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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Pick Six- Favorite Spielberg Movies That Aren't Jaws, Jones, or Jurassic


Pick Six- Favorite Spielberg Movies That Aren't Jaws, Jones, or Jurassic

Yes, it's been way too long since I did my last Pick 6 but I felt inspired by re-watching Raiders of the Lost Ark to create a new list. This time around I'm breaking down my six favorite Steven Spielberg directed movies (because God knows how much stuff he's produced) that aren't Jaws, Indiana Jones, or Jurassic Park, three movies/franchises that are a given on any list surrounding the man. Let's begin. 

Back in May, I revisited Minority Report and was reminded of its glory. Of Spielberg's more recent films, Minority Report has the most action and imagination, taking a futuristic suspense thriller into a direction we've never seen. Painting a vivid image of a not-so-distant future, Spielberg creates a world too familiar, yet very surreal. As most actions lack a lot in the plot department, this film manages to tell a story so unique and original you can't help but get completely involved. The idea of pre-crime opens up so many possibilities and seeing Tom Cruise race to prove he didn't a commit a crime he hasn't committed yet is exhilarating and intense. 

The Adventures of Tintin is one of my favorite movies of 2011. Like Indiana Jones, Spielberg manages to capture a grand sense of adventure and put it all together in a 90 minute masterpiece. Unlike most motion-capture movies that look creepy and awkward, Tintin looks magnificent. The film is also incredibly humorous, bringing the charm you see in the Jones movies. Unlike live-action flicks, Tintin has no need to cut away from the action. This creates an even greater scale for the action and adventure and seeing it all unfold, in one "take" makes the entire film feel like one hell of a ride. 

Hook has a special little place in my heart, as I grew up watching it hundreds of times. It's a semi-sequel to Peter Pan, imagining what would have happened had Peter left Neverland and had a family of his own. Robin Williams plays Peter to great effect, and seeing him slowly find the kid in himself again is fun to watch. Not to mention, Dustin Hoffman's Hook is terrific and is still the best version of the legendary villain. Throw in a bunch of lost boys, Rufio, and a great soundtrack, Hook is one for the ages. 

Steven Spielberg has a great history of casting actors (sometimes, very young ones) who go on to have very successful careers. With E.T, he launched the career of Drew Barrymore, Schindler's List gave us Ralph Fiennes, and Empire of the Sun introduced the world to Christian Bale. At just 12 years old, Bale manages to give one hell of a performance as a young boy struggling to survive in a war torn Japan during World War II. Much of this can be attributed to Bale's raw talent, but a part of it has to be the directing power of Spielberg, who always gets the best out of each of his cast members. Empire of the Sun is an unflinching, yet beautiful look at the devastation of war and the loss of innocence, and Spielberg manages to craft a story in the rubble, giving us another memorable (and severely under-looked) film. 

Saving Private Ryan is the most realistic look at World War II ever put on film. It's hard to watch and packs one hell of an emotional punch, but it's something that needs to be seen by everyone. With large action sequences, including the most unflinching depiction of the storming of Normandy, Saving Private Ryan paints the most graphic and honest looks at a time in our history we will never forget. It depicts the horrors of war, including the brutal and deadly battle, but also manages to inject a whole lot of heart, showing the motivation behind each man on the front lines and why they fight. The film shows that the soldiers who fought for our freedom were just as regular as the people we know but with a hell of a lot more courage. Beautiful and tragic, Saving Private Ryan deserves a spot on the list of the greatest movies ever made. 

In all honesty, if I had to pick my favorite Steven Spielberg film of all time, he'd have to be Catch Me If You Can. It's a severely underrated movie that warrants countless viewings and gets better each time. Based on a true story about a real life teenager who, for years, cons his way through professions, cities, and out of the FBI's reach, the film feels too incredible to be real (but it is). As much as I'd credit Titanic for the success of Leonardo DiCaprio, I strongly believe it's this film that showed us how great of an actor he can really be. In a way, you could include him on the list of actors Spielberg helped "make" into stars. Catch Me If You Can is filled with both adventure and humor, and, as all of his films, has an emotional core you can't help but sympathize for. 

Just Missed the Cut:
E.T/Close Encounters of the Third Kind- While I understand their love and respect them for what they are, I have never been the biggest fan of either film
Schindler's List- I wanted to include this movie, but I've only seen about 80% of it (I know, I'm an awful human being)
A.I: Artificial Intelligence- beautiful, but way too long and depressing

Steven Spielberg Breakdown:
I have reviewed:

Average Rating: 9.57/10

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At September 15, 2012 at 6:24 PM , Blogger TheVern said...

Great List. I for one love A.I. because of Stanley Kubrick's influence durring the production. I also would have added Munich and Close Encounters of The Third Kind as my own favorites.

I have not seen "Empire Of The Sun" and need to see that soon. Still can't belive the book was written by J.G. Ballard who also wrote "Crash" (Yes the same movie by David Cronenberg)

At September 15, 2012 at 6:35 PM , Blogger Nick said...

Look at you and your source of knowledge lol. AI was close, but as I stated, it's just too depressing and too long.

At September 15, 2012 at 7:18 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great choices! I love Minority Report and Empire of the Sun, and Hook was fun. I haven't seen Saving Private Ryan -- I've shied away because I heard it was brutal -- and I am looking forward to TinTin. Off the top of my head, my list would include The Color Purple and Schindler's List.

At September 15, 2012 at 7:19 PM , Blogger Nick said...

The Color Purple... that snuck itself in lol. Not a huge fan of it, but I can understand the love.

At September 16, 2012 at 10:54 AM , Blogger Benend said...

Saving Private Ryan would be on my list. It's in my top of all time. That knife-fight towards the end of the film is one of my favourite scenes in any movie. It's heart-breaking.

Nice choices that really show the guy's diversity.

At September 16, 2012 at 2:01 PM , Blogger Mavi said...

Wow TInTin really? .. no Schindler's List ?? E.T????

At September 16, 2012 at 2:35 PM , Blogger Nick said...

It really does show that the guy can do a lot of different things, which is why I love watching what he does. He's always changing and can give us a heart-wrenching drama or a high-paced action flick.

At September 16, 2012 at 2:36 PM , Blogger Nick said...

I love Tintin lol. As for S. List and E.T I mention both of them in the "just missed the cut" section

At September 17, 2012 at 4:47 AM , Blogger the Dodger said...

I agreed with all of these except Tin Tin. I thought it was a fun movie, but nowhere near better than ET or Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Also, I imagine once you finish off Schindler's List, you'll stick it in there somewhere. I was also surprised you didn't have Munich on here. Other than that, I agree with pretty much everything you've said. (I haven't seen Empire of the Sun. I keep forgetting to watch it.)

At September 17, 2012 at 10:36 AM , Blogger Nick said...

I almost included Munich (probably should have tossed it in the Just Missed the Cut section...)

At September 19, 2012 at 11:53 AM , Blogger Two Tickets For... said...

Nice list, Nick. We're right there with ya on Catch Me If You Can, an incredibly underrated film that has great performances by not just Leo but also The Walken, Tom Hanks and Amy Adams.

Sarah's never seen Saving Private Ryan because of the Normandy scene being too intense for her, but I absolutely love it. It deserves to be recognized as one of the best films of all-time for sure.

Neither of us has ever seen Empire of the Sun, but we probably should. Same with Tin Tin. We had heard Tin Tin was the film Indiana Jones 4 should have been.

At September 19, 2012 at 6:22 PM , Blogger Nick said...

Catch Me if You Can gets better with each viewing. And yes, that's the best way to put Tin Tin. In my review for it, I talk about the comparisons to Indy... so much fun.

At September 19, 2012 at 6:23 PM , Blogger Nick said...

And for all of those hating on my Tin Tin pick... I grew up with some of the comics and I watched the TV cartoon practically every day. Frickin' amazing.

At September 20, 2012 at 9:33 PM , Blogger Richard Kirkham said...

E.T., Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, War of the Worlds, Catch Me if You Can, Minority Report.

Hook? You are clearly blinded by your youthful exposure to it. Cloying, over the top, charmless and the only time Spielberg failed to get good performances out of child actors. Just Missing the cut at seven and eight, Empire of the Sun and Warhorse.

At September 20, 2012 at 9:34 PM , Blogger Nick said...

Hook didn't have great child performances, yes, but Williams and Hoffman did great. But yes, I am blinded by nostalgia lol.

At September 27, 2012 at 7:38 PM , Anonymous Liz said...

Nick I really like your blog! And I do have to agree, Catch Me if You Can. Pretty much an amazing movie!

At September 27, 2012 at 7:38 PM , Blogger Nick said...



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