The first is Unbreakable. Of course.
But the second? From some seven years earlier? Actually released the day before my 15th birthday, and a film that blew my mind so completely that I could not sleep at all that night, after watching it as part of my birthday celebration?
Jurassic Park. Now on NETFLIX INSTANT
A multimillionaire unveils a theme park where visitors can see live dinosaurs. Cloning Earth's deadliest creatures seems like such a good idea...until an employee tampers with the security system, the dinos escape, and the screaming starts.
When I decided to re-watch this recently with the boys (as a follow-up to their Jurassic World viewing), I was a bit trepidatious. It can be difficult to return to films that have been massively influential in one's life. What if they no longer resonate?
Luckily, this one did. And how. I was a kid again, awed by its (still astonishingly good) effects. borderline-terrified by its (incredibly tense) Velociraptor sequences, and genuinely moved (especially by Williams' score, which remains one of his very finest).
But I also realized how well the film holds up as a master class in blockbuster pacing. It breaths perfectly. There are moments before, after, and even in the midst of the chaos; moments that are necessary for us to really care about the people we're watching. The melting ice cream sequence in is a perfect example of what I mean: a brilliant bit of introspective counter-pacing, and something we really need as an audience. (Being at 11 all the time is hard work, and it actually makes me care less, not more. I start to glaze over, Hollywood. Take note.)
Interestingly, its two -- significantly less influential (on me and my cinematic tendencies) and significantly less good (objectively) -- sequels are also available (HERE and HERE). I actually prefer the third, myself. But that's not a recommendation, really. Just an observation.
Another observation? Spielberg's a legend, and justifiably so. At the same time, there's no denying that his filmography's incredibly mixed. Sometimes, it seems like the fellow who needs to take the Spielbergian Blockbuster Master Class the most is the very same man who'd be delivering the lecture.
But who cares, really? Because we'll always have Jurassic Park.