Decades Blogathon – Jaws (1975)

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1975

It’s the penultimate day of the Decades Blogathon, hosted by myself and the immense Tom from Digital Shortbread. The blogathon focuses on movies that were released in the fifth year of the decade. Tom and I are running different entries each day; and this one comes from the man, the legend that is Eric from The IPC. For those who don’t know, Eric’s site is a true one-off, full of his ribald opinions on the world of film.

Jaws Poster

My dad took me to see this in the theater back when I was a kid and it scared so much shit out of me that I was afraid to take a bath for a month. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve taken a bath ever since. But, thinking about this… for this blogathon that ends in “5”…. my mom didn’t marry my dad until I was seven so that would have put me seeing this in 1978.

Jaws

The sperm donor that helped make me was an Easy Riding hippie that split on me and My Creator when I was three so the math doesn’t add up, but when I agreed to join this blogathon I understood there would be no math. Now that I think about it (I’ve had some cocktails) I think the theater we saw this in was one of those “two theater” jobs inside of a small shopping mall that showed new releases after market. Yes – I think that’s it and that makes sense! BOOM! I rule.

#thebestrememberer

Anyway, so I saw this back then and haven’t ever really watched this since. Not that I was still scared that I would shit myself but just never felt the need. Seen it – big shark, gotcha. Then, the lads announced this run and I wanted in and looked at some things from ’75 and thought – what a good time to look at this movie again. I’ve never seen any of the sequels and I’ve always liked Roy Scheider so – let’s do this thing! And I don’t mean Tom! SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO I watched this earlier today and…

Jaws

I LOVED IT! What a good movie! I mean – I lived in Southern California so I’ve been to that ride at Universal Studios and seen the shark robot a dozen times, but this movie was fantastic. I guess, now that I’m older I can appreciate thing like: Direction, Acting, Effects and what I like to call The Incidentals. I’m sure ALL of the people reading this piece know about this movie – a big shark is eating people and people are trying to kill the shark before it eats more people. And that’s what it is but…

I thought this movie was going pretty OK until they went full in with Robert Shaw. What a character! What an actor! Screw that little part at the community meeting at the local Ju-Co. This guy’s a stud! What a deal! Here’s an example of what I call The Incidentals:

Jaws

Brody and Hooper are working with Shaw, agreeing to his ridiculous demands. “Yes. Yes. Yes. You can have your caviar.” Brody agrees.

“‘ave some of thees whisky,” Shaw says, centered in the middle of the “rule of three” shot setting. “I made it myself and I quite leek it.”

To the left, Brody;  to the right, Hooper.

*Center shot: Shaw slugs his shot.

*Pan Right: Brody sips his, to the disappointment of Shaw who goes about his way, gathering rope.

While Shaw is upstairs in the loft, gathering his shit, Brody spits out his alcohol and talks to him about something or other. Out of curiosity, Hooper reaches for the shot glass. Absently, Brody allows him to take it and barely says “Don’t drink that” and starts talking to Shaw again. Hooper takes the shot, drinks it and does a shudder. Right then, while he’s talking to Shaw he glances at the grimacing Hopper, does a little point with his finger, smiles and does a little eyebrow raise before going back to Shaw.

Jaws

Was that in the script or was that something that just happened while they were filming? That was epic!

Anyway – this movie was fantastic! I loved it! I could probably have done without the scar comparing and what’s basically a musical number but other than that, excellente!

4 Cold, Dead Eyes out of 5

P.S. How in the world is this rated PG (in the U.S.)??? There was a fully naked woman, lots of blood and gore and people were smoking inside buildings!

Review – Short Term 12

It’s to the immense credit of all concerned that this tale following the lives of the caring staff and troubled teens of a foster care facility manages to bypass the stereotypes and melodrama to deliver a truly affecting piece of cinema.

Short Term 12 is a genuine pleasure and should be regarded as a calling card for both its director and exciting young ensemble

Short Term 12 is a genuine pleasure and should be regarded as a calling card for both its director and exciting young ensemble

A hit at last year’s SXSW, the emotional honesty and intelligence of Short Term 12 is as refreshing as it is rare; as is its ability to break free of the style-over-substance shackles that so often tie down indie movies.

A big reason for this is the cast, led by Brie Larson in a breakout performance as Grace, a supervisor at the titular halfway house whose concern for its neglected kids is so strong that it can prove overpowering, especially when it comes to the facility’s newest addition Jayden (Kaitlyn Dever).

Garce (Brie Larson) and Mason (John Gallagher Jr) in Short Term 12

Garce (Brie Larson) and Mason (John Gallagher Jr) in Short Term 12

Grace sees a lot of herself in Jayden, an angry and confused teenager struggling to deal with circumstances forced upon her. The film draws parallels between the two (they look so alike they could be sisters) and just as Grace finds that she’s getting through to the trouble youth, the demons of her past creep to the surface and threaten her relationship with boyfriend and co-worker Mason (John Gallagher Jr).

Short Term 12 is ultimately about our inherent desire and fear of bonding and trusting each other. Marcus (Keith Stanfield, giving an excellent performance) is about to turn 18 and, as a result, must leave the facility. The fear of facing the outside world and giving up the connections he has made in order to form new ones is written on his face and explicit in his self-destructive actions. When he performs a rap he’s created to Mason, the pain Marcus feels is etched into each word, but so is the strength that opening up gives him.

Grace (Brie Larson) tries to connect with Marcus (Keith Stanfield) in Short Term 12

Grace (Brie Larson) tries to connect with Marcus (Keith Stanfield) in Short Term 12

These are kids who have been deprived of care and attention and struggle to adapt when it is offered. Sometimes small tokens, such as a cupcake, are enough. More often than not, these kids just need someone they can relate to.

In much the same way as Jaws‘  Brody, Hooper and Quint, a shared moment comparing scars (in this case caused by self-harm) generates a connection between Grace and Jayden and offers a moment of realisation that neither need be alone to face the pain they hold within.

Mason (John Gallagher Jr) and Nate (Rami Malek) try to calm down tearaway teen Jayden (Kaitlyn Dever) in Short Term 12

Mason (John Gallagher Jr) and Nate (Rami Malek) try to calm down tear away teen Jayden (Kaitlyn Dever) in Short Term 12

The bond between Grace and Mason is affectionately handled and given an honest edge by the two performers. Mason clearly loves Grace, but is frustrated she won’t fully open up to him, while a shock development in Grace’s life threatens to tip their relationship over the edge.

Writer-director Destin Daniel Cretton never ventures into Dangerous Minds cod-inspirationalism or been-there-seen-it grittiness (handheld camerawork aside); rather he earns the affection we feel for each fully rounded major and minor character and lets the story play out.

Short Term 12 is a genuine pleasure and should be regarded as a calling card for both its director and exciting young ensemble.