Saturday, June 13, 2015

Saturday Matinee: What Academy Award winning Steven Spielberg movie came out the same year as Jurassic Park?


Jurassic World is already making a ton of money, over $150 million (UPDATE 6/14: Make that a historical record breaking $500+million worldwide for the opening weekend!) but I don't need to see it to know it's no Jurassic Park. Why? Because it's got dinos and action galore but it doesn't have Steven Spielberg directing it. I'm not kidding. That fact right there is why Jurassic World and both its predecessors would never, could never, live up to the original. Directors are not interchangeable; they bring their own unique set of skills to the party, and Spielberg's gift, aside from the technical mastery, the insistence on excellence in the creation of Jurassic Park's dinosaurs, was and is his ability to bring wonder to the screen. He gave us characters we were invested in, and then strung us along on high-wire of spine-tingling horror movie suspense. It was masterful. Which wasn't that mega of a surprise really, as Spielberg was already a master when he gave us Jurassic Park. It was 1993 and he'd been making films for over 20 years. He'd already given us Jaws and ET, The Color Purple and Empire of the Sun. Close Encounters of a Third Kind. Heck, he'd already given us not only the beloved Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark, he'd given us two sequels. He knew, really absolutely knew, had it down to a science, wasn't guessing, what he was #$*%ing doing!

So, tell me, what Steven Spielberg movie came out the same year as his Jurassic Park



Schindler's List. Our Saturday Matinee. Based on the book by Thomas Keneally, the film garnered a dozen Academy Award nominations, the 5th for Spielberg and his first win for directing. Steve Zaillian whose credits include Gangs of New York, Moneyball, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo won for his screenplay adaptation. 

He's writing the screenplay for The Girl Who Played with Fire, by the way, reuniting Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara and maybe, maybe, David Fincher. 



But back to Schindler's List: The movie also won Best Picture, Best Editing, Best Art Direction and Best Score by John Williams. All these years later though, I'm betting it's William's score for Jurassic Park that you recognize in an instant, not the music of Schindler's List. And in one of those little quirks of the trade, Schindler's List was nominated for Best Sound but lost to Jurassic Park



The film also took Best Cinematography for the camera work by Janusz Kaminsky, a remarkable mix of black & white with a touch of color. This was Spielberg and Kaminsky's first film foray together but it would hardly be their last. Kaminski has been DP or Cinematographer on every single Spielberg movie since, including Saving Private Ryan for which they both won an Oscar. Right now Spielberg is collaborating with Kaminski on Bridge of Spies as well as The BFG based on the Roald Dahl children's book—Mark Rylance, whom a whole load of us fell in love with watching Wolf Hall is in both by the way! He's the titular BFG in The BFG, and the Russian intelligence officer, Rudolph Abel, in Bridge of Spies. Part of Spielberg's genius; he knows how to pick 'em.



Liam the great Neeson turned in an amazing Oscar-nominated Best Actor performance as did Ralph Fiennes in the supporting category. Neeson lost out to Tom Hanks in Philadelphia while Fiennes was overshadowed by Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive. Yeah, whatcha gonna do, when all the work is masterful? Remember that a) it's an honor to be nominated and b)at the end of the day, outside of the bigger paycheck and more money an Academy Award win gets you, a lot of people think they're a load of bollocks. Like the fact that John Williams' riveting score for Jurassic Park, that score that soars and zings the instant you hear it, wasn't even nominated while his score for Schindler's List, as heart-achingly beautiful as it is, but which I couldn't pick out of a sound lineup to save my life, won. 

So. Saturday Matinee. Schindler's List. Also featured fantastic performances by Ben Kingsley and the less well known but laudable Caroline Goodall as Schindler's wife. Available to stream in all the usual places, Amazon, VUDU, Google-Play and M-Go. As usual who knows what's up with Netflix; check your account for streaming availability.

Here's your trailer. Don't be like Jerry Seinfeld making out in the back of the theatre, watch it and enjoy! If 'enjoy' is the operative word when the film is so gut-wrenching and devastating.







1 comment:

  1. Last week's Saturday Matinee was the original 1993 Jurassic Park from the inimitable Steven Spielberg. http://bit.ly/1HbX6il

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