Thank sweet Baby Jesus, God, Allah, Yahweh, Buddha, Mohammed, Confuscius, and William Shatner for AMC today. They are showing all the Jaws movies in honor of the 4th of July. Of course, for a few decades now I've always indulged in the annual viewing of the original Big Shark Movie on the 4th. More than extreme barbecue and fireworks, it seemed the only tradition that made sense on this holiday. A classic tale of big honkin' shark against man, it holds up after more than 30 years for good storytelling and a lesson for filmmakers everywhere on how to save a movie when your mechanical shark does not work more than half the time. Good thing too for Spielberg, mere glimpses of the shark heightened the suspense all through the movie so during the big having-Robert-Shaw-for-dinner scene, it paid off handsomely (A lesson Ridley Scott used to up the icky ante in 1979's Alien). More than shark effects, the movie is filled with classic scenes but none so perfect as Robert Shaw's Quint talking about the sinking of the Indianapolis. The fact that he wasn't nominated for an Academy Award that year seems incomprehensible but there it is, another example of Hollywood ignorance. This is also one of the rare instances where I preferred the film over the book. Benchley's novel had the affair of Brody's wife with Hooper in the background of the story and so later on, Hooper being eaten by the shark was no loss to the reader because brilliant as he was, he still schtooped the protagonist's wife and therefore had to die. In the movie, they eliminated that subplot which proved to be a great choice as Richard Dreyfuss's Hooper is a wonderful combination of brainy bravado and comic relief.
Of course, for a second helping of Sharkapalooza, skip the remaining Jaws sequels and go right to the big popcorn and ultimate cheese experience of Deep Blue Sea. It's absolutely fabulous in its absurdity and isn't that what makes our country great?