The Summer Blockbuster that changed the way we look at the ocean forever.

Is there a film, that shocked or scared you so badly that you will never forget it?

I honestly had to look to see how most sites categorize Steven Spielberg’s, Jaws.

Some list it as an Adventure film, some call it a Thriller or even an Action film. But for me, it is a HORROR film.

Let me begin by telling you that I love good horror films. In 1975, the movie Jaws gave me a fear of Sharks that has stuck with me for life. And unfortunately, since Sharks live in the ocean, I am always nervous about getting too far offshore.

I absolutely LOVE the beach and that is why I live in Long Beach, California. My love of the beach and ocean came from my father who shared his love of the beach with me. As a child my father had a second job on the weekends as a manager of the Redondo Beach pier. He was involved with the business, shops and restaurants that were on the pier. The boat hoist was also under his supervision. The “hoist” is where small recreational boats were launched into the ocean. Everyone knew my dad and since I was often his weekend tag-along, everyone knew me. I was often invited to go out on boats with people we hardly knew, and I could eat for free at any restaurant on the pier. Everyone looked out for the Managers daughter.

It was the sixties and a quite different time. People were a lot more trusting, helpful and kind to one another. There were no video games, so kids played outdoors. In the summer parents dropped their kids off at parks, public pools or the beach without the fear of any looming danger. Parents knew that their kids would be home before or slightly after the streetlights came on. Streetlights were our cue that we were late, and that we needed to run, pedal or skate fast to get home.

Sunrise to sunset we were outdoors having fun in the sun. We rode bikes, skated and many of us played in the waves at the beach. This was free entertainment and often a free babysitter for our parents. Since I was such a little “beach rat” I spent a lot of time in the water. I have always had fond memories and a love of the beach. For me, a vacation must include water and preferably a beach. And although I will always love the ocean, there is one thing that comes to mind every time I decide to get in it.

JAWS!!!!

When “Jaws” was released, I was a young adult. I decided to go see the BIG movie that everyone was talking about. The movie opened with some music that later would be burned into my brain. If you have seen Jaws you know the music and the “scary” sound I am talking about. In fact, the John Williams score for Jaws is what made it one of the best and most memorable soundtracks of all-time. As the movie opened, I saw a group of people doing all the things I would typically be doing. They were having some harmless fun with a bonfire on the beach. Then within the first five minutes of the film a girl decides to take a moonlight “skinny-dip” in the ocean. This is when we have our first shark siting. And unfortunately, this is where the girl exits the film and enters the shark’s stomach…or maybe just half of her… Yes, sadly it was half and the other half of her washed up on the shore the next morning.

After the new Police Chief of Amity Island (Roy Scheider) learns that this half-girl was attacked by a shark he springs into action and started to close the beach. BUT…it was nearly the Fourth of July and Amity Island survived off the tourists that flocked to the island during the Independence Day celebration. This holiday marked the kick-off of their lucrative summer season. So, the mayor swiftly stepped in to tell Police Chief Brody that he cannot throw the business owners and the tourists into a panic by closing the beach. A closure could ruin their entire season, so against the Chief’s better judgement, they chose to keep the shark attack quiet.

Their plan seemed to work until the shark returned and found a young boy floating on a raft. After the shark munched the “easy target” the boy’s mother offered a bounty of $3,000 for the killing of the shark. The bounty was advertised in local and state papers and soon fishermen from near and far were in a frenzy to kill the shark and get the $3,000. Soon hordes of  fishermen arrived in small boats. They all ascended on Amity Island with the intent to kill the shark and grab the cash. The tiny, precarious crafts some these “fishermen” set out in is laughable when we later learn what they’re up against.

There was one skillful fisherman that soon stepped forward. Captain Quint (Robert Shaw) was known to have a long history with sharks. But he did not want the $3,000 bounty, his price was $10,000 to kill the shark. He said he could kill it and get the beach re-opened quickly. Not long after, a skillfully trained Oceanographer, Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfus) also arrived on the island. Hooper was hired by Chief Brody to give an educated assessment of what they were dealing with.

When our young and educated oceanographer met our old shark-guy Quint, there was obvious tension. Captain Quint wanted nothing to do with Hooper’s new ideas and fancy new equipment. But Captain quint had the biggest boat, so Hooper agreed to be the second in charge on their journey to get the killer shark. Since Chief Brody brought the men together, he decided to go on the “shark hunt” with them despite his lifelong fear of boats.

The three men set out on a journey to find and kill the shark.

While out to sea the Captain and Hooper swapped shark stories. The Captain’s stories were captivating and creepy. Soon the men were comparing scars from their past encounters with creatures from the sea. After swapping stories and many shots of alcohol our two shark experts began to warm up to one another. Then there was a bump in the night…

This is where I will shut up and ask you to see the rest of the film for yourself. This is the part of the film where our three guys and your eyes will get up close and personal with the GIANT predator of the sea. Before pressing play, take a deep breath and get some snacks to munch on or, you may not have fingernails by the end of the movie.

A classic line from Jaws is…

“You’re gonna need a bigger boat”.

I think I need a BIGGER SCREEN for ALL the BLOCKBUSTER FILMS I WILL BE WATCHING IN JULY.

Like many of you, I have seen these films before but I am thoroughly enjoying these classic BLOCKBUSTERS again! And they are all absolute must-haves in any home collection. If you need a copy of Jaws, or any of the other important Summer Blockbusters, check out the links below from my sponsor DeepDiscount.com

Now, I’m going to grab a “box of chocolates” and watch one of my all-time favorite films. And by mentioning a box of chocolates you probably know what (classic film) you are going to get.

Come back tomorrow so I can tell you about another SIZZLING…SUMMER…BLOCKBUSTER!

Pick up “Jaws” on DVD here.

And here is a link to all the best Summer Blockbusters from past several decades.