Film (with rating): Jaws (PG)
massive, predatory shark terrorizes a small island community at the start of
summer, and the police chief, a scientist and a seasoned fisherman must stop it
before more lives are lost.
that Memorial Day is behind us, it’s officially the start of the summer season.
Let’s kick it off right with the original summer blockbuster, “Jaws.”
It’s an oldie, but man, is it ever good! To this day, I still can’t swim in the
ocean (sometimes even the pool) without hearing the trademark “Jaws”
theme thumping around in my head. Duh duh. Duh duh. Just the sound of it is
enough to freak me out. Thank you, John Williams. The Talented and Revered
Steven Spielberg took the novel by Peter Benchley and made it into one of the
finest horror films ever created. Perhaps one of the finest films.
You know you’re in for a fright when the opening scene is as
terrifying as the one in “Jaws.” A young woman runs into the sea at
night, only to be torn apart by something under the water’s surface. The fact
that we can’t see what’s causing all of this terror and death adds to the
movie’s ambiance. It’s been told that the mechanical shark, lovingly called
Bruce by Spielberg, was never tested in the water until the day the crew came
to Martha’s Vineyard to shoot. And Bruce sank. As he did for much of the
filming. So while the mechanical fish was in the shop, Spielberg shot many
scenes from the shark’s point of view. This actually enhanced the film; showing
as much footage of the shark as originally planned would have cheapened
“Jaws” and made the scarier scenes too campy.
The casting of “Jaws” is beyond compare–Roy
Scheider as Chief Brody, Robert Shaw as the salty Quint and Richard Dreyfuss as
the curious and ambitious Hooper. Who doesn’t remember the scene with all three
of them comparing their scars and singing “Show Me the Way to Go
Home?” Or Quint’s speech about the Indianapolis? The fact that these guys
were not uber-famous household names before this point again added to the
movie’s charm. If a movie about a giant man-eating shark can be charming, that
“Jaws” is one of those once-in-a-lifetime movies.
It is a classic among classics. And a movie no one can forget. I may still
pause a second or two longer than necessary when entering the ocean, but I also
have appropriately used the phrase “You’re gonna need a bigger boat”
more times than I can count.
So get the summer started right by scaring yourself off the
beach and back on to the couch.
Steven Spielberg retrospective on “The Making of Jaws”
What to serve for dinner: I’m sorry, but I couldn’t resist…. Mako Shark with
Grilled Pineapple (From Food Network’s “Good Deal with Dave
1 medium ripe pineapple, trimmed, cored, quartered
lengthwise and cut again lengthwise
Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil
2 limes, juiced and lime halves reserved
1 small red onion, minced
1/2 bunch fresh mint, leaves finely chopped (about 1/2 cup
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves finely chopped (about 1/2
Couple pinches kosher salt
Superfine sugar, optional
4 (8-ounce) center-cut mako shark fillets
Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
20 grinds black pepper
Heat a grill pan or griddle over medium-high heat. Lightly
rub the pineapple pieces with oil. Grill on all sides, about 2 minutes per side
or until lightly caramelized with nice char marks. Remove from grill and set
aside to cool slightly.
Cut grilled pineapple into 1/2-inch dice and add to a medium
bowl. Add all remaining salsa ingredients, including the lime halves. These
will lend the additional lime oils in the rinds to the mixture, making a more
Set aside until ready to use.
While grill is still hot, rub each shark steak with olive
oil and season with salt and pepper. Place steaks on grill across the grill
ribs and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of
the steaks. Gently turn fish so it does not fall apart. Once the flesh has
become opaque and firm to the touch, it is cooked through.
Remove to a platter and spoon salsa over fish. Serve
What to talk about over dinner: What was the scariest scene in this film? Why are
movies like this not made today? Did the fact we didn’t see the shark right
away add to your fear? Who was your favorite character? Favorite line? Did
“Jaws” make you afraid to go in the water? Do you feel bad for the
plight of sharks? What can you do to help this species? What is your favorite
book-turned-movie? What did you think of the ending? Would this film be as
iconic if released today? Why is composer John Williams so amazingly talented?
What is your favorite Williams score? There are some rumors that “You’re
going to need a bigger boat” was improvised by Scheider. What are some of
your favorite movies with a lot of improvised lines? “Caddyshack,”