The local San Jose press was aghast, furious. The outrage was unbelievable. It was as if Saratoga had just been accused of crimes against humanity, linked now indelibly to the pain and crimes depicted in Schindler 's List . It was as if my little suburb had been condemned to Germanic war guilt.
The truly funny thing, however, was that pressure from local San Joseans, including pained articles interviewing Spielberg's high school peers in order to recreate the atmosphere of late-1960s Saratoga, revealed that Spielberg had lied. He'd been teased, neglected, called a twerp and worse according to the articles -- but never for being a Jew. Saratogans didn't even know or care what a Jew was. They were hicks who'd lucked out on the real estate wheel, that's it. So Spielberg had lied about his own private Holocaust. He invented his own pain he'd never felt, cynically exploiting both the real Holocaust by linking his false pain to that event's real horrors, while flat-out slandering a city just so that a few pesky critics wouldn't bother him with profound questions about what right he had making that film.
When the truth about Spielberg's miserable, dorky, total anti-Semitism-free adolescence was revealed, it was almost too horrible to contemplate. Now they understood by what right Spielberg had to nominate himself worthy of making a Holocaust movie: a perfect blend of pure cynicism and total self-unawareness. At that point, Spielberg's fans were too shocked to even explore what that said about the man, or the movie. The movie was out. If it was made by someone willing to exploit the Holocaust just to shut up a critic or two, what did that mean about Schindler 's List ? Drop it.
It's times like these that I say to myself, "I'm the guy who gets called the nihilist?! I'm the cynic?! And he's the mainstream guy, the good guy?!"
So Spielberg had an eventless youth, both externally and emotionally, and a seamless rise to success and fame that was pre-ordained. And a complete absence of the kind of pain that makes an artist so self-aware. After twenty years up at the pinnacle of success, Spielberg has finally become aware -- of some vague, nagging pain and dissatisfaction. His vanity.
See, Spielberg knows that he is not profound, that he doesn't have a single mind-fucking thought or emotion in his body. He cannot scramble the insides of his readers' souls like David Lynch or Martin Scorcese, he can only entertain their eyes. Which is impressive in itself, if only he'd stuck to making gory movies about extremely large predators chasing defenseless humans. From his throne, Spielberg saw that he was excluded from the true kingdom of talent, a kingdom beyond formula: Lynch, Scorsese, Coen Brothers, Kubrick. This is the source both of the pain he is feeling late in his career, and it explains the growing idiocy and desperation of his choices of high-art film projects, each increasingly over his happy golden retriever head.
Which brings us to Minority Report. Every single thing about this movie is wrong. First, in the original, Dick's hero is a fat, self-loathing, lonely failure interested, with what little energy he has left, in getting at the truth for truth's sake. Not a family man avenging his son's death. One cannot possibly read Dick and put Tom Cruise in the role -- it's just impossible. The story it's based on, and the aesthetic of Dick, the most profound of all American writers, is already destroyed just by the appearance of that gay porn hero.
In Spielberg's 13-year-old mind, Dick is a sci-fi writer. But in reality, no one better recorded the bland, terrifying horror of late 20th century California than Dick. The sci-fi stuff was just a gimmick, and he didn't even hide that fact. Spielberg, instead of using all the Hollywood money and power at his disposal to create a less commercial film truer to Dick's vision, instead packs it with all the soulless Hollywoodness he can, gazillions of dollars in overrated special effects which, if you ask me, get shittier and shittier the more these people play around with their digital animation.