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July 6, 2011 9:06 PM   Subscribe

"As part of the DGA's 75th Anniversary, DGA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and three-time DGA Award winner, Steven Spielberg, was celebrated on June 11, 2011..."

"...Featuring a lively and engaging panel discussion with fellow visionary directors J.J. Abrams (Super 8) and James Cameron (Avatar), and moderated by 75th Anniversary Committee Chair Michael Apted, this "Game-Changer" event drew a maximum capacity crowd at the DGA Theater in Los Angeles and provided a deeply intimate, highly engaging reflection on one of the most influential and beloved filmmakers of all time."

To watch the entire event, click on the top left video in the first link.
posted by Neilopolis (55 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
George Lucas' jowls gives the introduction.
posted by stavrogin at 9:10 PM on July 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


They had all these men in a building together? And nobody thought to lock the doors and leave them there?
posted by koeselitz at 9:17 PM on July 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


The DGA must be working with a different definition of "visionary" than the one I know. He's a hack.
posted by contessa at 9:19 PM on July 6, 2011


Only 3 posts in and we get to the unsufferable "watch me roll my eyes cuz I'm totally above this mazn" comments.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 9:23 PM on July 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


If Truffaut can hang with Spielberg, I can hang with Spielberg.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 9:24 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


They had all these men in a building together? And nobody thought to lock the doors and leave them there?

Hey, some of us are waiting for the next installment of the Up series with bated breath!
posted by Jpfed at 9:25 PM on July 6, 2011


(unless you were referring to Abrams, who may not be a hack but certainly isnt a visionary)
posted by Senor Cardgage at 9:30 PM on July 6, 2011


This makes me think of opening to The Muse, an under-appreciated movie, when Albert Brooks realizes that receiving lifetime achievement award is essentially the official statement that his career is over. Spielberg has done incredible work, but all well in the past.
posted by bearwife at 9:34 PM on July 6, 2011


The DGA must be working with a different definition of "visionary" than the one I know. He's a hack.

Aww, come on. "Lost" was pretty good for a couple of seasons.
posted by ShutterBun at 9:39 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd comment, but all the people who commented before me have blocked the door with their many awards and accolades and...

...oh. Never mind.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 9:39 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fuck you guys, Jurassic Park was the best movie of the third grade.
posted by riruro at 9:42 PM on July 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


(unless you were referring to Abrams, who may not be a hack but certainly isnt a visionary)

No, I meant Spielberg. He's the king of mediocrity. Heaping praise on him is like awarding a Pritzker to the guy who designs Holiday Inns for a living. He may make popular movies, and profitable movies, and have possibly one of the biggest names in movies, but that speaks more to the low expectations of his audience than it does to any ground he broke making films.
posted by contessa at 9:44 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


(However, if Spielberg is the king of mediocrity, JJ Abrams and James Cameron are his princes, so I guess it goes for them as well.)
posted by contessa at 9:46 PM on July 6, 2011


Well what about Mozart? You guys don't wanna leave out Mozart, I mean, while you're trashing people.
posted by ShutterBun at 9:47 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Let the record show that contessa doesn't like a popular thing and make sure to extend her all the privileges that that encompasses.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 9:52 PM on July 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh come on ShutterBun, you can't compare Spielberg and Mozart. I mean Don Giovanni is shit compared to Jaws.
posted by kenko at 9:54 PM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Spielberg made some great children's movies for adults.
posted by The Whelk at 10:00 PM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


No, I meant Spielberg. He's the king of mediocrity

In the space of 6 years Spielberg directed Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Raiders of the Lost Ark. How many directors can you name that have a similar 6 year span?
posted by Justinian at 10:00 PM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Just think how much better it would have been if the statue of Commendatore didn't work.
posted by ShutterBun at 10:01 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


How many directors can you name that have a similar 6 year span?

It depends on what you think of the named movies, doesn't it?
posted by kenko at 10:02 PM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Calling Spielberg the king of mediocrity is simply wrong, in my opinion.

Steven Spielberg is a technical master, a virtuoso of action and spectacle, a director whose vision and talent have so forceful and influential as to define and redefine multiple decades of the most popular art form in the world.

Whether you think the images he puts on screen add up to anything worthwhile or not is a different story. He can be maudlin, mushy, misguided -- what have you. (Undeniably, he is at best hit or miss.) He is not, however, mediocre.
posted by lewedswiver at 10:04 PM on July 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


He's the king of mediocrity.

I disagree.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Jurassic Park
Saving Private Ryan

Further, directing is a complex task, for which there are many discernible levels of skill. I'm not sure that "mediocre" is a useful word to describe it (c.f. chess (or better, go); someone rated 2000 is not realistically within reach of a world championship, but they will mop the floor with someone that will mop the floor with someone that will mop the floor with a beginner).
posted by Jpfed at 10:05 PM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


2005 Munich

1998 Saving Private Ryan

1993 Schindler's List

1993 Jurassic Park

1987 Empire of the Sun

1985 The Color Purple

1982 E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial

1981 Raiders of the Lost Ark

1977 Close Encounters of the Third Kind

1975 Jaws

And that doesnt even count the other stuff he produced and developed (Back to the Future, anyone?)

The great thing about someone with a filmography as vast and varied and yes as visionary as his is is this: you are entitled to your opinion, and your opinion isnt wrong, but it is irrelevant. Completely irrelevant.

That filmography will outlive us all and still be watched long after everyone's forgotten about the time you made them endure all those Michael Haneke flicks when you were 22.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:08 PM on July 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


It depends on what you think of the named movies, doesn't it?

Of course, but it is a given that anyone who considers Raiders of the Lost Ark a mediocre movie (whether or not it is to their taste) is a little bit dead inside.
posted by Justinian at 10:08 PM on July 6, 2011 [8 favorites]


I don't know, I thought ET was slightly better than mediocre
posted by chinston at 10:09 PM on July 6, 2011


I'd describe him as perhaps the "Paul McCartney" of film. It's easy to look at his successes and say they were just "catchy, easily digestible fluff" which appealed to the masses. But at other times, his work is deeply meaningful, evocative, and powerful.

In either case, "influential" and "visionary" are required adjectives for his collective body of work.
posted by ShutterBun at 10:09 PM on July 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


You can go back even further than Jaws. Sugarland Express was a really good movie. So was Duel.
posted by billyfleetwood at 10:13 PM on July 6, 2011


Senor Cardgage: "If Truffaut can hang with Spielberg, I can hang with Spielberg"

There's really not much more anyone can say about this, is there?
posted by Roman Graves at 10:15 PM on July 6, 2011


How many directors can you name that have a similar 6 year span?

I like those films and would say lots of directors have matched that. I don't think much of anything Spielberg's made in decades but those films are pretty damn good--Jaws is among the greatest of all time, imo.

But here's Bob Altman's best 7 years: MASH, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, The Long Goodbye, Nashville, and Three Women. Those are all masterpieces. In between them he made some other films that might not be masterpieces but are pretty damn good: Brewster McCloud and California Split. A lot of people also like Thieves Like Us and Images--also made in that period.

And what about Michael Curtiz: Yankee Doodle Dandy, Casablanca, Mildred Pierce, Angels With Dirty Faces, The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Sea Hawk. All made between 35 and 42. He made 19 films in those 7 years.

Joel Coen's directed 14 or so movies in 26 years and I'd say only a tiny minority aren't extraordinary.

There are lots of consistent directors.

I wish Spielberg could let go of some of his ridiculous crutches but by no means is he a hack. I'd love to see him make a movie without any children in it, for instance. I don't remember Munich very well but I'd wager there's a little boy pulling heart strings in there somewhere.
posted by dobbs at 10:18 PM on July 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


And would you describe any of those directors as "mediocre", dobbs? I didn't say no other directors could match the span. I implied, however, than any who could do so can't possibly be considered mediocre.
posted by Justinian at 10:22 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


That filmography will outlive us all and still be watched long after everyone's forgotten about the time you made them endure all those Michael Haneke flicks when you were 22.

haha yeah haneke sux

Only poseurs like him, not like honest meat-and-potatoes types who go in for Spielberg's fare.
posted by kenko at 10:28 PM on July 6, 2011


Is this the thread where we compete to win some asinine culture war?
posted by axiom at 10:38 PM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't mind them giving Spielberg an award but they should also publicly flog him in an obscene and humiliating way until he begs for mercy for being involved with Transformers 3. That or make him promise to donate all the profits to charity.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 11:01 PM on July 6, 2011


To be fair, he got the lifetime achievement award back in 2000, this event was simply to honor him as a "game changer," in keeping with their year-long theme.
posted by ShutterBun at 11:04 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm a huge fan of Michael Haneke's work. I find myself thinking about Caché out of the blue sometimes, taking me right out of whatever it was that I was doing.

Raiders of the Lost Ark is on the very short list of films I would call perfect movies.

...did I win?
posted by tzikeh at 11:07 PM on July 6, 2011


And for the record, Michael Haneke is my favorite currently-working director.
posted by dobbs at 11:23 PM on July 6, 2011


In the space of 6 years Spielberg directed Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Raiders of the Lost Ark. How many directors can you name that have a similar 6 year span?


Here's Alfred Hitchcock from 1954-60. Rear Window, To Catch a Thief, The Trouble With Harry, The Man Who Knew Too Much, The Wrong Man, Vertigo, North by NorthWest, and last but not least Psycho. Truffaut hung with Spielberg, but he did a whole book with Hitchcock.

From 1940-42 Preston Sturges made The Great McGinty, Christmas in July, The Lady Eve, Sullivan's Travels, and The Palm Beach Story. Martin Scorsese called 'The Lady Eve' pretty much a perfect film. The other ones on the list aren't so bad either.

It's very subjective, taste is, you can also do this with Kurasawa, Godard, and I'm sure much more that I can't think of at the moment.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 11:35 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Spileberg is the High King of the Middlebrow, and I'm okay with that. I'm not ashamed to admit that I've enjoyed some of his movies to the point of owning them on DVD, but I don't think he's made any groundbreaking cinema that's going to be taught in film studies programs a hundred years from now, either.

I'd put Spielberg up there with Curtiz-- they both made some of the greatest popular movies of all time (and that's nothing to be ashamed of) and are in that tier of very good technical directors who could take some workman-like ideas and make them seem magical without actually adding anything new to Cinema.
posted by KingEdRa at 12:26 AM on July 7, 2011


In the space of 6 years Spielberg directed Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Raiders of the Lost Ark. How many directors can you name that have a similar 6 year span?

Uwe Boll

2003 House of the Dead
2005 Alone in the Dark
2005 BloodRayne
2007 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale
2007 Seed
2007 Postal
2007 BloodRayne II: Deliverance
2008 Far Cry
posted by Pendragon at 12:31 AM on July 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


directors who could take some workman-like ideas and make them seem magical without actually adding anything new to Cinema.

Errr, perhaps not the "art" of cinema (with or without the capital "C") but surely he (or at least his films) have contributed to the *craft*, no?

"A man watches a movie, and the critic must acknowledge that he is that man."
posted by ShutterBun at 12:44 AM on July 7, 2011


Duel is cool.
posted by ambient2 at 12:56 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


who could take some workman-like ideas and make them seem magical

When it comes to movies, if it seems magical, it is magical. Your experience is what matters.
posted by Justinian at 1:01 AM on July 7, 2011


If Spielberg dubbed regionally can beat a Bollywood megabumperblockbuster hit regularly and consistently, he is worth his weight in gold and more each time he feels the need to check his weight. Movies are made to make money, Spielberg made money. In that, he did an excellent job for his backers. Ultimately, art movies will always tend to remain segregated though a few cross over into mainstream cinema success and vice versa.

Its been a long time since a nuance of cultural status has been beanplated so microscopically
posted by infini at 3:24 AM on July 7, 2011



2003 House of the Dead
2005 Alone in the Dark
2005 BloodRayne
2007 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale
2007 Seed
2007 Postal
2007 BloodRayne II: Deliverance
2008 Far Cry


I have never heard of these. I saw Jaws in the Odeon Cinema in 1977 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, a sleepy tropical nation that had not yet become any ASEAN tiger. Spielberg's movies will be recognized outside the English speaking world. How many other directors cross their home languages that way? Only the ones already named like Goddard, Kurosawa, Truffaut and...? Bergman?
posted by infini at 3:28 AM on July 7, 2011


I wouldn't be surprised if the emotional heartstring manipulation bits are picked up from Bollywood tearjerkers.
posted by infini at 3:30 AM on July 7, 2011


Nobody's mentioned Always, one of his maudlin moments for which I have irrational love. Mostly due to my entirely rational love for 80's era Holly Hunter.
posted by schoolgirl report at 4:36 AM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


People grousing about Spielberg making "children's movies" makes me want to see Sullivan's Travels again.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:05 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


seems like his attackers and his defenders are saying the same thing: a lot of people see his movies
posted by sineater at 7:35 AM on July 7, 2011


I was not grousing, he was/is is the undisputed master of that format and genre.
posted by The Whelk at 8:49 AM on July 7, 2011


Wow it's really popular to dislike things that are popular.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:11 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is why I only like things that are modest successes.
posted by The Whelk at 9:12 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have never heard of these.

That post was a joke; Uwe Boll makes spectacularly awful movies as a kind of investment scam. Really really terrible.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:22 AM on July 7, 2011


Riruro - Jurassic Park was the best movie of the third grade.

Umm... dude. On the fun side Ninja Scroll, The Fugitive, Groundhog Day, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Iron Monkey all came out during your third grade. (Alright, 1993). Not to mention, on the serious side, Farewell, My Concubine, Short Cuts, True Romance, Remains of the Day, In the Name of the Father, Blue AND some hotshot directed Schindler's List.

You had a good third grade.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:37 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dude has skill and craft. There's art in that, too, but after sitting through a million bad b-movies and Jaws ripoffs I can appreciate somebody who knows how to handle a film.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:08 PM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


That post was a joke; Uwe Boll makes spectacularly awful movies as a kind of investment scam. Really really terrible.

Joke ? JOKE !!!!!!!

You, sir, have no taste !!!!
posted by Pendragon at 5:00 AM on July 8, 2011


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