Conceived and shot virtually in tandem with E.T., Poltergeist is that film’s loud and scary cousin. Whatever the controversy about who actually directed it, this tight, nifty suburban ghost story is unquestionably a Spielberg movie. He produced, wrote the story and co-wrote the screenplay, leaving his trademarks all over the place. The archetypal middle-class family living in an ever expanding sprawl of housing tracts shares a lot of DNA with the less happy families in Close Encounters and E.T.
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Blade Runner is the exception that proves the rule that filmmakers should not be allowed to revisit their earlier work, like George Lucas did with Star Wars. Unlike Lucas’s popcorn trilogy, Ridley Scott‘s visionary adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electic Sheep has always seemed like it really was only partially finished.
Wrong is Right bills itself as comedy, but it works better as a mediocre spy thriller with occasional bursts of humor. It largely fails as a comedy because, for the most part, it’s often hard to tell at what they were aiming their humor. As political satire, it’s too broad and too tame to be effective.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture‘s spiralling production costs and lukewarm reviews must have left a cold feeling in pit of the Paramount brass’ collective stomachs. Fortunately the box office returns were good enough to justify at least thinking about a sequel. If nothing else, it would help amortize the production costs of the first film across more than one movie.
To keep costs in check, they assigned the film to their television production division. To direct, they hired Nicholas Meyer, whose only other directorial credit to date was the well-received thriller, Time After Time. Both decisions proved fortuitous. Literate, focused and not awed by the Star Trek legacy, Meyer proved to be just the hand to keep the film on course.
He also must have had fond memories of his days as a writer for Sid Ceasar on his Your Show of Shows, because My Favorite Year was clearly made with a great deal of love for the Golden Age of Television.