30 Day Film Challenge – Day 7

Posted: June 16, 2021 in Uncategorized

One week down! I think I can do it!

Ah, here we are on the doorstep of summer, and today’s topic for the 30 Day Film Challenge is a positive one: A Film you never get tired of. Despite the dangling preposition, it’s a very uplifting prompt. The funny thing is, I’m a movie guy. In spite of my reputation as a person who hates movies, I could literally choose from… ten?

Joking aside, I’m from the video store generation, so the family trip to Video Showplace (we didn’t have a Blockbuster in my town until I was in my twenties) to acquire some entertainment for the night was a frequent occurrence. And on the trip, I would often rent the same movies over and over. Eventually my parents purchased a second VCR so I could illegally record the movies I rented all the time. And man, did I make use of that thing. And even then, I still had a selection of movies that maybe weren’t worthy of being recorded, but I still would be in the mood for once in a while. So I would rent them whenever that mood struck. I remember this bothered my brother a lot, for some reason. On days when he would take me to the video store, around when he was probably 18 and I was 12, he would encourage  me to rent new and different movies, most likely ones that he liked, and I would want to rent Young Guns again. I think we even tussled in the video store more than once while he tried to pull some oft-rented tape from my hands.I get that he was trying to broaden my horizons, but come on, just let a 12 year-old experience the extreme violence of an R-Rated action movie, will ya?

Even though Young Guns was on my list of movies to rent “all the time,” as my brother would put it, I wouldn’t call it a film I never get tired of. In fact, I think a lot of the movies I used to rent all the time I would look back on now and think, “Eh, it’s ok, I guess.” a lot of movies change their meaning over time. Nostalgia can play an important role, or the memories of where and when we saw them, but as those memories fade, we can, in fact, sometimes grow tired of these movies. Monty Python and the Holy Grail was one of the first movies I recorded with my dual-VCR trick, but I haven’t seen it in quite a long time and I can’t say I really feel like popping in the DVD whenever I’m stuck for something to watch. I wouldn’t say I’m tired of it, but I don’t know if it qualifies it as a film I never get tired of. So, what is a movie that I never tire of and never will? 

Jaws

The first summer blockbuster, and still the best. It covers so many story tropes in one movie; man vs.  nature, man vs. beast, fish out of water (almost literally), and the characters are so rich, you feel like you know them (Chief Brody actually reminds me a lot of my Dad.) And when you throw in the fact that it was almost a miracle that the damn thing got made – that stupid mechanical shark almost never worked, and it made for a much better movie! – how can you not marvel at this film? When Robert Shaw’s monologue about being aboard the U.S.S. Indianapolis was written and  given to him the night before they filmed it, and he knocked it out of the park. When Brody, the one who knew nothing about sharks or boats, is left alone at the end to defeat this monster, and he does it. And he bellows with joy as shark pieces rain down on him, and you feel his elation, even if you have seen it a million times and you know it’s coming. As a little kid, I loved seeing the people of Amity get eaten by this giant shark. As an adult, I love watching Martin Brody scolding the Mayor of Amity for his inaction, as the Mayor refuses to believe that this is a problem even after several incidents, until Mayor Vaughn turns to him and says, “Martin, my kids were on that beach, too” and you realize he’s a real person with feelings. He then signs the document giving Brody permission to hire Quint, and the chase is on. Man + Crazy Man + Science Guy vs. Beast.

But there’s another reason why I will never grow tired of Jaws. Yes, I saw it a million times growing up, and I was never even afraid to go back in the water. Then, as an adult, I was living in Brookline, close to the famed Coolidge Corner Theater, which played it every year on Labor Day as a wink and nod to summer ending. I had only been on a couple dates with my now-wife, but I asked her if she would like to go see Jaws with me at the Coolidge. She agreed, and it became a tradition that we carried on every year after that, until 2020 and the pandemic cancelled the Labor Day screening of Jaws and pretty much every other movie and fun thing in the world. We did, however, find a drive-in that was playing Jaws in the summer of 2020 and went to see it, and even though it wasn’t quite the same as seeing with in a crowded theater, there was something cool about seeing it a drive-in, as I’m sure many people did upon its initial release in 1975, when it became the first movie to gross over $100 million at the box office.

Sure, I watch the same movies every Christmas. Yes, I’ve seen most of the Star Trek, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and most of the MCU movies more times than I can count, but I don’t know if I would go out of my way to see them at a theater every year. But Jaws, at the Coolidge with the person I love, that will never get old.

And something else that will never get old is the Coolidge audience’s screams when Ben Gardner’s mangled face come out of the underside of that boat! So good!

Comments
  1. […] bad endings. Which ending is my favorite?  I love the ending of Jaws, as I wrote about on Day 7, but I obviously can’t go back to that well, and would I say it’s my favorite? I always liked […]

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