Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Spielberg, the Great

Monday night, I decided to do something trivial and watch the Golden Globes Awards show on Television. It was very silly and full of frivolity for hours. There were times when the audience was table hopping and talking through the awards presentations so that some of the presenters had to tell them to be quiet and sit down. I decided to go to bed around 10 pm, but they were about give the Cecil B. DeMille award. After the film course I took in college, I have an appreciation of his work, and Martin Scorsese was introducing the award. He tried very hard to talk slowly enough and enunciate well, so I got hooked into it. He said the award went to Steven Spielberg and talked about their relationship. Then they ran a clip going through the body of Spielberg's work spanning decades with the biggies like Jurassic Park, Jaws, Shindler's List, Indiana Jones, E.T., Saving Private Ryan, and the list of big hits just went on and on. I was just totally impressed at the sheer volume and quality of his works and how significant it was. When the clip ended, the audience came to their feet and cheered. He had made many careers in that room and he got his due respect. I am always thrilled to see a tribute go to someone who actually has done something and has a record of contributions in a world of American Idol where all you have to do is breathe and do stupid stuff while people pour on the accolades--a little like the political world.

Spielberg came on stage and nobody said a word while he spoke. It was obvious that greatness was in the house. I noticed that those people weren't table hopping and talking over the speaker any more. They all sat down and listened while he talked extemporaneously for over ten minutes about his beginning in the business and how he was so impressed at six years of age by Cecil B. DeMille's movie he saw in Philly with his father--The Greatest Show on Earth. He talked about starting to make movies with a little home camera and wondered if he would get away with crashing his train set just to make a movie. He said every time he makes a movie he wonders if he will "get away with it". Then he talked about the people who mentored him and how he had acted to mentor people as well as who was a mentor for various famous people he named. It was extraordinary the way he explained all of it and how it influenced the business which is a major player in the country's economy. He has created more jobs and careers than anyone in Washington. I was amazed that all those big names—Clint Eastwood, Ron Howard, Tom Hanks, Shirley McClaine, etc. sat spell bound while he talked so insightfully about the art and the business of movies. It was the most fantastic speech of the evening and when it was over, everyone in the whole room rose to their feet and gave him another standing ovation. I hoped he wasn't sick because too often, they give out those things kind of like a precursor to their memorial service. I hope he has another forty years in the business because he is really a giant in the industry. Today, the media that I have looked at or listened to have greatly ignored the whole thing as though the best dressed/worst dressed was the only thing that was important. I really had to search to find a few articles about his great achievements. How shallow the media is. They just don't get it. There was an absolute hero that has influenced more lives than one could count and they act like it was next to nothing and hardly worth a footnote. I love to see someone honored who has actually done something and it makes me furious when the real movers and shakers are ignored.

Or even worse, it annoys me when much ado is made of someone who has done nothing worth mentioning. I suppose that is the thing that annoys me most about the current media darlings. I don't like to see anyone elevated to rock star status who has done nothing which is a valuable contribution to the world. I knew a long time ago the difference between real accomplishments and glitz and glitter. I am only impressed by people who actually produce something. "Where's the beef?" is a very profound insight.

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