31 July 2006

Dive-In Movie

Thanks to the witty stylings of Rafe Semmes, a group of church buddies gathered poolside last night to watch Jaws outdoors. Someone jumped into the pool at most key moments; I just swatted away mosquitoes from my upper-deck chair. I had never seen the film before, so the whole thing scared me quite sufficiently--much to the delight of Myles, who sat nearby and giggled every time Lindsay and I screamed and jumped. Terrific.

A comparison with Moby-Dick would seem grandly appropriate: the sea, the big fish, the boat captain. But how wonderfully the town's mayor wears his seersucker jacket replete with embroidered anchors to the beach, insisting that shark attacks do more damage to the local economy than to real human beings; he has one costume change, into another seersucker jacket, but this time with multi-colored stripes as he urges tentative July 4th-ers to actually get in the water.

Our hero, the sheriff, cows to the mayor's political pressure at first but soon starts running the show, if only from behind. The sea inspires him to right fear, but he will not back down from real terror. He will have this place repaired if it means the destruction of his own fears, and even the potential destruction of his self.

Meanwhile, the shark almost seems more frightening when we do not see him than when we do. Spielberg masterfully alludes to the shark--using underwater shots from its perspective and showing various floating items it drags about--more often than images of the shark itself. I'm surprised I didn't have nightmares. Well, about big fish anyway. Brilliantly crafted.

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