Citizen Rules...Cinemaesque Chat-n-Review

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I'm never surprised when I hear people dislike E.T. anymore, almost every single one of my friends dislikes that movie quite a bit for whatever reason. I personally love it, I think other than Jaws it's Spielberg's best.



I'm never surprised when I hear people dislike E.T. anymore, almost every single one of my friends dislikes that movie quite a bit for whatever reason. I personally love it, I think other than Jaws it's Spielberg's best.
I loved it too, but I understand where CR is coming from. If you can't connect to the story, the film losses great deal of its appeal.



I loved it too, but I understand where CR is coming from. If you can't connect to the story, the film losses great deal of its appeal.
Oh no, I get why people wouldn't like it. Along with some of his other works, E.T.'s sentimentality could turn a lot of people off. He's lost me with it sometimes too with films I'm not big on like A.I., but I always found E.T. works with it.



Mom is not in that scene in the kitchen with Dungeons and Dragons, ordering pizza and the cigarette smoke coming from an ashtray on the table. We don't see a kid smoking it, but I'm sure one of them is. I find it odd that's what you take from the scene rather than it establishing Elliott as an outsider.
Actually I disagree with you Mark. I believe the cigarette in the scene is a mistake and was not intended to show Elliott as an outsider. In fact I don't believe it was meant to be picked up by the camera at all. I never seen it until I found that photo. I did see the smoke and the reason that cigarette is there has nothing to do with character building it has to do with ambiance. Almost every single scene in the first part of the movie utilizes mist, smoke or haze in the outdoor shots to create a feeling of mystery and suspension. I believe that Spielberg attempted to create the same hazy look inside and it wasn't meant to be perceived by the audience as a teen smoking.



I just watched that scene. It appears that it's a cigarette burning, but I didn't see the actual cigarette. The table is full of stuff, and I wonder if what is shown could be the result of candles or hot coffee or food. Also, while it doesn't show the mom right at that moment, she is there when they cut back to the table.
That's plausible, often burning cigarettes are used out of frame to give off smoke, but not necessarily meaning the smoke is coming from a cigarette. If there is a reason for it from a story stand point, the smoke is suppose to look like steam from a hot chocolate or hot food.



It's a shame that you couldn't see the magic in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. I saw it several times when it was originally in the theater, and it's been a favorite movie for me ever since then. I watch it several times a year, and it's never lost its magic for me.

I remember when the trailers for the movie were released, the only image of E.T was his finger coming around the edge of a door. There were no images of E.T. himself, and Spielberg said that was intentional because he wanted people to see E.T. as they watched the movie so they could fall in love with his personality, and not be distracted by his looks. Maybe you didn't get the chance to fall in love with the character if you already saw him as just a rubber puppet.
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Regarding the cigarette question. I think both of you fellas could be right. When we're first introduced to the table, a strong cigarette smoke is shown and eventough barely visible there's an ashtray with a cigarette in it. After Elliots picks up pizza and starts heading towards the house, there's a cut back to the table with mother being in the kitchen, close to the boys. Suddenly the smoke is gone and an ashtray appears to be removed. Perhaps one of the boys was smoking a cigarette, while mother was in the other room or upstairs and when she returned they quickly got rid of it?

Still I think that Spielberg was definitely trying to recreate the smoky visuals from the opening scene.



Bummer you didn't get more out of ET. I love the scene your talking about and I'm pretty sure I reference it in my review. It is a perfect example of Spielberg building character, something he does better than almost anyone. It firmly establishes who every member of this family is in one chaotic scene. Been a couple years, but doesn't the mother come into this scene as though she has been away. She is ticked about the pizza. Could be she says something about the cigarette and it was cut. I can see a group of teens this age in the 80's lighting up in a home. Much different era smoking wise. Anyway, I would have liked to hear more about the disconnect you felt. Certainly it's not all about the cigarette.
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...Been a couple years, but doesn't the mother come into this scene as though she has been away. She is ticked about the pizza.
Yes you're right, she's not initially in the kitchen but she does come into the kitchen moments latter and so she was in another room. (I changed that in my review just now as I had that part wrong)

Certainly it's not all about the cigarette.
That scene had nothing to do with my reaction to the movie, or my rating. I just thought it was an odd thing. If I had time I would search the internet to see if Spielberg talked about the reason why that smoke was in the scene. But I'm fairly sure it was not meant to show the teens smoking, but was a prop used to create smoke that was: A)suppose to look like hot food steaming... and B) reflected/mirrored the use of smoke/mist outdoors in all of the first shots.

Could be she says something about the cigarette and it was cut. I can see a group of teens this age in the 80's lighting up in a home. Much different era smoking wise.
Could be, but there were no other scenes that showed her oldest son as a edgy/troubled kid or that the mom had difficulties maintaining control.



On the other hand I think @seanc is right...and there was a smoking scene that got cut. I found this interview with the actor who played one of the kids, Tyler

Link


My father got a phone call to bring me in to meet with Spielberg for E.T., partially because they knew I was a physical kid, and I was known in the business somewhat as a stunt kid, and I could do all the bicycle riding. The other actors who were riding were being doubled, and I think Steven wanted to be able to cut to one of the actors on the bikes eventually, and not always be using the doubles, so that was part of the reason why I went in. Secondly, they had already cast somebody in the role of Tyler prior to me, but unbeknownst to Steven, the kid was Mormon, and that character had to smoke a cigarette. And, of course, the kid’s mother wouldn’t let that happen. So they decided it’d be best if they made a change.



Interesting. Yeah, I just don't think smoking had the stigma it does now. I think teen smoking was almost a given at this point. Seems like in the 80's parents had a I know just don't fo it around me attitude. That's why I think it kind of fits with this family.



Interesting. Yeah, I just don't think smoking had the stigma it does now. I think teen smoking was almost a given at this point. Seems like in the 80's parents had a I know just don't fo it around me attitude. That's why I think it kind of fits with this family.
That's true, teen smoking was perceived more leniently back in the day. When I went to high school in the late 70s-early 80s, I was shocked to find out that the school actually had a designated area for kids to smoke. Even if they were 15 year old sophomores. I of course stayed away from that area!




On The Waterfront (Elia Kazan, 1954)
Director: Elia Kazan
Writers: Budd Schulberg(screenplay & original story)
Cast: Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller


Terry Malloy, "You don't understand. I could've had class. I could've been a contender. I could've been somebody instead of a bum, which I am."
I watched the DVD extras before watching the movie. Several times they showed that taxi cab clip, and talked about how dynamic it was. Kazan himself was in awe of what Brando and Steiger did in that scene. It's considered one of the important scenes of cinema and the quote above, is one of the most quoted movies lines.

When I finally watched the movie...I was deeply moved by that scene. Even thinking about it as I type, makes me feel Brando's remorse. It's a helluva scene.

Needless to say I'm duly impressed by On The Waterfront! Brando almost always knocks it out of the ballpark, but here he's sanctified.

He's the embodiment of Kazan's theory on characters, 'that every protagonist should have a dark side, and every antagonist, a soft spot'. And Brando does, he's both sensitive & gentle...and violent & powerful. Brando makes this film!

Father Barry is the crux to the story, it's him who turns the tide by his impassioned speech about the evils of looking the other way as wrong is done in the world. Strong stuff, he is Kazan speaking to the audience. Father Barry's part is well written. But I couldn't help but seeing Karl Malden instead of the priest. In Streetcar I bought that he was his character, but here I didn't. I liked the character, but didn't like Malden in it.



Eva Marie Saint, I thought she was real and believable. I read that Grace Kelly had been asked to do the role but declined in favor of doing Rear Window. Thank Goodness!

Rod Steiger was a power house and one of my favorite actors, Lee J. Cobb really made this a memorable film. All around a fine cast.



You know the writer never gets enough credit. On The Waterfront won 8 Academy Awards, including
Best Writing, Story and Screenplay: Budd Schulberg, who also wrote: (A Face in the Crowd, The Harder They Fall).

The script is tight! Kazan said the producer Sam Spiegel (who he did not like), kept asking Budd to rewrite the script to sharpen it to a fine point. Kazan said it was the best script he had worked on.

The movie has so many elements that are layered, like Terry Malone's past as a prize fighter who was ordered to take a dive for the big boss....And the entire subplot of caring for pigeons among the hawks of organized crime.

I'm glad I rewatched this as it gave me a new appreciation for the film.




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Close Encounters of the Third Kind
(1977)

Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Richard Dreyfuss, François Truffaut, Teri Garr
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi

About
: A series of unexplained encounters with U.F.O.s sets in motion a global search for answers...Whilst a family man, Richard Dreyfuss seeks answers to his own close encounter with an unknown object.

Review: I first watched Steven Spielberg's opus to extraterrestrial first contact back in the early 80s. I was blown away by what I saw. After all these years I rewatched this classic sci fi...and yes I was still blown away by it! Thanks to Spielberg's mastery of film making.

You know usually the director gets all the credit for the movie, but it's the intelligently written, multi story layering of the script that impressed me most of all. And guess what? Steven Spielberg wrote the movie! That's probably why his movie comes close to perfection as it's his unified vision...and according to him based on a childhood experience.



But of course Spielberg is also skilled as a director. I love how he imparts us with the emotion of the scene by cutting to a reaction shot as he does in the above photo. It's the tears welling up in the son's eyes that tells us how deeply affected the father is by the UFO encounter.

Nothing makes us feel the pain or joy of the moment more than by seeing the emotions in the other character's eyes. Spielberg works magic here with his reaction shots.


Bob Balban foreground, Francois Truffaut background.

I love how the movie interweaves the different stories of those who had extraterrestrial encounters of the 1st kind. Especially powerful was the story line of the international team investigating the re-appearance of long missing planes and ships in the deserts. It gives an all important and serious feel to the context of the movie. Very cool that the renowned French director François Truffaut, leads the investigation team.

Another secondary story that's hauntingly effective, is due to the mother's fear of losing her son. Both mom (Melinda Dillion) and the little kid are instrumental in building the story arc that questions: what the aliens real intentions are?...And her little son (Cary Guffy) was so good an actor that Stanley Kubrick decided to use him in The Shining.

I think of Richard Dreyfus as a comic actor but he's so good here. I instantly believed he was an average family guy with kids and with the charmingTeri Garr for a wife. The way he descends into his obsession after his close encounter is powerful. The scene where he's in the shower having a mental break down and the son is screaming at the top of his lungs, while slamming the bathroom door in anger, is some of the most realistic family crisis drama I've seen put on film. All thanks to Dreyfus and Spielberg.



And Teri Garr was great as the loving suburbia wife, who's pushed to the edge by her troubled husband. She was great in this...and I realize she looks a lot like Blake Lively, or is that the other way around?

Gosh, there's so many well done scenes that each moment in this movie is a real treat. I loved the setting at Devil's Tower, which in itself is more amazing than any modern CG effect. And the alien ships!...with all of those beautiful lights and the way they moved and rolled over before landing, so very cool.

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I love all the family stuff and buildup in Close Encounters. Unfortunately I pretty much hated the last act. I will give it another go again sometime. Gave it a 3.5.



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Close Encounters of the Third Kind
[color=#254B8D] (1977)



And Terri Garr was great as the loving suburbia wife, who's pushed to the edge by her troubled husband. She was great in this...and I realize she looks a lot like Blake Lively, or is that the other way around?

Dude...Blake Lively again dude...wow, you're like Honeykid and Drew Barrymore.