Friday, June 18, 2010

Movie of the Week

This week,

JAWS (1975)

Starring- Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw

As people start to head to the beach for the start of summer, I am here to make sure they are afraid to go into the water with a review of Steven Spielberg's classic shark tale. Based on the bestselling novel by Peter Benchley, Jaws is the story of a hungry little great white shark that chooses to make breakfast out of the residents of Amity Island. It is then up to an unlikely trio of heroes to hunt down the beast and make sure that it cannot return for many, many sequels.

Sheriff Brody (Scheider) is afraid of water, and that's even before a nubile coed gets gnawed by the shark, but after her death, he takes on the tough task of figuring out what to do to protect the beach goers of Amity. Despite little help from city officials, Brody does his best to be vigilant, especially after a little boy falls prey to the shark. Help arrives from Brody in the form of Matt Hooper (Dreyfuss), a marine biologist, who specializes in great white sharks. The two men finally determine that it is indeed a great white they are hunting, and go to kill it. It is then that they enlist the help of Quint (Shaw), the eccentric shark hunter, to help them find and destroy the shark in his boat the Orca.

So much of Jaws is now iconic, the score, the opening scene, the fact that we don't see the shark until more than halfway into the movie. Even though this film was incredibly difficult to film, and the mechanical sharks were very uncooperative, it stands out as one of the all time greats. The main characters of Brody, Hooper and Quint are now iconic as well, with their fabulous interactions on the boat as they track the shark. I think this film ranks among Spielberg's best, and it has appeal beyond just being a thriller. Jaws is an adventure story that makes you want to go along with Hooper, Quint and Brody. It also has some great comedic moments as well that are expertly balanced with the ever present tension.

Don't let Jaws ruin a summer trip to the beach for you, but do be careful if you are a sexy teenager or a little boy because to sharks you are like filet mignon.

Things to watch for-

Fingernails on the blackboard
Quint's shark monologue
John Williams' score
The mayor's anchor blazer
The Amity Billboard

"Here's to swimming with bow-legged women."

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