Saturday, June 20, 2015

Quote of the Day (John Moe, on The 'Jaws' Shark Confiding to His Diary)

April 7: So this is the journal I’m supposed to be writing, as prescribed by my latest therapist. I hope it helps, but I have to be honest, I doubt it will. I WANT TO STOP EATING EVERYONE! That’s it! That’s all I want! I’ve been through, what, five therapists? And I’ve eaten three of them. I can’t form any meaningful relationships with anyone, because sooner or later, CHOMP. It’s got to stop. I’m nervous because summer is coming up. Maybe this summer will be different.” —  John Moe, “My Diary: By Bruce, The Shark in Jaws,” Reader’s Digest, July 2014

Dare I say it? Okay. Bruce, this summer won’t be different. In fact, it will be more of the same—and then some.

Because today, it's the 40th anniversary of the premiere of Jaws, the film that definitively put Steven Spielberg on the map as a commercial director and Hollywood powerhouse. If they’re not playing the movie on TV all across the country, Bruce, you’ll be reading reminders like this, of how Jaws all but created the summer movie blockbuster, forcing just about every serious movie back to the fall (or, even worse, bunched together in the week between Christmas and New Year’s, under the theory that Oscar voters have perilously short memories).

You are also responsible, Bruce, not just for discouraging two generations of skittish swimmers from going near the ocean, but also for one of the highlights of the Saturday Night Live 40th anniversary special earlier this year: lounge singer Nick Ocean (a.k.a. Bill Murray) performing “Love Theme from Jaws.” Take a bow.

Er—better yet, maybe not…(The waves might create too much tumult underwater.)

Of all the oceans of ink spilled over the movie in the past 40 years, the most interesting tidbit may have come from Spielberg on the 20th anniversary. If he were to recast the principal roles today, the director said then, he would have picked Jim Carrey to take over Richard Dreyfuss' role as outspoken young marine biologist Matt Hooper, "and I would sit on him"--a rather graphic demonstration of the actor's potential and incipient hamminess that needs to be squelched.

Perhaps the need to be taken seriously--to satisfy the Spielbergs of the world--accounts for why Carrey has pursued one serious (or, at least, serio-comic) role after another in the past two decades, to increasingly diminishing box-office returns.

Even more interesting facts about the movie (including that Spielberg was almost fired for shooting too slowly) can be found in this post from the “Single-Minded Movie Blog.

That should give you lots to chomp—I mean chew!—on, Bruce.

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