Spielberg Should Stick To Making Movies Rather Than Telling Us What And How To Watch

from the Spielberg-knows-best? dept

Steven Spielberg is certainly a great director who has made a bunch of really wonderful movies over the years. However, it's not clear why that then qualifies him to tell everyone else what they can watch and how they should watch it. In a new interview he first complains about gory content on TV and how it might effect children (noting that he sent his kids out of the room when he didn't like something on TV -- which seems like a perfectly decent solution). The reporter at least has the sense to note that some of Spielberg's own movies, such as Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan have fairly graphic imagery -- and both have been shown uncut on TV. However, more interesting is his claim about how he doesn't like the idea of people watching his movies on an iPod screen. While many people seem to agree that iPods aren't great for video, it's a bit presumptuous for him to think that he can tell people how to enjoy the movies he makes. This isn't the first time he's tried to do this either. Spielberg was famous for holding out for a very long time on allowing his movies to go onto DVD, after he first supported Circuit City's "Divx" self-destructing DVD format instead. Perhaps instead of worrying about how and what people are watching, he should focus on what he's good at: making movies. Update: In the comments people are correctly pointing out that Spielberg's comments are less a demand and more about his decision not to create content for the super-small screen. That's fair, and perhaps I took his comments out of context -- but it still suggests a view where he believes he can draw the line over what are appropriate viewing practices. If we've learned anything over the last few years, it's that you need to go where the customers are, rather than refusing because you don't like it.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Nov 2006 @ 10:01am

    Affect vs. Effect

    One thing: it's "how it might AFFECT children" and not "how it might EFFECT children." Otherwise, good post.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Adam Lea, 22 Nov 2006 @ 10:03am

    What is it with people and their desire to control others? I just don't get it...

    I happen to enjoy watching video on my iPod

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dan, 22 Nov 2006 @ 10:03am

    Speilberg is a great director, but alas, he is an old man. Old people should not be allowed to use technology, nevermind even comment to the media about it. Let them sit there with console TV's hooked up to their VCR's, watching basic cable, comfortably unaware of the internet or anything related to computers. I like watching stuff on my Creative Zen (better screen then the iPod!), I like gory things on TV (especially CSI), and the children can fuck off!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Old Man, 22 Nov 2006 @ 10:36am

      Re: Old people?

      You are a Dick! You got what you have now thanks to us leading the way. Little cocksucker!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David's Inner Geek, 22 Nov 2006 @ 11:03am

      Re:

      "Old people should not be allowed to use technology, nevermind even comment to the media about it."

      reminds me of the quote by Douglas Adams:
      "Anything that is in the world when you're born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that's invented between when you're fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Matt T, 22 Nov 2006 @ 11:17am

      Re:

      wOOt!!

      Best post I have seen here in a LONG time!

      If it's too graphic for children, then PARENTS not the FCC need to tell THEIR CHILDREN to leave or go do something else.

      I like scary movies, I like blood and gore in scary movies, Hell I think all scary movies need gore, blood, violence, and of course BOOBS to be great.

      Would I let my 3yr old daughter watch that? Absolutely not! That is why my wife and I watch it after she is in bed, or at a friends house, or out with another couple with kids.

      People in America have become lazy. They are letting the government dictate to them what we can watch, how we can watch it, and when it is 'appropriate' to be aired.

      Funny... I thought thats what a PARENT was supposed to do for their children. I guess the soccer moms are happy letting the government raise their kids so they have more time to get their nails done, shop at Crate & Barrel, and watch their Desperate Housewives while they dream of Pablo the Poolboy.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Simon, 22 Nov 2006 @ 10:10am

    Hmmm, artistic choice.

    I don't think he was saying people can't watch them on iPods, just that he won't shoot for them specifically. As an artist, that's his right. I respect him much more for that than saying "I can shoot for iPod and make more money? Great!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rob S., 22 Nov 2006 @ 10:29am

    So what?

    I honestly don't get your point here. So he doesn't like the idea of people watching his movies on an ipod screen? Big deal. It's a bit presumptious for YOU to say that he's telling anyone how to watch his movies when he's merely stating a prefrence.

    Oh, and newsflash: there is too much violence on TV. It's a pain to have to constantly monitor what your kids watch before the usual watershed hours of "grown-up" TV, and then send them out the room when something inappropriate comes on.

    Honestly, you're just whining now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      sceptic, 22 Nov 2006 @ 10:38am

      Re: So what?

      Riiiiight, it's all TV's fault, the media pushes all this violence out there just for the heck of it, it couldn't be because people are actually interested in seeing it. No no no, no market forces here, media companies just show what they want and you and the rest of the public have no choice but to watch all the violent shows. All together and by the millions of course. Please, if you are going to complain about someone whining, make sure you are not doing it yourself.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      ..., 22 Nov 2006 @ 11:14am

      Re: So what?

      !!!NEWSFLASH!!!
      THIS JUST IN...TAKING CARE OF KIDS IS A PAIN IN THE ASS. SIMPLY TURNING THEM OVER TO THE ELECTRONIC BABYSITTER IS NOT ACCEPTABLE!

      Sounds like we should call you a Whaambulance!

      But seriously, good to hear that someone cares enough about their kids to pay attention to what they're watching. For that I salute you! :)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Nov 2006 @ 12:02pm

      Re: So what?

      So he doesn't like the idea

      I agree. It's a leap for Mike to state that Spielberg is telling people how to enjoy the movies he makes when all he's done is state that he doesn't like the idea. He's allowed to do that and Mike should stick to what's said and not read into or put words into it.

      Oh, and newsflash: there is too much violence on TV

      That's just a jackass thing to say all-around. Being just your opinion you should have a bit more humility rather than being a dick. I personally don't feel there is too much violence on TV. And, if your kids are at the age where you need to constantly monitor them in any way then it just comes with the territory of having them. Sounds more like you're whining about having to be a responsible parent than anything. Deal with it; it was your choice to go there.

      Honestly, you're just whining now.
      You're dumb. You've whined more in your own post. Get a freakin' grip. Be a responsible parent and don't complain about how hard it is to the world (nobody has sympathy for you there). You made one good point and then stuck your head up your ass.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Old Man, 22 Nov 2006 @ 10:34am

    Fuck you Dan

    Fuck off you little POS pipsqeak. Some of us doddering old people are quite adept at today's technology and thanks to us, you have what you have.
    So take a flying fuck on a rolling doughnut asshole!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    BananaFish, 22 Nov 2006 @ 10:35am

    TOTALLY

    Yeah Spielberg, you stick to making movies. Leave the spewing of opinion to the pros like Mike here.



    (Hey Mike, at least his opinion was solicited via interview. I doubt anyone asked yours.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Nov 2006 @ 12:08pm

      Re: TOTALLY

      You've successfully made an unsolicited opinion condemning someone's unsolicited opinion.

      Wow. You must be some kind of boy-genius. What are you... 12?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Edward Squire, 22 Nov 2006 @ 12:19pm

        Re: Re: TOTALLY

        acctualy im 14. You just did the same smartass.
        Isnt it great to see the cycle?
        I feel sorry for people that have nothing to stand for,
        not even the wrong thing. Have you anything to add to your edifing post? :] Anonymous?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    comboman, 22 Nov 2006 @ 10:53am

    FCC Priorities

    According to the FCC, graphic violence during prime time is OK. Showing a second of Janet Jackson's nipple on the other hand will get your license revoked. Given the government's "make war, not love" stance, it only makes sense. Unfortunately, it's the children that suffer (oh god, did I just make a "think of the children" post? I must be getting old)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Nov 2006 @ 12:11pm

      Re: FCC Priorities

      It's the children that suffer

      What-the-fuck-ever. Don't let your kids watch things you find objectionable if you don't like it.

      FOR THE LAST TIME SMALL-MINDED SHEEPLE!

      It's... not... TV's... fault...

      Is that clear enough for you or are you still interested in shoving your personal responsibility to parent your kids on something other than yourselves?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Nov 2006 @ 11:04am

    Why should this even affect anhybody? It only affects you if you listen to Speilberg. It's not like he has a leash on you. YOU want to Watch saving private Ryan on an iPod, you go ahead.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ron (profile), 22 Nov 2006 @ 11:04am

    So What Some More

    Spielberg has every right to express his opinion on where his films are shown. I recall that George Lucas set up a whole industry to ensure that his movies were only shown in theaters with sound systems certified by his company. These guys are atists and they want to ensure that their works are shown in an environment that showcases their works.
    As to too much violence on TV; heck, there's too much crap, period, on TV. Not just violence, but Dr. Phil, anorexic twins, Cheaters, Judge Judy, etc. But, we have the advantage of DVD's, books, PBS, etc. to counteract the general low quality of television.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      AMP, 22 Nov 2006 @ 11:11am

      Re: So What Some More

      Yes, I agree. Spielberg (and Lucas) are two of the more forward thinking individuals in their industry. I don't think that we should just dismiss this as "he is old and therefore does not get technology"

      As far as violence on TV, eh...tired of the discussion. It is here to stay. I am convinced that with a little bit of parenting, kids can see violence on TV and not turn into serial killers.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    The infamous Joe, 22 Nov 2006 @ 11:07am

    Quick question.

    I should start off by saying that I have no children of my own-- which is no doubt for the best.

    That being said-- why is violence and sex inapproprate for children? I mean, the violence and sex that they can see on TV. (I'm not suggesting sitting Junior down in front of a family viewing of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Poon.)

    I hear often about people futher censoring their children in an effort to 'protect' them from 'inappropriate' shows, movies, video games, etc... but I am still unsure what makes it inappropriate at a certain age-- or how you deternime at what age it becomes 'appropriate'. I think that as soon as a child can learn, they SHOULD learn. Why wait until the child is closer to becoming independant before showing them this part of society? Why not educate them from the start?

    Just wondering, I don't mean to come across as some guy trying to tell people how to raise their kids.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    cjmemay, 22 Nov 2006 @ 11:07am

    RE: TOTALLY

    @BananaFish: "Hey Mike, at least his opinion was solicited via interview. I doubt anyone asked yours."

    Actually, doucheball, there is an implicit request for Mike's opinion when you go to a BLOG where Mike is a writer and click on his article. In case "implicit" is too big of a word for you, I will try to explain it another way. You are an idiot.

    @Mike: "Steven Spielberg is certainly a great director who has made a bunch of really wonderful movies over the years."

    I think what you meant was probably "Stephen Spielberg is certainly a greatly over-hyped director who has made a bunch of over-hyped movies over the years."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Beefcake, 22 Nov 2006 @ 11:24am

    Deep Thoughts by Beefcake

    There's a funny button on the front of my television. It's labeled "Power". Funny, when I press it I don't feel stronger or more influential, but I've noticed the television stops working until I press it again. I've also noticed that when the television stops working, my brain starts to (adaptation of another Douglas Adams quote).

    We have choices what content we spend time with. For example, I've made the choice not to watch the vandalized version of E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (which, by the way, is a redundant title). It was Spielberg's choice to change it, and it's my choice to not watch it. I'm also personally offended by the musical "Annie". A kid in a wig shouting crappy songs for two hours sends me running out of the room.

    And over it all is this almighty "Power" button. Truly a technological wonder.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    C47, 22 Nov 2006 @ 11:25am

    He's not telling you what to do

    Not to start a war here, but if you read the actual article that Mike is refering to and not his interpretation, you'd get a different sense of what Spielberg is saying:

    "Spielberg said iPod video may be all the rage but count his films out from tailoring his films to fit the small screen.

    "That's one medium where I have to draw the line," he said. "We'll shoot for television and the movies and let there be a wide gap" between that and the small 3-inch screen."

    He's not saying "don't watch SPR on the iPod," just he's not shooting his movies to be best viewed on a 3-inch screen. There's a huge difference on how you shoot something depending on where it's going. A TV show is staged and shot differently than an animorphic widescreen epic. He's just going for the epic.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Gideon, 22 Nov 2006 @ 11:28am

    And What Mike Should Do...

    ...is learn to recognize the difference between an opinion and an order. Seriously, I don't care who said it (and hopefully you don't either), but to make the claim that "on-air promotions for television shows like 'CSI: Crime Scene Investigation' that showed 'blood and people being dissected'" aren't good for children is a) a no-brainer, and b) not a directive to anyone (even children themselves) to stop watching them. Likewise, the fact that he doesn't like the idea of people watching his movies on iPods isn't a command to cease doing so.

    His hold-out on the DVD format would actually mean something if it were still the case today; that fact that it's not serves as evidence that even his own personal opinions hold no sway over the demands of us consumers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    TX CHL Instructor, 22 Nov 2006 @ 11:37am

    TV and children -- just say no; it works

    From the time my daughter was around 4 years old until she was in the 5th grade, we didn't even own a TV. As a result, she never became much of a TV-watcher, and I pretty much got out of the habit myself.

    She also did well in school, which I believe to be highly correlated with not watching TV.

    I have a TV nowadays (more than one, in fact), which gets watched about 5 or 6 hours a *month*. About once a month, I look through the listings to see if there is anything new worth watching on that vast electronic wasteland. Usually, there isn't.
    --
    chl-tx.com

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    BananaFish, 22 Nov 2006 @ 11:43am

    RE: DOUCHEBALL

    *yawn*
    cjmemay, why don’t you just take your opinions and shove them. Get back to work and make sure you are “sticking to” your job. Do only that. You should know by now that you forfeited your rights to expressing opinions upon accepting a job offer (ESPECIALLY if those opinions are related to your profession, for shame!).

    Oh, and in response to your post (which appears to be an excuse for using the new word you learned and swore you would use in a sentence today)…

    ...following a link from my Google homepage to this post is not in any way asking anyone to then give their opinion. Yes, by downloading the page i am asking to *see* any written content (opinion, fact, advertisement, over sensationalized article title, etc.) but i (nor anyone else, i suspect) ever explicitly asked for an opinion to be generated.

    The relevant point here is that Steven Spielberg was asked to discuss some topics. He did. That's it... nothing more. And as AnonymousCoward pointed out, he is only "telling" someone what to do if that individual is in turn listening to him. Take Mike, for example. Mr. Spielberg clearly has him by the balls, because Mike is listening so intently to Spielberg’s opinion that he actually accepts it as a demand, and then goes on to write an article about how he is being told what to watch and how to watch it. Most other people probably read that interview and see an opinion.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    BananaFish, 22 Nov 2006 @ 11:48am

    RE: DOUCHEBALL

    *yawn*
    cjmemay, why don’t you just take your opinions and shove them. Get back to work and make sure you are “sticking to” your job. Do only that. You should know by now that you forfeited your rights to expressing opinions upon accepting a job offer (ESPECIALLY if those opinions are related to your profession, for shame!).

    Oh, and in response to your post (which appears to be an excuse for using the new word you learned and swore you would use in a sentence today)…

    ...following a link from my Google homepage to this post is not in any way asking anyone to then give their opinion. Yes, by downloading the page i am asking to *see* any written content (opinion, fact, advertisement, over sensationalized article title, etc.) but i (nor anyone else, i suspect) ever explicitly asked for an opinion to be generated.

    The relevant point here is that Steven Spielberg was asked to discuss some topics. He did. That's it... nothing more. And as AnonymousCoward pointed out, he is only "telling" someone what to do if that individual is in turn listening to him. Take Mike, for example. Mr. Spielberg clearly has him by the balls, because Mike is listening so intently to Spielberg’s opinion that he actually accepts it as a demand, and then goes on to write an article about how he is being told what to watch and how to watch it. Most other people probably read that interview and see an opinion.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    E, 22 Nov 2006 @ 12:02pm

    I'm glad plenty of people already noticed and pointed out that Spielberg wasn't really telling people not to watch his movies on iPod, but simply saying that he would not tailor his movies to the format.

    As for violence on television, I have to say that I can respect Spielberg's opinion on this a bit, simply because of the examples he used. He cited CSI, a show I don't even watch unless I happen into a room where it's on, and I've still managed to see false surgery, reenacted brutal murders, and even a rape scene. That's effin disgusting, and of course it's our option to change the channel, but you have to realize that these sorts of things CAN affect children.

    If they're on before 10, they REALLY should tone some of it down a bit. I don't care if they show Ichi the Killer on TV at 2am, but I don't want my kids seeing the cheerleader from Heroes with her entire ribcage showing as she lays on a morgue table. That's disgusting, and it's going overboard for a prime-time show. Put it on the DVD, put it on later at night, or put it on an adult-oriented channel. Of course I pay attention to my children's viewing habits, but when something says "TV14" for violence, I don't expect them to show something that would be considered gruesome or gory even in a rated R film. It IS overboard, and I commend Spielberg for using his clout and his media-granted soapbox to say something about it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      E, 22 Nov 2006 @ 12:32pm

      "If they're on before 10, they REALLY should tone some of it down a bit. I don't care if they show Ichi the Killer on TV at 2am, but I don't want my kids seeing the cheerleader from Heroes with her entire ribcage showing as she lays on a morgue table."
      Whoops, I forgot to mention that the show Heroes airs from 9-10pm, and though right at the margin, many youngsters are still up (though I personally found the imagery of someone waking up and looking at their own open chest cavity pretty disturbing myself). This is also one of the shows that Spielberg mentioned (though for a different scene).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Nov 2006 @ 2:41pm

      Re:

      "but I don't want my kids seeing the cheerleader from Heroes with her entire ribcage showing as she lays on a morgue table. That's disgusting, and it's going overboard for a prime-time show."

      Good news E, that's not what they're seeing. They're seeing either a rubber model or an actor with kick-ass makeup on a set with lights and directors and technicians. If they don't yet know the difference between that and reality, what a great opportunity to start teaching them that very important distinction. Who knows-- the idea may fascinate them and we'll get the next Michael Westmore out of the deal.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Edward Squire, 22 Nov 2006 @ 12:06pm

    Are you a morron?

    Or a morron or just a 12 years kid wanna-be, troubled with your own parents cause they probably do the right thing and try to avoid you from watching movies obviously adressed to adults like schindler´s list, cause you would eventualy sympathize with Amon.
    When somebody gives a opinion, does not mean that
    just because his a genius you MUST follow, but you must respect at least. Grow up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    BananaFish, 22 Nov 2006 @ 12:16pm

    RE: Re: TOTALLY

    Sorry.... i got to the end of the page, read "Add Your Comment" and assumed it was a demand to do so.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Donald Duck, 24 Nov 2006 @ 4:33am

    iPod

    I thought most people want giant tv sets to watch Indiana Jones? not iPods.

    Hey if your on a train going across country and you own a giant GB filled ipod then you can convert your Indiana Jones DVD set with

    ipod-converter

    I found websites that converts dvds to a ipod in google

    and as for your next lens crafters bill for watching freaking almost 3 hour movies on your ipod send glasses bill it to apple.

    As for tv I bet your kids get online and see all kinds of gross crap. You ever read comic books when you was little?

    In Jr high this kid had this wild comic book and I went to the store and bought one for myself and read it.

    It was an eye-opener very realistic even for a teenager I thought it was gross. I would hate for a kid to read some of these post on techdirty also. Some of the music these kids could get a hold of like Manson and they run around all DARK is just another example. lol

    Besides don't we have the v chips in our tv sets and I know my DSS system has a channel lock.

    Also from what I understand little kids go to bed at 8pm unless I guess if you live in a trailer park.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Wizard Prang, 27 Nov 2006 @ 8:17am

    What Spielberg likes or doesn't like...

    ...is of no consequence to me.

    I'm out of here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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