Well, he is as of today. Happy Birthday, William Shatner.
Must be something about those green women…
On June 20, 1975, moviegoers collectively changed their attitudes about swimming in the ocean. Jaws also reinvented the summer movie season, and scary movies, overnight. Much like Alfred Hitchcock’s shower scene, this movie made audiences rethink potential sources of Things to Watch Out For. The sophomore effort of one of filmmaking’s living legends, Steven Spielberg, it still ranks as one of the world’s best-loved movies, with a commanding 100% rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
My personal favorite element of this classic flick is the way the shark was represented; yes, I loved the acting performances of each and every human character, but the character of the shark upstaged everyone. And that shark’s name is Bruce. It’s hilarious to note that the name was attached to the mechanical shark(s) in honor of Spielberg’s lawyer, also named Bruce. Check this out, the last of them was recently found in a junkyard.
Here’s some awesome trivia from IMDb:
During pre-production, director Steven Spielberg, accompanied by friends Martin Scorsese, George Lucas and John Milius, visited the effects shop where “Bruce” the shark was being constructed. Lucas stuck his head in the shark’s mouth to see how it worked and, as a joke, Milius and Spielberg sneaked to the controls and made the jaw clamp shut on Lucas’ head. Unfortunately, and rather prophetically, considering the later technical difficulties the production would suffer, the shark malfunctioned, and Lucas got stuck in the mouth of the shark. When Spielberg and Milius were finally able to free him, the three men ran out of the workshop, afraid they’d done major damage to the creature.
Eat him, Bruce!
Editing is key, though. With a severely effective assist from the music. Jaws was Verna Fields’ last movie as an editor, and it is her best work. Spielberg came close to shutting down the whole project when he realized the fake shark just looked stupid, but it was Verna who calmly told him she could make it look real through wide shots, floating barrels, and the use of very selective, short shots. Let the viewers fill in the gaps with their imaginations, and they will believe in a monster from the deep.
As Spielberg says in this interview, “Had the shark been working, perhaps the film would have made half the money, and been half as scary.”
Some still shots from a classic, courtesy Universal.
So last Thursday, Thanksgiving, this event occurred rather spontaneously, but me and my beautiful, wonderful daughter Alexis enjoyed every second. The Laugh to End All Laughs. Griffen joined in as well, and at 1:51 mark, it turns into chase Mom, Rachel, the videographer. Pure joy!
Lex also just turned seven. Happy Birthday, Lexie!
My best friend had her birthday this weekend, and it was awesome. One of the highlights was, of course, about me being right. She just saw Batman Begins a couple of weeks ago for the first time, and fell so much in love with it, she declared that the sequel could never top it. I tried to assure her it would, but she doubted me.
She doubts me no more.
Also, went to the zoo today, and Lexie kept handing me her purse, then I would forget for a while that I was holding it. Before long I decided other guests at the zoo observed me, and thanked providence that Portland is such a gay-friendly town.
My favorite memory of Abe.
Wow. Mark Hamill turns 57 this week. He looks great, and I’m glad he’s free to be his own person now. And all that. But I gotta say, he inspired the hell out of me as Luke Skywalker in those days when going to see Star Wars was actually a thrilling experience, taking you places you’ve never even imagined before. I’m 41 now, and have a love/hate relationship with the prequels, as I’m sure Mark does. Here’s to the eternal greatness that is the original trilogy, and hope future parents will introduce them to their younglings before Episodes 1-3. The way it should be seen by everyone.
Happy Birthday, Mark. I’ll get you some power converters from Tasche Station, the ones you like.