Ready Player One is opening TODAY. Inspired by that film (and book), Daryl, Jay, and Sandra Dimas (from the 28:19 Show) are joined by The Story Geeks Community on YouTube LIVE to rank order the most ICONIC geek films directed by Steven Spielberg. What film gets the top spot so far? And will Ready Player One be able to make it into the Top 5? Listen in to hear what The Story Geeks have to think about it!
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Ashley’s Top Geek Steven Spielberg Films
Steven Spielberg is my all-time favorite film director. When I think of Spielberg movies, I immediately think of fun, adventure, nostalgia, and childhood memories (though he has made many notable films with a more somber/serious tone as well). I feel like most of the movies in my Spielberg Top 5 are the same ones that show up in many lists of favorite Spielberg films, so there probably won’t be anything too shocking here. Still, here’s why these movies are special to me!
5 – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
I almost picked “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” for this slot (just kidding, I promise!). The Indiana Jones films are (with a few exceptions) the perfect adventure films. You have action, thrills, humor, and, of course, a touch of the supernatural. They feel like old-fashioned action films, but not in a way that’s dated or cheesy. I think these movies will always be classics and reliably fun to watch. “The Last Crusade” is a great ending to the original trilogy, and it’s *almost* as good as “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” I love the way Arthurian legend is worked into the story and the use of the Holy Grail as the central artifact. Sean Connery is a fantastic casting choice as Indy’s father, and his interactions with Harrison Ford are a definite highlight of the film (how cool is it to see James Bond and Han Solo going on an adventure together?).
4 – E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
It’s been a while since I’ve seen “E.T.,” but I must confess — every time I watch it, I do cry. There’s something timeless and moving about this story featuring a curious alien who’s simply trying to find his way home. I remember watching this movie for the first time as a kid on a warm summer night — which is the perfect way to watch a Spielberg movie, isn’t it? Though the film is now almost 40 years old, it’s still just as magical, especially that iconic shot of the bicycle flying across the moon. And I haven’t mentioned it yet, but “E.T.” — and the other movies on this list — are made even more wonderful by their scores from John Williams. It’s hard to imagine these classic Spielberg movies without Williams; his Spielberg scores are second only to his work on the Star Wars saga and rank as some of the best movie soundtracks of all time.
3 – Jurassic Park
A few of the special effects shots are just the *tiniest* bit dated now, but all the magic in “Jurassic Park” is still there — particularly those closing raptor and T-rex scenes, which are still super intense, even if you already know how the movie ends. Although it’s based on the novel by Michael Crichton, the film has a different feel than the book. I’m okay with that, actually, even though I really enjoyed the book. Spielberg’s trademark sense of childlike wonder adds a nice spin to the story. I didn’t get a chance to see “Jurassic Park” back when it was in theaters (maybe my parents thought it would be too scary for me), 😉 so when it was re-released on IMAX several years ago, a friend and I jumped at the chance to see it on the big screen. And it certainly didn’t disappoint. Some of the “Jurassic Park” sequels are a bit hit-or-miss, but the original is such a fun (and suspenseful) adventure.
2 – Schindler’s List
“Schindler’s List” is one of the most difficult films I have ever watched. It’s a challenging, gut-wrenching movie that presents one of the worst chapters in human history — the Holocaust. It seems impossible that humans could be capable of such cruelty and unspeakable acts of genocide, and yet the events depicted in this film are true. But through the horror and tragedy, Spielberg also shows how powerful goodness and bravery can be. In a career-best performance, Liam Neeson plays Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who saves the lives of over a thousand predominantly Polish-Jewish refugees during the war by bringing them to work in his factories. The film shows us both Schindler’s strengths and flaws, and his anguished “I could have done more” speech at the end of the film is an incredibly poignant moment. Although “Schindler’s List” is not an easy film to sit through, it is an incredibly important one, and should make all of us think about how we can prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again. It’s one of Spielberg’s most powerful and personal films, and most definitely a masterpiece.
1 – Raiders of the Lost Ark
“Raiders of the Lost Ark” is not only my favorite Steven Spielberg film, it’s one of my all-time favorite films, period. This movie just hits all the right notes for me. I love this movie’s setting — an archeology adventure in the 1930s — and the use of a mysterious artifact of religious significance, the Ark of the Covenant. The film has great action sequences and stunt work, and another iconic score from John Williams (the opening bars of the famous “Raiders March” make me instantly smile whenever the song starts playing). But of course this film wouldn’t be as memorable without the characters. Not all actors get to play a role so iconic that they’re immortalized in film history as that character, but Harrison Ford gets two — Han Solo AND Indiana Jones. Although Han Solo is the role I feel fits Ford the best, Indiana Jones is a close second. I love the idea of a professor who moonlights as a daring archeologist, a sort of “James Bond of history.” And Indiana Jones’ look is as iconic as the character itself, with the hat, the leather jacket, and trusty bullwhip at his side.
“Raiders” was one of the first movies I remember really “wow-ing” me as a kid and kicking off my love for film. Spielberg approaches his movies with this endearing sense of excitement and wonder, and those are the exact same things I feel whenever I watch one of his films. I’m looking forward to his next film, “Ready Player One,” and based on his past work, I think he’s the perfect fit to adapt that novel.