Illustration: Adeline Pericart
Blisters on your shoulders, sand in your underwear, coughing up seawater and being packed into a caravan with the entire extended family – the sweet, sweet memories of summers past. Thank God we have film to look back on with pleasure. And so the Film Ireland sun lovers lay down their towels, unwrap a Cornetto and recall their favourite summer films in the latest installment of We Love… Summer. Rory Cashin heads to Amity to come face to face with ‘Jaws’.
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Now lash on the sunblock…
Jaws is the greatest summer movie of all time for two reasons: Firstly, it basically invented the Summer Blockbuster. It was the first movie to employ the ‘wide-release’ strategy. It was the first movie to make more than $100 million in the box office. Before its release on June 20th 1975, there was no such thing as a big summer tent-pole release. Quite frankly, going to the cinema wasn’t as much FUN before Jaws, and without it, there’d probably be no Independence Day or Jurassic Park.
Secondly, very few movies have managed to match Jaws’ capturing of the essence of summer. The sweltering heat, the seemingly endless days, the star-filled nights, the new found sense of freedom that comes from knowing school is out, and the new found sense of fear that parents feel from not knowing where their kids are every minute of the day. The opening skinny-dipping scene represents the increased sense of sexualisation that comes with summer thanks to the heat, people looking great with their tans and wearing less clothes so they can show it off. Even the increased commercialisation of the season is represented by the Mayor of the town. Amity looks like a perfect summer vacation spot, and the Mayor is looking forward to all of the income the town is set to receive on the July 4th weekend, and he’s not going to let some pesky man-eating shark ruin his financial run.
After Jaws, if any other summer movie wanted to get noticed, it was going to need a bigger boat.