1. “How Jaws took a bite out of America.” Glenn Kenny on how, forty years ago, a little movie filmed on Martha’s Vineyard changed everything.
“Watching Jaws today, the film shows its age from the very start. The cheesy TV-movie typeface of the credits, the hair and clothes, the normalization of smoking — all very ’70s. But there’s more. Jaws, especially relative to its more frenetic ostensible inheritors, has a control and a coherence that’s cinematically classical, as opposed to classic. It doesn’t shrug off death the way so many of today’s big summer movies do. Five people fall victim to the shark in Spielberg’s movie. Asked how many people were killed in his 2013 blockbuster Man of Steel, director Zack Snyder replied, ’Probably five thousand.’ Jaws takes its time, letting the horrors wrought by the shark’s destructive path sink in. Actress Lee Fierro, as the mother of a young child killed by the beast, has one of the film’s most memorable moments when she slowly approaches Roy Scheider’s Sheriff Brody and then slaps him in the face, saying: ’My boy is dead. I wanted you to know that.’”