Thursday, July 1, 2010

Jaws vs. Eclipse: That's a lot of teeth

It's been a momentous past week in the world of American cinema, for two big reasons.

First, as every female between fourteen and sixteen knows, the third installment of the piercing Twilight series, Eclipse, debuted Tuesday night. Maybe I'm just jealous of Jacob's ten-pack, or maybe Edward's immortality chaps my hide, but I just don't grasp the allure of these movies.

And don't kid yourself; they aren't just movies—they're a massive-multi-million-mixed-media-and-merchandise-mega-marketing....franchise (Sorry, I couldn't come up with another "m" word.).

As we older folks know, the Hollywood blockbuster isn't anything new, which brings me to the next reason that it's a big week in film industry lore: Thirty-five years ago this month, Jaws chawed its way into our collective zeitgeist.

From June of 1975 onward, sprinting into the ocean's welcome foaminess has lost just a skosh of its luster. If you really want to freak out your swimming partner, just act like one of your legs is being tugged on while treading water about forty yards out.

This film took America by storm. Who can forget the T-shirts:

The board game:

Or the highly disturbing action figure diorama:

But the true symbol that Jaws had hit the celluloid stratosphere was its Mad Magazine cover spoof:

Just to get a little context, Jaws earned the distinction as the number one top-grossing movie of 1975. Here are the remaining four of the top five earners from that year:

5) Shampoo—I never saw this one, but I sure wanted to, being a thirteen-year-old dude and all. I'm fairly certain that any movie in which Warren Beatty participated during this era had at least one naked woman.

4) Dog Day Afternoon—This is the story of a guy who robs a bank to pay for his partner's sex change operation. I'm surprised that such an unoriginal movie did so well. Lordy.

3) One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest—My all-time favorite movie. Seriously, this film was deeper than the menu at Cheesecake Factory.

2) The Rocky Horror Picture Show—Wow, three classics in one year. I'd almost forgotten why I started wearing garters.

So for all of you werewolf worshipers and vampire votarients, we'll see if your heartthrobs stand the test of time. And remember...don't go in the water with that open sore on your foot.

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