Three indisputable masterpieces (among many) that carry, for me, specific memories of being thrilled, memories of time and place.
Two from Kubrick (a little strange, because I'm not all that nuts about the rest): Dr. Strangelove and 2001-- Dr. S., sitting around a tv in my Sister's appartment, and 2001, in a huge old wide screen theater with my Father.
And one that hit me in a way that nothing else has, before or since. I was glad I saw it in a theater, in the afternoon, alone, because I was emotionally destroyed: Schindler's List.
Well, your comparing apples and oranges here, I agree that Failsafe was a good movie, but Strangelove is an offbeat comedy, whereas Failsafe is a political horror movie. It's like saying Casino was better than "The Hangover". It was a better movie, sure, but then "The Hangover" was never really trying to be Casino in the first place.
Yea. This could easily be just a matter of taste, or maybe, even, of generation. But I would encourage you, Aspiring, to give Dr. Strangelove another chance. I am always a little amazed that George C. Scott could be so . . .funny. (I read that Mr. Kubrick had to trick Mr. Scott into this performance, saying that he probably wouldn't use it, but maybe try a little . . . more?) And I love that Mr. Kubrick gave Mr. Sellers, a world class comedian, this chance to shine. I do love me some Inspector Clouseu ("Does your daeug baht?" Lol), but here he gets to do so (so) much more. It's too bad that, say, John Candy (or even someone like Eddie Murphy) never got such a project. But, I get that it all might seem a little, maybe, sophomoric.
Yup. I like the good doctor, but I can see how Peter Sellers might seem, here, a little much. (But I trust Kubrick and Sellers) His other two characters, President Muffley, and Group Commander Mandrake, are, I think, great.
It's so hard to define a masterpiece. Such a subjective word. It's like trying to define quality. What is quality? There are a lot of films that come across as technically perfect and well acted but probably would not be considered masterpieces, or maybe the would. I don't know. It's really a matter of opinion. So, with that said, I'd say that I consider The Exorcist to be a Masterpiece. Also Sorcerer. Both directed by William Friedkin. Neither of these films were the product of chance or accident or "the planets aligning".. They were deliberate, well thought out, and executed as few films ever are. Neither film is lofty, so they won't win any art society awards, but in my opinion, both films make you forget you are watching a film. They pull you in, throw you off balance, then keep you engaged until the very last frame.
If you distill it down it's really just a piece (of art) by a master of their craft (filmmaking). Does that help? Do you consider Spielberg a master of his craft? Which of his films do you consider his best?