Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) *-rewatch
Heavenly. I already loved it to death on first watch, although even then I had felt a sense of "slowness" from it. Usually back then that slowness might make it lesser for me, but somehow it was still immersive and compelling even to my impatient teenage eyes. This supremely satisfying rewatch clarifies it: even though the spectacle Steven Spielberg has conjured up is of the highest awe-inspiring, goosebump-raising order, the patient build-ups in between transcend it. Those dramatic interludes, often of the panic desperation or the dark turmoil of family disintegration (almost as harrowing as Stewart's breakdown in It's a Wonderful Life), give those special effect scenes some serious heft.
As the film's characters often said, "This means something". There is pain and struggle in our reach to understand life beyond this world. What lies beyond our human consciousness can hurt or confuse us. But the understanding and meaning we glean from it just might be too invaluable, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. That the film recognizes the weight of that "something", and makes it a struggle for these characters to reach there, imbues the film with a deeply felt sense of mournful regret and yearning. The film has dazzling awe in spades, but the bittersweet humanity underlying all of this makes it feel almost as life-changing to us as it must feel to the characters. 10/10
I previously held Schindler's List as my favorite Spielberg, and I still had to rewatch that one, but I loved CEOTTK even more this time that this just might surpass it.