Tag Archives: Peter Benchley

The Set of 400: #7 – My Favorite Bad Hat, Harry

Today! Because after all, Amity means friendship –

Jaws (1975)

Directed by Steven Spielberg (x12)

Starring Roy Scheider (x2), Richard Dreyfuss (x3), Robert Shaw (x2), Murray Hamilton (x4), Lorraine Gary (x3), Susan Backlinie (x2), Carl Gottlieb (x4), Jeffrey Kramer (x3), Lee Fierro, Peter Benchley

What can I say? Some of my favorite movies are everyone’s favorite movies. I’m not above such a thing. My go-to 4th of July movie forever, Jaws was another household staple growing up, which seems a bit off as an adult, given its generally terrifying plot, but as a kid it was more a bunch of fun shouting and running on the beach. Plus, as mentioned way back in #353 Jaws 2, we used to watch both movies together pretty often – to the point that some details from one bleed into the other – and the sequel is decidedly kid friendly, even with the higher body count and more visibly menacing shark. All of those cool, wise-cracking teens!

Sure, they aren’t distinct characters, but they are having so much teenage fun before they start getting eaten!

I more like to believe that the original movie is so great it actually transcends age barriers and in-depth understanding. While watching it as an adult is a complete cinematic experience, with tremendous performances and incredible tension, the more childlike manner of viewing a film works too. Take Jaws apart and reassemble it in any order and it still delivers pretty solidly. The driving narrative almost doesn’t matter. One scene you’ve got Quint scratching a chalkboard and dealing with the stuffy town leaders, then you’ve got the shark eating him, then Hooper joking that all the guys on that overloaded boat are gonna die, then Brody making faces with his kid, then that girl gets pulled under by the unseen monster to open the film – any order, all the scenes are entertaining. Yes, even Mrs. Kintner losing her shit all over Brody.

Hooper seems weirdly surprised by her reaction

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