One name that will be remembered is that of Steven Spielberg. As a famed Hollywood director, producer screenwriter, and founder of DreamWorks Studios, he is already a household name in America.
To date, his four decade career has included at least 29 films which he has personally directed, although he has collaborated on dozens more, many for which he received no credit. When one adds to this list the extensive number of television shows with which he has been associated, the level of professional output is simply mind-boggling.
His films have covered virtually every genre, including science-fiction (Close Encounters of the Third Kind, A.I. Artificial Intelligence), adventure (the Indiana Jones film series), humanistic issues such as the Holocaust (Schindler's List), the transatlantic slave trade (Amistad), war (Empire of the Sun, Saving Private Ryan, War Horse, and Bridge of Spies), and terrorism (Munich). He was well into his career before he won an Academy Award. He did not win an Oscar for Best Director until 1993, for Schindler's List. He then won again 1998 for Saving Private Ryan.
This despite the fact that three of Spielberg's film, Jaws (1975), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), and later, Jurassic Park (1993), all achieved box office records in their respective day. In fact, the first of these, Jaws, is usually credited with having single-handedly created the notion of a summer blockbuster. All together, the films Spielberg has directed have exceeded $9 billion worldwide, making him the highest-grossing director in history.
And yet, everyone must begin somewhere. Even mighty oaks always grow from the smallest of acorns. For Spielberg, this was the 1971 film Duel, based on a short story by acclaimed author Richard Matheson. This made for TV movie starred Dennis Weaver as a terrified motorist mysteriously stalked on a remote stretch of highway by the unseen driver of a tanker truck.
Many of the themes in this movie were later adapted and incorporated into the film for which he is best known. That film, Jaws, is based on the novel by Peter Benchley about a gigantic man-eating great white shark that begins menacing beachgoers on the beaches of a ficticious New England summer resort town, prompting the local police chief to hunt it with the help of an outside marine biologist and a local professional shark fisherman.
Although rated with four stars, Jaws was far from perfect. In fact, entire webpages are devoted to the voluminous number of errors detectable within the film. For example, the sequence of events as recorded on dates on police forms and wanted posters occur all out of order. As do the number of flotation barrels on the fishing boat, first with five, then with four, then with five again, etc…
In spite of these and numerous other blatant mistakes, the film succeeded wildly, striking a responsive chord with successive generations of audiences worldwide. In the process, it has left us with everything from cultural expressions (“You’re gonna need a bigger boat!”) to an increased knowledge of history (Quint’s amazing recounting of Japan's torpedoing of the USS Indianapolis after it had delivered the Hiroshima bomb to Tinian Island in World War Two, resulting in the greatest number of shark attacks in recorded history).
So, what is my point? Just this: one does not have to be completely perfect to make a difference. Yes, Spielberg made a few mistakes in the beginning; but with the passing of time, he honed his craft, and got better and better at it until even the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was forced to acknowledge what the public had long since known: the man is a genius at making movies!
Now, lets’ apply this. In the Bible, the Apostle Peter was far from perfect. He could be rash, impetuous, and even belligerent at times. He often spoke and acted before thinking. The proof of this is that he argued (with Jesus Christ Himself no less), he cut off a servant’s ear, and he even denied knowing Jesus, not just once, but three times, in the courtyard, even cursing and swearing in the process. Again I say - Peter was not perfect. Nowhere near!
And yet, he was destined to become the leader of the Apostles and the one person above all others that a great many people on our planet associate with Jesus Christ! How is this?
The twenty first chapter of the New Testament Gospel of John gives us the answer. Here, Jesus seeks Peter out, forgives him, reaffirms his calling, and reinstates him to the ministry he was destined later to fulfill.
Thereafter, Peter, who was far from perfect at the outset, begins to develop into the Apostle we now love and appreciate. He assumes confidence with each passing day and grows into the role for which he is known: the leader of the New Testament church.
And in so doing, he becomes an example and an encouragement to me - and probably you as well. None of us are prefect. We all make a few mistakes along the way; and some of those mistakes will dog us as life goes along. But that in no way should define us. In the end, our accomplishments will invariably outweigh our shortcomings. The key to victory, therefore, is to persevere - to keep on keeping on.
As the Apostle Paul said to the Christians at Galatia (6:9): “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Mr. Spielberg didn't give up. The Apostle Peter didn't. I don't plan to. And I hope you don't either!
SOURCE: The top ten Jaws movie mistakes are here: http://www.moviemistakes.com/film670/top10. An additional 271 are listed here: http://www.moviemistakes.com/film670. If you prefer to see the mistakes on video, then see also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fh8Lv4RZIn8.
SCRIPTURE SOURCE: http://biblehub.com/galatians/6-9.htm.
DIGGING A LITTLE DEEPER: Antonia Quirke has written an entry in the “BFI Modern Classics” series of books titled Jaws, in which she discusses at length the latent social themes delicately addressed in the movie. The book, published in London by the British Film Institute in 2002 will likely astound the reader by bringing out the myriad of subtleties addressed subconsciously by the film, giving one a new appreciation for the director’s art form in the process. Alas, it appears that Jaws is actually much more than just a horror movie! It is a biting commentary on our life and times. The book is available online and at many book retailers nationwide.