Jaws. We're gonna need a bigger blog. Was just the 4th of July and this is the best 4th of July movie so watched that shit. What can you say? Steven Spielberg's first real movie. The movie that made everyone terrified of sharks, unjustly. Eventually made "Shark Week" possible. It tells a story as old as time. Man and beast are separated for 1,000s of years by a natural line. Man crosses that line. Man is eaten by beast. It's the same formula we get for slashers like Halloween and Friday the 13th and action movies like The Terminator. Hell, Alien marketed itself as Jaws in space. Unthinking, solely focused killing machines (not that that is how sharks really are). Easily the best creature feature of all time, it's also the best Fourth of July movie of all time. I watch it nearly every year around this time. Conservatively this was my 15thish viewing going back to when I was like one. Still love that shit. Greatest movie of all time.
Rotten Tomato Consensus: Compelling, well-crafted storytelling and a judicious sense of terror ensure Steven Spielberg's Jaws has remained a benchmark in the art of delivering modern blockbuster thrills.
Pros: Extremely engrossing. Pretty F-ing scary. Super tense, even after many viewings. Some unexpected humor. Great characters. Legitimately one of the greatest movies of all time. From the moment they get on the boat the movie is perfect.
Cons: Unjustly soured everyone on sharks. They can kill you, of course, but want nothing to do with you. Like more people are killed by falling coconuts every year than shark attacks.
Here's to swimming with bowlegged women. Gist, which you should really know at this point, is that the police chief of a small beach/island town, a shark expert, and an old fisherman hunt down and kill a man-eating great white shark on the fishing boat "Orca". The three main guys are Richard Dreyfuss who plays marine biologist Hooper, Roy Scheider playing Police Chief Brody, and Robert Shaw who played the salty old fisherman Quint. How none of them nor Spielberg got nominated for an Oscar is insane. Only other people really worth mentioning are Murray Hamilton as Larry Vaughn, Mayor of Amity Island, and Lorraine Gary as Brody's wife, Ellen. Hamilton is a great asshole while Gary is a perfect motherly type. She is totally great in this. The film is based on Peter Benchley's 1974 novel of the same name. In the end this was a huge regret of his. He didn't realize there was no such thing as a rogue shark that develops a taste for human flesh. I mean, who among us would. Later saying, "No one appreciates how vulnerable they are to destruction." Yeah, sharks get a raw deal and will probably go extinct in my lifetime. That's a huge bummer. Anyway, this movie redefined the way movies are shown. They used to have movie play in like 12-18 theaters and then it would expand/move. This opened up in 400+ theaters so that basically everyone could drive to a theater and go see. Thus was born the summer blockbuster.
|That's the one|
|Directed at Quint but the sentiment is the same|
|Quint, total maniac|
Bunch of scenes really stick with you. That opening where they basically waterboard and whiplash a naked woman around with a mechanical god only knows what is a truly great and horrifying way to open a movie. Doesn't waste much time getting fucking brutal. Really starts in the next scene when Brody and the idiot that was too wasted to take his pants off find the dead girl stand there looking at what is left of her with Brody holding her purse and clothes. It is a pretty nice and powerful touch. We later see her remains fit in a small tub which causes Hooper to just about upchuck throughout his examination. Another super fucking brutal scene is after the Kitner boy gets eaten and Ms. Kitner stands at the bloody shoreline looking for her dead kid. She is panicked and desperately looking around when she sees his inflatable floaty thing he was swimming around with wash up to shore, torn to shreds. The last just completely brutal scene comes when Quint slides down the boat straight into the shark's mouth and gets chewed up like chewing gum. The shark looks not super real but you don't really pay attention to that because Robert Shaw sells the fucking shit out of it. This is how you would act to getting turned into chum, for sure. And this movie is rated PG by the way. Nudity, an eaten kid, a dude that gets chomped to death for 20 or so seconds whilst screaming. Totes cool for the kiddos.
|Also featuring debilitating grief|
MVP of the flick, no surprise, is Spielberg, who is like uber famous after this film comes out and goes on to do some of the highest grossing movies of all time. Of course, Jaws, at the time its release, became the highest-grossing film of all time, keeping the title for one year until Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope came out. The franchise would beat itself out six years later with Episode VI - Return of the Jedi but Spielberg would take the title back with E.T. in 1983 which he would surpass with Jurassic Park in 1993 (FYI, currently, Avatar holds top grossing honors). I mean his movies are basically all beloved classics (with a few exceptions) including the four (or at least three) Raiders movies, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Schindler's List (a total bummer of a movie), Saving Private Ryan, Munich (one of my personal faves), and like shit ton of other movies that people fucking love that make stupid bank. And none of this would be possible, probably, without Jaws. Arguable one of the greatest movies of all-time. No shit.