Well, the weather forecast for tonight's Screen on the Green season kickoff of Jaws at Olympic Centennial Park looks free and clear (only about a 10 percent chance of rain), so the only question remaining is: Are you tired of Jaws yet?
I can't wait to find out if I am. When Turner announced the Screen on the Green schedule, like a lot of folks I was a bit underwhelmed not just at the inclusion of such modern films as Big Momma's House but also the complete lack of a truly old-fashioned, black-and-white classic from Hollywood's Golden Era. Perhaps the switch from Turner Classic Movies to Peachtree TV had something to do with the programming.
But as far as classics go, Jaws is certainly one of them. It's also one of cable TV's most oft-played movies, and has therefore desensitized viewers over the years. And remember how it was a staple on TCM's "31 Days of Oscar" tile on their homepage? What gives with the Spielberg love? His E.T. the Extraterrestrial will also be shown at Screen on the Green (June 19). Could it have been some deal cut when he agreed to do the "Spielberg on Spielberg" interview last fall? No matter. It's all good. (By the way, check out Curt Holman's spot-on take on Spielberg's more recent films last week in PopSmart.)
If, that is, Jaws hasn't lost its punch on the big screen. Consider the many ways it has become a source of Internet humor. But first, let's go back to that magical trailer, which scared the hell out of me.
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/ucMLFO6TsFM " width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
Scary, right? But the movie has become quite the punchline online. Consider this parody song, sung to the tune of John Williams' excellent theme music. Not too shabby.
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/aCHtdh1snzY" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
Kinda funny. And then there are the countless Jaws-in-brief parodies, most notably explored in this 60-second version. Pretty much sums it up
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/hZgMJ-WFzPg" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
And then there's taking it to the homoerotic level, as we see in this version (but don't forget to check out the snide comments following it)
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/XxkkomhESH8" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
For my money, the only test will be how the audience responds to two key scenes, and I don't think it would be spoiling it to say which ones. The first one (for me, at least) is when Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) is scuba-diving around Ben Gardner's boat, and out pops dead Ben's head, through a hole at the bottom of the boat. I remember the audience losing it every time I saw it as a kid. The second one comes when Brody (Roy Scheider) is complaining about chumming dead fish into the water and winds up splattering a load on the shark just as it's popping out of the water. Spielberg's editing sequence there, immediately cutting to Brody snapping upright and back, only heightened the audience's reaction.
If the audience has anything like that reaction tonight, good ol' Jaws will be a perfect pick. Let's see what happens.