Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Okay, so Barry Bonds hit the big one last night. So what? August is better than that. No dog days here, especially if you tune in to what Damian Arlyn has going on at his site Windmills of My Mind: yes, the long-awaited 31 Days of Spielberg, Damian’s insanely ambitious and exceptionally rewarding series of essays—one a day for the entire month—covering every step of the career of Steven Spielberg is finally here. Here’s what you have to catch up on so far:

* Damian offers some prefatory remarks on Day One.

* Then it’s on to Spielberg’s memorably eerie Night Gallery episode on Day Two.

* You say you didn’t remember that Spielberg directed an episode of Columbo? Damian has all the facts on Day Three.

* Then we’re off for a relaxing Sunday drive on a quiet desert highway as Damian examines Duel on Day Four.

* Spielberg’s highway obsession continues in The Sugarland Express, and Damian’s observations will definitely pique your interest in revisiting this less well-remembered but nonetheless terrific movie on Day Five.

* You probably remember the summer of 1975. And if you’re too young to remember the actual summer, you’ll surely remember the movie of that summer, perhaps Spielberg’s most perfect and even experimental entertainment. Damian does, and he gets in a delicious essay on Jaws for Day Six.

* Finally, Damian decodes the audio-visual miracle of Close Encounters of the Third Kind on Day Seven.

That catches us up for now. It is Damian’s next essay that I await with a high degree of anticipation. You all know me, as Quint might have said. I love Spielberg’s much-reviled 1941, and Damian is much less in love with it. Nevertheless, I look forward to his observations as a Spielberg scholar and completist. 1941 is just one of several titles I’m eagerly awaiting to get put through the Arlyn windmill. I hope you’ll join me in marking each day off my calendar and thoroughly enjoying The 31 Days of Spielberg courtesy of the peerless—not to mention tireless-- Damian. We’re all in for a very good time!

UPDATE 8/9/07 12:22 a.m.: Oh, it's on! It is on! Damian has his mighty fine 1941 piece up and running (see Matt Zoller Seitz's warning to me in the comments below), and I'm pleased as punch, as well as surprised (and, like the psycho sarge to my left, pleased to punch), to see the responses running decidedly pro-Spielberg's bedeviled comedy. And that was before I launched my own Treat Williams-esque defensive in Damian's comment thread. But that's not all! Not unlike B-52 bombers passing in the night, while I was surreptitiously providing ballast for the Wild Bill Kelso ticket, Damian was busy posting the latest addition to the "31 Days of Spielberg," this one on Raiders of the Lost Ark, a movie which finds Damian and I on opposite sides of the Spielberg fence yet again! Stay tuned. Arguments or no, this is a month-long series worth printing out and savoring for the passion and ambition Damian brings to it.


Anonymous said...

Did you see the really nice semi documentary that ran on TMC (Ithink) last month called "Spielberg on Spielberg"?

Really nice 90 minute piece with Steven just sitting there telling his recollections of his career. He was able to happily clear up some long standing rumors on how he broke into the business and other Spielbergian legends that have floated around forever.

Damian Arlyn said...

Wow. Thanks for the kind words, Dennis. :)

Just F.Y.I., moments ago I finished posting my take on 1941 and I tried to be as fair as I could in my assessment of it knowing that you were going to reading it.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like great fun--I just took a quick look at it. What I would like to see become available is Spielberg's 1972 ABC Movie of the Week, SOMETHING EVIL. I saw it when it was first on TV, when I was a kid, and then made sure I tuned in for the rerun--I thought it was scary, quirky, original, and well-acted (Sandy Dennis and Darren McGavin). I remember re-enacting scenes from it with my sister. I've always wondered if the director was unhappy with it, so bought the rights and stuck it in the attic, or something; how else to explain the apparent fact that one can't get it on DVD, and it doesn't seem to come up in interviews (not that I've done a comprehensive search)?

Matt Zoller Seitz said...

1941 is up, Dennis. Would you like to be hosed down now, or wait till you finish reading it?

Dennis Cozzalio said...

I'm going in now. Have hose crew ready.

Anonymous said...

Damian's blog on Spielberg has been accused of plagiarism on the forum discussion list: