“This movie made my heart glad. It is filled with innocence, hope, and good cheer. It is also wickedly funny and exciting as hell. E.T.—The Extra-Terrestrial is a movie likeThe Wizard of Oz, that you can grow up with and grow old with, and it won’t let you down. It tells a story about friendship and love. Some people are a little baffled when they hear it described: It’s about a relationship between a little boy and a creature from outer space that becomes his best friend. That makes it sound like a cross between The Thing and National Velvet. It works as science fiction, it’s sometimes as scary as a monster movie, and at the end, when the lights go up, there’s not a dry eye in the house.”
“Every once in a while I have what I think of as an out-of-the-body experience at a movie. When the ESP people use a phrase like that, they’re referring to the sensation of the mind actually leaving the body and spiriting itself off to China or Peoria or a galaxy far, far away. When I use the phrase, I simply mean that my imagination has forgotten it is actually present in a movie theater and thinks it’s up there on the screen. In a curious sense, the events in the movie seem real, and I seem to be a part of them.
Star Wars works like that. My list of other out-of-the-body films is a short and odd one, ranging from the artistry of Bonnie and Clyde or Cries and Whispers to the slick commercialism of Jaws and the brutal strength of Taxi Driver. On whatever level (sometimes I’m not at all sure) they engage me so immediately and powerfully that I lose my detachment, my analytical reserve. The movie’s happening, and it’s happening to me.”
He wasn’t so fond of other movies, though:
“Battlefield Earth is like taking a bus trip with someone who has needed a bath for a long time. It’s not merely bad; it’s unpleasant in a hostile way.”
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen:
“If you want to save yourself the ticket price, go into the kitchen, cue up a male choir singing the music of hell, and get a kid to start banging pots and pans together. Then close your eyes and use your imagination.”