Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Bigger Boat

There is nothing better than seeing a classic film for the first time on the big screen. Seeing The Godfather in NYC at Film Forum is a seminal moment for me, and one of my most favorite memories of living in the City.

Tonight, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of its release, I saw a screening of Jaws at my local movie house. I was a film major, and yet I had never seen Jaws. I have seen clips, and stills, and heard all the stories. None of that prepared me for the film.

Everything that everyone says about it is true.This was Spielberg's second feature-length film, before he was "Spielberg", but some young kid fresh out of film school; his knack for directing is apparent. The effects are practical and real.

What I loved most was the feeling of sheer terror and amazement. It's a pretty well-known story that the mechanical shark did not work properly, causing Spielberg to instead show us the shark's view point as opposed to the shark itself. This is highly effective, so when you do see the shark it scares the crap out of you. However, the scene that really made me jump and literally spill popcorn all over me was the fisherman's head in the boat.

For being an unknown director, Spielberg was able to get some great actors. Perhaps at the time they were unknown, too, but trio of Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss is solid. Scheider is perfect in his role of the water-averse Chief Brody; Robert Shaw kills it as fisherman Quint and delivers one of the best monologues in film; and Richard Dreyfuss. Dang. I have a crush on 1974 Richard Dreyfuss with his curly hair, beard, glasses and denim jacket.

The music is classic. Everyone knows those notes. The score is truly a part of the film and adds to the terror. Music is fantastically important to a film, and this one gets it right in every way.

Jaws single-handedly created the summer blockbuster. It launched the long and fabulous career of Steven Spielberg (however, I sort of miss the Spielberg of old, when it seemed he was having fun making movies. I saw the preview for his latest film, with Tom Hanks, and worse than being underwhelmed, I didn't have any desire to see it). It lives up to the hype of being a classic.

Also, the movie is full of bikes. People are riding them all over this movie! The 70s were a pretty great time for bikes. 



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