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Massawyrm gets in a tizzy about MUNICH!

Hey folks, Harry here with Massawyrm with his leg humping of MUNICH. I'll hopefully be making time to review that, PRODUCERS and MATCH POINT here quickly - but for now - here's Massawyrm...

Hola all. Massawyrm here. I fucking hate Amistad. No, I mean I really hate Amistad. While Jurassic Park: The Lost World easily stands as Steven Spielberg’s worst film, Amistad stands for everything that was wrong with Steven Spielberg throughout the 90’s on up to today. Every little flaw, every little tick of that film succinctly defines what happened to him as a director. You see, in the 70’s there was a dream that was Steven Spielberg. A filmmaker of uncompromised vision who set out to prove that you could make commercially viable films that were highly entertaining while also managing to be poignant, powerful and emotionally gripping. And that man made genre films. Horror films. Science fiction films. Pulp Adventure films. Each one crafted out of substance, each one remarkable. The Steven Spielberg of the 70’s and Early 80’s showed not just to be promising, but seemed to bear the weight of our entire film generations hopes on his shoulders. He was a rogue, an artistic outsider who was changing the rules. When asked about not getting an Oscar, he repeatedly answered “Well, you know Hitchcock never got an Oscar.” And despite the sheer audacity of anyone comparing themselves to Hitchcock, we let it slide, because we thought he was our Hitchcock. Our John Ford. Our Kurosawa.

And then, well, he wasn’t. Somewhere in the 80’s his films became really good but not quite the level of greatness he performed with previously. Spielberg tried his hand at epics. And the dream started to die just a little bit. Spielberg was still a dangerous filmmaker, but one that seemed to be creeping every more closely to the Hollywood mold. He wasn’t so much an outsider anymore. Then he made Hook and the wheels started to come off. A streak of sentimentality showed up that would become the hallmark of his new style. Following that, he made the commercial success that was Jurassic Park – a film I know many of you love, but angered me the very first time I saw it. For me, it glorified the very worst of Spielberg in his off days. Jurassic Park is a film that never quite knew what it wanted to be, outside of a commercial success. Like Temple of Doom before it (in which Spielberg insisted upon a scene of someone getting their heart ripped out in a kids film), Spielberg once again tried to sell a rated R movie to kids through the loophole known as PG-13. JP was a jarring mix of overly kiddish scenes and themes complete with sneezing Brontosauri that collided head on with man eating dinosaurs sucking down lawyers and dropping bloody goat legs from the sky.

But to follow that up, Spielberg set out to make the most expensive art film ever made, a personal film that he felt he had to make, and make his way. It was called Schindler’s List. And the dream died. While Schindler’s List was a really good film, Spielberg gave us the first real glimpse at what was to come – rough, abrasive films with overly sentimental endings very much unlike his early work. You see, Spielberg’s early films all had tough endings, endings that never spoiled the work, but exemplified it. Tough, emotional endings that weren’t always the easiest to watch. In Jaws, we watch as one of our heroes, the grizzled old wise man of the sea, is eaten painfully by the very beast he hunted and warned of. In E.T we’re forced to watch as two best friends are first torn apart by others and ultimately themselves as they realize they were never meant to be together. And in raiders of the Lost Ark, we watch as our hero is helpless, tied to a post and left to watch his opponents celebrate their victory over him only to end up melting into a puddle of goo. And our hero? He can only close his eyes tight and pray that he is left alive. But with Schindler’s List, we’re given the immortal “This Car! This car could have saved so many” forced sentimentality that would become the endings that Spielberg would be known for. Bad endings. Cheesy endings. Cheap endings. Endings that not only would be accused of being inaccurate, but would also tend to undersell the body of the whole work. Spielberg was no longer the dangerous outsider – but rather the symbol for the flawed system that churned out so much pap. But he got his Oscar, proving once and for all, that Spielberg was NOT our Hitchcock. Our John Ford. Our Kurosawa.

And his problem with endings drove right on through to today. Saving Private Ryan. Artificial Intelligence. Minority Report. War of the Worlds. Good movies one and all. Until their inevitable endings. In the context of Spielberg’s body of work, these films don’t even come close. Jaws is the very best Pissed of nature horror film ever made. Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T. are the very best Extra Terrestrial encounter movies ever made. And Raiders of the Lost Ark is the very best adventure film ever made. To this day, no one has topped them. Can the same be said for his other films? Is Saving Private Ryan the best WWII movie ever made? Is it even in the top 10? War of the Worlds? Minority report? Are they even the best Tom Cruise movies? Is AI the best anything?

The only time Spielberg seemed to hit the nail on the head was when his films were deliberately sentimental. Film like Catch me If You Can and the Terminal are perfect – absolutely perfect. The Terminal, after all, was Spielberg making his Frank Capra film, and he actually managed to make the film that I honestly believe that if Frank Capra were alive, well and making films today, he would have made. But those aren’t the films we believed Spielberg was meant to make. Those films aren’t dangerous. Those aren’t the films of an outsider. Of a genius.

Which brings me to Amistad. I fucking hate Amistad. And no, not just because it was boring as hell, or because of that stupid CG boat scene or even that the film repeats itself unnecessarily by showing us the same trial twice. I hate that fucking ending. Not only is it overly sentimental and cheesy as all hell – but it proves that Amistad actually isn’t about what it should have been about. Amistad was about a triumph over slavery - about coming through the dark time in our past and seeing reason. Of course, by trying to make another uplifting film that would try to garner him another Oscar, Spielberg entirely missed the point of the film. You see, even at the time, many historians challenged the film and just how much Spielberg softballed it. Cinque (Djimon Hounsou’s character), as it turns out, did in fact return to Africa to find his wife and child gone. And having learned so much about the American legal system and the rights of slave owners, ending up dying a very wealthy slave trader who sold out his own countrymen. He was the anti-Schindler. And THAT’S what Amistad SHOULD have been about. It should have been about the darkness of the human soul and the corruption of our own folly. Cinque became a product of his time – but does Spielberg show us that or does he let the British triumphantly cannon a slave port? No. Spielberg failed, and as a filmmaker he’s become more of a successful footnote in film history than he has become of the of the true masters. A greatly celebrated footnote (by the media) to be sure, but a footnote none the less. A man who started great, but kind of trailed off at the end.

Which brings us to the whole reason you sat down to read this review in the first place. Munich. Munich is where everything changes. To talk about Munich without tying it into Spielberg’s career as a whole is doing both a great disservice to the film and to Spielberg himself. Because Munich is the single most important film Steven Spielberg has ever made. It is an important, little talked about piece of history that deserves discussion. It is important as it was the catalyst for everything we’re dealing with politically in Middle East today, and thus is extremely relevant even today, over thirty years later. And it is important because, at least for almost 3 brief hours, it signals the return of the young Steven Spielberg – the 1970’s Steven Spielberg – the dangerous Steven Spielberg. Munich is everything Amistad should have been but wasn’t – everything Schindler’s List should have been but wasn’t – everything Saving Private Ryan should have been but wasn’t. It is the film many of us have been waiting a quarter century for. Well, the wait is over. Steven Spielberg is back – and this time, he’s gonna piss a lot of people off.

You know, here at AICN we use the word “balls” a lot. If something is brazen, audacious, lionhearted and yet lofty, we simply use the acronym B.A.L.L.s and leave the audience reading our work to think we’re fixated upon the size of a filmmaker’s genitals. And maybe we are. But we’ve tossed that phrase around a lot this year, as for some reason, this is the year Hollywood whipped them out. This has been a magnificent year of bold, fearless filmmaking like nothing the world has seen since the 70’s. And the leader of the pack this year, the film that is the most unafraid, the film with the biggest, hairiest pair, is far and away Munich. Spielberg takes the single most incendiary theme of our times, tells a true story of terrorism and the state sanctioned terrorist response to the crime in question – and then ultimately refuses to pick a side. He refuses to make any single faction the bad guy. Rather than simply taking the easy road and celebrate one side while villainizing another, especially when those who would be villainized could be done so very easily, he steps back and tells a story that ultimately says “Look – Israel is…complicated.” Sure, it might SOUND politically correct in concept, but it’s not.

I don’t think I’m going to surprise or offend anyone by referring to Steven Spielberg as the United States most prominent, influential and powerful Jew. He is. If there’s anyone in this country who has carried the banner of his heritage, the Holocaust and the plight of the modern Jew, it is Steven Spielberg. So, upon hearing that he’s directed a film about the Israeli response to the 1972 murders of 11 members of the Israeli Olympic Team by the Palestinian terrorist organization Black September, one could easily figure out exactly what kind of story Spielberg would choose to tell. And yet, you’d be wrong. Because this is not an issue that one can easily take the middle ground on, primarily because both sides of this conflict do not acknowledge that any middle ground exists. Instead, this is a film that will piss off the extremists of both sides of this conflict, because this is a film very much about the terror based murders of Palestinian activists by Jews after a more than proportional response by the Israeli military (which is something that the Palestinians are bound to find more than a little glorifying) and yet Spielberg is very careful to not only show the Palestinians as sympathetic but to NOT ACTUALLY EVER RECOGNIZE THE SOVERIGNTY OF ISRAEL. That’s right. You read that correctly. Steven Spielberg, this nations most powerful Jew, has made a film that actually brings up questions about whether Israel should exist at all. And Israeli’s and Jews the world over are REALLY going to hate that. Because if there’s one thing you do not do in this day and age, one thing you dare not whisper or hint at, it’s the notion that maybe Israel shouldn’t be there, and that maybe the Palestinians have a point. Now don’t get me wrong, he definitely presents both sides. This isn’t a film about questioning Israel’s existence – but it’s there. And it is presented in all of its complicated glory.

To add fuel to the fire, Spielberg has churned out one of the bloodiest, sexual, most explicit and exploitive films of the year. This movie is blood and breasts, butts and bush, to the extent that it is clear that this is not a film for middle-America. This is a film that would send the far right into fits – that is if they didn’t love Israel so much. This is a film that makes many of the other blood splattered, sex filled forays released thus far this year seem tame by comparison. It is, at heart, a genre film – a crime film specifically – that packs all the wallop of old school, high minded Spielberg. This is not the Spielberg that made Schindler’s List, a filmmaker telling a story of compassion and triumph of the human will. No. This is the Spielberg that wants to immerse us in a symphony of violence to show us the very futility of violence. The futility of revenge. It is a film very much about the destruction of the human spirit, not the celebration of it.

And as I said – it’s a crime film. The bulk of the film consists of finding a terrorist, setting up the killing of the terrorist, then murdering the terrorist, followed immediately by finding another terrorist. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. But each segment is different enough that it never feels like it is repeating itself, and the character development and scenes of discussion that occur in between are so riveting that they break up what could be a monotonous series of search and destroy missions.

And it is absolutely masterful. I can easily say that this is the single greatest, most important film Spielberg has ever made. Thoroughly entertaining, gritty, realistic and sometimes just downright mean – this is an explosive piece of cinema that leaves a broken, battered audience in its wake. It hits hard, and doesn’t pull a single punch. And when the credits rolled on my pack screening, I didn’t hear a word, not a peep. The audience was dead cold silent. Everyone was processing what the fuck they’d just watched. It certainly wasn’t a Steven Spielberg film, it couldn’t have been. But it was. And it fucked with them. It fucked with all of us.

Despite the spectacle of violence, despite the raw sexual content, despite the taut thriller pace it maintains for so long, this isn’t a film to be “enjoyed.” It’s not a film in which you walk out talking about the badass that is Eric Bana’s Avner, or to talk about the some of the spectacular kills or how hot the Swedish Assassin was. That stuff is all there. But you won’t want to talk about it. Not at first. First you have to process, you have to contemplate, you have to drink it all in and put it all together in your head. To say that this is a heavy film is an understatement. It is the single, heaviest film Spielberg has ever undertaken – and this is a guy who made a Holocaust film.

And yet there is a point in the film when the film should end – or at least, when you think it should end. The Amistad moment. It’s a moment of bittersweet joy, a moment of celebration and sorrow. Avner hugs his wife and you can almost feel the credits at the bottom of the screen trying to force their way up. But Speilberg isn’t done, his story isn’t over. He won’t let those credits roll, because Avner still has things to pay for, Avner still has dark times to go through. And frankly, that’s the part that is going to be off-putting to most audiences. But it is the most important part of the film. It is the part that drives home the effect of violence on the psyche, the part that tells the true story of a man broken by his own achievements and troubled by his own failures. It is the part where a man who has achieved a quiet notoriety, the man who would be called a hero, has to suffer for his heroism. And as hard as it is to watch, everything that the film is all about, everything that you end up thinking about on your way out, is fully realized in that denouement. It is exactly what Spielberg should have done with Amistad but didn’t. It is the unhappy ending that doesn’t cheat the audience of a single, god damned thing.

Munich is everything it should be. It is this year’s Passion of the Christ. It is an epic film that will be discussed for years. Some will scream that it glorifies violence. Others will scream that it goes too far or doesn’t go far enough with their own values or beliefs. Other will simply call it overrated, whether they bothered to watch it or not. But they will talk about it.

Personally, I hope the current buzz against Munich is right. I hope it doesn’t garner Oscar nods. It is simply too good a movie to be saddled with that. My Steven Spielberg isn’t a man celebrated for his genius, he’s a man celebrated for his mediocrity – a man gifted with praise for cheating the audience. His great films, his truly epic works of genius – they stand alone unrewarded, watched time and time again and spoken of in reverence. Munich will stand among them, if not above them.

This is a film, and now a filmmaker, I have no qualms about discussing in the league with the likes of Hitchcock, Ford and Kurosawa. With Kubrick. With Fellini. With Wilder. It is, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest films ever made and one of the most important films of our time. It is a film so good that even those that don’t like it will have to talk about how good it is. They’ll say it simply wasn’t for them or that it was too violent or that “Spielberg has it all wrong.” But it’s an honest film, a gutsy film and yes, the best thing he’s ever done.

This is the Steven Spielberg that I hope sticks around for a while. If he wants to make his Terminal’s and Catch Me If You Can’s, then great. Steven’s a sentimental guy, let him make his sweet sentimental movies every now and again. But when he’s being serious, when he’s tackling dark material, dear God in heaven, please let this be the Steven Spielberg that tackles it. Because this Steven Spielberg is a fucking genius. He’s the filmmaker we’ve always dreamed he could be. Here’s to hoping he’s back for good.

Until next time friends, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em. I know I will.

Massawyrm






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Readers Talkback
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  • Dec. 23, 2005, 2:51 a.m. CST

    Not first!

    by Azlam Orlandu

    Hella not. -Az

  • Dec. 23, 2005, 3:03 a.m. CST

    Hook is Steve

    by CuervoJones

    And The Lost World was better than Jurassic Park. Anyway, Spielberg is the best director alive.

  • Dec. 23, 2005, 3:13 a.m. CST

    Agreement

    by xwoof

    I totally agree with the assessment of Spielberg

  • Dec. 23, 2005, 3:19 a.m. CST

    Great fucking review.

    by Josh Town

    Good evaluation of Spielbergs career too. Funny though, the films you named as being "perfect" (The Terminal, and Catch Me if You Can) are really the only Spielberg films I have yet to see. I never thought about it much, but this guy makes an assload of movies.

  • Dec. 23, 2005, 3:29 a.m. CST

    TERMINAL perfect?

    by zikade zarathos

    And for God's sake, JAWS had a ridiculously sentimental ending... Dreyfus, who, by all logic, SHOULD'VE died, pops up and swims to shore with our hero. C'mon, that's just as bad as the WAR OF THE WORLDS son who pops up and greets his father in Boston, which people here tore to pieces. I'm greatly looking forward to MUNICH. I think Spielburg's one of the most technically brilliant filmmakers who has ever lived (just for pure chops, no one else knows just where to put the camera than he does), so whatever he does is at LEAST worth watching.

  • Dec. 23, 2005, 3:34 a.m. CST

    Wow

    by DocPazuzu

    That's quite a review. Needless to say, it does make me enthusiastic and anxious to see it. A word of caution, Massawyrm: very shortly, perhaps within the next 24 hours or so, you will be subjected to a lengthy post in which Ringbearer9 will attempt to dissect your review and tell everyone what you REALLY thought about the film. Failing that, I'm sure he will write off your review as praise purchased from AICN by "the most powerful Jew in America". I trust you will uphold the already proud tradition of publically humiliating him the way Vern and Mori have. Good luck.

  • Dec. 23, 2005, 3:59 a.m. CST

    Great job Massywyrm

    by SnowMann

    I have to disagree on the "too much ramblage" statement. I haven't always been a fan of your reviews, but I think this one was great. The Spielberg breakdown was very well done, as was the review itself. I am dying to see this thing. Thanks man.

  • Dec. 23, 2005, 4:16 a.m. CST

    Terrorism

    by pammybabe

    I will probably draw a lot of hate posts over what I'm about to say but it should always be remembered that Israel was not above using terrorism itself. During the 'struggle for independence' many future Jewish politcal leaders were members of a Jewish terrorist cell who commited attrocities. For example, Jewish terrorists sent a letter bomb to a British intelligent officer's home which was accidently opened by his brother killing him. They blew up the King David hotel killing both innocent Jewish and Arab people. In one notroious case, a group of British soldiers were kidnapped and hung in an orange grove. If the British had sent hit squads after these men you could imagine the international revulsion it would have generated. This only seems to underly the old saying that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.

  • Dec. 23, 2005, 5:06 a.m. CST

    So?

    by Morlock1

    So they killed a few innocent civilians when targeting soldiers. A. Mistakes happen. B. Some of these atrocoties were done by splinter cells, by dissenting voices. There have always been and will always be extremists out there. There is an inherant difference between a makeshift force using guerilla tactics to battle an army, than a makeshift force using guerilla tactics to attack civilians. THAT is what IMO separates terrorism from freedom fighting. A terrorist wants to terrorize a people into submission. A freedom fighter will fight the people's army into submission. Using terrorist tacticts against an army is perfectly fine, if that's the only way one side can fight. But when you are specificaly (and, in this case, exclusivly) targetting civilians, you are not a freedom fighter. You are scum. You are not attacking another force or army, but you are attacking humanity. Sure, Israel was formed by a bunch of people who would probably be proud to be called terrorists, but, by and large, the target was almost exclusively military. That is what separates Israel from the Hamas, Jihad, Hizbullah and Al Quaida. That is what separates them from the Black September group. This has nothing to do with the questions the film raises, though. The film is talking about if under the most justified and noble terms, vengeance is ever the right answer. It is philosophical, not historical. It is a forgone conclusion that these Black September terrorists are bad people. The question is, qill killing them off in an act of revenge help anyone, or will it simply breed a dozen new groups.

  • Dec. 23, 2005, 5:40 a.m. CST

    Bush

    by c4andmore

    ahem....most people on this site don't seem to like bush

  • Dec. 23, 2005, 6:35 a.m. CST

    "blood and breasts, butts and bush"

    by jrbarker

    I'm there!

  • Dec. 23, 2005, 7:15 a.m. CST

    I can't believe the man can't even take a side

    by vikingkitty

    What a spineless worm Speilberg has become. Any attempt to make the primitive Palestinian slime appear sympathetic is garbage.

  • Dec. 23, 2005, 7:26 a.m. CST

    hey there, kitty could you tell me something..

    by Cameron1

    ..what's the apeal of trolling?

  • Dec. 23, 2005, 7:26 a.m. CST

    Hey Massawyrm

    by Nordling

    As you know, most of your reviews I pretty much disagree with. Not this one. Wow. That's the best review you've written for AICN, and you should be very, very proud. That kicked ass... at the Special Olympics! :P Seriously, man... fantastic review.

  • Dec. 23, 2005, 7:52 a.m. CST

    Re: spineless?

    by jollysleeve

    Vikingkitty, I disagree. Spielberg did the ballsy thing here. If Spielberg had set out to make a black and white good-guys and bad-guys take on this, with wonderfully hissable Palestinian villains, now THAT would've been predictable and spineless. And if he -had- made such a film, I have a feeling you'd still be calling him spineless, only this time for making unintelligent tripe.

  • Dec. 23, 2005, 7:55 a.m. CST

    Saving Private Ryan

    by jvetoe

    I think SPR is the best WWII movie ever made. And it getting beat out by Shakespeare in Love is the biggest Best Picture travesty ever perpetrated on the world of cinema!!

  • Dec. 23, 2005, 7:58 a.m. CST

    ... and for Pete's sake,

    by jollysleeve

    Spielberg has been decried as "no friend of Israel" because of this film. Stephen Spielberg, no friend of Israel! How spineless could the film be that would cause such a reaction?

  • Dec. 23, 2005, 8 a.m. CST

    Great review, Massywyrm...

    by Moonwatcher

    one of the best I've seen on this site, ever. And yes, I'm now forced to reevaluate Spielberg's career after that harsh assessment. I feel like I've grown up with the guy ever since Sugarland Express, and I would say his sentimental streak probably coincides with his appearance as a husband and father. So I hope you're right about Munich - it would be fun to see the young turk filmmaker reappear. And, IMHO, while Hook and 1941 were excessive and childish, The Lost World is easily his worst film - a crassly commercial piece of joyless filmmaking with no spontaneity or wonder (why, in God's name, did I sit thru it twice?!).

  • Dec. 23, 2005, 8:34 a.m. CST

    Private Ryan

    by ripper t. jones

    If Saving Private Ryan isnt the best WWII film ever made...then what the Hell is?

  • Dec. 23, 2005, 8:56 a.m. CST

    Ummm Massa love your review man

    by DannyOcean01

    But when you say it's this years Passion, I hope you mean in terms of controversy rather than quality because Passion is a melodramatic turd.

  • Dec. 23, 2005, 9:21 a.m. CST

    Better WW2 films than SPR

    by Ray Garraty #47

    For starters, how about the Dirty Dozen and Patton?

  • Dec. 23, 2005, 9:23 a.m. CST

    Oh, one more

    by Ray Garraty #47

    With your permission I would like to add the HBO miniseries "Band of Brothers" as well, which may be more applicable since it is very similar to SPR in style and when it was made. But it's better, IMHO.

  • Dec. 23, 2005, 9:42 a.m. CST

    Patton

    by c4andmore

    IMHO Patton isn't a very realistic looking WW2 film, look at the battle scenes and tell me thats convincing? It is however a great character study, one that is set during WW2.

  • Dec. 23, 2005, 9:52 a.m. CST

    Step away from the lectern...

    by RetroActive

    I enjoy reading the reviews on this site, but some are approaching the length of a novel! And what's with all the "You see," and "You know". Either way, enjoyed the review but cut it down by about forty paragraphs, please.

  • Dec. 23, 2005, 10:07 a.m. CST

    But did you like it?

    by TheBaxter

    I can understand the point about the endings on recent Spielberg films, but I think he's got it wrong about a couple of them. When Tom Hanks dies at the end of SPR, that's a lot harder ending than Quint getting eaten by a shark or E.T. and Elliott saying goodbye. SPR was one of the only times I ever saw and heard a LOT of people crying when the lights came up after the film. As for AI, I think that's one of the most misunderstood endings of a film there is. It seems like a happy ending, but the more you think about it the less happy it really is.

  • Dec. 23, 2005, 10:09 a.m. CST

    On the other hand...

    by TheBaxter

    The kid surviving at the end of War of the Worlds was a terrible ending. Then again, I'm not sure if I'd consider that a happy ending. I hated that kid through most of the movie, I would have been elated to find out he got burned to a crisp.

  • Dec. 23, 2005, 10:19 a.m. CST

    This looks intense.

    by Blue_Demon

    Sounds like a gritty 70s movie. While I'm glad Mr. Spielberg decided to pull out all the stops, I'm disappointed he decided to morally equate Israel's response to Black September's murderous actions. Then Massawyrm gave me a clue. His ending to Amistad. By not showing Cinque's turning into a slave trader he kept him a sympathetic character. This is a "Hollywood" response to a real situation. And in "Munich" it seems that Mr. Spielberg once again decided to take the easy way out ( yes, it is easier to blur the line in our culture than to draw it and choose sides )and go a little Hollywood. I wonder if anybody will ever be brave enough in that town to portray terrorists as the irredeemable animals they are? Good Lord, who am I kidding? It's Hollywood. Regardless, I think Mr. Spielberg is one of the best filmmakers on Earth and I'll see "Munich." I'll bring along a few grains of salt.

  • Dec. 23, 2005, 10:52 a.m. CST

    Massawyrm... you had me until you said THE TERMINAL was perfect.

    by -guyinthebackrow

    Are you drunk? And the ending of JAWS was the two survivors swimming to shore. And... I can't wait for MUNICH.

  • Dec. 23, 2005, 10:53 a.m. CST

    And... Anchorite...

    by -guyinthebackrow

    When I say suck my dick... I want you to say "can I suck your balls too".

  • Yes, Spielberg is saying it's "historical fiction", but he knows damn well that most people won't see those interviews and will come away with the idea that what they saw actually happened. It did not. The entire Israeli "response" in the film is completely fictional - just made up out of whole cloth. Is that really ethical? To use a real historical political hot-button event, and then compltely and utterly fictionalize it to support your point of view - all the while fooling most into thinking its real, and thus your pont of view is "right". This just seems slimy to me. On an issue as important than this, the truth should be what is discussed, not some fantasy masquerading as the truth - "but it's okay because it's a "statment" " - Yeah, a "statement" that you know everybody will consider "real". How many Israeli's will die in suicide bombs because of this film projecting a "truth" the Palestinians are going to think is real? All for a political point? I knew this was going to be bad when Spielberg based his film on a widely discredited book and then hired an ultra-leftist to write the screenplay... Yeah THIS is really gonna be a truthful and fair flick, eh?

  • Dec. 23, 2005, 11:50 a.m. CST

    Ok, I'll bite. YES, Saving Private Ryan is ABSOLUTELY one of

    by Doom II

    No question about it. WW 2 veterans will tell you that it captured the intensity and sounds of battle like no other movie before it. My father, a vietnam combat vet says that Private Ryan is the best war film he's ever seen. I think the ending of Ryan is PERFECT...the American Flag waving as the music quietly fades out. PERFECT. So, you are WAY off on that film. Period.

  • Dec. 23, 2005, 12:05 p.m. CST

    Munich sounds awesome. I will see it in a few hours..

    by Doom II

    Also, I'm sorry you hold Spielberg up so high that he has literally "shattered your dreams" with his more recent movies. I think the guy is great. I liked AI a lot. It was a cold, dark, mean fucking movie. There was no real happy ending. Who would want to exist in that world? I left the theater depressed after AI. Raiders was awesome, but some credit is due to Lucas, who was very involved with that movie (he wrote the story, helped cast it and was on set constantly!). Jaws was perfect as was Close Encounters. Most directors start with perfect films and then as they grow and start a family, they become hit & miss. It's human nature. THX-1138, American Grafitti and Star Wars are perfect movies. The last 3 Star Wars films...not so much. Taxi Driver is perfect....Gangs Of New York, no and on and on........I will take 1 great Spielberg film every 10 years over the 100's of shitty Hollywood movies every 10 years.

  • Dec. 23, 2005, 12:08 p.m. CST

    Spielberg invented the "hollywood-ized" ending

    by zooch

    I think the 70s were the greatest period for movies because most of the movies in it were NEVER cliche especially the way movies ended, then Spielberg got HUGE in 80s and that changed film forever. no wonder the academy hated him. and he's always made no risk sentimental garbage movies, speilberg doesn't know the meaning of the word subtle.

  • Dec. 23, 2005, 2:09 p.m. CST

    The questions the validity of Israel because the screenwriter do

    by Lezbo Milk

    As far as the movie goes for me, it was good, I enjoyed it, but I had some problems with it too. It really didn't show the Jews viewpoint. We never see the olymipc athletes being slaughtered, so the response never has the right weight to it in my opinion. The Palestinians are shown as too sypathetic...and the sceen (spoilers) where they all come toghether at the same safehouse by accident, is complete fiction and really kinda silly. The mindset in Israel after the slaughter was similar to the mindset of the USA after 9/11. The Jews had no idea if there were going to be more similar attacks, larger attacks etc. That's the thing I kinda like about Israel, it kicks ass when it needs too (we are going to see a major ass kicking in Iran soon thats for sure). I mean, they are this small little Jewish nation surrounded on all sides by huge Islamic countrys that want nothing more than to wipe them off the face of the earth. They got balls, I have to give them credit. Anyways I thought making the Palestinian terrorist too sympathetic (him being a good looking arab in a tight black t-shirt that just wants to go home to his fathers olive trees) and takes away from the fact that the same young, attractive arab man in the tight t-shirt butchered unarmed athletes who just wanted to compete in the olympics. I don't care how you slice it, if you can massacre helpless, unarmed people...your evil, or crazy or both...and Speilberg didn't show that in an unbiased way.

  • Dec. 23, 2005, 2:12 p.m. CST

    Spielberg's Lincoln film.

    by Shaner Jedi

    I just hope this is the filmmaker that shows up to make the Abraham Lincoln film because Lincoln WAS complicated. He petitioned early in his career to return freed slaves to Africa and he stated in the opening days of the Civil War that if he could preserve the union without freeing a single slave he would do it. He also led the country down a path of increased corporatization, industrialism, and the growth of the government/corporate complex. Lets see if he has the balls to give us an unsparing look at Lincoln and the consequences of his presidency, flaws and all.

  • You are incorrect in that statement. "Jurassic Park" knew exactly what it wanted to be and that was a showcase/debut of the new CGI technology. And in that regard it was very successful. I think you do make some good points about his later work, especially the vastly overrated "Schindler's List." The best part of Ricky Gervais' new comedy "Extras" is the one featuring Kate Winslet where she tells him the easiest and surest way to win an Oscar is to do a Holocaust movie. And it's true. They're usually critically bulletproof. But "Munich" sounds like a horse of another color, and one well worth seeing. He remains a talented filmmaker; but you're correct again in that his overweening sentimentality frequently gums up the works. Get mean, Steven. I think his biggest problem has always been too much success too soon. That and he has never been known as someone who can get a really fine performance out of an actor (and that might be the biggest thing he has in common with the icy-veined Hitchcock). I will keep an open-mind with this film. We'll see....

  • Dec. 23, 2005, 3:54 p.m. CST

    Our Hitchcock, Our Ford...

    by conniebrean

    Ford won an Oscar. He won 4 of them.

  • Dec. 23, 2005, 5:19 p.m. CST

    Re:..."he has never been known as someone who can get a really f

    by jollysleeve

    Hmmmm... I'm not quite sure what you mean here. If Spielberg's reputation is of someone who doesn't get really good performances out of his actors, it's undeserving. Yes, in many of his movies the acting has been shallow, and the characterizations non-compelling. Just off the top of my head, Jurassic Park, Amistad, and Private Ryan would fall into this category--movies in which I never really saw the people on screen as anyone other than the celebrity/actors they were...... But what about a movie like ET? For my money, that movie has nothing BUT perfect and captivating performances, and from children no less. Duel? Jaws? Raiders? All great. Even Cruise in Minority Report (but maybe that doesn't count, as Cruise can usually be relied on to give a good performance.) Ralph Fiennes in Schindler's List was fucking awesome. Crap, he even directed Whoppie Goldberg to an Oscar nod in a non-comedic role.

  • Dec. 24, 2005, 11:59 a.m. CST

    Up Next For Spielberg

    by Roboteer

    SCHINDLER'S LIST 2: CONCENTRATION CAMP SUMMER or CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG? Proving, I guess, that among the only people that hate who they are, more than American Liberals, are Jews. Hey, but Hollywood's just getting started... a bunch of 9/11 projects are coming. Which will personalize and apologize for terrorists who strap bombs to children and saw off the heads of innocent captives. If we only walked a mile in their shoes.... why they wouldn't look evil at all.

  • Dec. 24, 2005, 7:28 p.m. CST

    I'm seeing it Monday

    by movieman742

    and I can't wait. I was excited that a theater near me is playing it. I've been reading reviews and I'm getting really excited about how Spielberg is going old school with this one. I also think that, other than the first 30 or so minutes, SPR is vastly overated. I liked Tom Hanks work in it but I just didn't really think it was as good as everyone said. I thought WotW was an awesome movie up until the last few min when you see his son lived. I was actually shocked to see the WHOLE family walk out. That really sucked. I was hoping that the building was in ruins and that was it.

  • Dec. 26, 2005, 11:46 a.m. CST

    I stopped reading when he used the word important to describe a

    by the_pissboy1

    It's a fucking movie. Nothing more. To claim a movie is important is humorous at best. Make believe is not important. It's entertainment.

  • Dec. 26, 2005, 3:49 p.m. CST

    Go see it..

    by vnv01

    Before you throw your .02 in.. Entertaining.. sure.. thought provoking? meh.. if you didn't give a flying fig about Jews and Arabs killing each other beFORE this movie, it's doubtful you'll think about it past the third day after seeing this one. I'm not sure what the hell TB'ers are talking about in terms of not enough dead Jews on screen.. I saw more blood than I wanted to.. Those athletes are brutally murdered, and I suppose some of you were sleeping when the questions regarding the type of response necessary for the actions of terrorist were brought up.. but I guess I can understand that.. movie clocked in at 2:30 and that's a bit more than some people's attention spans are capable, sadly..

  • Dec. 27, 2005, 1:30 a.m. CST

    COMPLETELY DISAGREE WITH YOUR MORONIC TAKE ON SPIELBERG'S CA

    by Proman1984

    He owns. And so does Munich.

  • Dec. 27, 2005, 1:30 a.m. CST

    COMPLETELY DISAGREE WITH YOUR MORONIC TAKE ON SPIELBERG'S CA

    by Proman1984

    He owns. And so does Munich.

  • Dec. 27, 2005, 1:37 a.m. CST

    Didn't mean to double post but I WANT TO ADD something

    by Proman1984

    Fellini and (yes, take this from the biggest Kubrick worshipper in the world) Kubrick are unworthy to be spoken in the same sentence as Spielberg. No go and re-watch Temple Of Doom. I mean Really re-watch. And for all this is worth. A.I. is the most powerful film I have EVER seen.

  • Dec. 27, 2005, 10:54 a.m. CST

    Twenty Years ago today on "The Facts of Life...."

    by Borgnine JR

    Headed for the Middle-East, Natalie, as a Jew is asked to ice the terrorists who killed several Israeli athletes at the Olympics. WIth her are Tootie(moral support), Blair(money,connections,fashion advice) and Jo(icy killing machine. Just as the killing spree is about to begin, Mrs. Garrett arrives with her Poisoned Peach Crumble Cobbler. The girls feed it to the Palestinians who die horribly from the inside out. Afterwards, the ladies spend a year working on a kibbutz, raising cabbages and bearing strong little Jew babies. Except Natalie, who no man will touch.

  • Dec. 28, 2005, 8:52 a.m. CST

    Spielberg is back? He never left, bitches.

    by Behemoth

    The career retrospective IS moronic, most tellingly in labeling The Terminal and Catch Me If You Can "perfect." And the credibility of the reviewer disappears faster than underoos at Neverland ranch. The whole thesis of Spielberg's "cheesy" or "sentimental ending" factor is too forced. Schindler's List was a devastating film. The line about the car was beautiful. And A.I.? One of the most staggeringly beautiful endings I've ever seen in a film. A child is able to bring back the mother who rejected him and, loving each other again, at last, the two of them die in each other's arms. (That movie is a GROSSLY underrated masterpiece. Bitches.). Sure, there have been missteps. Amistad is one of 'em. Even Minority Report. But even Spielberg's WORST efforts are usually light years beyond the rest of what Hollywood can produce. All that said, I can't wait to see Munich. I'm sure, on that count, I'll agree with the dolt who penned the above ramblings. (Oh, and I know how AICN people love to incorporate the word "fucking" into every other sentence. You know, to give the illusion of passion, substance, etc. I hope my lack of doing so doesn't invalidate my opinions. Danke.)

  • Dec. 28, 2005, 8:56 a.m. CST

    "A.I. is the most powerful film I have ever seen."

    by Behemoth

    Said Proman. And I have to HEARTILY CONCUR!! Glad someone else has the BALLS to say it. The movie isn't for the jaded, cynical, heartless, embittered, jealous, or soulless. Which is probably why it's bashed so much in these circles. A.I. is BRILLIANT! And yes, SO WAS THE ENDING.

  • I just returned from seeing (nor witnessing) Munich. It was an astonishingly powerful film. For all it's worth, this is Spielberg's best since A.I. and it's saying a lot.

  • Dec. 30, 2005, 2:33 a.m. CST

    Sad endings vs hope?

    by Zoviet Squid

    Funny that in one review awhile back this critic panned nearly every movie with a daring or unhappy ending for lacking a sense of 'hope' while saluting a movie with the most sancitmoniously sugared ending ever. Now, he's off on how a grim ending is essential to the character and message of a film, while the pap & sap is what imbues nothing but hatred in him.$$$$$$$$$$%%% While I don't disagree with the overview, 'The Terminal' was god awful. I don't care if it was him being sentimental and directing from his sleeve, it was terribly made regardless and was like having someone urinate directly into my open eyes.