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On Spielberg and "Manipulation" 
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Post Re: On Spielberg and "Manipulation"
There's a popular theory around the web regarding the last act of Minority Report that states that...

[Reveal] Spoiler:
...everything happened in Tom Cruise's mind after being "haloed".


I'm not a huge fan of the film, but it does add a different layer if it were true.

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Sat May 25, 2013 9:17 pm
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Post Re: On Spielberg and "Manipulation"
Thief12 wrote:
There's a popular theory around the web regarding the last act of Minority Report that states that...

[Reveal] Spoiler:
...everything happened in Tom Cruise's mind after being "haloed".


I'm not a huge fan of the film, but it does add a different layer if it were true.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
I lost my taste for "dying dream/it was all in his head" interpretations when I realized just how many movies it can be applied to and how little it ultimately adds to the experience of a movie.

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Sun May 26, 2013 12:21 am
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Post Re: On Spielberg and "Manipulation"
Ken wrote:
Thief12 wrote:
There's a popular theory around the web regarding the last act of Minority Report that states that...

[Reveal] Spoiler:
...everything happened in Tom Cruise's mind after being "haloed".


I'm not a huge fan of the film, but it does add a different layer if it were true.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
I lost my taste for "dying dream/it was all in his head" interpretations when I realized just how many movies it can be applied to and how little it ultimately adds to the experience of a movie.


Agreed, with the Robert Deniro Exception (TM).

-Taxi Driver
-Once Upon a Time in America

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Sun May 26, 2013 8:09 am
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Post Re: On Spielberg and "Manipulation"
JamesKunz wrote:
Agreed, with the Robert Deniro Exception (TM).

-Taxi Driver
-Once Upon a Time in America


Good one! BTW: I tend to believe that the
[Reveal] Spoiler:
dying dream/it was all in his head - interpretation
applies for the epilogue of "Taxi Driver", but not for "Once Upon a Time in America". But of course both movies remain open to that interpretation.

I know I am way off topic here (and I will get on topic in a minute), but there is another reason (besides Ken's with which I agree) why I don't like this kind of open interpretation (I'll play by the rules and tag it as a spoiler because the comment is based upon a spoiler):

[Reveal] Spoiler:
I don't like the idea that a dream or hallucination has great inner logic, because the human brain is incapable of re-creating inner logic when unconscious. One can't read in a dream, one can't look in someone's face in a dream and one can't even hold a picture in a dream or hallucination, look a few seconds and it will change, everything is ever-changing and moving forward in a dream or hallucination - the parts of the brain which are responsible for this kind of logic and intellectual understanding are inactive. I read it a few times and there are even stories about this. I only kind of bought it in "Inception" because there is some pseudo-science about dream architecture, but movies like "Jacob's Ladder" and all this stuff about a secret drug used in 'Nam - naaah!


Back to Spielberg and manipulation: what about Frank Capra? Didn't he shamelessly manipulate audiences way more obviously and "in your face"? Sure if you have Jimmy Stewart in the lead, it usually works...


Sun May 26, 2013 4:51 pm
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Post Re: On Spielberg and "Manipulation"
Threeperf35 wrote:
Frank Capra


And, fuck, how about Hitchcock?

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Sun May 26, 2013 6:56 pm
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Post Re: On Spielberg and "Manipulation"
JamesKunz wrote:
Threeperf35 wrote:
Frank Capra


And, fuck, how about Hitchcock?


Yes, of course. Just that Hitch didn't go that often for sentimentality (I never really thought about reaching for a cleenex while watching a Hitch movie) and not that often does a wronged protagonist have a happy end... and Hitch did dry humor extremely well. But yes, if we just stick to the topic "manipulation", Hitch should be somewhere on top of our list.


Sun May 26, 2013 7:15 pm
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Post Re: On Spielberg and "Manipulation"
Hitchcock. Serial manipulator. Openly delighted in it.

I love his usage (coining?) of the term "pure film". To me, that encapsulates all the tools in the filmmaking toolbox that can twist any idea into an experience--something exciting, scary, funny, romantic, or anything else that movies can make us feel.

Hitchcock turns a shower into a sinister experience even before the knife comes out and the strings rev up. Pure film.

Spielberg turns a piece of bread stuck to a window into a metaphor for parental inadequacy. Pure film.

Kricfalusi turns a fart into a tale of heartbreak, depression, and wanderlust. Pure film.

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Sun May 26, 2013 7:19 pm
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Post Re: On Spielberg and "Manipulation"
Threeperf35 wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
Threeperf35 wrote:
Frank Capra


And, fuck, how about Hitchcock?


Yes, of course. Just that Hitch didn't go that often for sentimentality (I never really thought about reaching for a cleenex while watching a Hitch movie) and not that often does a wronged protagonist have a happy end... and Hitch did dry humor extremely well. But yes, if we just stick to the topic "manipulation", Hitch should be somewhere on top of our list.


This exchange is exactly the reason why I didn't like how the original post was phrased. Of course, all directors are manipulating the audience - Hitchcock prided himself in "having played the audience like a piano" (in reference to 'Psycho', I think) - but some are better at it than others or at least less obvious. Psycho is an excellent example of a director brilliantly playing with audience expectations: First, you are meant to empathise with the leading lady, understand her dilemma, share her paranoia of being caught until there is a brief moment of relieve when Norman Bates inadvertently convinces her to return the embezzled money. Then, she's off to take a shower and the leading lady is gone. Now, the audience identifies with Norman, the good son who tries to cover up his mother's crime until, well, you know. It all seems terribly obvious today, because everyone knows about 'Psycho', but every person I met didn't see the plot developments coming.

That's something I can't say in relation to any Spielberg film. I'll give credit where it's due, though, Capra was a lot more obvious in his manipulation of audiences. In fact, Spielberg is far from the worst offender.


Mon May 27, 2013 11:28 am
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Post Re: On Spielberg and "Manipulation"
Unke wrote:
I'll give credit where it's due, though, Capra was a lot more obvious in his manipulation of audiences. In fact, Spielberg is far from the worst offender.


Thank you, that was exactly my point.


Mon May 27, 2013 9:36 pm
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Post Re: On Spielberg and "Manipulation"
Granted, Capra came from a time where moviegoers as a whole were somewhat less sophisticated; in the time of 'pre-auteurism,' if you will.


Mon May 27, 2013 11:22 pm
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Post Re: On Spielberg and "Manipulation"
Thief12 wrote:
There's a popular theory around the web regarding the last act of Minority Report that states that...

[Reveal] Spoiler:
...everything happened in Tom Cruise's mind after being "haloed".


I'm not a huge fan of the film, but it does add a different layer if it were true.


I can't see that for "Minority Report," which is pretty consistent throughout.
[Reveal] Spoiler:
Although I've always thought that "Total Recall" makes more sense if the hero is locked in a perpetual dream state. We're pretty much explicitly told that.

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Tue May 28, 2013 12:33 am
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Post Re: On Spielberg and "Manipulation"
Question: Should I have used spoiler tags? I'm surprised that other posters used them for films over a dozen years old, I mean Taxi Driver is pushing 40.

H.I. McDonough wrote:
(T)he final act of "Minority Report" just feels like a complete and sudden shift in tone compared to what preceded it. It's kind of jarring for me. A more likable/charismatic actor in the lead role might've made the film in general better overall as well. :|


It's an epilogue so I don't find it jarring at all. It's like the final sequence in 28 Days Later or Boogie Nights. Cathartic in some ways. I do agree that Cruise is nothing more than adequate as Anderton though. Maybe Minority Report would be more widely considered a contemporary classic with a more memorable lead performance. Still I have a hard time imagining another actor in the role.


Tue May 28, 2013 5:50 pm
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