Weekend Binge: Liked The Post? Then you’ll love these top 5 underrated Steven Spielberg movies
In honour of The Post, here are the 5 most underrated Steven Spielberg movies.
Every week, we will curate a collection of titles - movies, TV, general miscellanea - for you to watch (and in some cases, read, or listen to), in a series we call Weekend Binge. The selection will be based on a theme which binds the picks - which could be extremely blunt in certain instances, or confusingly abstract in some. No rules apply, other than the end goal being getting some great entertainment to watch.
While the idea is to base the theme on the week’s major events - it could be the release of a new movie, or show - we could also use this opportunity to comment on our world in general, and turn to art to wrap our heads around some of the more difficult stories of the past seven days.
Is there any other filmmaker who is as celebrated, and yet as disrespected as Steven Spielberg? Each time a new Spielberg movie comes out, it is as if everyone is suddenly reminded how great he is - how great he has always been - and still, mere weeks later, he sort of fades away.
Perhaps it is because of his staunchly mainstream roots, or maybe it’s the shameless sentimentality of his films, and the fact that he has never really made a stinker (no, not even Hook). The truth is: We’ve become complacent in our relationship with Steven Spielberg; thanks to all the blockbusters and broken records, we’ve got used to accepting the greatness he (with unnerving consistency) throws our way. But that’s the thing, he’s so much more than that. For someone who made his debut in the schlockhouse of Roger Corman, how could his credentials ever be doubted?
So in honour of this week’s The Post, here are the 5 most underrated Steven Spielberg movies -- compiled under the assumption that Minority Report, AI and Munich are, as Michael Scott would say... rated.
While Spielberg’s seminal movie about race and slavery (yup he’s made one of those too) is The Color Purple - with reason, of course - Amistad is the sort of movie that highlights the ease with which he directs large-scale action and smaller character moments, while underscoring everything, as usual, with trademark Spielbergian sentimentality.
If there’s one movie that acts as a reminder of how great Spielberg is with actors, it’s War Horse. And its protagonist isn’t even a human. Even the bit parts are played by actors such as Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston. When the film came out, there was an initial surge of reactions that emphatically claimed that Spielberg had made a World War I movie that was on par with his World War II movie, Saving Private Ryan. While that might not be accurate, even Spielberg’s minor work is immense.
The Adventures of Tintin
Before he made The Post, Spielberg’s first movie about journalism - even though no sources were contacted or deadlines met - was his flamboyant adaptation of Herge’s legendary comics. The fact that it was made with motion capture gave Spielberg incredible freedom to experiment with the camera, visual effects and elaborate shots. But more than anything else, it satisfied this obsessive Tintin fan, and I can’t wait till Peter Jackson gets off his lazy butt to make that sequel.
Bridge of Spies
For my money, Bridge of Spies is a perfect movie. It boasts talent that seems like it was put together by a teenage movie geek high on contraband - A Steven Spielberg movie starring Tom Hanks and written by the Coen Brothers?! In Bridge of Spies, the legendary filmmaker manages to juggle Cold War thrills with legal drama and in Rudolf Abel, creates one of his most memorable characters ever - right up there with Indy (yup).
True, it isn’t a Spielberg movie per se, but HBO’s retrospective of the master is a great way to end things. Across 2 and a half hours, it traces his entire filmography with a loving gaze, and - albeit superficially - even his personal life.