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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

Steven Spielberg Classics at the Aero Theatre! March 24 & 25, 2018

If you've gone to the movies any time in the past four decades then chances are you know the films of Steven Spielberg. The man created the first "Blockbuster" (Jaws), he has more films on the AFI "Must-See" list than any other director (five), and has two films in the top ten money making films of all time (Jaws and ET). And now at the age of 71, in a matter of a couple of weeks, the prolific filmmaker will release his latest film, Ready Player One.

In anticipation of the big screen adaptation of the bestseller, the American Cinematheque is presenting a weekend tribute to the cinematic genius. Included in the lineup are the legendary director’s sci-fi masterpieces Close Encounters of the Third Kind (in a beautiful 4K digital restoration) and E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, as well as his classic period drama based on Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-Winning novel, The Color Purple. For a full schedule of films and screening times you can use the image above as a link to the American Cinematheques official listing of the event.

Spielberg's 1977 masterpiece Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a thrilling, suspenseful speculation on the possibility of alien contact with mankind. Being a so-called Sci/Fi movie it was one of the most surprising blockbusters of the 1970s. Richard Dreyfuss (Oscar winner for The Goodbye Girl) does a terrific job of anchoring the film as an unhappily married "Everyman" who’s suddenly possessed (along with hundreds of others) with visions of a strange tower rising up. The film includes the most radiantly beautiful images in all of Spielberg’s career. With Francois Truffaut, Teri Garr, Melinda Dillon and Bob Balaban, this is a film the whole family will enjoy and remember the rest of their lives.

The Sunday matinee is of course, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. The 1982 production of a sweet friendship developed between a boy and a space alien is arguably Spielberg’s most popular film. It follows several children (including Henry Thomas and a very young Drew Barrymore) who shelter and try to help a stranded alien back home to the stars. The result is nothing less than magical and enchanting. Dee Wallace Stone and Peter Coyote play the adults in this very child oriented film.

If you still have the energy Sunday evening, stick around for a screening of The Color Purple. One of Spielberg’s first serious dramas, this uplifting adaptation of Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel garnered 11 Oscar nominations. Whoopi Goldberg stars in her film debut as Celie Harris-Johnson, a poor black woman in pre-WWII Georgia who suffers abuse at the hands of her brutal husband before eventually escaping to a new life. Featuring music by Quincy Jones (who co-produced the film), the box office hit also stars Danny Glover, Rae Dawn Chong, Laurence Fishburne and Oprah Winfrey.

If you haven't seen these Steven Spielberg films, or even if you have, I encourage you not to miss this opportunity to seem them again (or even better for the first time) on the big screen.

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