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The State of the Race: Selling a True Hero in the Age of the Snark

Some days it’s a rough go, filtering life through the waves of chatter online. Much of the time it’s even worse than high school — it’s middle school.  In all the ways people can be disappointing they rise to that occasion online every day.  And so it is into this atmosphere of pointing and laughing, hipper than thou, too cool for school and fear of not being in the hep crowd that Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln is about to launch. Tough crowd out there, tough crowd. Much of the time I can roll with it. But in certain moments, like the launch of the Lincoln trailer, it makes me want to step up in front of the class, start writing names on the board and withholding recess from disruptive students.

Lincoln is a film about the guy who once said this:

Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name, liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names, liberty and tyranny. The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep’s throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as a liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty, especially as the sheep was a black one. Plainly the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of the word liberty.”

It is to be directed by Steven Spielberg and written by the great Tony Kushner, adapted from the exceptional  book by Doris Kearns Goodwin, Team of Rivals and it is about the best President the country has ever known, or certainly one of them.

And yet, the chatter on Twitter was all about things that don’t matter — the equivalent of watching Secretariat and commenting about how his balls bounce up and down during the race.  Daniel Day-Lewis’ voice was the topic over at Hollywood-Elsewhere but that was, I think, a legit concern because sometimes the reality isn’t really what people want; they want the illusion. Even if Lincoln spoke in a high pitched voice, history doesn’t want to remember him that way.  Me, the voice doesn’t bother me at all.   Spielberg made it clear in the Google chat afterwards that his goal was to do what Goodwin’s book did so well: to portray Lincoln the flesh and blood man, not Lincoln the seated marble statue we’ve immortalized. To do that, historical accuracy was necessary. You don’t do a movie about King George and not have him stutter. Ahem.

Slate Magazine asked Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer what he thought of Daniel Day-Lewis’ vocal impersonation:

“Uncanny, convincing, and historically right,” Holzer told me. How so? Holzer pointed specifically to “the combined Kentucky-Hoosier twang” and, again, “the surprisingly high-pitched voice.” After all, as Holzer reaffirmed, “Lincoln didn’t growl —- in fact some people said he whined!”

So what’s the problem with Day-Lewis sounding how Lincoln must have sounded? Perhaps it disrupts expectations, which is kind of counter-intuitive for a crowd that seems to not want cliches. Can we figure out what we want, please? Why do we want more what we’ve always been given? As in, I’ll have a Big Mac combo meal? Or are we brave enough to actually open our minds and contemplate something new?

It’s especially strange that Jeff Wells would be so adamant about it, considering he’s the one trying to push through the 48 frames per second idea, a break with tradition that was not well received by the snark crowd on Twitter. What’s the harm in trying to accept that Abe Lincoln wasn’t the way we all thought he was? He was funny and strange and spoke with more of a high-pitched voice than we might have imagined. So an actor does the research and tries to present a deeply studied, three dimensional portrait of the President. And what reaction do we get back? Can I get a Big Mac combo meal, please?

But moving away from the voice complaints for a minute, back on Twitter and in comment sections, the snarking crowd was irritated at how traditional it looked, beyond the freshness of Day-Lewis’ take.

They attacked the music because, you know, if there’s any composer that doesn’t know what he’s doing it’s John Williams. I suppose this crowd would have wanted Jonny Greenwood or the Chemical Brothers instead. They then compared it unfavorably to War Horse.  While War Horse was certainly worthy subject matter — horses that were used and killed by the hundreds of thousands during the war, it was not dense enough source material for a complete film. The book is meant as a dark tale of adventure and adversity for young male teens — not bad for that, but otherwise not a lot of meat on its bones.  By contrast, Lincoln couldn’t be richer source material nor could it have a more important writer attached to it. So why the grief? I understand snark. I understand the feeling that you don’t want to see something you were already expecting. But what I can’t relate to is not caring that a worthy film about Lincoln is about to come out. I don’t understand people who don’t appreciate Lincoln. To me, it’s a moment to be appreciative, admiring and respectful. But I get it. I do know why it would inspire snark. I am more irritated people don’t feel like rising above their need to feel cool, just this once.

As readers here will remember, I’d never give Spielberg a pass just because he’s Spielberg but I have to admit that I have a deeper admiration for him now after seeing him make the choice to do Lincoln. It’s an ambitious production, and a worthy cause. It’s the best time to remember what the President actually did at a time when our country was as divided, and much more violent, than it is now. It wasn’t easy to be the guy who finally did what had to be done. He pissed off a lot of people — and is still pissing them off hundreds of years later. But ultimately, America doesn’t have many unequivocal moments and that was one of them. Sure, the South then went and imposed such laws as to limit the rights of black citizens, a practice that went on for many more decades after that, but Lincoln and his comrades decided to no longer live with the hypocrisy of having built a nation on the principle that all men are created equal and then enslaved human beings to serve as free labor — that labor helped to build this country. We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the slaves who helped create this country, warts and all.

So I would hope for some enthusiasm, some patriotism, some kind of excitement from my fellow Americans that this story was about to be retold at a time when we really need to hear it told again. But what I get is an empty bottle, a snark fest, which serves no purpose at all except to broadcast how cynical, jaded and deadened we’ve all become.

2012 is already becoming of the better years for American film and filmmakers. A dazzling array of talent that began with Benh Zeitlin’s Beast of the Southern Wild, and Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom. Then two superhero movies, The Dark Knight Rises and the Avengers, before the festival season delivered Ben Affleck’s Argo, Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha, and David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook. Still to come from the Americans, Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, Gus Van Sant’s The Promised Land, Robert Zemeckis’ Flight, Spielberg’s Lincoln and Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. This year should help re-invigorate the somewhat sagging enthusiasm for homegrown product.

The Academy has laid out the new dates:

Friday, November 30, 2012: Official Screen Credits due
Saturday, December 1, 2012: Governors Awards presentation
Monday, December 17, 2012: Nominations voting begins
Thursday, January 3, 2013: Nominations voting ends 5 p.m. PT
Thursday, January 10, 2013: Nominations announced 5:30 a.m. PT, Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater
Monday, February 4, 2013: Nominees Luncheon
Friday, February 8, 2013: Final voting begins
Saturday, February 9, 2013: Scientific and Technical Awards presentation
Tuesday, February 19, 2013: Final voting ends 5 p.m. PT
Sunday, February 24, 2013: 85th Academy Awards presentation

There are 18 days to think about nominees, and 11 days to vote on the winners. Here is what Pete Hammond said about it:

Despite the increased time-crunch to see movies pre-nominations, The Academy is to be congratulated for finding a way to extend the period between their nominations and final ballots being due by two full weeks.

It is maybe a good idea for them to extend the time but really, who are we kidding. In the past few years since they changed the date, Oscar mostly falls in line with the DGA anyway. So, it won’t really matter particularly since the winner will have been chosen already, long before in fact, in the case of The Artist, The King’s Speech for sure. Therefore, what is the point, really, or giving them more time to decide what they’ve already long since decided? They pick their team, the industry does, and they stick with it, all the way down the line.

Of course, there can sometimes be upsets here or there — like the SAG ensemble could go a different way. But generally speaking, there isn’t enough time for rumination like there used to be so there isn’t a lot of variety in the winners. One domino goes and the rest follow suit.

You might be wondering, though, which precursor is matches up with the Academy most often. I was curious, after Silver Linings Playbook won in Toronto, to see how often the People’s Choice from TIFF goes on to win the Oscar. By my tracking, the DGA still rules. To that end, our Best Picture race usually boils down to our Best Director race and our Best Director race starts and ends with the DGA.

Next in line, weirdly enough, are the Golden Globes, taking into account winners in both the drama and the comedy category. Since TIFF’s People’s Choice only goes back to 1979, that’s how far I went back with the others. The Critics Choice would probably rival both the Globes and the DGA but it hasn’t been around as long.

In the end, I’m on the hunt for our director. He or she shall be lifted aloft in the coliseum in celebratory fashion, confident in the knowledge that whomever drives that chariot will lead our race for Best Picture. Will it one from among the long-overlooked brilliant American trio of Paul Thomas Anderson, Quentin Tarantino, or David O. Russell? Will it be an actor turned director who win in the great tradition of actors turned directors — Robert Redford, Clint Eastwood, Kevin Costner, Mel Gibson — with Ben Affleck leading? Or will it go to someone who has already won before, Tom Hooper, Steven Spielberg or Kathryn Bigelow?

Hold on to your butts, Oscar watchers. It’s going to be a fast couple of months.

64 Comments on this Post

  1. Tero Heikkinen

    I am really looking forward to Lincoln. It was the Hollywood type of trailer that put people off, but surely the film will be something else. When Spielberg is passionate about something (he has wanted to make this film for over a decade), he’s good. He’s really good.

    You forgot to mention The Master. Isn’t that going to be the best American film of the year?

  2. Kevin Klawitter

    The “look at how cool I am” snark mentality is by far my least favorite part of internet commentary. It gets to the point where people are so intent on being seen as “cool” or “funny” that they don’t even bother to get their facts straight anymore, and go straight for the snark and punchline rather than the insight. And when anybody points out their fallacies it’s always “you take yourself way too seriously. Get a sense of humor”. It’s the Cracked.com process at work.

    Is it too much to ask for sincerity and thoughtfulness anymore?

    There’s also the irony of attacking the movie for looking “traditional” with the same recycled cliche arguments against Spielberg that have been festering on message boards for years “sentimental” “manipulative” etc.

    As far as Jeff Wells goes, he’s well-known for being anti-Spielberg, so I’d take anything he writes about “Lincoln” with a grain of salt.

  3. Tero Heikkinen

    Oh, PTA was mentioned below the article. Got it.

  4. Spielberg has made a lot of terrific movies in the past, but in a year of young, audacious, innovative filmmakers like Zeitlin, PTA, Russell, Baumbach, Affleck, he and Lincoln just seem a little dull, tired, ponderous and old-fashioned.

  5. Sadly, I think Lincoln never gets old. We’re still working through those same problems and Lincoln actually seems like a really fresh viewpoint. Someone who is thoughtful, principled, and articulate giving a commentary? How refreshing!

  6. Like it or not, a distracting voice will be just that…distracting. Hopefully, it won’t come into to play when Oscar voters start deciding.

  7. Why anyone wants a voice that is anything but accurate mystifies me.

  8. A lot of Americans don’t want to remember warts and all. As if to be introspective about the past somehow places a monkey wrench into the wheels turning towards tha future. Quite the opposite I’d say.

  9. Team of rivals did not win a Pulitzer prize. Doris Kearns Goodwin won a Pulitzer for No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The American Homefront During World War II.

  10. Can I get a Big Mac combo meal, please?

    Great. Now I’m hungry. btw, it’s national cheeseburger day.

    But what I can’t relate to is not caring that a worthy film about Lincoln is about to come out.

    I’ll admit that I pretty much don’t care. You’re just more interested in politics than a lot of us. My least favorite subject in school was history. But in terms of selling a true hero in the age of snark, they may not be “true” but 2012 has definitely been the year of the hero already. Batman, Katniss, the Avengers, Django is on his way. These are the heroes most of us think of now. Perhaps the need people have for a hero will allow them to embrace LINCOLN. But will they be interested enough in an old timey type hero to bother? There’s the rub. I’m going to see it, but that’s because I follow the Oscar race. I don’t know about normal people. It’d be nice if he shot webs or something. Maybe they added something like that in?

  11. rufussondheim

    There’s probably no more vocal detractor of Spielberg on this site than myself. While I do find him manipulative and sentimental I don’t hold that against him. Some of my favorite movies are manipulative and sentimental (Field of Dreams, Chariots of Fire) so it would be unfair of me to attack him on that basis.

    But as I’ve stated many times before I find him to be technically predictable. I find his scene construction to be too repetitive. He sets his scenes up and I know, more or less, what he’s going to give us in that scene. He very rarely surprises me in any way that’s real or interesting.

    While he’s very technically skilled and very creative in some of his camera shots, I feel he’s overreliant on his technical ability. He seems, to me, less interested in telling a story with intelligence or sincerity. His characters go through predictable arcs and never evolve in interesting or surprising ways. He’s guilty of one of the biggest crimes in moviemaking, and that’s constructing a film in order to get to a specific payoff at the end.

    With all that said, I am pretty sure I can predict how he is going to tell this story. There are enough hints in the trailer (Lincoln going through a recently scorched battlefield, for example) to know where Speilberg wants to go and how he is going to get there. I couldn’t be less interested in paying the ten bucks to see the film just to see if I am right.

    I hope I am wrong. I hope he gets inspired by Kushner’s script and chooses to take risks and challenge himself to release a film unlike anything he’s done. But I’ve seen Spielberg interviewed and he seems very pleased himself and his status in Hollywood, so I am skeptical that he feels the need to do as such.

    Now I know many of you will point to Munich and point out that it’s an exception for him. That may be true. But I’ve been told this before in many different circumstances. And usually my instincts are correct. I know myself, what I like and what I dislike.

    Now, perhaps, I will see this film if the reviews point out that it’s different for Spielberg and yet still a top notch film. But I’m going to be honest, I don’t have the release date marked on my calendar.

  12. Here’s a quote from your “hero,” Sasha:

    “I will say then, that I am not nor have ever been in favor of bringing about in any way, the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not, nor have I ever been in favor of making voters of the negroes, or jurors, or qualifying them to hold office, or having them to marry with white people…there must be the position of superior and inferior, that I as much as any other man am in favor of the superior position being assigned to the white man.”

    A. Lincoln, 1858

  13. I’m not sure what’s “too cool” about not being excited for some of the same old shit. I’m sure it will be just as problematic as Amistad in the white-washing of facts in order to tell a more easily swallowed and sentimental story at the expense of the truth and dignity of those who lived it.

    It’s not our fault if some of us just don’t enjoy the shit SS lays down anymore. It doesn’t make us “too cool” it just makes us people who are sick of his schmaltzy bullshit as of late. I hope he surprises me, I really do.

    But please, this is hardly a film you will need to champion. The put up War Horse for BP, this will surely be there too for crying out loud.

  14. I’m sorry Sasha but I thought my critique of the Lincoln trailer and its similarities to War Horse’s first trailer was fair. I look for originality in film and Lincoln’s trailer had none. I will say though that I know the film will be different. At least I hope so. I am still looking forward to a damn good film.

    However, I refuse to kiss this movie’s ass just because it’s the story of one of our greatest presidents.

    I’m starting to get the feeling that this is the movie that it’s cool to love and not cool to hate like this piece suggests. The first half of this post made me feel like I was being told why I should already be in love with Lincoln and why I am a snarky or whiny person for having any doubts about it. That’s ridiculous. Praising an unseen film is just as moronic as kicking it to the curb sight unseen.

    This is going to be a long but fun few months.

  15. I agree with Mel. As I said in my comment, the fact this film is already being championed by some or put down by others is ridiculous. As of right now, both the supporters and naysayers are full of crap because have any of us seen the film? No.

    If the film is even half deserving it will make the BP list. If the bickering is already starting then I hate to think of what December will be like.

  16. William Chase

    “So I would hope for some enthusiasm, some patriotism, some kind of excitement from my fellow Americans that this story was about to be retold at a time when we really need to hear it told again.”

    Beautiful article Sasha.

  17. I have high hopes for this film. I loved the book, DKG is a masterful writer. Streep always does historically accurate voices, so DDL should too. I’m on board for this one as this film will be relevant to OUR times, still.

  18. Bryce Forestieri

    @rufussondheim

    Not your calendar, you have the release date engraved on your forehead. All you do is trash Spielberg and the Lincoln trailer. You talk way more about Spielberg and Lincoln than what you really like. Such long paragraphs dedicated to why you don’t like Spielberg and why you won’t like Lincoln LOL. Pull it out of your ass already.

  19. Mark-

    That quote was taken when Lincoln was running for the Senate and most people in Illinois were afraid that he and the Republicans would bring equality to the races. In Team of Rivals, Doris Kearns Goodwin notes that of all the men running for President in 1860, Lincoln was the only one who showed no evidence of white supremacy, and ultimately Lincoln did bring Freedom to the Slaves and his Republucan colleagues brought equal and voting rights to Black Americans through the 14th and 15th Amendment, even if the South continued suppressing these rights. Lincoln was an American hero, even if he wasn’t perfect.

  20. Kevin Klawitter

    I’d also like to point out that despite the knee-jerk negative reaction to the trailer, the most important element of the film’s success is actually the element that the trailer makes LEAST apparent.

    Most of the actors, when asked why they got involved in “Lincoln”, cited the screenplay as the deciding factor.

    You’d think most of them would be falling over each other to work for Steven Spielberg, to work with Daniel Day-Lewis, or to be a part of such an important, Oscar-friendly historical epic.

    But while some of those elements were mentioned, the reason most predominantly stated (at least in the interviews I read) was Tony Kushner’s screenplay. John Hawkes in particular said he agreed to a very small role (one he thinks may not have even made it into the final cut) just because he wanted to support the script, which he called the best studio script he’s read in years. Tony Kushner himself called it the best thing he’s ever written, and considering he won the friggin’ Pulitzer for “Angels In America”, that’s really saying something. Also, the last time they collaborated, we got “Munich”, which is generally considered to be the least sentimental and manipulative of Spielberg’s works.

    In the Google Hangout, Spielberg described “Lincoln” as the type of movie where as a director he “has to stand behind the screenplay and the actors”, in that his job was primarily to capture the actors and the dialogue, and not to cast a long directoral “shadow”. This means there’s a large emphasis on character and dialogue rather than spectacle and imagery, and the fact that Spielberg had enough confidence in his screenplay to let it and the actors tell the story is another reason to consider it a major element.

    And as far as the trailer goes, this is the type of movie that would be difficult to market anyway. All evidence is that the story is primarily a political drama about having to pass the 13th amendment. This means a lot of scenes of people in rooms talking. So obviously the studio would choose for the trailer the scenes that would seem to be the most dramatic and “punched-up” parts, which generally means yelling, crying, and big, dramatic statements. Most any drama will have a trailer that makes it look like a melodrama (not that there’s anything wrong with melodrama in the first place).

    Just some food for thought. In Spielberg/Kushner We Trust.

  21. Bryce Forestieri

    Maybe It’s a little unfair to single out The Master’s supporters, but I think you’re referring to them when you talk about the “too cool” crowd. And for the record I adore PT Anderson and all of his movies, but people accuse Spielberg of bringing the same horseshit that have ya’ll bored with. Not to be snarky but If you’ve seen all the film of SCORSESE, ALTMAN, and KUBRICK, these three in particular, but if you’ve also have had the opportunity to explore the films which in turn inspired those three; I becomes clear that PT Anderson’s films are some of the same horseshit that been around cinema for the last 40 years. So please spare us, you’re not fooling anybody. As I said I fucking loved The Master but it seems to be this year’s Inception.

  22. rufussondheim

    I’ve talked extensively about films I’ve liked Bryce. You just seem to concentrate on what you choose to concentrate on. Which is fine.

    Let’s discuss Steve McQueen’s Hunger then, shall we?

  23. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    “I will say then, that I am not nor have ever been in favor of bringing about in any way, the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not, nor have I ever been in favor of making voters of the negroes, or jurors, or qualifying them to hold office, or having them to marry with white people…there must be the position of superior and inferior, that I as much as any other man am in favor of the superior position being assigned to the white man.”

    A. Lincoln, 1858

    Right, if you said you believed white men and black men were equal back then you would be killed. You can’t judge Abe by the times we live in now. You can’t. America was built as a slave state. Even those who opposed slavery did not yet realize black men were their equal. It took a long, long time – hell, many in the south still don’t believe it. I don’t give two greasy shits what revisionists think. You should be grateful a guy like Lincoln got in at all because he had the stones to free the slaves. Period. And he gave his life for the cause.

  24. I can’t wait for Lincoln, I have 3 discs left of the longest book on tape I have ever read, but I have loved it! I have learned so much about slavery, the civil war, and just how life was back then. I think the trailer looks great and no one should ever underestimate Daniel Day Lewis in my opinion.

  25. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    Team of rivals did not win a Pulitzer prize. Doris Kearns Goodwin won a Pulitzer for No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The American Homefront During World War II.

    Ah, my mistake. Thanks for the clarification.

  26. Bryce Forestieri

    @rufussondheim

    Yeah maybe I do. My Spielberg soft spot betrays me sometimes, so let’s just agree that Hunger is fucking awesome, and how he outdid himself with the masterpiece Shame <3

  27. Tero Heikkinen

    Yep, I’m sure we hear quite a bit of “n-word” (=the older version; as mentioned above in the speech) in this film. Most likely from DDL’s mouth, too. And it’s not like it’s that hateful, really. They just didn’t have better synonyms for it back then.

    Not knowing as much as you guys do about Lincoln. So, hopefully this film will teach me a thing or two.

  28. Yes, Shame = masterpiece. That is something I can agree with.

  29. …what rufus said.

    And to add – there was never any disrespect intended, of either Lincoln or Spielberg (if I dare link them equally in this phrase because, in reality, the importance of one far outweighs the importance of the other outside of Hollywood), in my apprehension of the forthcoming project.

    One worry comes from hoping against hope that a great historical figure – in world history – will get his due, 21st century style. Risking snark, we all hope that the storytelling is as layered and complex as Walt Whitman, not just simple and crowdpleasing as Dr Seuss.

    When you say, Sasha, that what you “get is an empty bottle”, remember how that bottle was emptied over the past few years. Last year at this time, a majority of the gang at Gold Derby had War Horse as their first pick/prediction. I just looked now and it’s Lincoln, for the most part. We’ve been there, done that, so real enthusiasm here will begin when the film has been seen.

    I’m relieved to hear that historical accuracy – esp. the peculiar voice – will be maintained. No re-writing history for the sake of a prestige product – admirable. If they add some artistry and imagination, maybe throw in some insight, I’ll drop my guard and join the parade.

  30. Things I’m looking forward to in Lincoln…

    DDL
    Hal Holbrook
    Jackie Earle Haley

    Things I’m not looking forward to…

    John Williams and his trumpets
    Janusz Kaminski blinding me by shooting shiny things

    That’s about as upbeat as I can be.

  31. As Sasha was saying, Lincoln was a politician and had to behave as one. Saying, back then, that he in any way supported equal rights for slaves would have been political suicide. It would be like a politician coming out on the campaign trail as an atheist. It’s just never going to happen.

    Now, I don’t know what his true thoughts were. If he held those views and they changed over time, or he was just making empty promises. But if we’re judging the man on his actions, there’s no doubt that what he did was probably the greatest thing that any American President has ever done.

  32. I have to admit I’ve been ignoring Hollywood Elsewhere as of late because of the anti-Spielberg rants. It just makes it that much easier to head to AD and In Contention.

  33. unlikely hood

    Again, the trailer for Glory (1989):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9r72aGkShD4

    Epic-y? Yes. Bombastic? Yes. Over-proud of itself? Heck yes.

    Representative of the film? Heck no. And you all know this. You’ve seen it. That’s why you know it’s the best Civil War movie yet (at least, until November; we’ll see). Because the film itself isn’t Epic like, say, The Ten Commandments is Epic; it’s organic, it’s dirty-fingernails, it’s as warts-and-all as it gets.

    So you can have a pretentious trailer and a gritty, great film. Point proven, moving on.

    Not gonna go through all the arguments we already had the other day. But Sasha if you read the thread you started there, you know *some* of us are excited as hell about this thing. Some of us know and love Lincoln and have been waiting for a film like this since we were kids.

    Let me throw one other thing in that I think may be nagging at people. 30 years ago, Janet Maslin wrote in the New York Times, grumbling about Gandhi (1982)’s sweep, “The Oscar seemed to have been confused with the Nobel Peace Prize.” We may have some latter-day Maslins around here. That’s ok. They don’t bother me. If this is the great film it should be (based on the book), they can’t take that away from any of us.

  34. People are just too cool nowadays. That’s how the internet is, even though Spielberg’s filmography post-SPR is phenomenal, especially in comparison to so many directors these days.

    People criticize him for things they so easily let slide in other films.

  35. Good article Sasha.

    Yo know what is most people’s, especially anti-Spileberg team’s problem?
    1. They don’t know the differences between the words “sentimental” and “inspiring”. It is your weakness in linguistics.
    2. Spielberg is one of few (maybe along Scorsese) master directors who continues his excellent work even 2000s. You remember the criticising of A.I? But after 10-11 years It is one of the best films of decade according the same critics. And this make other director’s “radical fanboys” to attack him, to underestimate him. This makes Spielberg more legend than he is.
    3. You judge him for being old-fashioned. And I ask? Most of art-house films today isn’t something remake or rip-off of classic director’s films? You can feel influence of Scorsese, Kubrick in every film of PTA.
    and……….

  36. People have the right to feel how they feel about Spielberg. They also have the right to voice their opinion. It is, after all their opinion.

    In regards to Lincoln, the story remains the same – regardless of a film being made or not.

    True, this film will do more good than harm with today’s audiences, but we’re talking about the imitation of life here in cinema form. History has got the short end of the stick many times before in film, the same ‘could’ happen here – who knows.

    I like Spielberg, I am in awe of him, but I am also learned enough to realize his shortcomings. And his shortcomings are not in his ability but his choices. I know they work most of the time, but not so much for me anymore.

    I am willing to eat my own head if I enjoy it. I promise you.

  37. Spielberg is hit and miss these days for me. He can still pop out a masterpiece from time to time, though. His last was Munich, IMO. That was politically charged just like this movie (and also written by Tony Kushner!). So that gives me hope. I wanna wait till I see the movie before saying anything more.

  38. Bob Burns

    Like the way you characterized the source material of WH and

    Vidal, who ran for office twice and was the son (FDR Cabinet), grandson (US Senator) and step-brother-in-law (JFK) of very successful politicians, saw Lincoln (approvingly) as an ambitious working pol…. and the most successful empire builder of the 19th century.

    The usual Lincoln is the homespun saint suffering on the cross of slavery and union. I’m guessing that’s what we will see here…. that sounds like a Spielberg theme.

    Americans invented continental, industrial mass warfare. The American Civil War like WWI, was vast and even a big movie, like WH makes them feel smallish. I am in awe of Lincoln’s political ability to, in part, create and sustain such a thing with the aid of the new technology – trains and telegraphs….. remember he was a railroad lawyer and fairly high tech for his time.

  39. “I am willing to eat my own head if I enjoy it. I promise you.”

    I will make the same promise as Mattoc. I really want this thing to work.

    Anybody else catch American Experience on PBS last night, Death and the Civil War? More Americans were killed in that war than all wars before and after, combined – nearly 2.5 percent of the total population. I forget what the number was when converted to today’s population. In the Confederate states, 20 percent of the white male adult population was killed. The exodus of blacks from the south was equivalent to today’s refugee migrations and had a very high death toll. There was little or no organization for dealing with the dead or wounded or their families.

    That Lincoln’s entire presidency was devoted to holding the country together, under these incredible circumstances. I really want a movie that can share this honestly, without unnecessary enhancement.

  40. @Sasha Stone

    I agree that you can’t Abe based on the times. Although, I do hope they show these less glamourous moments such as when Abe said he had no intention of freeing the slaves while campaigning in the south. To me I find those elements of public life fascinating. Essentially, there is a level of hypocrisy present to say one thing, to uphold democratic values, but then decide the people are wrong on this issue. It’s a difficult position for a leader, especially considering the Civil War was the most bloody on American soil.

  41. As someone who studied Presidential history in college, I am beyond thrilled that they are making a grand, epic film on Lincoln’s Presidency which is arguably after Washington the most important Presidency in the history of the United States. I am glad they are trying to be – at least by the trailer and considering the terrific source material – historically accurate. My problem is that iconic Presidents such as Lincoln, Washington and Theodore Roosevelt have become deified to the point where they become caricatures to the general public. When in reality they were enormously complex and often enormous flawed men. I hope that Spielberg’s LINCOLN helps change that (and as I have selfishly said before, I hope the film is an enormous success that finally allows someone with enough ambition to make a film about some facet of Theodore Roosevelt’s life which was born to be a movie).

    Folks complaining about the sound of Lincoln’s voice because it is not what they thought it would be are being simply ridiculous. It actually kind of reminds me of this hilarious fake trailer from Christopher Guest’s THE BIG PICTURE in 1989 that features a movie about ABE AND THE BABE. See below:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ciy0dBXv3ac

  42. The first thing everyone seems to forget is that there is a large portion of our general society that is moving into what years ago was determined to be “senority”. There is vast audience out there that craves intelligent and thought provoking theater and cinema. Thought provoking does not necessarily mean however “shoot ‘em up and hog tie them before you cut off their heads”. One of the more popular small films this year the Exotic Hotel with a rather senior cast did quite well and has managed to sustain itself. I don’t think Speilburg needs to worry about an audience. Even War Horse proved that.

    As for Speilburg being predictable well so was Wyler, Ford, Zinnemann, Capra and that list could go on and on. Predictable with setting up a scene or filming techniques do not necessarily diminish the story. They could granted muddle the end result but a story is a story.
    Good screenplays seem to be hard to find these days.

    I’m not sure yet how I feel about hearing DDL use a voice that we don’t imagine to be Lincoln’s voice. We have ingrained in our minds, each of us; this perception of Lincoln. And it’s perception simply because there are few resources available that allow us to view the real characteristics of the man.

    And we all know about Lincoln’s belief regarding superiority and inferiority. It’s no excuse but those were different times. None of us would dare to accept that type of commentary now. Certain views or philospohical beliefs do not necessarily diminish the achievements and in fact those beliefs can enhance the achievements if they are in contradiction too what the individual actually holds as truth. And if anything man has done is to prove he can be very unpredictable and that he can change his mind. What he held as truth yesterday he may not hold as truth tomorrow.

    I remember my first viewing of Amistad and being shocked at what I was shown in many scenes. What we forget is that many members of society have a limited window to the information they receive or even retain. We all knew horses were used vastly in WWI and yet I doubt the general public had any real concept of the extreme cruelty until the play War Horse made it’s debut and sparked a converstation or wetted the appetite for more information.

    How many of the public actually knew about Oscar Schindler?

    Film in many ways serves as the fingers reaching for the door handle and turning it allowing it too open and shed some light. Of course that is limited to subject matter and is determined by which door is opened. A director can walk into the light and show us a broad vision or he can walk straight into the dark and leave us all scratching our heads.

    Each accomplishment any director, writer, actor, technican makes to any project is going to vary. Expecting every film a director or anyone for that matter is a part of to be at the same level of accomplishment as say another in their work is silly. War Horse was not going to be ET or Schindler and The Color Purple wasn’t going to be War Horse.

    Lincoln has been a hot topic for a long time. You can already see the anti Speilburghites running for their keyboards. My only concern and it’s really not a realistic concern is that I had such high hopes for Redford’s Conspirator and was so disappointed. But I expected Redford to unearth some unknown truths or falsehoods about Mary Surratt. I don’t think that will happen with Lincoln.

  43. As much as I can mantain my thoughts that this film looks very similar in tone and passing to War Horse (Which is nice, but not great) I have to give kudos to you, Sasha, for being so appassionated in your writing.
    I hope that Spelbierg feels that way about making this movie, because in that case, there is a chance that we’ll see something more like “The Schindler’s List” and less like War Horse.

  44. I for one, was crying when I saw the trailer for Lincoln. Not because of the film, but because of what our country might do this election year and what doors that opens for further repercussions down the line.

  45. As others mentioned, it was Spielberg’s passion to make this film. As he said in hangout and as we seen in trailer (watched it more than 50 times) he tries to humanize Lincoln.

    Coming to his voice: Harold Holzer, foremost Lincoln scholar living today find DDL’s voice perfect to Lincoln’s.

    http://www.wilshireandwashington.com/2012/09/lincoln-scholar-voice-of-abe-in-spielberg-film-historically-right.html

  46. rufussondheim

    While I liked Glory quite a bit, I wouldn’t consider it the best film of that year (1989). Nor would I consider it the best film about the Civil War. Instead I would give that to Gettysburg, a mostly forgotten 4Hour+ epic which faithfully recreates that battle. If you’ve not seen it, you should.

    ———

    I want to respond to Nic V’s post but some of his ideas are incomplete and without sufficient examples for me to find something to use as a springboard, so I offer my apologies if I’ve misread or misinterpreted what you were trying to say.

    First, I know I am in the minority with regards to Spielberg, so offering a list of great directors doesn’t help your case. Wyler Ford and Capra have released some timeless films, but you won’t see me champion them. Not only am I in the minority on Spielberg, I am in the minority on most things film related. I prefer to see film as a Storytelling medium, most film fans prefer to see it as a visual medium as much as or more than a storytelling medium. While visuals are nice, for me they are such a small part of what makes a film successful (Screenplay first, acting second, visuals third.) If people want to respond to my posts it’s important that they understand that about me.

    I have to heartily disagree that a good screenplay is hard to find. I would wager that there are thousands of scripts that are topnotch that have gone unproduced over the years. I know this because there are thousands of great books that have gone unread (by me) over the years. I say this to point out that there is a shit-ton of literary talent out there, many of which, I’m sure, have written scripts.

    I am of the opinion that Hollywood is looking for such a specific narrow type of script that it ignores many great scripts. Pick up any Screenplay writing book and you will understand what I mean. This is something I can’t prove, but this is something I know in my gut. Also, if Hollywood took more chances with scripts, more adventurous scripts would be written. It’s that simple. So saying that a good script is hard to find, I would argue that says more about the searcher than anything else.

    With that said, I read quite a bit, more in some years than others. I don’t need Spielberg to tell me about the horrors of shipping slaves overseas, or about horse abuse, or about concentration camp survival stories. Or about Lincoln. I never need a film to tell me about history or a social issue. Nor would I ever praise a film for that reason. People who use film to learn about facts readily discovered in the written medium lack intellectual curiosity in my opinion. And their opinions have little relevance in a conversation I am having. When I love a film based on some historical event, I judge it not on the history but on the story it tells. I love Chariots of Fire because it’s a story of two people who are trying to achieve their goals, not because I’m interested in 1920’s track and field training methods.

    And this brings me back to Hunger (sorry to keep using this as an example, but it’s such a perfect example.) This is a movie based on history and it did teach me some about history, but that is not why I loved it. I loved it because it taught me something about the human condition. How do people respond in extreme conditions, how does one fight for justice when there is no justice, what are we willing to sacrifice when we will not reap the benefits of that struggle? These are all themes that are explored in Hunger.

    The film is not interested in teaching history. It assumes you know it already or that you are smart enough to go search it out. Nor is it one-sided in its depiction of history. (My mind goes back to the scene of the IRA member killing the guard and seeing the blood splattered over his catatonic mother.) It’s definitely a historical story, but all of its ambitions are outisde of the historical record. Hunger is ultimately a story about people, not events.

    While I’ve seen enough of Spielberg to know that he has the ability to make a film as good as Hunger, I’ve never seen anything in his films that tells me that he wants to. And that’s why I’m anti-Spielberg and not excited about Lincoln.

  47. @ rufus

    …or maybe you are on campside of other contenders? I guess you will criticize it without watching. Maybe you have anti-Spielberg chip in your head. Try to take out it before film release.

  48. Spielberg refused to give rufus his autograph. True story.

  49. rufussondheim

    I like how people try to tell me about myself as if I somehow lack any knowledge on the subject.

  50. Julian Walker

    I’ve got to admit the article is somewhat on point, but I still can’t get too excited by Lincoln less I hear otherwise. Now I liked Munich alot, but that was like 7 years ago. Lincoln just looks like some old BULLSHIT. I am not being snarky, not trying to be cool, or be edgy. Just voicing my opinion. And if someone finds Speilberg’s work repetitive or lame, then that is also their opinion. Rufus doesn’t like Speilburg’s work, but that doesn’t make his opinion any less important

  51. Julian Walker

    If the film turns out to be damn good I will eat my words, but until then, I wish this whole “Let’s defend the trailer for Lincoln against those who do not give a shit” is worn out. Indiewire playlist did more or less the same thing.

    Don’t attribute people’s disliking of this film or the way it looks to the age of snark.

  52. Nik Grape

    After such a thoughtful and logical post from rufus, explaining exactly why he doesn’t like Spielberg’s kind of filmmaking as if he was giving a lecture about it, the response he gets from a Spielberg fan is “Maybe you have anti-Spielberg chip in your head. Try to take out it before film release.” Am I the only one who finds that painstakingly hilarious?

    But, according to Sasha’s patriotic article here, in this context that makes mecid the “cool one” and rufus the snarky, jaded and too-hip-for-all-shit one.

    I’ve said it before, but it all really boils down to whether you like the way Spielberg makes movies or not. Lincoln has a lot going for it, the scriptwriter (though it sounds like Kushner is being heralded as some kind of demi-god of writers on AD, when “Angels in America” was great but nothing earth-shattering), the passion behind the project, great source material and the fantastic cast. This is why I think all kinds of hopes were raised from the get-go.

    And then the trailer hit. And people saw Amistad/War Horse more than A.I./Munich (the “darker” side of Spielberg), and this managed to somehow shock them into tweeting their disappointments. In reality, that type of trailer could have been predicted from 1858 and people went on and on about DDL’s voice (a hollow argument that makes no sense to me). This is the issue here: the fact that people were disappointed by something that, had they only thought a little bit more about the type of director Spielberg is and the type of actor DDL is, they could have seen coming.

    But as far as my personal interest in the film goes, others have said it before, like steve and Antoinette and rufus. I’m not interested in an American history course, but in a good story supported by meaningful visuals with little to no spoon-feeding, and the three-dimensional characterization of one of the most important American leaders to have lived so we can truly see how it must have felt to be in his position at that particular time, with those ideals.

    Like many, I hope that the movie blows me away. I’m just cautious enough to know that the chances of that happening are not the greatest, and I’m not interested enough in American politics to let cinematic shortcomings slide just because the story is important for today.

  53. unlikely hood

    Fair enough Rufus. I have seen Gettysburg and I still prefer Glory. The battle scenes in Gettysburg were often terrific, but a lot of the rest felt – over-mannered in that We’re Making a History Movie way. Glory is almost never like that (although I think Broderick was miscast).

    Rufus I don’t lump you in with kneejerk Spielberg “haters.” And as I said in the other thread, there IS good reason for skepticism based on SS’s previous films. I went over what was wrong with them, there. Not gonna repeat it here. I think you’re right about screenplay-formulas being over-calcified in Hollywood. I also think you’re right that Lincoln needs to work as a film, not as “hey, history!”

    What I will repeat – because it seems like this thread needs it – is that the racial and cultural biases will almost certainly be used as character issues. Rufus you felt that we never knew why Oskar Schindler did what he did. I felt that it was enough that the film went out its way to show us what a base, almost-bad man he was. Spielberg’s theme – you can see it in Jaws, Close Encounters, Minority Report – is “A base man can do a great thing.” We do need a LITTLE history to see why the thing was so great – that’s what we got in Hunger and in Schindler’s List and Munich. But what I’m saying is I don’t believe that Spielberg would be interested in making a Superman film, or let’s say a bio of Albert Schweizer or Martin Luther King. These people are secular saints, without enough problems. Spielberg is attracted to the complexity (before he sands it away, anyhow). So I think that’s what we’ll see with Lincoln – especially because Doris Kearns Goodwin had it in the book. Should be great.

  54. @ Nick Grape

    First, I am fond of Spielberg because thanks to him I loved Cinema, not his “radical fan”. second, there are a lot of people criticizing this trailer even without watching it (there are a lot that I know personally). I just say: at least have a little space in your heart for film that not released yet. maybe you’ll love it and call yourself idiot for underestimating it.

  55. you can criticize film that plays in theathers or according to critics’ , moviegoers’ reviews. You can even criticize trailer but not so radical until its release in somewhere. you haven’t seen it, you haven’t heard about it how can you know what it will be like. Just remember “The Shining” and its Razzie “adventures”.

  56. Yesterday one said: “too bad film isn’t historically accurate”. It is interesting where he saw finished film :)

  57. Nik Grape

    mecid, the point is rufus wasn’t bashing the trailer in that post, but explaining why he doesn’t like Spielberg’s films (among other things). You took all those paragraphs he wrote and summarized it with “maybe you just have a chip on your shoulder”. It’s funny is all.

    I hope the movie is a blast but no one can tell whether it will be this or that or the other (not even the most vocal Spielberg fans). We only have the trailer to go by and the trailer concentrates on sentimental fodder, a lazy John Williams score and some good acting. That’s all we have to go by so it’s normal that many of us are left a bit worried.

  58. I like how people try to tell me about myself as if I somehow lack any knowledge on the subject.

    But you really do.
    Are you French? Only French people can be so full of themselves.
    If so go and grab a copy of any of Les Cahiers du Cinema’s articles about Spielberg and you might find out you’ve been missing on a few things in your analysis of Spielberg “predictable skills”. Or read any interview of Truffaut talking about his love for Spielberg.

    And I would even called myself a Spielberg fan by the way. I haven’t seen any of his last films and I don’t know if I’ll see Lincoln. But denying his talent, his influence in American cinema, and reducing his work like you do very clearly indicates a lack of knowledge on the subject.

    It’s also quite funny that after your nonsensical rant about storytelling medium against visual medium you chose to talk about Hunger. You do know McQueen’s background and the genesis of the film, right? If not, you might need to have a look as well…

  59. rufussondheim

    I am not denying Spielberg’s talents. I have clearly stated that he’s got many of them. Had you taken the time to read my posts more carefully you’d understand that those aspects of filmmaking aren’t as important to me as other aspects of filmmaking.

    I am also well aware that Hunger is a very visual film. I never said visuals are unimportant, just that I value other aspects more. But Steve McQueen values character just as much if not more. In Hunger, though, much of this use of character is extremely subtle and he lets the audience fill in many of the blanks.

    One moment in the film stands out for me, when the guard is cleaning the urine-filled hallway he chooses to shove the waste under two doors. Only two, not all. What does this say about the guard? My interpretation is that particularly difficult prisoners are behind those two doors and he wants to punish them in some way. But why doesn’t he do it to all? I suspect because he’s got some compassion in him somewhere. (See my discussion of the battle of good and evil within all of us). And then when you extrapolate this realization across the entire film you can really get a sense of what this guard is thinking. What’s not stated in the film is that 12 (I think) prison personell were killed by the IRA over the time period of these protests. The one shown in the film is not an isolated incident. These guards risked their lives in this job. And they suffered constant fear (note how the film begins, checking for a car bomb) And this job must have been horriffic, not only the physical conditions of the waste everywhere, but partaking in savage acts on a regular basis. And he chooses to shove the urine back under only two doors. This, to me, was an incredible way to explore the character of this “anonymous” guard in a way that’s original, fresh, and, yes, exciting.

  60. Fuck the snarky people. I don’t even care anymore. I am a Spielberg fan and have been for a very long time, but i learned to stop fighting with people who only want him to fail. Why? I don’t understand. I am not a Tarantino fan or even Fincher or many others, but I don’t want them to fail. I just want to be entertained. I want to be inspired. And if that comes from a filmmaker I didn’t expect the better. Spielberg has inspired me and entertained me through his movies since I can remember and If that is not been “cool” fuck it. I don’t care. I leave all the coolness to Tarantino’s fan. Good for them. I wouldn’t change Spielberg’s filmography with Tarantino’s.

    And for all Spielberg’s fan out there… don’t worry about the critics, bloggers and any other idiot who is only out there trying to discredit Spielberg just to feel important.
    It’s sad, but a Spielberg movie will never live up to the expectation, especially to critics. We as fans know when Spielberg is at his best and when he’s not.

    Let’s just hope Lincoln will be one of his best… and we will know as soon as the credits roll.

  61. Julian Walker, the attitude of defense comes against those that had/have knives out for this project from the get go. You’re claiming that this kind of attitude is about defending it against ‘those who don’t give a shit’, if they don’t give a shit they wouldn’t go through the trouble of repeatedly debasing something no one has seen yet. This wasn’t met with apathy. What many are trying to do, at least for me, is defend the idea of going in with an open mind, not pre-decided one way or the other as many have decided it’s going to be schmaltz Oscar bait & others that it’ll be the film of the year. Not many seem to just want to let the film speak for itself. But then we live in a culture that has opinion spoon-fed to us by critics & bloggers & general opinion of the people involved long before watching things anyway, so maybe I’m arguing a futile position.

  62. Rufus

    There isn’t much for me to dispute or argue with in your response to my post. When I referred to screenplays I was referring to those screenplays which are produced and reach the public as a completed project. I’ve seen, and this is my opinion; so many films in the last two to three years where the biggest issue with the project was the screenplay. Where is was not fully realized or the director or the writer or the producer had no idea how to realize the concept. And I’ll use War Horse as an example. The biggest failing of War Horse was that the screenplay ran in too many different directions and became muddled which in turn muddled the end result. War Horse never found it’s voice. Munich on the other hand was not a film that I felt was muddled at all and that a great deal of attention was paid to that screenplay. The same can be said for Schindler and Purple. I think with a number of Speilburg films they find their voice and it echos loudly in a theater and with others it seems to miss a few steps and trip while moving up the staircase. Personally even Spielburg’s mediocre efforts are better than a vast majority of what is released.

    But for me I have to agree with you. First and of utmost importance is the screenplay, then the directing and then the acting. To me without a good director even the best performance can fall flat because the acting seems to be embellished without any reason hence the phrase “over the top”. Visuals, Costumes, Music, and Sound are like whipped cream on dessert. They serve to enhance our sense of visualization more than anything esle and any director worth the title director uses those tools to the enhance the project not deflect from the subject to hide the faults. Schindler was filmed in black and white except for that one child in the red coat and of course the credits. Brilliant use of technical to underscore the screenplay. Long Day’s Journey into Night is claustrophobic in it’s setting which underscores the main character’s [sorry can't remember the name of the character and not going to do a quick search] ineffectual ability to battle her own demons. The same thing works for Virginia Woolf. So I agree completely that those things don’t tell a story they, as they were designed to do; they either subtley support the concept or they compete with it. A good example of the technical achievements competing with the screenplay in my opinion is The Dark Knight Rises.

    I do believe there are people here and out there who just piss and moan simply because it feels good or they just like busting on someone. I don’t find that your commentary does that so I wasn’t really directing my comments to you personally. I read Sasha’s piece without reading many of the comments and just jotted down some of my own thoughts.

    I’ve seen some of the screenplay books and boy did you nail that one. They are for the most part trash and I don’t know how anyone learns anything from them but structure. They certainly don’t learn about content. I think most of them are written just to earn some one a few bucks.

    I just think based on Spielburg’s track record and how he deals with some issues that Lincoln could end up being one of his best films. But it’s all going to depend on the scrennplay. He’s got the best available to him when it comes to everything else. He’s got a cast and certainly has the technical talent available. Personally I’m hoping it’s one of his best and not because it’s Spielburg but because it’s about Lincoln.

    As for the Hunger Games I have reservations about the story but those are personal. I’ve seen it three times and will probably see it again and again. It works because the story works. It works because even thought I object to the theme of children killing children there is that glimmer of hope at the end. False redemption? I don’t know but it was smart and the end actually served the true character of Kat. The sceenplay for Hunger Games never fails the characters and the director and characters don’t fail the screenplay.

    Film and Theater are multi based art forms because they can unlike painting or music reach and enlighten the masses. Of course that depends on the subject. You may not need or require enlightening. But there is a vast group of the masses where a little enlightment won’t hurt them. How many of the masses really would sit down and read a bio about Vincent Van Gogh? Yet the Kirk Douglas film [sorry again old age is slapping me around] certainly gave a great many people insight into Van Gogh.

  63. rufussondheim

    Thanks, Nic, for the response.

    Just to be clear, I was referring to Hunger by Steve McQueen, not The Hunger Games (which I found to be strong for a blockbuster)

  64. I have said negative things about the trailer on here and IMDB (Matt) but I supposed relatively respectably. My main thing is that we have waited so long for this trailer (by design) and we have to take the info we can get from it. You can’t get a real sense of narrative arc of screenplay of character development of even directing probably, but you can get some things. You can get costume/make-up, since those are on display. You can also get, to a limited degree, acting. It may be unfair, but I believe I have examined details with some degree of minutiae. Now that may be putting too much thought into it, but it’s not a cheap criticism. Some things concern me as someone who has been plugging this movie for months amongst friends on facebook and elsewhere. I just really want it to be good, that’s where my concern comes from. I actually really liked War Horse. I saw it 3 times at the theatre and cried several times. I believe it was a genuinely heartfelt film that didn’t care about cynicism. I had well respected film friends who said “what was that? Best Picture of 1956?” And I thought, what’s wrong with that? I will stand by War Horse. I love how patient and understated it is (taking a contrarian view). I think it sets up those key scenes, Joey breaking through the line with the lights flaring, the 2 soldiers freeing Joey together, the reunion, with care. It’s patience then leads to some scenes that milk emotions without reserve the way movies used to do. It’s just that it earns those moments… okay, I go off on my War Horse tangent to say this. I am no Spielberg hater. I really hope Lincoln is great. I may think it is when no one else does. But yeah, I said some negative things about the trailer.

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