After seeing Transformers 3(which was entertaining, if a bit excessive) last night, this evening I had the opportunity to watch a different kind of movie altogether. The Princess Theater, in Prosser, show's a classic movie each month over the course of the summer. This months movie is one of the best movie's EVER: Jaws.
I LOVE Jaws. Along with Poltergeist, it was one of the first scary movies that I can remember seeing. Along with being scary, it happened to be about a shark, and there was a time as a kid when I was just as into sharks as my older daughter is currently into dinosaurs. I'm not exactly sure when it happened that I went from liking Jaws because it was scary and about sharks, to believing it is one of the defining pieces of American Cinema, but it did.
I'm not sure how many time I have seen Jaws...I haven't counted, but to try and pin a realistic non-hyperbole number on it...let's see...I mean, 4 times a year for 25 years would be 100 so......I would say it has to be AT LEAST 75 times. And yet, none of those times had ever been on anything other than a television. To have the opportunity to see it on the big screen? Too good to pass up.
First, a little press for The Princess Theater. It wasn't actually 'The Big Screen'..it was more of a 'slightly larger than medium screen'. Built back in the 1920's, The Princess Theater was originally THE PLACE to see live entertainment events(i.e. Vaudeville) in the Yakima Valley. Now, it is home to whatever they can fit in it...local high school shows, classic movies and community theater(as a total divergence here, in February, they are doing Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat...yours truly has some sole searching to do on the drive length, and some cojone growing to do, before February.) It's a cute little place.
Because the movie last night was actually a fun raising effort by the Valley Theater Company, there was a 'Social Hour' before the movie sponsored by one of the local wineries, AND the Whitstran Brewing Company. I would love to meet the sadistic bastard who decided to let me drink two beers half an hour before the movie started...it's a long movie.
One of my concerns about paying money just to watch a movie that I have probably already seen 100 times was that I was going to be wasting my money...that there was going to be nothing new about the experience. I had nothing to be concerned about...
Right off the bat, I noticed things...for the first time in a long time, I had to sit through the credits. Before the movie even started, I had my first shock...back in 1975, when Jaws was released, it was RATED PG!!!!! How did my whole generation not grow up to be raving ax-murderers?
Also during the credits, I had forgotten that the three lead actors were triple-billed...their names we all shown at the same time...supposedly it was that way because Speilberg wanted the Shark to be the star.
And all three actors deserve lead billing, for the movie's success belongs to 5 people: Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw, Steven Speilberg, and John Williams.
300 years from now, if John Williams is not spoken about in the same way that we speak of Mozart, then a grave injustice will have occured.
It's easy to sometimes poke fun at Speilberg, for doing things like digitally changing guns into walky-talkies in the re-release of some movies, but watching Jaws makes you realize what an All-Time Great he is.
It's Deputy Hendriks playing in the sand, whistle hanging from his mouth as Brody approaches the first body on the beach.
It's the younger son, Sean playing with his sand castle and singing 'Muffin Man' happily, while the guy in the yellow shirt is looking for his lost dog, and you know something bad is coming.
It's Hooper's eyes getting big when the medical examiner removes the little yellow tub containing the remains of the first victim from the fridge, and then take a few deep breathes to mellow out before doing his job.
It's Robert Shaw dragging his fingers down the chalkboard, then munching on that little cracker and telling the folks he can solve their problem, for 'Ten Thousand Dollars for me by myself'.
It's the sleezy mayor, who was doing what he felt was best for the town(in the book he has his own greedy reasons for keeping the beach open), trying to explain to Brody that 'My kids were on that beach too' after the final attack.
It's Quint giving Hooper the run around, and Hooper snapping that 'He doesn't need this working class hero crap!' Two actors at their finest.
Yes, it's 'Your gonna need a bigger boat'.
Finally, it's the way a drunk and giggling like a school girl Hooper instantly sobers up when Quint smiles sadly and says, 'That Mr. Hooper, is the U.S.S. Indianappolis'...and the magical 4 minutes that follow. I wanted to post a youtube video of the scene, but couldn't find one that wasn't jacked up. It doesn't matter...if you have seen it once, it's always with you...
In retrospect, it BLOWS MY MIND that none of the three actors were nominated for and Academy Award OR even a Golden Globe for Jaws. Quint is one of THE BEST characters ever put on film, and Hooper is close. Brody is the weak link of the three, not because Roy is a bad actor, but because Brody is REAL. The other two get to be a little over the top, but Chief Brody is Every Man.
I enjoyed Transformers 3 the other night...but I could never sit through it 75-100 times. I might watch a few of the battle scenes that many times on youtube, but I would puncture my own ear drums and gouge out my own eyes if I had to the scenes in between the fighting with Shia and Rosie(well, maybe not gouge out my eyes...she is awfully attractive).
I'm sure I'm good for at least another hundred viewings of Jaws.