Steven Spielberg is the most popular director of all time. But not all of his auteur touches are in plain sight.
I have never been more thrilled to write an article on this website. Avid readers know that Steven Spielberg is the director I admire the most. I think he's everything I have ever wanted to be in my career. He's prolific, entertaining, he tackles various genres, and he leads with his heart.
That's why I was so ecstatic to find out that 15 different YouTube channels teamed up to create a Spielberg month. There's a variety of different entertainment titles, but all the video essays they made are about Spielberg, his movies, and the lessons we can take away from them.
I promise you it's even better than you expect.
You can watch the playlist here, or go through all the videos listed below.
Let's get started.
Enjoy 15 Video Essays on Steven Spielberg
1. The Value of Life in Saving Private Ryan
This is an interesting look at how life is valued in the greatest war movie of the 20th century.
2. Don't Bring a Real Punch to a Fake Fight—Indiana Jones
Want to learn how to create a realistic fist-fight for your action or adventure movie? This essay goes into the fun stunts of Indy's world and how you can pull them off.
3. How Music Makes E.T. Fly
There are so many important elements within E.T., but John Williams' score is the one thing that makes us believe in the impossible. Check out how he does it.
4. Steven Spielberg—Master of Horror
I'm not sure horror is the genre we most associate with Spielberg, but he constantly is pulling in the tropes and expectations of the genre into individual scenes and entire movies to make them work.
5. Close Encounters of the Third Kind's Actionless Climax
For a director who made his name with spectacle, people often overlook the end of Close Encounters. It offers no explosions or violence. Instead, we get awe-inducing contact with other species. It might be Spielberg's ultimate signature.
6. Apathy in the Face of Horror (Schindler’s List)
I think Schindler's List is as close to an unparalleled masterpiece as anyone has ever made. There is so much nuance in every character and plotline. And somehow, apathy plays a key role as well.
7. Jaws: Fear is Money
Thing one struck me in a place this year. Jaws is a lot like the coronavirus. We see the greed people have put money before humanity. and that greed is a core of both situations.
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8. Hook and the Importance of Imagination and Wonder
I think we can all agree that Spielberg is the master of wonderment and wishes. Hook is the embodiment of those skills, plus a few others.
9. Saving Private Ryan—Memory on Film
One of the often-overlooked aspects of Saving Private Ryan is the idea that it all happens as a memory. As we lose this generation, these memories and movies about what happened matter more and more.
10. Munich—Spielberg's Anomaly
I'm not sure there's a better Spielberg movie about generational, emotional pain than The Color Purple, but Munich comes really close... and it's way angrier. This is a movie about revenge and its consequences.
Video is no longer available: youtu.be/pU1iLL8feG0
11. Screenwriting Secrets in E.T.
Melissa Mathison and Spielberg worked and reworked this story to make it something memorable and exciting. They made a movie that took on the heart of the world and united people, and it became one of the top-grossing movies of all time. Learn from their work.
12. How Spielberg Brought Dinosaurs Back to Life (Jurassic Park)
Maybe the most amazing thing I have ever seen in a theater is the reaction of people seeing Jurassic Park's dinosaurs walking over the plain. The music, the emotions—it was a literal dream come true.
13. Spielberg and the Birth of the Underrated Sequel
It's easy to forget that Spielberg made a lot of sequels, from the Indiana Jones quadrilogy to Jurassic Park. There are even more if you count producing. So how did he keep the stories original, and how did he inspire the rest of Hollywood?
14. Tying It All Together in Catch Me If You Can
Maybe his most underrated movie, Catch Me If You Can is Spielberg using every gift he's even been given to tell us a masterful story about a kid who just wanted his dad's approval. There are echoes of his past, present, and even shades of where his career would go.
15. Why Temple of Doom is the BEST Indiana Jones Movie
While I do not agree with the hot take, it's interesting to hear someone talk about this movie in this context and I loved hearing the ideas of why they think it's tops.
Up Next: A Meditation on Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg is a master of cinema, and for his birthday, we meditate on what that means to the next generations. Let us know what you think.