Wednesday, September 4, 2013

How Steven Spielberg (sort of) Ruined My Life

Apologies again for missing another posting day - last Saturday was moving day to my new apartment and things have been a bit crazy getting stuff unpacked. This Saturday, I'll be busy as I'm going to the Renaissance Fair, but I'll do my best to get a post up before I head out. So today I'm submitting a random bit of silliness that's been waiting to be published. Enjoy. 

There's an ultimate conclusion I've reached here recently in thinking about film and my childhood and life in general: nearly everything I'm afraid of or that torments me can be traced back to a Steven Spielberg film.
Let me explain. Steven Spielberg is, without a doubt, one of the most influential directors in American cinema. Say what you will about his films or his themes or the ideology present throughout his movies; I have heard these arguments and acknowledge them (if you're unfamiliar with this, which I imagine many may be, please let me know and I'd be happy to elaborate either in the comments or in another post). However, I'm not going to bring in criticism of Spielberg's films here simply because it's not entirely relevant and I don't quite know how I feel about these criticisms. Yes, Spielberg films have issues but so do many, many American films. I just want to clarify from the get-go that this is not intended to be a film critique. But this is a personal and tongue in cheek example of how damn influential film can be on our lives - for better or for worse; I'll let you decide.

I have a rather deep, abiding fear of velociraptors which can only stem from one source - Jurassic Park, the first Spielberg film I think I ever saw. I think I somehow saw it when I was at the ripe old age of five or six (and by ripe and old I mean highly impressionable and deeply swayed). Realistically I have no reason to be afraid of velociraptors considering they've been extinct for hundreds of millions of years, and yet ever since Sam Neill explicitly described how velociraptors feed at the beginning of the film, I have a certain anxiety about their former existence on Earth. It's also one of the most quoted movies in my family - especially the line about blood-sucking lawyers (why? I have no idea. Funny now that I'm going to be a paralegal).

I am not directly afraid of sharks but thanks to Jaws I often wonder about what's swimming beneath me when out in a lake. Especially because Minnesotan lakes have Northern Pike... and they have a lot of teeth. I don't care that they are not interested in nibbling on humans - it's the fact that they could, ala Jaws, that is worrisome. Also, without Jaws, would a film like Sharknado have been possible? Would Discovery Channel's Shark Week be as popular?

A northern pike, just in case you don't believe me when I say they can be terrifying. (

Then there's Poltergeist. I saw part of this film when I was pretty young and have been forever scarred by it. Snowy television screens, paranormal activity, the dark, building on burial grounds - yeah, this film is chock full of things to give me nightmares.

Indiana Jones made me nervous about snakes and aware of Nazis long before I understood anything about WWII. Close Encounters and E.T. gave me a lot of feels about aliens. And War Horse... basically, if there's any one film that I particularly blame Spielberg for ruining my life with, it's War Horse. He put two of my favorite actors in the same movie, in the same scenes. I got really excited when I saw the stills on Tumblr because I thought it seemed like Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston were in a large chunk of the movie. And then I saw the film...
Yeah, let's just say I'm still emotionally compromised about that movie. It's probably a good thing I've never met Steven Spielberg because the conversation would basically go like this:
Despite all of this, I continue to see Spielberg films and often enjoy them. Lincoln was great. War Horse was good, even though it feels like having your heart torn out and set on fire watching it. I would be lying if I denied how much I love Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones. His films continue to be popular and influential in American culture. But goddamnit man, I hope your happy for causing so many tears and fears and feels. Because my life is completely different for having seen your films.

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