I’ve been thinking a lot about Steven Spielberg lately, and it’s mostly because of the Duffer Brothers. I binge-watched “Stranger Things” on Netflix a while ago and loved it: it was nostalgic for the 1980 without pandering, compelling while still being original, and featured some outstanding characters and character actors. It made me look back at some of my favorite movies from earlier in my life, and quite a few of the ones that stick in my brain were directed by Spielberg.
He’ll undoubtedly go down in history as one of filmmaking’s greatest directors, but even he had a few clunkers, which is perfect for an article that tries to arbitrarily rank the performances of English professional football players to seemingly random themes.
Spielberg has made 30 movies in a 40 year career with the release of “The BFG” (which I haven’t seen), and I can’t rank them all. Well, I could, but I’m not going to. And he made a number of movies that could be considered for the five-star category. So, yes, I omitted your favorite Spielberg movie at the expense of that one you didn’t like so much. Sorry. No, wait, I’m not. It’s my list.
5 Stars: Raiders of the Lost Ark
This is a perfect adventure film, as far as I’m concerned. It features an incredible swashbuckling hero, memorable lines, a great deal of humor, mystery, a touch of the occult... and Nazis. Always good to include Nazis. It’s the kind of movie that sinks its teeth into you from the very beginning with a gold idol and a rolling boulder and doesn’t let go until someone’s face melts off. It set the gold standard for what an action movie should be for the next 30 years. I still watch it at least once every few months.
Michel Vorm: It’s about time we gave Michel some love on this website, because collectively we’ve been reticent to do so lately. He was masterful in goal against Liverpool, making a clutch leg stop in the first half, a number of other key saves throughout the game, and being an assured set of hands at a time when we desperately need him. He also was quick to come off his line when he needed to and looked comfortable doing so. A fantastic match.
4.5 Stars: ET: The Extra-Terrestrial
When I was six years old, my parents took my older brother and I to the local theater to see ET. We went for the 3 p.m. Sunday matinee, and the line was out of the theater and stretched all the way through the parking lot to the mall. We stood in line through the 3 p.m. show, the 5 p.m. show, and finally were one of the last to be seated for the 7 p.m. showing. Totally worth it. It’s a great look at a modern American family with all its warts, the enduring power of childhood friendship, and intergalactic fraternity. Spielberg knocked this one out of the park.
Danny Rose: Rose was once again fantastic yesterday, and was one of the few offensive bright spots for Tottenham in this match. Had a little trouble with Mane (who’s a handful) but provided good width and his goal was very well taken. He’s turning into one of the best left backs in England.
Toby Alderweireld: I’m already starting to run out of ways to say how good he is. Great passing out of the back to get over Liverpool’s midfielders, rarely put a foot wrong on defense, blocked three Liverpool shots, and should’ve scored on a header. A great match.
4 Stars: Jaws
OK, it’s a movie about a shark. But can you imagine, in an era that has produced four Sharknado films, anyone else making a shark movie that’s this good? And really, it’s not even about the shark, it’s about people, excellent but flawed characters, that INCREDIBLE MUSICAL HOOK, and lines like “we’re gonna need a bigger boat.” This movie is incredibly fun and redefined what a summer blockbuster could be.
Victor Wanyama: Seemed to struggle with the pace of Liverpool’s attacking midfielders in this match early on, but settled in nicely when asked to be Dier’s replacement as the more defensive CM in the pivot. If Dier needs to be rested, I feel comfortable putting Victor there. I still don’t like him as much when he’s asked to be more progressive with his passing.
3.5 Stars: Catch Me If You Can
This movie is just... fun. Spielberg obviously loves Tom Hanks, but unlike “The Terminal”, a candidate for the one-star rating and the other Tom Hanks movie that involves airports, this one just made you smile the entire way through it. Spielberg also got the best out of Leo DiCaprio as the anti-hero con-man. A really charming movie that doesn’t get caught up in itself.
Eric Dier: Was forced to deputize as a right back after Walker’s substitution, and while he doesn’t have the pace getting forward, I thought he did capably well in the role, including firing in the cross that led to Rose’s goal. Let’s not play him there often, though.
3 Stars: Close Encounters of the Third Kind
I want to rank this higher, as I love this film. As a sci-fi epic it’s so interesting, the effects were thrilling for the time, and there’s a lot to unpack in the family dynamics shown in the film that mirrors Spielberg’s strained relationship with his own father. But there’s a coldness and sterility that makes it a little less fun. It’s cerebral, slightly esoteric, and... well, alien. A wonderful film, to be sure. But it’s not for everyone. It did turn me into a pint-sized mashed potato sculptor for a while, though.
Kyle Walker: It’s hard to evaluate Walker in this one since we saw so little of him on the pitch. He was perfectly fine when he was in there, but illness caused his early substitution. It’s too bad — I would’ve loved to see him tear James Milner apart in this match.
Jan Vertonghen: I criticized Jan early for his difficulties in containing Coutinho and Mane, but he DID contain them... if just barely. I thought he did well, considering they were targeting him specifically. Like Toby, Jan was trying long balls from deep but unlike Toby they mostly weren’t accurate or effective.
Erik Lamela: Yes, he clipped Roberto Firmino’s heel in the box. Was it a little unfair? Sure. Was it a penalty? Absolutely. Erik was a little less active than what we’re used to, but he did create two chances and had the flick-on that led to Rose’s goal. He was ok, but not at his best.
Dele Alli: Looked bright in the attacking midfield role, but faded when moved into the pivot. Spurs’ midfield was SO open in the closing stretches of the match, and I think some of that had to do with Alli not pressing effectively at all times. He still looks like he’s not match fit.
2 Stars: Hook
Millennials love this movie, but they’re wrong. Sure, Hook gave us DeAndre Yedlin’s first supporting role in film (RUFIOOOOOOOO), but with Julia Roberts as Tinkerbell and Dustin Hoffman munching on scenery throughout, Hook just comes across as indulgent. There’s too much going on in this movie, and even Robin Williams can’t really save it. Sorry if I ruined your childhood, but this movie does NOT hold up if you’re watching it and you’re older than 12.
Christian Eriksen: Not great, Bob. But he was better in the second half, and that’s something that you can at least hang your hat on. It’s progress, at least. Spurs desperately need him back at his best.
Harry Kane: Virtually a non-factor in this match. No shots on goal. His hold-up play was good and he was trying things, but they didn’t work on Saturday. I don’t think I like him at the #10 role. Move him back up where he belongs.
Vincent Janssen: Didn’t have a great match, but with all the changes to the lineup he wasn’t getting good service, either. You can’t fault his effort, though. No shot attempts, few passes, a day to forget.
1 Star: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
I can only assume that this movie was made after Steven Spielberg ate a pot brownie one night, watched the Ancient Aliens Guy on the History Channel, and said “Yeah, I can work with that.” It’s like Spielberg was desperate to go back to the well, only to find that a dog had crapped in it, and he drank the water anyway. Just no.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
Tom Carroll Memorial Non-Rating:
Josh Onomah, Harry Winks: Onomah was trash, but he was only on the pitch for seven minutes, so we’re giving the kid a break.