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A Tribute To Steven Spielberg This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   I am going to ask a favor of you. I would like you to think of your favorite movies of all time. The movies that have had the strongest effect on you, whether making you laugh, cry, squirm in your seat, or jump out of it. I'm sure that many of you would include a movie either directed or produced by Steven Spielberg. Spielberg is truly the people's director. His name is attached to six of the 20 highest grossing films of all time. No other filmmaker can claim such a feat. Steven Spielberg knows how to make us cry, how to make us laugh, how to frighten us and how to leave us gasping for breath. Whether his subject is aliens, sharks, dinosaurs, or the Holocaust, we as audience members do not just watch a Steven Spielberg movie, we experience it. We are Indiana Jones, running from an enormous boulder. We are Chief Brody doing battle with a great white shark. We are Peter Pan, soaring above Never-Never Land.

Spielberg's first splash was a smash called Jaws. Since then, he has consistently given us films that provide what we need most: a place where we can go to escape our troubles and the troubles around us. And to this day, he continues to out-do himself. In 1993, he directed Jurassic Park and literally topped himself when that film surpassed his own E.T. The Extra Terrestrial in worldwide box office receipts and became the number one hit of all time. And that was only half of Spielberg's triumphant year. With his brilliant, stirring Holocaust epic Schindler's List, Spielberg exceeded our expectations, abandoning his flair for escapist pictures to present a stark and haunting true story that is, in the end, uplifting and full of hope. The characters were enriched in a fashion seldom seen in a Spielberg movie. The film captured him the Academy Award for Best Director, a trophy that had long eluded him.

The most remarkable of Spielberg's gifts as a filmmaker is his ability to bring out all of our emotions. The creatures of Jaws and Jurassic Park scared us. The magic of Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T. enchanted us and set our dreams in motion. The action of the Indiana Jones trilogy left us breathless and exhilarated. The humanity of The Color Purple and Schindler's List touched us. Few other directors have the power to reach us in so many different ways.

There is a striking image in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, a moment that Spielberg calls one of his favorites from all his films. It is a shot of a little boy opening a door and being engulfed in a radiant orange light. It is an astounding visual. For me, every Steven Spielberg movie is a door behind which lies that brilliance and a sense of the unknown. Spielberg brings out that innocent little boy or girl, in all of us, and when I pass through the door, I never want to return. ?


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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