Continuing my Directors thoughts, I tackle #3 on my list:
Although my relationship with Spielberg in later years has been rocky, I still look back on those early films with wonder and pure nostalgic joy. Movies like E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Jaws are staples of most of my top ten lists, and two of them generally come up on my top 5 whenever I'm pressed to make one. He was a great storyteller who was not only proficient with doing large effects movies, but also smaller character pieces. Every time one of his movies opened, it was an event. Even if it stunk at the box-office, we'd still line up to see what was next out the gate, and movies like Hook and 1941 still hold a place for me despite being on most people's cinematic shit lists.
The latter half of Spielberg's career has, for me, been an exercise in self-indulgence, back-patting and self-congratulation. I find Minority Report and A.I. almost unwatchable, The Terminal and Catch Me If You Can alright diversions if only it wasn't for Tom Hanks and, while I have yet to see Munich, War of the Worlds is the only thing that he has made that I have cared for since Amistad, and that's with Tom Cruise in it, of all people.
I also blame most of the problems with the fourth Indy on Spielberg after reading various accounts of the making of the film.
So, there's good and there's bad, but in the end, he was a filmmaker who shaped how I viewed and responded to movies in my more impressionable years.