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Your personal top 5 worst Spielberg Films


WampaRat
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1. BFG 

2. Hook

3. A.I.

4. Munich5 

5. The Post 

I do not see how anyone who has seen 1941 can actually hate it. While it is less than the sum of it's parts, it has many fine sequences, the score is 4 or 5 star quality score, far better than SPR, which couldn't lick Wild Bill Kelso's boots, and it has the hilarious we have to make these things smaller joke.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd can hardly be called Middling SNL players, these guys are SNL Royalty.

 

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Wonder if we would have ever gotten Raiders from Spielberg if 1941 had been a hit…?

 

Wasn’t it’s flopping partly responsible for him taking Lucas up on the project? To prove he could make a film under budget and on time?

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I meant “middling” as a modifier for vehicle and not cast member - Belushi obviously flamed out before he could swirl all the way down the drain into them like Aykroyd did.

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2 minutes ago, WampaRat said:

Wonder if we would have ever gotten Raiders from Spielberg if 1941 had been a hit…?

 

Wasn’t it’s flopping partly responsible for him taking Lucas up on the project? To prove he could make a film under budget and on time?

 

Yep

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"Kick the Can" from Twilight Zone and Something Evil are below any of his theatrical features for me. 

 

Then I would probably be pretty basic and pick 1941, Lost World, and Indy 4

 

If I had to pick two more it'd be The BFG and RPO, I guess. 

 

Always and The Post are his two dramas that made the least impression on me. 

 

Hook, Amistad, The Terminal, Tintin, and War Horse are movies that I like but don't feel strongly enough about them to fully defend. I don't have a hard time seeing why someone wouldn't like them. 

 

Everything else, I would say at least flirts with greatness, War of the Worlds being the least of these.

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Out of the ones I saw, RPO, 1941, Lost World would absolutely be on there, but I don't really do rankings anymore so I don't know what else would make it, and they'd more belong to the "eh" than the "bad" category. BFG probably not. Hook possibly would. Indy 4 would if viewed as an Indy movie, possibly not if viewed as just a general adventure movie. I didn't like SPR much but still not sure I'd put it this low.

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At some point I wasn't overly happy with Spielberg's casting decisions. I always found Tom Hanks overrated as a serious actor. So, for me He was overcasted in Spielberg's movies. And, well, Tom Cruise is probably only overrated by himself, but I don't particularly like watching him in movies, even though his roles and the acting in his two Spielberg movies were quite OK.

 

BFG without the fart jokes would probably have been a really good kids movie. But there as well I didn't like the girl actress much.

 

And Amistad would also have been a candidate for the worst list. Forgot about that one. I probably like The Terminal better.

 

From his early tv work I remember having seen Duel and Something Evil. Both were not bad.

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11 hours ago, Jay said:

Williams never wrote music for the big battle at the end of the movie because of his commitments to Spielberg, so Lucas tracked music from The Phantom Menace into it instead.

 

AFAIK, the issue was that when JW started writing the music (October 2001), the cut wasn't locked yet and many of those battle scenes were still unfinished and/or in previz format. Sessions at Abbey Road with the LSO were booked a little earlier than usual (second half of January 2002) because JW had to start work on Minority Report immediately after finishing AOTC and then jump onto Potter 2 and Catch Me If You Can right after that. So the choice of tracking existing Star Wars music over those battle scenes (under the supervision of Ken Wannberg) was made already during the spotting session.

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I'm going with the idea that there are no controversial choices - just because a movie is based on someone important or an important event, doesn't mean it's a good film. Also I'm limiting my suggestions to films I've seen in full.

 

WIth that said:

 

KotCS

Ready Player One

BFG

Lincoln (boring if you don't have background historical knowledge)

The Lost World

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14 minutes ago, Richard Penna said:

The Lost World

Oh, right! Since the score was so great and part 3 was even worse, I tend to forget, how bad that movie was. Compared to that, as a sequel, KotCS is a masterpiece with some minor flaws.

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I need to revisit Lincoln. In theory I'm the type of person the film is aimed at...I love history, had read and enjoyed Team of Rivals, and am predisposed to like Spielberg films and give them a chance.  But like War Horse, which I think came out the prior year, I came away from Lincoln feeling...well, not much. Both films were competently executed by a master of his craft, but like many Spielberg films of that period, it has that Ron Howard quality of never really breaking free from being merely "good" to great.

 

That said, I've been thinking about giving War Horse another go, and perhaps I'll add Lincoln to the list.

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13 hours ago, WampaRat said:

Wasn’t it’s flopping partly responsible for him taking Lucas up on the project? To prove he could make a film under budget and on time?

 

I think there's a different point to be made here which is that - beyond budget and time issues - artistically sometimes (not always) filmmakers are at their best when they feel like they have something to prove.

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Lincoln was fine from a general creative perspective but neither me nor my family (my Dad had dragged us to the cinema to see it for reasons I don't remember) could follow much of what was going on during the later parts of the film, and I later read online that it was because we were missing some historical perspective which explained Lincoln's motivations.

 

It still feels to me like an exercise in how well Day-Lewis could pull off a successful Lincoln and marvel at his acting prowess, over anything else.

 

Also, JW's score doesn't do anything for me but that's not really the focus of this discussion.

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18 minutes ago, Chen G. said:

 

I think there's a different point to be made here which is that - beyond budget and time issues - artistically sometimes (not always) filmmakers are at their best when they feel like they have something to prove.

 

Which is when they are young and still have the eye of the tiger. Few legendary directors have made their best movies at the end of their career. Tarantino has recently talked about this and it's the reason he says why Once Upon A Time might be his final movie. Of course, not everyone can simply stop with working. What are they going to do all day?

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1 minute ago, AC1 said:

Few legenday directors have made their best movies at the end of their career.

 

I can think of very few artists in general who's ouvre is marked by a general upward trend. Some of us feel Hitchcock made some of his best work later in life. Some musicians, perhaps, like Beethoven and Wagner. But otherwise? Scarce few.

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In Spielberg's work I find it interesting how he switched in a way in his staging from one extreme to another. While a characteristic of his old movies like CE3K or Jaws was, that it was particularly staged like a documentary, a lot going on on screen, many people talking at a time, in the 80s he was particularly over focussing, over demonstrating, over emotionalizing. I think, E.T. is somehow exactly in the middle of that development.

Then in the 90s with Schindler's List and Jurassic Park he somehow found a balance on that.

But that is why most of his movies, that I don't like are from the mid/late 80s, between E.T. and Jurassic Park.

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This is rumour control, here are the facts.

Contrary to popular belief - or, perhaps, what people want to believe - 1941 was a financially successful film. It was popular in Europe, and the Japanese loved it.

That it didn't do JAWS business does not take anything away from it being a technical triumph. It has a great many things to offer, and, if memory serves, it was the first film to make use of the Louma crane.

As Bob Gale said: "Both Columbia, and Universal, came out of it just fine".

Let's have no more whining about how it bombed.

It didn't.

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Always

Sugarland Express

The Lost World

The Post

RPO

 

And, yes, if the Twilight Zone counts, then that. 

Also, while I love the score, The Unfinished Journey could have been something special, given the occasion, but it is quite pedestrian.  

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20 hours ago, Jay said:

Wow, you're right!  Why did I think that movie came out in 1985?

 

I even just read Rinzler's Indiana Jones book that talks about making Doom after Twilight Zone.

 

D'oh!

 

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2 hours ago, Tom said:

The Post

 

I would've put that on my list if it weren't for my 'must have seen it' rule. The 20 mins I saw were sleep inducing.

 

I'd almost be tempted to put Munich on mine. I did see it and it had the odd passable moment, but it wasn't great.

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Tintin is fantastic and yea, never had a problem with The Terminal or really got why so many people didn't care for it.  It's pretty harmless

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The only films in my bottom 5 that I had a strong negative reaction to were the bottom 3 (Hook, Always, RP1).  The others I didn't despise, they just didn't come together for me.  Weak efforts.  That's how I'd categorize The Terminal.

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If I would have to pick my 5 least favourite movies it would probably be some of his newer ones, so I'd rather try to pick his movies that I think are objectively his weakest efforts:

  1. Hook
  2. Always
  3. West Side Story
  4. 1941
  5. Ready Player One
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Surprising hate for Tintin and West Side Story! For me, both are underrated gems, with some of Spielberg most impressive scenes/set pieces.

Quite redundant, but for me:

1. BFG

2. Always

3. Skull

4. Hook

5. Amistad

dishonorable mention: War of the Worlds &  Twilight Zone

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I agree with The Sugarland Express, but certainly not with Duel, the opening shot alone excludes it from the list (although I get why Dennis Weaver's victim role could get on someone's nerves). Regarding The Sugarland Express, I'd rather watch Badlands for the umpteenth time!

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I love 1941.

 

I think the only two Spielberg movies I HATED are Hook and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

 

BFG I'm wildly indifferent about and I can't bring myself to think of Tintin as a Spielberg movie. I probably wasn't crazy about A.I. or The Color Purple. I forgot he made Amistad.

 

JP2 is overall not a great movie but it has some exceptional sequences. Temple of Doom has gone up in most people's estimation over the years including mine.

 

I love Always. War of the Worlds gets better every time I see it. (I will state that it is Spielberg's scariest movie.) I loved Ready Player One. The Terminal was pretty terrific, I thought.

 

I still haven't seen Duel, Munich, War Horse, Lincoln, or The Post.

 

So....

 

Bottom 5 (1 being the worst):

1. Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

2. Hook

3. Tintin

4. BFG

5. A.I.

 

Top 5:

1. Raiders of the Lost Ark

2. Jaws

3. Empire of the Sun

4. Close Encounters of the Third Kind

5. Saving Private Ryan

 

But seriously, after Raiders and Jaws there are a whole bunch of movies that I could put in 3 - 5. Schindler's, Jurassic Park, E.T. War of the Worlds. West Side was pretty damned impressive.

 

Hell, even 1941.

 

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Definitely going to give KOTCS a second go before Indy 5.  Wonder how a revisit will affect its placement on this list.  No clue if my reaction to it was due to disappointment vs very high expectations (how I was with Rise of Skywalker, for the most part) or just genuine distaste for the movie (like the Star Wars prequels or Hobbit movies).

 

2008 Mike would agree with whoever above said that the movie was fine up until the second half.

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I'm surpised. I expected a lot of you to put Empire Of The Sun on the list. I remember when it was just released many called it a misfire. 

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I still haven’t see The Sugarland Express, Color Purple, or Munich. I should probably rectify that just to say I’ve seen all his films. 
 

 

This is also Worth a watch/giggle:

 

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2 hours ago, Brundlefly said:

I'm a little bit shocked that Sugarland Express occurs on so many lists - it is an early movie of his, but it is very skillfully crafted.

 

Early Spielberg is the best Spielberg.

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8 hours ago, Brundlefly said:

I'm a little bit shocked that Sugarland Express occurs on so many lists - it is an early movie of his, but it is very skillfully crafted.

 

It never worked for me. Yes, it's skillfully crafted (it had a great cinematographer), but it's also a very empty film, made a young technician who had the chops but was underdeveloped when it comes to everything else.

 

 

5 hours ago, Muad'Dib said:

 

Early Spielberg is the best Spielberg.

 

Jaws, yes. Sugerland, no.

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The Spielberg movies I missed completely:

  • War Horse
  • Lincoln (just watched the first five minutes and found it too cheesy already)
  • The Post
  • the Amazing Stories episodes
  • The Unfinished Journey
  • and everything before Jaws except Duell and Something Evil

The ones I missed just in cinema and watched at home:

  • Jaws
  • 1941
  • Hook
  • Twilight Zone
  • Empire of the Sun
  • The Terminal
  • War of the Worlds
  • Tintin
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Ready Player One
  • West Side Story 

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Naïve Old Fart said:

Imo, THE SUGARLAND EXPRESS is a very good film debut. It showed great cinematic promise that was honed in his next films from JAWS, through to E.T.

 

The difference is that the maturity that was lacking in Sugarland wasn't required for his fantasy movies. 

 

If Sugarland is one of his best ("Early Spielberg is the best!") then it should have been one of the best movies of the '70s. It's not even close. 

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