A Jedi's Love Affair With Jaws

First time you saw Jaws - I honestly can't remember the first time I saw it because I grew up with Jaws. It's my mom's favorite movie as well and I have vivid memories of her playing the score on the hi-fi as loud as it would go. I was quoting it before I was 10. I do remember being terrified but smiling like a crazy person every time I would watch it as a kid - and being 100% convinced that a giant shark was lurking in every body of water - even in Kentucky. 

I've been a Jaws fan for as long as I can remember. For my 15th birthday my mom took me and all my girlfriends to see Jaws on the big screen in and old theater that showed classic movies in the summer. I had never seen Jaws on the big screen before and it started a tradition of seeing Jaws in the theater any chance I get. 

Christine - at the beach.jpg

Favorite part? That's hard. I'm going to assume I can't say "all of it" - so I'll pick dinner at the Brody house. I've always enjoyed it but as I've grown up I continue to see the meaning of it evolve with my own experiences. Watching Martin interact with Sean and weighing what has happened so far and what he knows will need to happen. Then Hooper shows up and we really feel 2 levels of tension for the remainder of the scene - the lighthearted conversation of 3 people at the dinner table and nervous laughter that sits above the feeling in their gut that no good answer is waiting for them inside that tiger shark. 

Christine - in the shark.jpg

My Jaws collection isn't huge, but contains items that are very important to me and mostly home made. Until recently there hasn't been a ton of Jaws merchandise aside from the iconic poster image so I started making my own. I learned to screen print so I could replicate the production cast and crew shirt for myself and my close friends. Some friends of mine were participating in a Spielberg inspired fan art show at a local brewery so I created some needlepoint interpretations of some of my favorite moments.

Of the items in my Jaws collection that I've purchased - my favorite by far is my National Geographic Vol. 133 No. 2 February 1968. They're not the most rare item in the world and not the most obvious, but every time I flip through it and see the images that we see Chief Brody pouring over in the film, I get goosebumps.

It isn't framed, it sits on my shelf as the most subtle piece of Jaws fandom I own - but not to worry, I have a mint condition copy from my Grandpa's National Geographic collection that I keep safe.

Christine meeting Chrissie aka actress Susan Backlinie

Christine meeting Chrissie aka actress Susan Backlinie

For Halloween 2016 I patterned and constructed a Bruce costume for my Australian Shepherd, Daisy - there is even a pocket in the back where we tuck her tail so the shark tale waves back and forth as she walks. I crocheted a beard and cap for my Hooper costume and spray painted 3 beer can "barrels" as well.

I had the opportunity to meet Richard Dreyfuss and Susan Backlinie at Orlando's Spooky Empire in 2017 and knew I had to make myself the perfect dress for the occasion. I have about 20 yards of that fabric and have about 10 years worth of projects planned.

When I met Richard Dreyfuss he commented on my dress - that it was clever and he'd never seen one like it (and I died, obviously) and then I clumsily pulled 2 Styrofoam cups out of my purse and asked if he would recreate that moment with me for our photo. He laughed loudly and told me that in all the years he's been meeting fans, I'm the first one to ask him to crush a cup. As evident in the photo, I lost every bit of chill that I had. I thanked him, he handed me his cup, and I promptly put it in the safest place I could think of - I built a shadowbox frame with a giant shark tooth (not quite shot glass sized - Styrofoam cup sized) etched into the glass. 

Crushing it like Hooper with Richard Dreyfuss

Crushing it like Hooper with Richard Dreyfuss

Crushed by Dreyfuss, framed and displayed by Christine #Finatic

Crushed by Dreyfuss, framed and displayed by Christine #Finatic

I continue to make Jaws fan art and watch the film regularly (never in high definition - it's too clear and doesn't feel right) and quote the movie on almost a daily basis. 

Favourite character - Does the score count as a character? There is a moment in that score for every emotion and if you take that away, you don't have Jaws. John Williams is my favorite character in Jaws :) 

Has your relationship with the film changed over time?  It has. As an adult I've formed friendships over this film - if it speaks to you it REALLY speaks to you and it's exciting to meet other people who feel the same way about Jaws. Watching it has also become somewhat of an event. I can't jump into the middle of it - I sit down, I INTEND to watch Jaws. Jaws also challenges me to create art that captures how I feel about it, like I want to do it justice. 

A typical Halloween at Christine’s

A typical Halloween at Christine’s

Reboot or remake - Why mess with perfection? I can't even watch it in high-def because you can see the shark flaking apart in some places and the seams cracking in others. I don't need the detail, I love feeling like the shark is real. And the fact that Bruce is a practical effect keeps him real in my eyes in a way that any amount of CGI can never capture. And there is no possible combination of actors that could recreate the chemistry of Shaw, Scheider and Dreyfuss out on the water. Nope. No thanks. I'll stick with the original. 

Halloween costume in progress.JPG

To this day, any time my parents and I go out to eat - if we are at a restaurant with black napkins one of us will inevitably hold it up in front of their face and act like it's blowing in the breeze and say "my boy is dead!" - you cannot take us anywhere. Normal people would be horrified. Jaws fans? Tend to appreciate it. 

Once Christine gets talking about Jaws it's pretty hard to stop. Here's to swimmin' with bowlegged women!

By Jaws Fan Christine aka JediPixie

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