Vulture Ranks All 28 Steven Spielberg Films, Manages to Get Things All Wrong


Next month, Steven Spielberg will turn 66, and in January he almost certainly will receive his seventh Best Director Oscar nomination for Lincoln, his terrific new drama that has earned him some of his best reviews of the last decade. (Our esteemed David Edelstein called the movie "splendid," among other things.) Because of his enduring mainstream popularity (not to mention the amount of blockbuster filmmakers whose careers he’s inspired), Spielberg doesn’t always receive his due, dismissed in some quarters as merely a “commercial” moviemaker who lacks the soul of a true artist. That’s nonsense. While he’s had his share of duds, the man has continued to challenge himself, tackling different genres and subject matters along the way. Here’s our ranking of all 28 of Spielberg’s feature films.

28. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008): After four decades cultivating a distinguished and rewarding career, Spielberg decided to sign up for another Indy sequel despite ending the trilogy with its hero literally riding into the sunset. What was the draw? Four years later, the answer still isn’t clear. Crystal Skull is easily Spielberg’s laziest, sloppiest work — even the action sequences seem phoned-in — and it’s filled with unforgivable howlers: Shia LaBeouf’s limp attempt at being a bad boy, Cate Blanchett’s hammy villain, the goddamn fridge scene. No wonder Spielberg has spent every opportunity since then apologizing.

27. Hook (1991): In some ways, Hook was ahead of its time, pre-dating Hollywood’s current obsession with rebooting and reimagining already existing properties. But that doesn’t make this cringe-worthy film, which tells the story of a grown-up Peter Pan (Robin Williams in wounded-manchild mode) who has forgotten his true identity and become a cold, heartless lawyer, any more tolerable. Dustin Hoffman’s portrayal of Captain Hook comes from the Dick Tracy school of blockbuster overacting, and the film’s unbearably long at almost two-and-a-half hours. We get it, we get it: We need to hold on to our inner child. Leave us alone.

26. 1941 (1979): Spielberg’s comedic instincts tend more towards the visual than the verbal, a fact that is apparent in this misfire. The movie looks great, but it’s shockingly drawn out for a comedy and keeps buckling under its own weight. It’s like Spielberg wanted to make a comedy but was also trying to be an Important Filmmaker and just couldn’t figure out how to balance the two. Spielberg would later joke that the film should have been a musical. All told, that might not have been the worst idea.

The rest at Vulture!

Idek where to begin. I'll give them one through five, but lol at Jurassic Park not being in the top 10. Lego Mona Lisa is not amused.
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