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A Movie a Day, Day 78: Jaws

I still recoil in pleasurable fear every time that shark rears up out of the water.

A Movie a Day, Day 78: Jaws
Photo: Universal Pictures

I tend to think of Jaws as more of a phenomenon than a film. The first movie to open on hundreds of screens at once and become an instant blockbuster, thanks to good word of mouth and a huge national marketing campaign, Steven Spielberg’s second theatrical release gave Hollywood its first glimpse of the Holy Grail it’s been chasing ever since: high-concept tent-pole pictures audiences embrace even if we pointy-headed critics hate them.

Then I’ll see Jaws again, as I did last night, and remember what a good summer movie it is. Jaws doles out its thrills at beautifully timed intervals, starting with its classic opening sequence, which stays with a bonfire on the beach just long enough to establish the mood, then follows golden girl Chrissie over the dunes and into the ocean, where things go suddenly and horribly wrong as the great white shark attacks. Time and again, Spielberg lulls us into a state of semi-relaxation only to scare the bejeezus out of us, making each shock land with real force. Even knowing what’s coming as well I do by now, I still recoil in pleasurable fear every time that shark rears up out of the water.

Then I’ll see Jaws again, as I did last night, and remember what a good summer movie it is. Here’s my TimeOFF review.

This article was originally published on The House Next Door.

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