(Just a single rule: mix-tape-style, no more than one film per director. You know, because otherwise the whole thing would be pointless.)
(#13) Raiders of the Lost Ark
Adventure • dir. Steven Spielberg • 1981 • USA
Have you ever seen one of those cross-section illustrations depicting the world beneath our feet in busy modern cities? You know, that show the vast subterranean infrastructures we rely upon but, for the most part, never get to see – great, inter-connected networks of pipes, sewers, wires, cables, tunnels, transportation hubs, and much else besides. Stop to think about it all for a second, and you’ll spend the rest of the day stumbling around in a stupefied daze. The world beneath our feet is miraculous, but we spend at least 99.9% of our lives taking it for granted.
The same holds true, I’d venture, for the film career of Steven Spielberg: particularly if you include his Producer credits, it takes a whole lot of scrolling to get to the bottom of his imdb page. He could hardly loom any larger over modern cinema, and yet for several decades there’s never been a cause to imagine life without him. So we don’t. Indulge me though, a minute, and try to. Imagine the films of Spielberg were all still in front of us. Picture the buzz his exciting, low budget debut feature Duel would get. Then steel yourself for the giant, successive pleasures of Jaws, E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the Indiana Jones franchise, and Jurassic Park. With each new dazzling set piece, iconic image, and unforgettable thrill (Raiders of the Lost Ark alone has at least three of each), wouldn’t you just keep on running back for more? If the Beatles are the ultimate example of the biggest thing in pop culture also being the best, Spielberg really isn’t too far behind. (His mid-period and later ‘serious’ films aren’t too shabby, either.)