I love Jaws. I rank it in my top 3 movies of all time (and it’s definitely the most watched). I watch it every year on the 4th of July. I make other people watch it, even if they aren’t interested. I’ll talk about it whenever I can. I’ve read four books about its production.¹ Inevitably, with a movie you’ve seen a lot, you lose sight of some of the details, cause you’re not always paying 100% attention. It could be a mean game of Yatzhee, having to grill up some dogs, a phone call, or your sobriety level, but you miss a scene here an there. The thing I love about Jaws is, no matter how much I’ve seen it, and how much information is locked away in some vault in my brain, every time I see it, I find something I have little or no recollection of ever having seen before.
Knowing I’d be stuck at work on the 4th this year, I threw Jaws on at 12:23 am, ensuring I’d get the screening done on the desired holiday. Over the years of watching it with others, people always want to talk to me about the little things they’d never noticed before. Everyone, EVERYONE, marvels over the shooting stars that go past Chief Brody, and then the Orca (see picture in my previous post). Yeah, allegedly they’re real, though the second one that goes by in the long shot of the boat does come off as a little fishy to me. But, someone will inevitably bring them up as though they were the first people to ever notice them. And that’s awesome. The movie was made so spot-on and with such attention to detail, that it’s easy to miss things viewing after viewing.
I had the chance to see it on the big screen for the first time at Pixar’s in-house theater last year, and suffice it to say, it was as badass as it sounds. What blows me away was that that screening couldn’t do for me what my early morning viewing did today. The theater is where you’d guess you’d notice the most little things. I’m not talking Harbor Master Frank Silva’s pipe. I’m talking the in-the-background stuff. This morning I happened to catch the reason Spielberg left the beach scene rolling during the closing credits. I almost bit my tongue with excitement. You can actually see Brody and Hooper swimming in from the sea, after surviving (spolier, I know), and start walking onto the shore just as the credits completely finish. Now, sure, you may be saying, “You’re a moron for not noticing that!” And I’ll agree. I am. But, man, it’s was so cool. It gave me a rush in the way that only a true piece of art can. Yeah, yeah, Jaws was the first “Summer Blockbuster.” Sure, it ruined movies forever. Tell me all about your foreign film collection later. Let me savor the moment here, reader.
Enjoy your 4th of July. Throw on Jaws. Sit back and have a beer. And don’t forget to toast to swimmin’ with bow-legged women.
¹ For more on Jaws check out these books. They all offer interesting perspectives and despite dealing with the same subject, are rarely redundant. Jaws (BFI Modern Classics) by Antonia Quirke is by far the most interesting and is a fantastic critical analysis. The rest go like this: Jaws (The Bloomsbury Movie Guide) by Nigel Andrews. The Jaws Log by Jaws screenwriter Carl Gottlieb is highly entertaining, but dubious in objectiveness. On Location… On Martha’s Vineyard by Edith Blake is a unique look from the perspective of a Martha’s vineyard resident.