The Three Greatest Spielberg Films
December 31st, 2009 by Pinback

Steven Spielberg has made a lot of movies. Some of them were mailed-in cash grabs, some of them were impressive pieces of moviemaking, and some were among the greatest movies of all time! Let’s take a look at the top 3:

#3 – Close Encounters of the Third Kind

A fantastical sci-fi romp, with all of the touchstones of a Spielberg movie (cute kids, astounding special effects, masterful action sequences, wry sense of humor) but with the added foundation of a note-perfect picture of a modern suburban family, and the effect of such astounding events on it. Dreyfuss has never been better than he is in this, and even little one-off, throwaway lines (“Toby, you are close to death!”) become something approaching unforgettable. Pretty much flawless.

#2 – Saving Private Ryan

If you take out the two battle sequences that start and end the movie, you’re left with one of the grittiest, best war movies that there is. But those two sequences, which must comprise at least 45 minutes of the movie’s total running time, are so indescribably great that I can’t even begin to describe them. Until Children of Men came out, I’d say these were the two best battle scenes I’d ever seen. As it is, they’re still 2 of the top 3. Which saves us the hassle of doing a Three Greatest Battle Scenes thread.

#1 – Jaws

Created and defined the term “summer blockbuster”, but none since has gotten close. Fun, exciting, hilarious, I could watch it a thousand times and never get bored. The first half is a trip, but once the three stars get on the Orca and begin the hunt, it becomes magical, becomes transcendent. Also includes Robert Shaw’s U.S.S. Indianapolis monologue, arguably one of the three greatest single scenes ever put to film.

Nobody who reads this will agree with me about any of this.

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