“Jaws is a horrible movie” said nobody ever… except for this one guy

I fear that we are in trouble as a people… for this younger generation has clearly lost their minds.

This one gentleman in particular, in his early thirties, frequents my bar during happy hour from time to time.  He comes in after a hard day’s work to have a beer and a burger and shoot the shit about sports, women, life and particularly movies.  He fancies himself a movie buff albeit with some questionable taste.  Note: I have as of yet forgiven him for never having seen High Fidelity.  It’s far from the greatest film of all time.  I just happen to really like it.

His most recent review, however, was one that may warrant the ultimate questioning of his sensibilities.  The other day, he dropped a line that should have his film-watching privileges forever revoked, like that one Twilight Zone episode where Burgess Meredith drops his glasses and becomes doomed to never read another book again.

That should be this guy.  Movie-less until…

In another random discussion about what he’s seen lately, he actually uttered the words “Jaws is a horrible movie.”

I just couldn’t.  I had to walk away.

It was as if the needle had scratched on the jukebox, leading to silence and awkward glances in his direction from all those listening in.  Spoons clanked in empty soup bowls, people stopped what they were doing and looked on in amazement.  How could anyone in their right mind think Jaws isn’t of one of the greatest films of all-time?  All the more upsetting, how could anyone have such bad taste?

Perhaps I’m biased.  I was raised on Jaws.  When my aunt Priscilla took me to see it in the movie theater back in the mid-1970s (I was six), I had my head buried in her lap the entire time, only to look up once to see Robert Shaw spitting up blood as he was eaten by giant shark.

I didn’t glance at the screen again until the credits rolled.  The scene was that jarring and only one of multiple, memorable scenes in the production.  That early fright didn’t stop me for later appreciating what is inarguably one of the finest movies ever made, or so I thought until I ran into Film Critic X.

As far as films goes, Jaws is perfectly cast, brilliantly acted and outstandingly directed.  It was one of Steven Spielberg’s first films.  Perhaps you’ve heard of him.  And then there’s the score by a guy named John Williams.

Jaws is the reason that 40 years later, beachgoers are still afraid to go swimming.  The tagline “Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water” still resonates.  It was once the highest-grossing film of all-time, that is until all those Star Wars movies came about.  It is billed as the first ever summer blockbuster and the first film to gross over $100 million.  It features one of the most notable film scores of all-time, for which Williams won an Academy Award.  Think about it.  During some scenes, all you see is a camera shot looking into the ocean but Williams and Spielberg make you see so much more.  It’s one of those films where everything comes together, script, casting and score to make a near perfect film.  Even the movie poster kicks ass.

I’ve seen this film fifty times and not once have I ever thought Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfus weren’t out at sea hunting down a man-eating, great white.  Jaws might be those three men’s best acting performances all in one fell swoop which is ironic since it may be the best boat movie, shark movie and horror movie of all time.  Jaws a horrible movie?!?  I mean, you might not like it… but a horrible movie?  What the hell is this guy thinking?

Sure, forty some odd years later, there are scenes where the shark might look a touch unrealistic.  It was a mechanical shark built over forty years ago long before anyone had ever strung together the letters CGI, never mind invented it.  But that doesn’t change the fact that this film remains one of the best movies ever.

There hasn’t been a shark movie or heck, even a boat movie since that beats what Jaws brought to the table and yes that includes your precious little Titanic.  King of the world, my ass.  To that I say, here’s to swimmin’ with bowl-legged women.

If you haven’t seen Jaws, do yourself a favor and watch it.  If you have seen Jaws, do yourself a favor and watch it again.

And then go for a swim afterwards.  I dare you.

26 thoughts on ““Jaws is a horrible movie” said nobody ever… except for this one guy

  1. Not to worry, D. I won’t make a habit of it.

    I’ll have another post up soon enough that will have us engaged again in healthy debate.

    Enjoy the Sunday football, brother.

  2. Well written Chris– and very true. BTW I failed to mention that I worked for Dreyfuss on a few productions– great guy and great stories. I’ll share next time when down Tampa way.

    Ronan

  3. Jaws a horrible movie? How many beers did this guy down before blurting that nonsense out?! Jaws is one of the greatest cinematic horror story ever told. Just these simple musical notes alone (dun dun… dun dun) has sent chills down people’s spine for over four decades. I just don’t get these youngins today.

  4. You can’t fix stupid.

    I’ll add in another pop culture reference to sum up Mr. Jaws sucks….

    “We’re gonna need a bigger rope”

  5. Great post SC & of course I agree with you 110%! (Although I WAS upset that your Aunt Pris took you to see that scary movie w/out your Moms permission…)

    That guy either needs to drink more…OR be banned from service until he apologizes & sees the light. Maybe he works at the aquarium?

    Great post (& you didn’t even credit Martha’s Vineyard as the great background!) might have to watch it again this weekend.

  6. You should start watering down that guys drinks. I was a teenager when I first viewed Jaws and I can tell it was the perfect date movie. My girlfriend was practically in my lap by the time Brody and Hooper swam off into the sunset.

  7. Best line was by Robert Shaw: “I’ll find and I’ll catch him for three, but I’ll kill him for ten!” Years later, I spotted Roy Scheider in a super market parking lot in the Hamptons. The memory of Jaws and seeing him still sent shivers down my spine! I didn’t go in the ocean the rest of that summer!

  8. We all have that one movie everybody loves but you can’t stand. I understand that. There’s a lot of 80’s movies people adore, and I think are absolute shit. But this isn’t about me.

    Jaws is the greatest “monster” movie ever made. It takes primal fear and makes it real. The world is not flush with man-made creatures with bolts in their necks, nor is it crawling with rampant mummys. But as you read this, there is a giant fish in your very own Tampa Bay that could bite you in half.

    Making it “real” did for the “monster” movie what “Psycho” did for “suspense” films. Just like there are big, man-eating fish out there, the world is full of transvestite, Oedipal serial killers. And because I watch “Cops,” I know there’s plenty of those in Tampa as well.

    Jaws takes the “primal fear” aspect of “monster” movies and makes it more than a Japanese guy in a rubber suit stomping on model buildings. If you can’t understand that, stick to the televised fishing shows ESPN runs at 6am on Saturdays.

  9. “Show me the way to go home. Show me the way to go home, I’m tired and I want to go to bed, I had a little drink about an hour ago, And it’s gone right to my head. Everywhere I roam, Over land or sea or foam, You can always hear me singing this song, Show me the way to go home Show me the way to go home.”

  10. Peter Benchley wrote a classic. It’s interpretation on the big screen was perfect and the movie itself was well cast , became a commercial success and the template for every suspenseful horror movie within the genre over the next four-plus decades. Is there anything else which needs to be said ? Don’t think so !!!!

  11. Black…

    As always, well said and well represented.

    Next time he pops in, I’ll make sure he reads the post… and the comments for proper schooling.

    As in a school of sharks schooling.

  12. MoS…

    Thought about giving Cove Hollow a shout out… but those who know know.

    The movie will always hold a special place in my heart for several reasons.

  13. Coach…

    Dreyfuss was in a few good films after Jaws but I’m not sure any could compare.

    I know Scheider portrayed Fosse in All that Jazz but still.

    I know Shaw had a few good roles before Jaws…

    But these three… in that movie… with Spielberg at the helm.

    I’ll take it.

  14. Thank you, Dub, for always providing the voice of reason.

    Since you’ve been suggesting some valid point/counterpoints lately, I suggest one of popcorn sorts.

    That is once you’re done celebrating your Eagles march to another inevitable Super Bowl loss.

  15. The book was excellent and many of the integral scenes from the book were set for the movie itself and added to the character and tone of it all. Some of the best work ever done by Steven Spielberg.

    Is it me but what the hell was it that both Jason Kidd and Mike Mularkey did to get themselves frired ?
    Mularkey was in the midst of a contract extension and the Titans just sent him packing.

    In the case of Jason Kidd, the Milwaukee Bucks’ best player Giannis Antetokounmpou went to plead with the front office for Kidd to remain as head coach.

    Tophatal ………

  16. Al…

    As many times as I’ve seen the movie, I’ve never picked up the book. Perhaps I’ll put it on my list.

    And speaking of Jason Kidd, I’ll have my thoughts up on him shortly….

  17. Jaws is fantastic. Scared the beejesus out of me. Wife is not big on sharks and I can’t convince her to watch it…probably because I’ve talked it up so much for its impact. Great film. (Did read the book and enjoyed it a lot)

  18. Burnsy…

    Welcome back from the Philly fracas.

    Since I wrote the post, I alerted said individual in question that this post had been written.

    He has yet to respond. Probably for his lack of sense in the first place.

  19. After the first time I watched Jaws, I said it was alright. I’m not one bit ashamed to say that one of the MaryKate-and-Ashley-Olsen movies, “Holiday in the Sun,” is better. The development of plot and suspense in better in “Holiday in the Sun.”

  20. No I’m not joking. For my whole life, I have only been interested in movies that do a good job with developing plot and suspense. I thought “Speed” was a whole lot better than Forrest Gump. The year 2013 was the last time I saw movies that did a good job with development and plot. World War Z, The Wolverine, Man of Steel, etc.

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