Jaws

With apologies to Jane and Rita

I’ll admit it, I was too scared to see this movie when it came out. My failure. Watching it for the first time over the Labor Day weekend made me cringe, not from fear, but from embarrassment.

All those seventies people on the beach. Bad clothes, bad haircuts. White bodies and nobody’s putting on sunscreen! Middle-aged guys run the town with smug complacency. There’s one outspoken woman at the town meeting, a motel owner worried about business, but she’s just irritating and they ignore her.

Otherwise it’s just wives and mothers, with a few teenage girls thrown in for titillation. The menfolk are out there doing what menfolk do:  protecting their wives and children from menace. The womenfolk mostly stand by and take orders; keeping the children in line doesn’t leave room for much else, except maybe a bit of fooling around when the tots are finally in bed.

Maybe if I’d seen “Jaws” thirty years ago, I’d have gotten a kick out of watching the set pieces again. Quint’s fingernails on the blackboard. Brody’s classic line (ad-libbed, apparently):  “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

Call me Ishmael, but I don’t understand what all the hype was about.

6 thoughts on “Jaws

  1. No worries… I still love it and love the scene when the three men are in the boat talking about their scars…

    Sent from my iPhone

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  2. Ishmael,

    Watch the movie again! 🙂

    This time focus your attention on the music.

    The riveting musical cue (for the shark’s appearance) prompted an appreciable portion of the buzz about the movie when it first hit the big screen.
    That cue created such suspense, audiences trembled in their seats. That particular riff still plays well all these years later.

    By the way, when I first saw the movie, I was sitting next to a muscle man (a la Schwarzenegger). After turning to me to tell me something, he looked back at the screen just as the shark (for the first time) came out of the water with mouth wide open. The sight so startled the guy that he jumped in his seat, while stifling a scream. 🙂 I’ll never forget that moment (and, of course, I’ve teased him mercilessly about it ever since.)

    Madly Moviegoing Madge

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      1. S-C-A-R-E-D!!!

        That’s how people felt, when watching the movie. And the suspense…..sitting there…..on tenterhooks….wondering just when the shark would appear again…that’s what contributed immensely to the movie’s popularity.

        Not surprisingly, both John Williams (the composer) and Steven Spielberg (the director) have talked about how they worked on the movie. Briefly, the director was having numerous problems with the mechanical shark. So, instead of always having to show it, Williams provided this memorable musical accent to indicate that somewhere…..out there in the water…..the shark was lurking about. Thus, the musical cue served to heighten anxiety (and anticipation) about the shark, even when it was actually NOT being seen on screen. (People’s imagination can definitely run away with them, given the right circumstances.)

        The movie played spectacularly well on people’s fear of the dark (the unknown).

        And Spielberg thus inaugurated his run of movie blockbusters.

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      2. I remember when the movie came out, and I’ll admit that I was too scared to see it when it was all fresh and new. Maybe you had to be there then. Thirty-five years on, it lacks, um, bite.

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