Hall of Idols #43: Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg

Forty-third installment in a series exploring very important people in my life.

Let me start explaining how this will work: I listed 65 idols of mine. Every Friday (with the exception of those reserved for the Rock Chain posts) I’ll draw one of the names (following a system that it’s really not important to be explained here) and talk about it.

Therefore, the order in which the names will appear doesn’t necessarily shows where they rank in my preference.

As a final introductory note, this is also not a biography article. I’ll just write how I feel about people represented in it, their talent and their importance in my life.

I guess in art, much more than in sports, is pretty hard to pinpoint exactly who’s the best of all time. I mean, there’s very little doubt that Michael Jordan is probably the best of all time, but can you say without a doubt that Jimi Hendrix is the best of all time? Most people will say yes, but I dunno. I for one prefer Edward Van Halen.

Anyway, this opening is to say that my inductee today is to me (and probably to a few thousand or maybe millions as well), the greatest of all time in what he does and undoubtedly one of the greatest geniuses of all time. He is one of the guys that know like a few to excite our imaginations and give us exactly what we want. He is Steven Spielberg.

Steven Allan Spielberg was born in Cincinnati (OH) on December 18, 1946. His films covered many themes and genres and populated the imaginary of millions of people, especially yours truly. If I was going to do a list of my favorite movies of all time (hey, here’s a posts idea), my guess is that the majority would be his.

Coming from an Orthodox Jew family, Steven was victim of bullying and prejudice: “In high school, I got smacked and kicked around. Two bloody noses. It was horrible”, he remembers. Ain’t that the classic story about being bullied and ended up being better succeeded than anybody who bullied you?

He earned a badge of honor in photography when he was a boy scout for making a western with a movie camera, because his father’s still camera was broken. The badge was for photography, but he won nonetheless. According to him, that’s when it all started.

And as soon as it started, there was no stopping. His first professional jobs were directing four episodes of series in the late sixties and they were so good, he was invited to direct four TV films. One of those was Duel. If you watched, you know how agonizing is the image of that Peterbilt 281 tanker truck chasing that poor fellow. It’s one of the very first man vs. machine type of movies. Matrix, anyone?

But his big breakthrough came with Jaws. It was a nightmare to make, but Steven persevered and finished the film. It was nominated for best picture, won three academy awards and grossed more than 470 million dollars worldwide.

After that Steve began his hot-streak that seems to be endless. Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. You would be hard pressed to find a director with a streak like that. And now is the time for a worth observation.

When I watched E.T. for the first time I was 4. When the bicycles started flying (with that wonderful John Williams soundtrack in the background) I started to cry. I turned to my mom and said: “Mom, I’m crying but I’m not sad.” She answered: “You’re moved”. You can’t overestimate a guy who moves you so much that make you cry for the first time! This is forever carved in my soul. 32 years later, I still cry when I watch that scene!

And Steven couldn’t stop: Poltergeist, Goonies, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Gremlins. And then he decided to film less fantastic and science fiction based movies and did The Color Purple and Empire of the Sun.

Actually, I could probably write a book about all Spielberg movies I love and how much they mean to me. I won’t even have the space and time to write about Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Jurassic Park, Minority Report, Schindler’s List (with which he finally won his long overdue Academy Award for best director), Lincoln, Catch Me if You Can, Terminal or Saving Private Ryan.

Can you argue with this short-version CV? I guess not. Thankfully, he is in great shape and next September will see the release of a new movie with Tom Hanks called Bridge of Spies.

Thus, Mr. Spielberg is time for you to have a close encounter with the Hall of Idols. Welcome!

Be sure to check out my book “Straight And Lethal” winner of the NABE Pinnacle Awards 2014 Fall edition.

NewPinnacleAward3D2 (1)

You can contact me at: carloantico666@gmail.com

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