decade. Excepting BFG and Tin Tin, which are kiddie-flicks more animated than not, I think he's constricted his palette and moved toward a pokey, less-inspired staging/editing approach than he used during the '70s - '90s. It's probably because he's made so many damn movies. He doesn't strike me as terrifically inventive, which he once did, nor as fun, and I find his choices more frequently eye-rolly. I think a lot of prestige television owes him a debt, and so much of what seems "blah" about his current work is that his style/influence is now ubiquitous. But subject-wise, I'm less sympathetic. Of his output post-2000, he's devoted way too much of his time to making competent, mostly uncontroversial films about and for serious white people. The fun/kineticism of his earlier stuff is mostly missing, and there's a lot of conservative dudes talking in brownish room in its place.

rb (soda), Saturday, 3 February 2018 19:39 (three months ago) Permalink

depends what counts as technical competence i guess. i'd say hook blows it but not necessarily in the places you just mentioned. his instincts just fail him as to what's a good story, what's a good emotional arc, what needs to be in the movie and what doesn't, what level of overacting to direct everybody to... it's the one that feels the most like you got some sub-spielberg person to try and do a big hit family movie with prestige actors and a sense of "wonder" and "magic" that turns out to be hollow and mean if you think about it.

Doctor Casino, Saturday, 3 February 2018 19:47 (three months ago) Permalink

One reason I like, for different reasons, his sci-fi resurgence with AI, Minority Report, and War of the Worlds is that a lot of them flashback to his early days of wide eyed wonder, at spectacle, at technology, at just something that warrants the trademark look of his characters, slack-jawed and staring. The irony of many of his more recent works is that they seem very much indebted to backroom 70s paranoia thrillers, like All the President's Men or the Conversation or something like that. When in the 70s of course he was making movies that largely went in the opposite direction.

His filmography is so diverse at this point, it's really hard to pinpoint what makes a Spielberg movie a Spielberg movie, not in the way you can do the same with, say, a Scorsese film.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 3 February 2018 19:59 (three months ago) Permalink

JP is absolutely one of spielberg's best, what's special about it seems more and more clear when you compare it to the fx blockbusters that followed it (including a couple made by spielberg himself).

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Saturday, 3 February 2018 22:12 (three months ago) Permalink

yeah JP probably changed blockbusters filmmaking more than anything here except jaws but including raiders. there are soooooo many wannabe-JP movies from that point on and almost nobody has any idea what they're doing.

Doctor Casino, Saturday, 3 February 2018 22:22 (three months ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

OK, voting E.T..

"Minneapolis" (barf) (Eric H.), Friday, 2 March 2018 00:52 (two months ago) Permalink

Voted Close Encounters

Moo Vaughn, Friday, 2 March 2018 00:56 (two months ago) Permalink

Me: 1) The Sugarland Express, 2) Jaws, 3) Close Encounters, 4) E.T.

Prediction: 1) E.T., 2) Raiders, 3) Close Encounters, 4) Jaws or Jurassic Park.

clemenza, Friday, 2 March 2018 01:00 (two months ago) Permalink

Without having seen them all, my vague sense is that the Spielbergs are very much of their eras, with the '70s expressive of an unconventional individual, the long '80s of someone serving a conventional audience in personal fashion, the '90s of someone seeking to nudge it marginally in a positive direction, and much of what followed more explicitly political/philosophical while remaining in a fairly conventional mode. I like the '70s films best, especially Jaws and its more transitional follow-up, but that may also have something to do with the fact that I regard Wyoming as the most spectacular thing he's put in a movie.

Moo Vaughn, Friday, 2 March 2018 01:12 (two months ago) Permalink

I'd say his '70s are the same as Altman's and Scorsese's: they've got more energy and ideas than they know what to do with. Not everything worked--Altman really misfired sometimes--but they regularly amazed.

clemenza, Friday, 2 March 2018 01:20 (two months ago) Permalink

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Thursday, 15 March 2018 00:01 (two months ago) Permalink

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Friday, 16 March 2018 00:01 (two months ago) Permalink

Well, at least Jaws didn’t win.

"Minneapolis" (barf) (Eric H.), Friday, 16 March 2018 00:05 (two months ago) Permalink

I was waiting for this result like

https://i.imgur.com/hUrf67F.gif

omar little, Friday, 16 March 2018 00:06 (two months ago) Permalink

Yay on Close Encounters doing so well :)

Frederik B, Friday, 16 March 2018 00:21 (two months ago) Permalink

wow at ET so low! that was my pick in the end. i didn't have a super strong relationship with it as a kid, probably only saw it once, but it's really spoken to me as an adult. absolutely wrecked me and my stepmom, watching it a few days after my father passed away. i remember hugging her, both of us crying, and just saying "he goes home. he goes home." maybe of all his films it has the most to say, in a small story of a child and his friend, about the big and fundamental things - life, death, loss, watching someone you love go, and carrying on with the things they left you still in your heart. it's able to get there because all the everydayness works, because the movie magic of things like the bicycle flight have us totally wide-eyed and accepting in our hearts that elliott and e.t.'s connection is important. "this means something," one might say.

speaking of which, close encounters gets really, well, close. what ultimately proves to be the throwawayness of melinda dillon's character is a real achilles's heel tho imo. there are also a few sequences that drag on a little long. but this one, too, moved and affected me in recent times. raiders and jaws are fantastic entertainments, probably pinnacles of the medium in certain ways, but i'm more interested in and compelled by the things e.t. and close encounters have their minds on.

Doctor Casino, Friday, 16 March 2018 00:33 (two months ago) Permalink

ilx went mindless

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Friday, 16 March 2018 02:56 (two months ago) Permalink

I would've gone:

E.T.
Temple of Doom
Jaws
Empire of the Sun
Raiders of the Lost Ark

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 16 March 2018 03:09 (two months ago) Permalink

Except for something like this thread, I doubt I've thought of Raiders of the Lost Ark once the past 35 years. I remember the snakes and the big rock.

clemenza, Friday, 16 March 2018 04:14 (two months ago) Permalink

Nice to see three other Sugarland votes, though.

clemenza, Friday, 16 March 2018 04:15 (two months ago) Permalink

ilx went mindless

― ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Thursday, March 15, 2018 10:56 PM (yesterday) Bookmark

wait weren't you stanning for Temple of Doom over Raiders?

Hazy Maze Cave (Adam Bruneau), Friday, 16 March 2018 13:25 (two months ago) Permalink

I love that there were actually two votes for Hook. Hook!

Another helping of mouthwatering cobbler? (Old Lunch), Friday, 16 March 2018 13:35 (two months ago) Permalink

The Sugarland Express (1974) 4
1941 (1979) 4
Schindler's List (1993) 3

never change ILX.

piscesx, Friday, 16 March 2018 13:43 (two months ago) Permalink

The Sugarland Express is a great, underseen film--according to Kael, "one of the most phenomenal debut films in the history of the movies."

Having said that, I can see where that would be hard to stomach for anyone who loves Schindler's List. Which is why I thought it more properly belonged in the other poll.

clemenza, Friday, 16 March 2018 15:17 (two months ago) Permalink

TBH, while I do greatly appreciate and enjoy most of the big Spielbergian cultural depth charges from this era, none of them aside from maybe Raiders really rocks my world the way Sugarland did when I first saw it.

Another helping of mouthwatering cobbler? (Old Lunch), Friday, 16 March 2018 15:21 (two months ago) Permalink

who voted for Always?

scott seward, Friday, 16 March 2018 15:32 (two months ago) Permalink

i think i forgot to vote. but any of the first four up there is fine.

scott seward, Friday, 16 March 2018 15:32 (two months ago) Permalink

xpost the only thing I remember about that movie was a nebbish confused man at the movie theatre box office trying to buy a ticket to the 3:15 showing of Always and having to be told repeatedly that the showing was cancelled, Stuwall style.

fuck the NRA (Neanderthal), Friday, 16 March 2018 15:36 (two months ago) Permalink

Assuming that both Hook voters haven't seen it since they were 10.

Dangleballs and the Ballerina (cryptosicko), Friday, 16 March 2018 15:39 (two months ago) Permalink

Hook voters need to be watched VERY closely. there is something wrong there. unless it was some sort of post-modern Andy Kaufman kind of vote.

scott seward, Friday, 16 March 2018 15:40 (two months ago) Permalink

Hook is every bad maudlin idea/thought/memory SS ever had made into a movie.

scott seward, Friday, 16 March 2018 15:42 (two months ago) Permalink

RUFI

fuck the NRA (Neanderthal), Friday, 16 March 2018 15:43 (two months ago) Permalink

I voted for CE3K.

Millennial Whoop, wanna fight about it? (Phil D.), Friday, 16 March 2018 15:49 (two months ago) Permalink

Thudbutt is one of cinema's great characters

Hazy Maze Cave (Adam Bruneau), Friday, 16 March 2018 16:11 (two months ago) Permalink

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)	2
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) 1

It has all been worth it.

"Minneapolis" (barf) (Eric H.), Friday, 16 March 2018 16:45 (two months ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

watched "Empire of the Sun" last night. it was really good! wonderful on a technical level -- those scenes with massive crowds brought to mind Grand Old Hollywood. great use of light/shadow throughout, with some nice shots of silhouettes against the sunrise or a shower of sparks from nearby plane mechanics.

the class dynamics were very interesting. it starts out with a spoiled British imperialist youth frightened of the teeming masses living at the edge of his privilege. soon enough they are ransacking his abandoned house (the scene where his former servant goes right up and slaps him before moving on was hilarious & devastating). soon enough, he is banging a dish pan in an internment camp, a nice callback to the homeless man camped out near the driveway of his mansion from the start of the film.

there is so much to dig into here. just thinking back on it, so many themes and motifs are bubbling up for me. the little toy plane he starts off with, taken on this journey, seen in all these different contexts, later taken a more grown up form in the larger toy plane that he and his Japanese counterpart take joy in flinging back and forth across the lines. that scene where he is trying to bring back someone to life and they turn into... well not gonna give it away for those who haven't seen it. the moment is a little on the nose but the movie is very good at show not tell so it's an earned moment.

beautiful movie. John Malcovich is even tolerable! the scene with all the discarded pianos, china sets, luxury lounges, crystal chandaliers, etc. all the trappings of wealth in the abandoned stadium littered with the bodies of the dying ruling class was eerie and surreal (perhaps like something he would do later in AI). i feel like this is a film you could watch over and over again and even use to teach a class, it is really well put together on every level.

Hazy Maze Cave (Adam Bruneau), Sunday, 1 April 2018 15:19 (one month ago) Permalink


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