Saturday, August 21, 2010

"Jaws" The Best Movie Ever Made



It never fails, every summer when it’s freaking miserable in the AZ desert, I get in the mood for something that is the opposite of this hellhole; the ocean. The swimming pool water is 92 and the nighttime low is the same temperature. The water coming out of the shower and sink is warm on the coldest setting. Even with the air-conditioner and fan on, I can’t seem to feel cool. Sometimes, to sleep well, I spray myself with a water bottle and let the fan cool me off. It works for all of 5 minutes.

That being said, it’s this time of year I reach for “Jaws” on DVD and pop it in and turn down the lights, turn up the fan, and spray myself a few times for good measure while I have a cold brew and watch the movie I consider to be the finest movie ever made.

Here’s some of the reasons I adore “Jaws.”

1. Primal fear. Swimmers always have the knowledge that as they cut through that murky water, they have no freaking idea what’s watching them and waiting. We’re in their territory and they are master predators and we are blind and utterly helpless.

2. Chief Brody. There’s nothing like the sheriff of an island community who is afraid of water. His desire to move his family to a safe quiet community away from the dangerous city sounded good in theory, but the stalker on an island is the shark that circles it….

3. Matt Hooper. You have to love a young upstart shark expert with lots of fun gear and gadgets and a kind of hero worship like a psychologist fascinated with serial killers. He’s eager, enthusiastic and seriously naïve.

4. Soundtrack. Freaking brilliant, just a couple notes on a tuba. Who’d have thunk it? It appears that the sawing sound of the tuba sounded like a water predator and it does! Brilliant!

5. Conflict. The island needs its summer visitors and dead bodies washing up on the beach is not good for business. Sheriff wants to protect people (they’re funny that way, oath and all…) Locals hoping to make some cash on bagging the shark. Just about the perfect storm for a fast-paced plot.

6. Quint. Honestly, my very favorite character in any movie EVER. A fisherman who continues to ride the ocean in spite of tackling sharks in some of the most heinous ways possible. It’s a personal vendetta for him and this shark hunt is the pinnacle of his obsession.

7. Effects. It’s hard to believe this was the mid 70s. The shark effects were so impressive. All I can say is, thankfully there was no CGI then.

8. Cinematography. The filming of the movie was fascinating from the beginning scene of the woman being attacked as she skinny dipped to the above the boat view of the shark making their craft look quite dwarf-like. Each scene was really thought out for the most dramatic effect including when Chief Brody was sitting on the beach and realized someone was getting eaten by a shark and a kind of Alfred Hitchcock rush of the camera on him showed the chaotic feelings as he tried to absorb the shock.

9. Tension. There was plenty of tension throughout the movie and sometimes it was played out wonderfully like when the mother of the dead child slapped the Chief and the men inside the boat went from having a fun time singing sea ditties to realizing they were being rammed by a shark.

10. Humor. Comedic relief is important. When the Chief and his son are sitting at the table and the boy mimics his father, it is adorable. When the men are in the boat comparing scars as they get drunk, it was endearing. This movie had a great balance of tension to humor.

11. Ending. Some directors really don’t get how to end a movie. They either think they need to set up a sequel or they make it super happy and tidy. It’s like sex; you have to know when to climax before you begin to become an unwelcome guest that stayed too long. The scene where Brody and Hooper are paddling towards the island was the perfect irony. You don’t need to see a hero’s welcome. You don’t need to see Brody blow up the shark and yell. You need a sense they’ll make it but leave us on that happy “it’s great to be alive” note as they laugh and kick in the water.

Every summer I’ll watch it. I’ll probably be 90 years old and my great-grandkids will think it’s hilarious, but it will always be my summer pleasure, along with skinny dipping, barbecuing and popsicles…

24 comments:

  1. Quint is the movie woman !
    Never forget that !
    LOL !

    I just watched that thing on Netflix
    a week ago , and I still get a fucking kick out of it .

    Funniest Jaws movie out of the bunch was Jaws 3D.
    I had seen that damn thing in the movie theaters ,and had gotten a major headache , but laughed my ass off over the lame ass story,
    and the plastic toy shark moving in the water .
    Second hilarious one was Jaws the Revenge.
    A shark hunting the whole Brody family down in the Bahamas ...oh ..OKAY !
    Silly ass movies !

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  2. wow...i haven't watched that in years. i should get a copy and watch it again. i'm hearin' ya about this damn weather. our water is warm too. thank god my pool is in the shade and the water stays cool or i would have totally lost my mind by now. plus, we have high humidity which makes it even worse. this is the hottest summer on record here and no let up in sight. ugh!!!

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  3. Max;
    We totally jive on the Jaws series and, yeah, I saw #3 in 3D too. That was so wickedly bad! I have had a crush on Quint ever since that movie came out. I even did a post once on the bad boys of horror movies and he was one of the hotties.

    Joyce;
    The weather sucks big-time. Our summer was later in coming but that just means our late August is miserable!

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  4. I get the whole primal fear thing. When I lived in San Juan, PR, I loved swimming in the ocean, but the waters on the Atlantic side are more turbid, so it's hard to see what's swimming around you. Sometimes I would feel a fish brush past me and wonder how far close to shore do Caribbean Reef Sharks come. After I got stung by a jellyfish, I stuck to the pool for a while. LOL!

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  5. Cullan; I get ya. I grew up on the Chesapeake and only had to deal with jellyfish but no waves. When I moved to Redondo Beach, the waves intimidated me, but there were no jellyfish. When I went to Hawaii, you could walk out in the water almost a mile out and it's shallow and clear and you can see every fish. I almost didn't like being able to see the fish because I realized how populated it is where we swim. I don't think there's any winning. I'll take a lake, stream or pool any day. That movie changed me forever....

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  6. I love Jaws both the book and the movie. But, I still have to give a hat tip to The Shining.

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  7. oh yeah, jaws was another movie that freaked me out! my brother and i were always at the beach body surfing and after that movie, i didn't go in the water for awhile. and when i did go back i was constantly looking around me. swimming in the ocean has never been the same. awesome movie!

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  8. I often visit Universal Studios take a Jaw ride and sadly watch the Jaws display.

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  9. Echo;
    I used to live in Redondo and every freaking friend and family member had to visit and go to Universal. I know the whole tour by heart. Yeah, loved when the tram would tilt you towards the shark. The Japanese tourists would scream and click off pictures and I would laugh cause someone had thrown a styrofoam cup in his mouth....

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  10. I love Jaws. I've read the book and seen all the movies. The original is the best and the reason I never learned to swim.

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  11. Mejis;
    If a story is truly good, it should change your life. Don't think the beach communities appreciated that change, however. I remember going to New England the summer that came out and they had nets around the areas where you're allowed to swim shark-free and I thought--no freaking way! Jaws can easily bite through that sissy netting.

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  12. Forgive me, Sha', not to hijack the thread, but, like, uhm, whadaya say t' this insanity? ~ An'

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  13. Bror;
    Guess I'm getting the hell out of here sooner than planned. Hee hee

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  14. Right? Well, besidse my getting over my initial what-dah-fuckness (LOL!) you do know that you'll always have a new point of operations here

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  15. Honestly, Bror, that was my first pic of a place for my great escape, but I have decided to stay near my son and he will be here about 3 more years and then off to Portland, Oregon which is one of my favorite places in the world, so I don't mind. However, a trip to your mountain might be just the thing for a getaway, dear brother.

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  16. Ok, considering I live in SC, and the beach is only 2-3 hours away depending on what beach you want to go to; I have to say this. I was an adult before I actually saw the first Jaws. I've never been afraid of the ocean or water...my Dad said the first time he took me to the beach, they plopped me down on the sand and I took off running straight to the water!

    My favorite past time is going out as deep as I can to catch the big waves - not to surf, just to ride them waaaay up in the air...but if you come in just a little, you risk getting your ass knocked down! My ex-hubby always thought I was nuts, but he came along out there with me anyway! Fun memories. Never once even thought about a shark!

    By the way...the largest Tiger Shark ever caught was in Cherry Grove....this is just a piece down the road from North Myrtle Beach where we normally go!

    NOW THAT'S A SCARY THOUGHT!!!

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  17. Tara;
    A fearless water sprite--I like that! Truly, you're more at risk of a creepy dude on the beach trying to pick you up than a shark attack, but at least you can knee the one on the beach in the groin.

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  18. I used to watch Jaws at my buddy's house all the time. They had a VHS player when nobody else did and they had one movie that we were able to watch - Jaws. It never gets old.

    Who is up for a midnight swim?

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  19. Pangs;
    I take a midnight skinnydip every night-but it's in a chlorinated pool. I'm not stupid. Well, I guess you're not too old, Pangs, cause you could have said you used to listen to it on the radio show with the family crowded around in the den, so we know you are part of the video generation....

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  20. Every time that music started, I would squirm in my seat and run for the bathroom. What a chicken! I still have a fear of sharks and swimming in the ocean.

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  21. Julie;
    You know, I actually got a fear of being in small boats too and I adore boats so that kind of sucked. I got over it in time, but the ocean still kind of freaks me out. I look at the innocent people splashing in the ocean and wonder when the water will begin to turn red....

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  22. Midnight swim??? Pangs...HELL NO! I will not go into the ocean in the evening...that's when the sharks feed! Screw that! I love the water, but I'm not willing to be an appetizer for a shark! Let me take that back, I'm a little too much for an appetizer, I'm more of a main course! LOL HA! I KILL ME!

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  23. I once made the mistake of viewing overhead photos of the beach where my mother lives.

    I still get in the water. I just can't help myself.

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