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Moriarty Goes Manic For Spielberg's CATCH ME IF YOU CAN!

Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.

Over the last few years here at AICN, I’ve gotten an unfair reputation as being a Spielberg-basher. I’ll be the first to admit... I was tough on bothA.I. and MINORITY REPORT, but I think I was fair. And I’ll also admit that I may hold Spielberg to a higher standard than many filmmakers. His early films are ingrained on me at an almost chemical level. I learned the rhythms of great filmmaking watching him work. RAIDERS, JAWS, E.T., CLOSE ENCOUNTERS... these films were benchmarks in my development as a thinking film viewer. My first acute disappointment that I can remember, the first moment where my expectations were not met by a movie, was when I saw TEMPLE OF DOOM. Spielberg not only taught me what a great film can be... he taught me how a filmmaker can misfire.

As a result of his last few films in particular, I’ve tried to set my expectations lower for Spielberg. Maybe that’s why I am so pleasantly surprised right now, sitting here and basking in that warm and fuzzy afterglow you get when you just plain love a movie. Maybe that’s why I’m having trouble wiping the smile off my face as I think back on the many highlights of what is easily Spielberg’s most complete and satisfying motion picture since SCHINDLER’S LIST or maybe even EMPIRE OF THE SUN.

First things first... this movie is fun.

Remember that? Remember fun? Remember a time before you started taking films apart and poring over the details and stripping them down to pieces? I do it. I can’t help myself. I’ll be watching a film sometimes, and it’s like this running tally sheet in my head starts ticking things off. “That was good. Hmmm... not sure about that performance. Wow, nice moment. What, are you kidding with that digital matte?” It’s not something I choose to do... it’s a result of having seen so many movies, and the result of the writing that I do here.

As a result, it’s a genuine pleasure when I just get caught up in something and find myself enjoying it, enjoying each new piece as it’s presented, surrendering myself to whatever the filmmaker’s got in mind. With this film, it’s easy. The opening title sequence is a winner, immediately giving you a sense of time and place. One of the things I was praying for as I walked into the film was that Spielberg and Hanks would have fun with the early ‘60’s period trappings of the story, and they did. They cut loose. As a result, what you’ve got here is wrapped up like a big box of candy, and that opening title sequence, animated in simple, stark images, lets you know right away what sort of ride you’re in for. So does that amazing score by John Williams. For a lot of years, I’ve been conflicted about the work Williams does. He writes strong, recognizable themes, but there’s a certain pattern to his work, and there’s some truth to the notion that familiarity breeds contempt. I don’t know that I’d say I dislike the work he normaly does, but I have found myself to be more and more unmoved by it. Here, he has crafted a piece of music that reminds me of the best work that Henry Mancini did with Blake Edwards, playful and nimble, daring you to sit impassively. It’s the first Williams score since SCHINDLER’S LIST that I’ll actually buy on CD, and it’s nice to hear Williams acknowledge his jazz roots with what is basically a piece for piano.

Another early indicator of what we’re in for is the luminous work by Spielberg’s regular collaborator, Janusz Kaminski. I may not always love the work he does, but I’m sure that it’s always exactly what Spielberg asks for. They seem to have one of the best ongoing rapports between a director of photography and a filmmaker in town, and this time out, they’ve created a sort of loving postcard to an era, a rich and detailed coat of bright and vibrant paint that they’ve rolled over Jeff Nathanson’s rock-solid script in order to help bring it to vivid life.

I know that this is based on a true story, and Spielberg acknowledges that with a sly wink in the film’s first real scene, in which Frank Abagnale is a guest on the game show TO TELL THE TRUTH. If you’re too young to remember the show, the setup was that a panel of celebrity contestants would interview three people, all of whom claimed to be the same person. They would have to guess at the end of the show to determine who was the real guest. Spielberg pulls a very subtle FORREST GUMP here, mixing footage of DiCaprio with footage from the real episode of TO TELL THE TRUTH, and it’s pretty seamless. Right away, the notion of what is true and what isn’t is put into motion, and the rest of the film continues to wrestle with those slippery definitions in one way or another.

Part of Spielberg can’t help but revel in the story of Frank Abagnale Jr. (DiCaprio), who managed to pass over $4 million in bad checks and professionally impersonate an airline pilot, a doctor, and a lawyer, even going so far as to pass the Louisiana bar exam, all before he was 19 years old. It’s one of those “too good to be true” stories, and Spielberg milks it for all it’s worth. The good times Frank has are very good, but that’s not why he gets into it in the first place. Normally, I hate when things are overexplained, and there’s a danger that by giving Frank a motivation that kicks him off in his life of con artistry, they might somehow be condoning his behavior, but the film has just the right touch. We see Frank as a kid with his parents, Frank Sr. (Christoher Walken) and Paula (the still-lovely Nathalie Baye), and it’s obvious that he’s strongly moved by their affection for each other. Frank Sr. was a GI in WWII, and he met Paula in a small village in France. He tells the story of their meeting as a sort of romantic fairy tale, something that helps Frank Jr. believe in love. As with E.T., Spielberg’s own experience as a child of divorce informs much of this first stretch of the film. Frank Jr. watches his parents drift apart as he starts to pick up signs of financial stress and infidelity, and it tears him apart. He wants to remain in that dream as long as he can, surrounded by nothing but love and laughter, and the minute the real world intrudes, Frank reacts. He does the one thing that he knows will make his life better and make the pain go away...

... he becomes someone else.

It’s a defense mechanism, a survival instinct at first. The first example we see happens while he’s still in school, and it’s hilarious. He feels powerless so he simply slips someone else’s skin on for a few days, taking that power back. Even more telling is the way his father reacts when he hears about it. He tries to be stern, but he’s so amused by his son that he laughs, letting him off the hook, in essence telling him that there’s nothing wrong with what he did.

Frank Jr.’s efforts to make his father happy, to make him proud, make up so much of the film that even though Walken only has a handful of scenes in the film, he casts a shadow over pretty much everything we see. That’s one of the reasons that even though the film is very entertaining and even laugh-out-loud funny for much of its running time, I wouldn’t call it a “comedy,” per se. There’s a genuine sadness that accelerates over the course of the film and eventually turns to stark desperation, and Leo deserves credit for masterfully negotiating the difficult trajectory of Frank Jr.’s journey. As he slowly turns to the only father figure who is willing to actually push him towards doing the right thing, Carl Hanratty (played with obvious relish by Tom Hanks), Frank Jr. seems to be struggling with a conscience that is trying to spark to some sort of life, even as he smothers it because he doesn’t know any life except the one he’s made up.

A film about a con artist has to be smartly scripted, and this one is. Time after time, the escapes that Frank makes are both funny and genuinely tense. He almost seems to love being cornered. It’s a game. He falls in love with the notion of himself as some sort of James Bond-ian figure, even going so far as to buy himself Bond’s suits and the exact car that Bond drives. There are a number of geek culture references in the film, and they’re all used to tremendous effect. We’re reminded over and over that Frank is a kid. He acts older, and he has some serious heartache for someone so young, but he’s a kid. When he reaches out to Carl, it’s because he’s lonely, and he wants to find someone he can tell the truth to.

The film takes some rather remarkable left turns, and part of the fun of it is that you find yourself off-balance, not quite sure where each of these sequences might end up taking you. Amy Adams, who has a string of TV appearances and small roles in films like PUMPKIN, is very good as a nurse who Frank falls for, an astonishingly innocent girl named Brenda. She takes him home to meet her parents, and her father (Martin Sheen) takes a particular shine to the boy. For a while, Frank tries his best to be the man that he’s pretended to be, wanting nothing more than to stay here with this new family he’s found, and we can see why. Spielberg is a master of the details, and he shows us exactly what it is that seduces Frank about each new situation, each now personality. Hanratty stays right on Frank’s heels, though, and when reality comes crashing in, Frank finally starts to see just how badly he’s damaging not only his life, but the lives of people who he genuinely cares about. There’s an image at the end of the Brenda sequence involving a dollar bill dancing on the wind that is absolutely vintage Spielberg, clever and communicative in equal measure.

I could say more, but I think I’ve got to stop myself. Hell, I may have already said too much. All you really need to know before walking into the theater is that CATCH ME IF YOU CAN takes every minute of its 140 minute running time and makes the most of them. The film continues to pile on the pleasure all the way to the very end, and I really love the place the film ends up. I’m afraid you’ll hear people describe this film as slight, and it would be possible to see it and miss the point to some extent. If you only see this as a piece of entertainment, a fun little romp, then that’s fine. But if you look beneath the surface, you’ll find a work that proves that Spielberg is still capable of true, effortless greatness, and it rekindles my belief in him as a filmmaker. I hope he is just warming up for another great stretch of filmmaking, and that we have many more delights like this to come in the years ahead.

On that note, I’m out the door and on my way to Austin for the Butt-Numb-A-Thon. I doubt I’ll be updating while I’m there, but I’ll be back in LA and online on Tuesday night, and I’ll talk to all of you then.

"Moriarty" out.

Readers Talkback
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  • Dec. 12, 2002, 7:44 a.m. CST

    Spielberg and my hairy balls

    by Bob Dabolina

    God Senior Spielbergo sucks cooooooock. You know what I is talking boot.

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 8:02 a.m. CST

    Temple of Doom is a Classic!

    by Waylander

    Temple of Doom is an exceptional film one of the best of that genre and I for one was glad as a child that it was so dark. As intrinsic a part of childhood as A New Hope or Empire, Raiders or ET! I fundamentally disagree with Moriarty on this one!!!!

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 8:07 a.m. CST


    by Monkey Lover

    Steven Spielberg is the greatest man on the planet. His films transcend awesomeness and are the finest examples of movies around. A.I. and Minority Report kicked your ass and you know it. And this movie will kick all of your asses. For it is Spielberg, DiCaprio and Hanks. A golden trio, and with regular cohorts John and Janusz, amongst others, there is no possible chance this film will be anything other than exceptional. It is already my favourite movie of the year and I haven't even seen it yet. You know that it will succeed, and that the bald Gold bloke, Mr. Oscar, will be awarded multiple times over to this incredible achievement of a motion picture. God Bless Steven Spielberg, truly the Greatest Of All Humanity.

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 8:09 a.m. CST

    Yeah, good to hear....

    by Lordhoban

    I hope Spielberg tackles some more cool projects... the only one I was really dissapointed by was A.I... so his track record is still pretty good for me.

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 8:15 a.m. CST

    Minority report sucked ass

    by fatrix

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 8:16 a.m. CST

    Monkey Lover

    by KID AB

    A.I. was the biggest pile of sanctimonious, sentimental bullshit bollocks i have ever seen!!! How can anyone like that and not throw up for the last ten minutes.

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 8:23 a.m. CST

    Battlefield Earth 2

    by flyboy21


  • Dec. 12, 2002, 8:27 a.m. CST

    SPIN-OFF cartoon

    by flyboy21

    The adventures of young terl at the academy!

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 8:53 a.m. CST


    by EdHairless

    Excellent Review. Your perfectly captured the essence of SPielberg for me without hammering your entire childhood onto everyone's PCs like some people on this site. Must admit, although I will see TTT and I did think FOTR was a very good movie--some of the imagery actually caused the jaw to drop, I am looking forward to this film more than TTT. I'll put on my bulletproof vest now.

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 9:19 a.m. CST

    Frank Sr. was a GI in WWII?

    by TKO

    ...was that when he stuck the wristwatch up his ass so that he can bring it back and give it to Butch, the son of his army buddy?

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 9:26 a.m. CST

    Nathalie Baye!!! VaVaVOOOOOM!

    by Edward Rooney

    IS she in her fifties? SHe's still super hot.

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 9:56 a.m. CST

    umm, DeCraprio is 28 not 18

    by asswipe

    just so you know

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 10:12 a.m. CST


    by Glass

    That's exactly what I said! Leo's terribly miscast. He looks bloated, like he's had one too many beers, and he's simply too old to play the role.

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 10:17 a.m. CST

    You know what's really weird about Spielberg?

    by CHEET

    Taken is actually good. How the hell did they pull that one off?

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 10:22 a.m. CST

    I'm no lover of Speilberg

    by JacksonsBane

    I love Jaws and Raiders, and that's it really. The rest are full of shmaltz, and I hate that.

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 10:33 a.m. CST

    Spielberg is already in a great period of his career

    by Captain Katanga

    things werent looking good back in the Always and Hook days, but he is back on track. I am slightly baffled by this site's cool reaction to Minority Report, and the way people relentlessly nitpick over its plot... its a great science fiction film, theres never been anything quite like it. In years to come it will be seen as a classic. I also agree that temple of Doom is GREAT, in spite of its flaws! The bottom line is when Spielberg is working from a great script, he blows everything else out of the water, because nobody shoots stuff as beautifully as he does (except Scorsese). The reason AI was, in my opinion, very poor is because Spielberg wrote the awful screenplay... he cant write.

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 10:39 a.m. CST

    saul bass?

    by brainticket cool titles for sure

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 10:45 a.m. CST

    Mori, you were so right about AI and MINORITY REPORT - don't tak

    by JonQuixote

    I'm a lot harder on movies that should be great, but fall apart - it feels as though a great movie has been stolen, ripped from my grasp. Senor Spielbergo's last two movies certainly qualify for that. Good Sci Fi presents a situation that asks questions and causes the audience to think. Bad Sci Fi presents a situation that serves as a conduit to tell the audience what to think. Especially with Minority Report, Spielberg seemed almost deathly frightened that the movie would end on an ambiguous ending that might cause the audience to disagree with his "position" so he designs it to hammer his opinion home in such a way that anybody who disagrees with it (and, for the record, I agree with it) is a fascist or an idiot. *** But CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, a fun movie, seems not to require Spielberg to trust his audience...all he has to do is entertain, which he's still the best at. I can't wait. This movie is my LOTR. I love the book.

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 10:46 a.m. CST

    Moriarty - you never told me the ending!!

    by JonQuixote

    Just tell me, without spoilers for everybody else, do they keep in the same as the book. I wanna love the movie, so if they changed the ending from the book, let me know so I can go into the theatre having already accepted that it's changed.

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 10:50 a.m. CST

    I like my Spielberg films...

    by Chilli Kramer

    ...schmaltz free. Especially when they are action packed too, like Jaws, Raiders, and lately Minority Report.Comedy? I'll give it a try. Note: If pretty boy Leonardo DiCaprio is Christopher Walken's son, his Mum must have been goddamned gorgeous since Walken looks like a frickin' serial killer or something. I don't mean that in a bad way.

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 10:59 a.m. CST

    Captain Katanga

    by Glass

    I liked Minority Report, and I enjoyed the plot, but I had 2 main problems with it as a whole. First of all, everything looked really cool, but it all felt forced, as though Spielberg was trying really hard to make a cool, inventive film but couldn't quite find the energy to do so. Now, if the film came from another, less seasoned director, I wouldn't be so demanding, but I am a huge fan of Spielberg, as a whole, and I was highly disappointed in this endeavor. And my second major complaint was regarding the secondary characters, and the extras. Their acting was terrible. The secondary characters are gaining much importance in Spielberg's films, and I've noticed they've begun to take on cartoonish qualities. Perhaps these qualities are intended to provide comic relief, but they only manage to annoy the shit out of me. For example, the lady who Cruise meets with in the greenhouse. Her acting style was as obvious as full-blown mouth herpes, and as painful to watch. Another example is the girl Leo asks out for steak in the previews for Catch Me if you Can (I can't seem to stop fixating on her). Terrible, and I haven't even seen the film yet! I only hope that Spielberg has not begun that suicidal spiral into self-parody.

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 11:02 a.m. CST

    Jon Quixote

    by oasis1485

    I hope they keep the ending too, it was awesome. Does spielberg have the guts to do it after what looks like a feel-good beginning? I certainly hope so (i think he did: did you get a look at the bit in the trailer when dicaprio is running off the plane? check out his hair).

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 11:55 a.m. CST

    you think

    by ZO

    mor and harry are still fighting like bitches?

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 12:36 p.m. CST

    I cannot be defeated

    by vicious_bastard

    I reckon Sly'll be taking on an Arab boxer this time round. God Bless America. Sly was born on exactly the same day and in the same year as good-ole-boy Dubya. Funny that.

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 12:55 p.m. CST

    Why does MINORITY REPORT have such a bad rep? I thought it was

    by JohnnyTremaine

    Sure, MINORITY REPORT lifted entire sequences from Davis' THE FUGITIVE, and Colin Farrell was a stand-in for Tommy Lee Jones. But by the same token, SPEED was basically DIE HARD on a bus, and it didn't stop that movie from being a great action picture.

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 3:03 p.m. CST

    Good Lord... I actually agree with Moriarity

    by steerpoke

    My earliest film disappointment was also Temple of Doom. Well, you never forget the first time... a movie sucked.

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 3:10 p.m. CST

    steven spielberg

    by drjones

    he`s just a magician. i guess that the most of us geeks here were introduced to movies through HIS WORK! at least that`s the case for me. i like that he`s still that eager to try out new things and doesn`t keep to do the same things over and over. and to the putative dissapointments: i can forgive people like him for their failures even though it hurts to be dissapointed because it`s just a result of creativity to FAIL. (although IMHO there are some people who always seem to fail...i`m thinking of mr. bay) i think harry was just right with what he said in his lsat years "comments on mori`s ai review". it`s relative what flicks from him you like(as usual) but what i know for sure is that he taught me as you also said mori;) the language of cinema and the experience of magic on the big screen.

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 3:10 p.m. CST


    by Dogsmack

    "Leo's terribly miscast. He looks bloated, like he's had one too many beers, and he's simply too old to play the role." I don't know what your smoking but I would like to have some. Leo is perfect for this role. The real Frank looked a lot older for his age which is why he was able to pass for a pilot, lawyer and even doctor. If he's bloated, I would hate to think what a NORMAL person to you would look like.

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 3:27 p.m. CST

    Minority Report was just awful.

    by Homer Sexual

    Actually, I can't give Moriarty's review the credence I would because he likes Empire of the Sun, too. But Minority Report is so overdone. It's a total show-off movie. The special effects scream "look at these cool effects" to the detriment, rather than the benefit, of the film. The tone is so ponderous. An excellent idea (I thought I'd like the movie) that was poorly executed with all the typical Spielbergo failings: Most importantly, a lack of genuine emotion, a reliance on heavy-handed effects, and a schmaltzy mentality. If this is in a lighter vein, it may be better. But I don't know if I can get over the DiCaprio/Hanks thing. Just too many big-money high-profile people involved, making me expect something bland and corporate.

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 3:29 p.m. CST

    It never fails to make me laugh

    by Glass

    Whenever I make a comment on Leo's looks in CMIYC, I get yelled at. Jesus, some people are fucking retarded.

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 3:43 p.m. CST


    by drjones

    i think the problem is that spielberg-bashing is a real sport of some journalists in the feuilletons of certain newspapers. in a weird manner it is mostly practiced of the same newspapers who also use to do a constant bashing on for instance lord of the rings(no critic...BASHING. THEY always use to tell that spielberg is nothing else but a money fanatic, is pedophile(you can see that in the opinion of some dudes especially in et...???). well..he`s no holy and also produces shit as everyone else does. but just giving away predjudists as a wannabe VEEERY serious journalist(i guess tooooooo serious) is just damn poor.

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 5:01 p.m. CST


    by Captain Katanga

    I know what you mean about the secondary characters, but for me they don't sink the film; the pros far outweigh the cons. I don't understand your comment about the look of the film and spielberg trying too hard... the look is totally unique, dramatic and imaginitive. I think MR is one of the best shot and edited films of the year. The scenes of Cruise orchestrating the precog visions are hypnotically realised, as is the spiders scene. It just works so well dramatically... the scene where cruise confronts leo crow is intense. I mean, there are scenes in Jurassic Park that make me cringe, but the strengths of the film still make it a classic. I feel the same about MR.

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 5:15 p.m. CST

    Minority Report... Please.

    by O'Bannion

    Minority Report owns your asses. When it first came out in June, all the buzz in these talkbacks were how Spielberg is back in form and that he hit a home run with Minority Report. Now it sucks, Please. Most intelligent sci-fi since blade runner. That movie was well-written, action packed with not a hint of cgi overkill.I personally like to think the ending is all a dream of John Anderton as he remains comotose in that wicked Jail cell. Everyone who says this movie sucks is just trying to be a cool movie geek who thinks that spielberg = hollywood which = high priced dog shit. Hollywood makes good alot more than indy cinema does. Trust your heart, not your overcooked brains. If Raiders came out in 2002, you guys would be ripping it apart. Minority Report along with Road to Perdition (Tom Hanks is the Man) were the best movies of the summer. Want to talk overhyped crapola look at 'Signs'. Year end of Lesson. Fuck I'm a dork.

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 6:02 p.m. CST

    Spielberg was never off track, and MINORITY REPORT is the best

    by Rollo Tomassi

    If Moriarty or others have been disappointed by Spielberg's recent work, they are certainly entitled to their opinion (and, by the way, this CATCH ME review is one of the most intelligent and well written analyses of a film I have ever read on AICN, Way to go, Moriarty). But as a long-time Spielberg fan who believes he is on one of the best filmmaking streaks of his illustrious career, I feel the need to express my own opinion as well. What sets Spielberg apart from most filmmakers, aside from the sheer volume of great films he has made, is his continuing willingness and ability to reinvent himself. Is there another director who comes close to the sort of variety of films we see from Spielberg? Who else could have made "E.T." AND "Saving Private Ryan." In recent years, it has become far more difficult to define a Spielberg "type" of movie. Sure, he is still sentimental in everything, but those misguided critics who criticize Steven's tendency to include his own brand of sentimentality in everything misunderstand the nature of art itself. If you don't like Spielbergian seniment, fine, but it's who he is, and without it he would not expressing himself, and it wouldn't be art. In a year of brainless action films like XXX, THE BOURNE IDENTITY, DIE ANOTHER DAY and so forth, MINORITY REPORT was an original Da Vinci among a sea of photocopied Dogs Playing Poker prints. It transcended the action and science fiction genres to be the most compelling, thought provoking, moving and entertaining film I've seen this year, and easily ranks among the best films of the decade so far. I go on at much greater length in defense of MINORITY REPORT, A.I., AMISTAD and especially SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, but I won't. Suffice it to say that I consider Spielberg our greatest living director by a longshot, and Moriarty's articulate review has me even more excited for CATCH ME IF YOU CAN.

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 6:05 p.m. CST

    Minority Report : best film of the year.

    by togmeister

    Spielberg was just enjoying himself in that movie, despite what Moriarty thinks. The scene where Cruise falls through the window into that aerobics class reminded me of the wigged-out humnor that Spielberg used to put in his movies before he stopped making movies for himself and started trying to please the Geritol slurpers of the Academy, people who'll believe any old shit is a masterpiece if Harvey Weinstein tosses them enough freebies. Hooper crushing the paper cup. Indy whacking that cocktail waitress in the face.Dr. Grant putting his hands on the electric fence and pretending to electrocute himself. That's the feeling MR gave me, and that's what i want to see from Spielberg. Minority Report just freakin' ROCKED, but don't just take my word for it. Just look anywhere other than AICN.

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 6:22 p.m. CST

    I love to bash Speilberg, but he's too fuckin' good

    by Superfloyd

    JURASSIC PARK is not a great movie and HOOK sucked balls but I almost shit my pants watching SCHINDLER'S LIST. That and EMPIRE OF THE SUN have been his two best movies post-Raiders. I think SAVING PRIVATE RYAN comes close but I'm not going to forgive him for casting Ed Burns! Who in there right mind thinks he's a good actor? Anyway, I can't wait to see this fuckin' movie!

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 6:26 p.m. CST

    Well, the movie has my $4.50.

    by PattyOGreen

    Read the book some time ago, loved it, sounds a lot like they kept pretty true to it. Hope they did keep the darker times of Frank's life in the movie, though. Would be a shame to not see that part make it to the big screen... freakin' Frenchies. :)

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 6:31 p.m. CST


    by TomVee

    Moriarty says this is the best film Spielmensch has done since EMPIRE OF THE SUN and SCHINDLER'S LIST. Let's be honest for a moment. How many people have actually seen EMPIRE OF THE SUN or SCHINDLER'S LIST? I suspect not many, certainly not all the way through. Ditto AMISTAD. Ditto possibly even SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. None of these were true mass-market films. They may all be great films, but they are quasi-arthouse films targeted at a specific audience. So of Spielmensch's recent films, that leaves only AI and MR, which everyone and his grandmother saw. And neither was worth the price of admission. His time has passed. He can keep making movies, of course. But his time has passed.

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 6:41 p.m. CST


    by Captain Katanga

    lol to your post.... utter bollocks

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 7:19 p.m. CST

    I think this will be something like Oceans 11.

    by amychaser5

    I get that feel from the trailers of Catch Me If You Can. It seems like it will be like Oceans 11 in that Oceans 11 was a wonderfully made fun movie. I get the impression that this will be fun more than anything else. And i thought that Ocean's 11 was one of the best flicks of 2001, hopefully I can say the same thing about this one too. One more thing: i dont care what anyone says about AI, but Minority Report was great.

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 7:32 p.m. CST

    Minority Report was good, but Spielberg wasn't willing to take i

    by PumpyMcAss

    I enjoyed the film a lot, but felt the ending was pretty lame. The lameness and sameness of the way it all wrapped up has dampened its image somewhat in my mind, but it was pretty entertaining up until then. Loved how Cruise and Spielberg handled the confrontation in the hotel room, I thought it was severely gripping. The spiders/ice bath scene was absolutely brilliant fun as well. I am expecting in Catch Me If You Can what I got from Minority Report: solid, expertly handled entertainment that doesn't quite reach far enough. Can't wait, though.

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 8:24 p.m. CST

    I dont get it...i really dont get it...

    by XTheCrovvX

    This isnt a judgmental rhetorical question, ths is an honest request from someone seeking a straight, honest, educated answer....exactly what, in some people's eyes, is wrong with Temple of Doom?? See, i was born in 82....a year after Temple of Doom is the Indy i first grew up on, not Raiders, so maybe my view on it is a little skewed because of that(no disrespect to Raiders....i personally just think the entire trilogy rules)...but i would really like to know what's wrong with that movie that I miss so i can argue in an educated manner. 'preciate it. Thanks. Revolution is still my name.

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 8:35 p.m. CST


    by Captain Katanga

    dont be ridiculous... the crowning achievement of Spielberg's directorial career has to be D.A.R.Y.L...... data analysing robot youth lifeform!

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 8:53 p.m. CST

    First thing I did on the site was get info on the OST

    by KONG33

    I heard the start-up music and needed to know what I was hearing. I couldn't believe it was Williams at first, because it was different. I'm glad he's back, very suitable score, light-hearted, bouncy. This film sounds like it will be based around emotional psychology again, *sigh* I think it's great everyone thinks they are an expert on completely simplistic and flat psychology these days.

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 10:49 p.m. CST

    Temple of Doom is is WAAAAAAAAAY underrated...

    by SoulOnIce

    and dare I say better than Raiders which suffers from a weak ending. The last 30 mins of Temple is as exciting as anything put to film. And the first 20 mins are classic. Tarantino has said the same thing.

  • Dec. 12, 2002, 11:57 p.m. CST

    off topic but i just had to say that Pumpkin was one of the wors

    by BEARison Ford

    that is all.

  • Dec. 13, 2002, 12:24 a.m. CST

    Temple of Doom

    by Reverendz

    This is by far my favorite Spielberg movie and the only one (for me at least) which has stood the test of time. It's still as schlocky and silly as when I was 12 and I still love it.

  • Dec. 13, 2002, 1:54 a.m. CST

    Minority Report was GREAT!

    by SilentJames

    unil the last 15 mins. This movie needed a downer ending, it needed a bad guy wins ending to make the metaphor and the message of the film stand up. the ending that we were given completely underminded the entire point of the film--that was and is MY only gripe with MR, oh that and the HORRID video game adaptation.

  • Dec. 13, 2002, 2:07 a.m. CST


    by Mennon

    Even when I was 9 I knew T.O.D. was a wierd, forced movie. The girl pissed me off, and then the whole thing with the liferaft, and then the bane of the whole movie began, the extras. I can barely watch the movie now because of them, and there are so many scenes. Those kids, the Thuggies, all suck. But I will love S.S. for ever for Raiders, Crusade, Close Encounters, and ET. What ever he makes, except for those history lesson movies, I will see.

  • Dec. 13, 2002, 2:10 a.m. CST

    So, its been a while now,

    by Hoof Hearted

    Does anyone still think A.I. will be remembered as a classic?

  • Dec. 13, 2002, 2:22 a.m. CST

    Looks Like A Fun Movie. - Romeo Is Back

    by NickFoley

    Gangs Of New York comes out tomorrow, and then Catch Me If You Can. Le(Rome)o is back.

  • Dec. 13, 2002, 5:12 a.m. CST

    Hoof Hearted

    by Saluki

    I will always think of A.I. as a classic. In the end, my view is the most important to me. Crazy, huh? I could care less if anyone thought Temple of Doom was over/underrated. That Hook was a waste. That Minority Report didn't go "all the way". Fact of the matter is, Spielberg loves his movies. He makes the movies HE wants to see, and in the end I think that is why he is such an excellent filmmaker.

  • Dec. 13, 2002, 6:06 a.m. CST

    Perhaps Speilberg has finally abandoned sci-fi and action films

    by Critical Bill

  • Dec. 13, 2002, 2:46 p.m. CST

    I've never flamed anybody online before.....

    by one9deuce

    but Dolphin560, your pathetic. Also, whoever said the ending to Raiders of the Lost Ark is weak compared to Temple of Doom is way off base. The opening of the Ark is like nothing we have ever seen on film, and won't ever see again. The decision to have the wrath of God destroy the Nazi's in that way was gutsy to say the least, and that decision was made by Lucas and Speilberg while they were in thier prime as FILMMAKERS. They are more of corporations unto themselves now (though I still think Speilberg is making interesting movies). And then segueing into the government making the Ark lost once more is nothing short of brilliant. The end of Temple of Doom isn't bad. I still love that bridge sequence, but after that is a joke. How can anyone watch the last 5 minutes of TOD and not feel embarrassed? The kids cheering, Short Round having the elephant spray water, Indy and Willie kissing. It's like an ending out "Hollywood Cliche 101". Plus, while I am at it, Indiana Jones says to Willie at the end "it would just end up in some museum collecting dust", referring to the Sankara Stone. Then in the beginning of Last Crusade his character is all "it belongs in a museum!". Until Last Crusade, his character had 1) delivered the Ark to the Government for a fee. 2) Sold Nurhachi to Lao Che for a big diamond. Well attempted to at least. 3) Gave the villagers the Sankara Stone. Why all of a sudden is he saying "it belongs in a museum!". Anyway, Catch Me If You Can looks really good.

  • Dec. 13, 2002, 11:51 p.m. CST

    Love Spielberg or Hate's TRUE!

    by hoorayforeric

    Spielberg is the greatest filmmaker of all time! Certain film buffs will never give him that status. Mainly because he moves around from genre to genre...and has made a ton of $$$ doing it! But face it...Spielberg is the Best now, then and forever! Even his most criticized movies aren't even close to as bad as other "great" directors have made. A.I. was probably the most dissapointing to fans...but loved and admired by just as many. Plus..he was playing tribute to another filmmaker. 1941 was probably his worst box office and most criticized. But now is praised by contemperary filmmakers and fans as a cult classic! Spielberg's the man! He's he Michael Jordan of movies...the Tiger Woods of movies....etc. Those who hate him are those who can't stand others to succeed so much. I love the guy! He's amazing! I even liked "The Lost World". Although hokey at was fun entertainment. It was popcorn fun and meant to be so. And better done than 99% of the directors in Hollywood could have done. And there's no filmmaker (other than George Lucas) who can use John Williams they Spielberg does. Other than the Star Wars flicks...John Williams just seems naked without Spielberg as director. Even though Williams has written many great scores without just doesn't feel the same. Of course, again...unless it's Star Wars.

  • Dec. 14, 2002, 11:48 a.m. CST

    Lupin the 3rd

    by 1youngman

    OK, AI was disappointing, Empire of the Sun sucked and Minority Report was fan-freaking-tastic, just to get all that out of the way. Plus Short Round was annoying and Willie was a screech machine, nothing more, and that is why TOD is far less than ROTLA. Anyway, what I wanted to bring up is something (as far as I can tell) no one seems to have noticed: Catch Me If You Can bears a striking similarity to Lupin the 3rd, the manga/anime series Spielberg is suppossedly a huge fan of (his favorite movie is reportedly Castle of Cagliostro, Miyazaki's feature film debut). Now I know CMIYC is based on a true story, but this whole "Master of disguse being pursued by a law enforcement agent" is just too similar to Lupin and Zenigata to be ignored. My theory is that Spielberg was attracted to the project because it is so similar to the Lupin series, but since I don't check out interiews or articles on movies before they're out (I like to be as spoiler free as possible when I see a movie), I do not know if anyone else has brought this up. Has anyone out there seen this connection mentioned before? And for those who have never seen Lupin (which is probably most of you, I am guessing), the manga series is now being released by Tokyopop and the anime series (the second, longer, more famous one, I believe) is being released on DVD soon. If you want to see the first series (only 23 episodes), you can get a HK dub off of ebay cheap.

  • Why are they even bothering to promote this piece of shit? No one is going to go and see it because they'll be watching The Two Towers over and over again.

  • Dec. 14, 2002, 4:29 p.m. CST


    by JustAnotherGuy

    In such a long message board, there's only one post commenting about Lord of the Rings (not including this one)! And this is AICN! I'm really impressed!

  • Dec. 14, 2002, 10:19 p.m. CST

    I saw FAR FROM HEAVEN last night. LOTR will kick its ass at the

    by JonQuixote

    Why even bother releasing this shit when it isnt Lord of the Rings? LOTR rule's all! I went to a adult video store yesterday and not a single movie was Lord of the Rings? Well, one was close, but WHY BOTHER? Noone likes anything else. If they do then their all losers. What do boobies feel like?

  • Dec. 15, 2002, 2:03 a.m. CST

    The Real Steve

    by ReverseOsmosis

    Fuck Soderbergh. His last four films? Erin Brockovich, Traffic, Full Frontal, and Solaris. Speilberg's? Saving Private Ryan, A.I, Minority Report, Catch Me If You Can. Its good to see the true wunder-King(clever huh?) of Hollywood on his throne again.

  • Dec. 15, 2002, 8:20 p.m. CST

    Get real

    by pandora7

    Leo looks absolutely delicious in Catch Me. No - he doesn't look a thing like the real Frank Abagnale ... but then if Frank Abagnale played himself no one would ever believe he got away with all those scams since he isn't and never was attractive by any standards I can imagine. He must have had a ton of charm to get by with so little in the looks department. On the other hand, looking at Leo in the film, it's easy to believe he could charm ANYONE because he's so fucking handsome and such a sweety. As for his performance - it's getting unanimous raves. This residual Leo-bashing is so boring and so STUPID. Get over it already - you sound like a bunch of jealous idiots.

  • Dec. 16, 2002, 3:14 a.m. CST

    miNoRitY rePoRt: oNe oF tHe yEarS bEst

    by Louis P.

    In a year that has been fairly disappointing in the action department (Die Another Day excluded)"Minority Report" was the exception. It proves above all that an action film can be exciting and smart at once. Speilberg has proven to me that he is a director that can just about make any movie he wants to and do this successfully. I was very impressed with everything that was done with film and can't understand how some people can come down on it so hard. I saw many talkbackers come to the defense of crap like "xXx" and not praise a film as crafty and exciting as "Minority Report". Is this because Speilberg has brought in a new style to his last few films that people are not use too? Not sunshiny enough for you. Well, it looks like he's bring it back for "Catch Me If You Can". I'm looking forward to this movie as well. Classic Speilberg is amazing too but his recent work should not be discounted due to his new approach. Many missed "Minority Report" in theaters, which is a shame since the big screen could have only added to your experience. I'm sure it will be just as terrific on the small screen.

  • Dec. 16, 2002, 10:39 a.m. CST


    by Glass

    I'm not a jealous idiot. I never said DiCaprio was a bad actor. I simply stated that he looks bloated in CMIYC because he does. I don't have to find him attractive, asswipe. One, I'm not gay, and two, he's not attractive in this film. Period. So eff off, twat tattler. For the record, I think he's really fucking good, actually, even in Titanic (and if one more person calls it "the boat movie," I will vomit. Stop being so fucking corny, dorks). I have always been impressed with DiCaprio's work, and I find it highly irritating when people suggest that he can't act simply because some little fucking girls liked him for a while. He's one of the most talented actors in Hollywood, but unfortunately some of his choices have been bad. Personally, I am not looking forward to CMIYC at all. It looks terrible.

  • Dec. 16, 2002, 12:38 p.m. CST

    minority report, A.I. and this new catch me if you can...

    by testicleez

    i for one am a huge fan of stevie. i'm pretty sure i don't have to go thru the lists of his classics. in my eyes, he hasn't made one movie that isn't classic. cept one that i just didn't see which was amistad. i just couldn't get into it. anyway, i see a lot of people are bashing A.I. i heard nothing but negative reviews of this movie but still sat down to watch it. i knew it was going to be very pinnochio for the future, but it did the same story in such an original way. this mechanical kid has only one wish, and that's to be a real boy. by the end he gets his wish, but not in the way i guarantee any of you saw coming. when he's found after the great freeze, he's the closest thing to a real human being that exists in the world when the aliens find him. now that he's a "real" boy, he only has one wish, and that's to see the only person he ever saw as a mother. i thought the cinematography was great, the effects were awesome, and the story, while slow in many parts, equalled one hell of an interesting and engrossing movie. Monority report is a fucking kick ass movie. that movie went thru so many twists and turns, u had no idea where the hell it was headed, and i totally dug that about it. and for any of u who think it should have stuck to the source material, try reading the source material. its like 11 pages long. it was created as a short story. spielberg took that short story, and made it into a summer 2002 force to be reckoned with. great flick. now i've seen the previews of catch me if you can, and i think it looks like a helluva lotta fun. i don't know enoguh about it yet to give a proper feedback so i'll leave you with this, i can't wait to see this movie and enjoy it as much as i'm absolutely positive that i will. as always testicleez out

  • Dec. 16, 2002, 6:26 p.m. CST


    by pandora7

    So you're not actually a moron ... just blind in one eye and can't see out of the other? Or maybe the bloat is really inside your head ... flatulence of the brain ... lol. Blow your nose and relieve all that pressure ... perhaps your vision will improve.

  • Dec. 17, 2002, 9:09 a.m. CST


    by Glass

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. Not funny.

  • Dec. 18, 2002, 9:20 a.m. CST


    by holidill

    Duel-Great film, Sugarland Express-Never saw it, Jaws-kicks everyone's ass, Close Encounters-Actually a very cool film weaving in UFO lore, 1941-Actually funnier then people think, though it is a misstep for Spielberg and the beginning of his WW2 fixation, Raiders-Classic, pure and simply classic, ET-Two classics in a row, endearing and nice, Temple of Doom-Parts of it are ok, THe Color Purple-His first serious film, actually very good, Empire of the Sun-Never saw it(I admit it)Always-You know what I kind of liked it. Last Crusade-Return to Raiders form, though not as good as Raiders, Hook-Had potential but sort of fell on its face, Jurrasic Park-Fun film, that's all it was, fun, a great summer film, Schindler's List-I saw this in the theater, Haunting and very disturbing, and I probably will never watch it again because it still disturbs me. Amistad-Once again, never saw it, The lost World-had potential, but awful awful ending. Saving Private Ryan-I saw this once in the theater and I have the same reaction as I do to Schindler's List-Haunting and Disturbing, and will probably never see again.AI-He tries something different, and it's actually not that bad of a movie. Minority Report-The second in his dark future films, never saw it but just bought the DVD. Catch me if You Can-Want to see this, sounds like fun. Spielberg can change his filmmaking tastes at the drop of a hat, and that is why he ranks up their as one of the best directors of our time.

  • Dec. 18, 2002, 2:25 p.m. CST

    Will Speilberg really be remembered as fondly as people seem to

    by ThePoleOfJustice

    In all seriousness, I'm not suggesting he's gonna be forgotten, or anything, but the only really unassailable work he's done was JAWS, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS and the first Indiana Jones. Let's review, shall we? DUEL: OK, but nothing special. SUGARLAND EXPRESS. Meh. JAWS and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS: Great, but lightweight. 1941: Blaugh. RAIDERS: Great. ET: keeps getting referred to as brilliant, but it didn't stand up for me AT ALL (apparently I wasnt alone: the reissue tanked.) The first real sign that he's turning into a schmaltz machine. TEMPLE OF DOOM: nah. THE COLOR PURPLE: Yargh. EMPIRE OF THE SUN: OK. LAST CRUSADE: fun, a little underrated, but really, at this time, a lot of other people could have done this. ALWAYS, HOOK: Ouch. JURASSIC PARK: take away the special effects, and what do you got? Ass, that's what. ID4 is this movie's fault. SCHINDLER'S LIST: moving and meaningful only if you don't spend much time watching moving and meaningful films. Otherwise, oversimplistic and manipulative. Blatant grab for an Oscar. LOST WORLD, AMISTAD: Poo, and poo. SAVING PRIVATE RYAN: see SCHINDLER'S LIST. UNFINISHED JOURNEY: don't know about this one, admittedly. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, MINORITY REPORT: I get the feeling that these are praised simply because they're Sci-Fi, and people are starved for Sci-Fi. But due to heavy handed didacticism, gaping plot holes and abundant use of over-ripe cliches, I can't imagine that they'll stand the test of time. I mean, they're no better (or worse) than THE OMEGA MAN, and we ain't exactly drooling over that one, are we? CATCH ME IF YOU CAN...well, who knows? I'm not trying to be a dick, but considering the over the top fawning he gets, I'm just trying to inject a little sanity. One of the greatest directors of all time? No. Kurosawa, Tarkovsky, Bergman, Ford...THESE are the greatest directors of all time. One of the most financially successful directors of all time? Undoubtedly. the above mentioned work merits his inclusion in film history, certainly, but he's second tier. Giant budgets are not a substitute for directorial quality, and there was simply WAY too much wrong with MINORITY REPORT (plot holes, stolen scenes, generic, cliched ending, fake happy face on the film in the last few seconds) for someone who has been at it for as long as he has. Sorry guys, just callin' it as I see it.

  • Jan. 16, 2003, 2:22 a.m. CST

    Temple of doom

    by stackpointer

    Hey, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Domm is a lot fucking better then Last Crusade. Videoboys, at that time it was a fucking amazing action-adventure flick, though not as good as Raiders.