The first part of this bucket of chopped up bait fish is here.
Alcohol has given me a few nights when my memory was about as clear as a politician’s during a debate. That damned, delicious Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey can make you forget what planet you are on. Those are tough mornings. You get out of bed and feel like you got broadsided by a 600 pound go-go dancer, with nothing to show for it except blue balls and bruised ribs. As you brush your teeth you can feel a slick film of guilt on them that has the faint smell of new tennis balls and stained underwear. As you wallow in your stench right before the shower, you realize that it is never the things you say or do in an alcohol engulfed blackout that are the problem.
It is the things you think you might have done. Cue melodramatic soap opera organ music.
Chief Brody has that slow rise from the bed like a mummy clawing its way out of a sarcophagus. He winces slightly as he grabs his work clothes. The morning sun bathes his attractive wife in a golden light, a trophy for being a decent guy. It also shines a light on all past recklessness, whether it was the night before or dealing with the criminals when he was a cop in NYC. The sunlight is scary. More horror movies should take place during the day.
We may surmise the chief is no stranger to whetting the whistle with the hard stuff. Nothing like the slow burn of a cigarette to reduce that hangover to ash. It is the seventies, you can strike a match and light up as your kid is eating his cereal if you want. The term Second hand smoke probably meant the cigarette butts plucked out of the ash trays in bus terminals and office buildings to be reused by our homeless citizens. I think they were called bums back then.
I used to love my nicotine flavored Rice Krispies. Thanks dad!!
Director Steven Spielberg perfectly captures the hurried, sloppy machinations of the American family here. Something he was a master at back in the day. All families are fucked up in some ways. We all have idiosyncrasies, faults and addictions to substances or habitual behavior that our neighbors thumb their noses at. To hell with them. They probably have a mentally challenged kid chained up in their damp basement. Perfection, except in female breasts, is boring anyway. Spielberg paints a wonderful picture of the bubbling lunacy of everyday life with the amazing sound design in Jaws.
The sound of a screen door slamming, a rusty swing set swaying in the morning sun and the soothing warble of talk radio with the windows open as you drive down a beach road on a summer morning. Don’t forget the ear shattering ring of those rotary phones. They must have had massive church bells installed inside them. It gives the audience the false security that everything is normal. Spielberg shows us that Amity Island can be any small town in America, or Austria. Perhaps Portugal or Patagonia?
What could possible go wrong in this idyllic place? There hasn’t been a murder in Amity in over twenty five years. The scariest thing might be that you are at a holiday bar-b-que and they run out of beer. If that happened to Tarmac then we got a panic on our hands on the Fourth of July.
Shit man, once the booze wears off, sometimes it sucks to see those drunk texts you sent when you are trying to force a greasy egg sandwich into your gut for some ballast. Things that are a good idea when you are drunk usually don’t play the same way when your blood alcohol is below the legal limit. Luckily, for this writer, I never found the mangled remains of a broad I was trying to bag the night before on the beach. I don’t think the cops in my town ever had to call in a marine biologist because of the stupid things I said to a woman as I was trying to buy her $48 worth of cheap tequila and recite Charles Bukowski poems to her.
A lot of women I meet think Bukowski plays linebacker for the NY Jets. It’s tough to be a literary drunk on Long Island. The distance in miles is very close to the cute, hipster chicks in Brooklyn, but it is like trying to swim to shore with your flannel hunting gear on with a shark towing a broken piece of dock after you. We’ve all been there. Even if you live in a dusty desert town in Arizona where the only water is a puddle in an empty swimming pool that decorates a seedy motel.
Almost imitating the futility of trying to savor a lap dance by Flash Gordon era Ornella Muti, Jaws swims by at a lightning pace. Nary a bite is wasted by Spielberg and company. The director and his screenwriters streamlined the script taken from Peter Benchley’s bestseller. It has a lazer focus on the reign of terror the beast has on the island without reducing the characters to simply being fish food. This was a good thing in my opinion because when the shark isn’t swimming and chomping down on people in its pages, it is a pretty boring read. Grass and gazpacho? This isn’t Bob & Carol Ted & Alice, sweetheart. This is Jaws!! Although, as I have never earned one cent for anything I have written, perhaps my harsh judgment is, at best, misplaced.
Needless to say, the film Jaws is a miracle of evolution.
By the time you have shoveled a handful of popcorn smothered in WD-40 into your pie-hole, Chief Brody has already gotten bitch slapped by Alex Kintner’s mother. I have to say Mrs. Kintner was a frumpy dresser. She looked like she should have been chastising Nellie Oleson on Little House on the Prairie. Tough to blame her as she just buried her kid. I wonder if they put a mannequin in the coffin in place of the youngster’s remains? How does that work? Maybe they could have just folded up the chewed and mangled raft like a flag and draped it over it over the casket, as well? Someone needs to address this stuff. Am I the only one that asks the important questions?
This is where Jaws starts to get 90 proof. You might need a designated driver from here on in. Good thing Hooper drives the boat, chief. I don’t think Hooper, played by hip and scholarly looking Richard Dreyfuss, drinks much. Maybe a glass of wine or two when he is at some intellectual cocktail party filled with Woody Allen characters remarking how Jaws is a metaphor for the class warfare created by the capitalist system. Free market or free healthcare? The shark couldn’t possibly be just an animal doing what it is supposed to do? How would film professors and historians validate their ridiculously generous paychecks then?
I promise I will validate my paycheck in part III. It is the Fourth of July and I have beers to drink. If you are celebrating, Happy Fourth to you all!!