Sunday, March 12, 2006

Lego Brokeback Mountain...and why not Spielberg and Lucas?

Jonathan Last with the Weekly Standard threw out a little humor tip in their weekly newsletter...
Lego Brokeback Mountain by Daniel Brown. A must see!

(try here if there are traffic problems)


The Oscars are behind us and, as a parting wave to Brokeback Mountain, which no longer appears capable of leaving behind a cultural footprint even the size of Philadelphia or The Crying Game, I give you this little gem: A website whose proprietor has recreated many of the scenes from the movie. Using Legos. I'm promising hours of enjoyment for the whole family.

I have no deep thoughts about the Oscars except for this: It's about time we started appreciating Steven Spielberg.

I know, I know--it's hard to feel bad for the most powerful man in Hollywood. But he is woefully underappreciated within the industry. Consider that Spielberg has received only three Best Director nominations. He's won two of them. That puts him in the company of Oliver Stone and Lewis Milestone--who's filmography does not compare favorably with Spielberg's. Twenty-five directors have received more Oscar nominations than Spielberg--including Clarence Brown, Peter Weir, Mike Nichols, and even Woody Allen.

Yet Spielberg is one of the great director's in the history of film, a talent who's in the same class as Hitchcock and Billy Wilder and John Ford. Yes, he has made his share of stinkers. And yes, he has limitations. For instance, he does not seem able to grapple with ideas very well. But he has revolutionized the medium in ways that few other directors have--this is the man who changed the entire economics of the industry with Jaws. And he may be the greatest narrative storyteller to ever work with celluloid.

And if that weren't enough, Spielberg is a better and more prolific director now, in his 60s, than he was 20 years ago. He used to take a year or two between films--The Color Purple in 1985, Empire of the Sun in 1987. But in 2005 he directed two significant films, War of the Worlds and Munich. In 2002 he had another impressive double with Minority Report and Catch Me If You Can. These four movies alone would constitute an impressive career for most directors. But Spielberg's resume is shockingly vast.

Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, Saving Private Ryan--and those are just the great movies.

In art, popularity often breeds contempt. It would be a shame if Steven Spielberg's success blinded us to his achievements.

Jonathan V. Last
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I have to admit I'd never thought about whether or not Spielberg has had a fair shake at the awards. Last makes a good case though.

I feel the same way about George Lucas. Star Wars...the 6-movie blockbuster movie saga spanning almost 30 years. I don't know how many Oscars Lucas won since "A New Hope" (the first movie, episode IV) first released in 1977, but you would have thought that in the year of his final Star Wars movie "Episode III" he would have recieved some sort of least more than just a single nomination for "Best Makeup". Is it because the Force and Dark Side struggle feels too similar to religious themes? If it was more like Scientology would Lucas have recieved more awards?

Other than Oscar
Hollywoods Bubble
Speak Up on Immigration
Clooney in a Bubble
Coulter on the Oscars

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