Jaws was released on June 1, 1975. Taut, believable, and brilliantly acted, telling the story of a gigantic great white shark that terrorized a resort town and then coldly set out to kill the men who were hunting it, Jaws was perfect fare for the summer. Anyone who saw it in a theater with a big screen, with the iconic “dun-dun, dun-dun” music playing and letting you know to prepare yourself for the awful carnage that was going to begin at any moment, will never forget it and always feel a thrill when they think of it.
Summer used to be the big season for movies. You could relax in air-conditioned comfort, enjoy the movie, and practice the hinge move on your girlfriend in a darkened room. And Hollywood always seemed to deliver at least one great movie that ran throughout the summer. Whether it was Jaws, the original Star Wars movies, E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, or Animal House, every year there was at least one can’t miss movie that everyone was talking about. Watch any of those films, or the other summer blockbusters that you remember, and you’ll see well-made films that stand the test of time.
Last weekend Kish and I decided a trip to the movies was a good idea, so we checked the roster at the nearby multiplex. Another Transformers movie. Another X-Men movie. A silly comedy, Tammy. A remake of a TV series, 22 Jump Street, that we never watched in the first place. Edge of Tomorrow. Think Like A Man Too. And others, equally forgettable. And this weekend, the big premiere is of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes — another remake, one that the previews indicate is full of computer-generated scenes of rampaging apes. We yawned and decided to pass — and we’re not alone. With these lame offerings, is anyone really surprised that Hollywood receipts are way down this summer?
In the past, Hollywood at least seemed to make an effort to deliver summer movies that were new and exciting, well-written, well-acted, and well-made. Now, it offers a steady diet of remakes and movies that rely heavily on formulas and special effects, explosions, and groin shot humor. If Jaws were released this summer, it would stand out among this tired and uninspired fare like LeBron James at a junior high school game.
C’mon, Hollywood. At least try!