Jaws ★★★★★


Fourth year in a row now for watching Jaws either on or around the 4th of July and my mom's birthday. Back when there was the whole hullabaloo about the new Sight & Sound list, my mom and I for fun put together our own personal, ranked top ten lists. There were a couple other movies that I believe overlapped, but one thing remained between the two of us that was undeniable: Both of our number one films were Jaws. Knowing I was going to watch this again today, I thought about Jaws as a sort of "Noah Rosetta Stone." I really think you can trace back fundamentally every single personal interest of mine, in the arts and in life itself, to this movie. It all starts here. My love for movies, Spielberg, loving stories with pronounced characters, enjoying stories that go back and forth between comedy and drama, and what admittedly took the longest to form, this beginning my winding path towards being a horror fan as an adult. Jaws has a hearty balance of both some of the most harrowing scenes of terror I've seen in a film, as well as bursting at the seams with some of the most tender moments of humanity I've seen in a film. This isn't my pick for "the best film ever made" without that dichotomy. Perhaps on this viewing it really came out to me that this movie, beyond exquisite spectacle from the hands of maybe the best directing in cinematic history from Spielberg, this movie is almost all character. Dimension is eventually offered to the likes of the mayor, even if there's still a hard look in this movie given towards the evils and carelessness of capitalism. Took him a long time to figure it out, but even he was able to understand all this menace impacts his loved ones too. There truly is little, essentially nothing, better in cinema than the sequence of Quint and Hooper drinking over their legs offering amazing comedy, Quint sharing his horrifying Indianapolis story for horror, and then it all circles back around to drunken singing for something between that comedy and horror. Quint, Hooper, and Brody are all men who have faced their own traumas, and would soon face the ultimate dread of their lives. They at least got to sing before all that fear.


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