When I was 16, I got my first job, as an usher at the local movie theater. My plan was simple: exploit my position and the modest $5.15 minimum wage salary to both pad my budding DVD collection (DVDs were new in 1998), and see as many new movies as possible for free. Mission accomplished. More than half my life later I have a very respectable collection, and STILL get in for free occasionally at that theater. I can honestly estimate that I’ve seen hundreds of movies in the theater. All those experiences were great… well, no… there was Wild Wild West.
But they all pale in comparison to 7:00 pm Sunday night, when I got to sit and watch Jaws on the big screen with my family, and hundreds of adoring fans. The screening was part of the recently announced 40th anniversary screenings.
Jaws, which remains one of the (pun intended) high water benchmarks in the history of Hollywood, and is one of the scariest, sharply written, directed, acted, and not to mention edited films ever created, celebrates its 40th birthday today.
There are so many genres which owe tips of the hat to this film, what it has done to the pop cultural landscape, the standard it has set for the contemporary modern thriller, the blueprint for aquatic water thrillers, not to mention solidifying the career of Steven Spielberg, who made this film just he was creeping into his 30th year. Coupled with the powerhouse acting triad of Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, and Robert Shaw, and the memorable and now Hollywood folklore two-note heart-stopping theme by John Williams, there isn’t really much left to say about Jaws that hasn’t already been written, scrutinized, dissected, and most importantly, enjoyed by countless generations. But yet, despite all of this, Jaws still has plenty to say in all four corners of what it is and what it remains.