Showing posts with label sharks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sharks. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Shark Watch: Jaws 2 (1978)

Watched:  06/21/2021
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing: First
Decade:  1970's
Director:  Jeannot Szwarc

I've seen the original Jaws probably 20 times, but as part of my day waiting for the AC repairman, and as yesterday was the 46th anniversary of the release of Jaws, I figured... maybe give that sequel a spin?

Jaws 2 (1978) arrived 3 years after the original, and had some of the band still in place.  Scheider and Lorraine Gary reprised their roles, as well as Murray Hamilton as Mayor Vaughn, our canary in the coal mine that politicians don't actually have to worry about disasters or deaths they cause through incompetence so long as people refuse to ever admit maybe the voted for the wrong person.  

Screenwriter Carl Gottlieb is back, as well as the same producers David Brown and Richard Zanuck.  Even John Williams.

But, yeah, it's not Spielberg.  Instead we got Jeannot Szwarc, who you may say:  what else did he do?

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

PODCAST: "Jaws" (1978) - Fourth of July Cinema w/ SimonUK, Jamie and Ryan

Watched:  06/24/2020
Format:  BluRay
Viewing: ha!
Decade:  1970's
Director: Steven Spielberg

For more ways to listen - Podcast options

Something's fishy as we discuss one of the first megablockbusters. It's a Signal Watch Summer Spectacular as we discuss a movie with teeth! Bite down on Spielberg's first smash hit, while we chum the waters with more than an hour of chatter that'll have you wishing you brought a bigger podcast player.

Jaws Main Title - John Williams, Jaws OST
Out to Sea - John Williams, Jaws OST

Simon Playlist

Thursday, December 5, 2019

PODCAST! "Jaws: The Revenge" (1987) - a Signal Watch Holiday Roundtable w/ SimonUK, Jamie and Ryan!

Watched:  11/22/2019
Format:  DVD
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1980's

(mildly NSFW) SimonUK, Jamie and Ryan hold a holiday roundtable to discuss "Jaws: The Revenge", which, for reasons unknown, takes place at Christmas. Join us as we puzzle through the chapter in the Jaws saga no one asked for, added psychic powers, Michael Caine, and a plot that doesn't even bother to make sense.

Holidays 2019

Holidays 2018

Monday, December 31, 2018

Jamie Watch: Santa Jaws (2018)

Watched:  12/23/2018
Format:  DVR from SyFy
Viewing:  2nd
Decade:  2010

Before I forget, we rewatched Santa Jaws (2018) while Jamie's brother and sister-in-law (The Dug and K) were in town. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Sunday, August 19, 2018

PODCAST! SHARK-WATCH! "The Meg" (2018) viewed by SimonUK and Ryan

Watched:  08/16/2018
Format:  Alamo Village w/ SimonUK
Viewing: first
Decade:  2010's

SimonUK and Ryan venture out to the local cinema to go see a movie about a really big shark.  Opinions differ!  Points of view are considered!  Puking and laughing simultaneously is considered as a desirable outcome!  Who knew one toothy sea creature could create such discord with our reviewers?  But we can all agree - Jason Statham is in this movie.

For more options where to get your Signal Watch PodCast fix:

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Christmas Shark Watch! SANTA JAWS (2018)

Watched:  08/14/2018
Format:  Watched live on SyFy
Viewing:  First!
Decade:  2010's

You know, every once in a while it feels like the universe says "hey, let's do Ryan a solid and just make something exactly the way he'd like it."

Monday, August 1, 2016

Shark Watch: Sharknado 4 - The Fourth Awakens

It's never quite been the same since the first Sharknado movie appeared on TV like a bolt out of the blue.  Yes, it was absurd, it starred sharks, it featured actors whose careers had seemingly jumped the... shark.  In those weird years where the SyFy network decided it was all about post-Corman D-level movies with C to Z-list actors, and movie after movie about man vs. monster was released into the wilds of basic cable - those movies - which never took themselves seriously - also usually came with a reduced sense of humor and never quite, exactly, seeing how absurd they could get.

And then came Sharknado.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Shark Watch: Sharknado 3

I don't know how you people are wasting your life, but here's how I'm wasting mine:

Thursday evening saw the broadcast of Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!, the third installment in the Sharknado franchise which seems like it started a million years ago, but, no, apparently began in 2013.

The first Sharknado movie I caught on the 10:00 PM rebroadcast after twitter blew up and piqued my curiosity.  I hadn't initially tuned in, as the matching of the SyFy Network, slumming actors and sharks was absolutely nothing new.  For good or ill, I can't tell you how many shark-related Asylum films I've seen on the network, but it's been way, way more than I should really be talking about if I want to retain any credibility, anywhere.

In the end, the combo of clearly-not-quite-recovered actress Tara Reid, world's best sport Ian Ziering, veteran actor John Heard, and a water spout full of sharks making its way across LA was, indeed, chicken soup for the soul.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Shark Watch: Jaws (1975)

I kind of said everything I had to say about Jaws (1975) the other night, but hadn't had opportunity to watch the movie.  Apparently my post readied Jamie for a viewing, so I popped a disc in the ol' DVD player and gave it a whirl.

Not much else to add, so, enjoy your own screening.  Or don't.  I don't know why you wouldn't.  It's a pretty good movie.

Of course, you can't go wrong with the sequel.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Spielberg's "Jaws" at 40

I'm on the road for work (hello, Houston!), and am not going to be watching any movies or be doing much reading, so I thought I'd write something up on the 40th Anniversary of one of my favorite movies, the 1975 Spielberg directed shark opus, Jaws.

I didn't fall in love with Jaws until college.  Frankly, I can't say I'm sure if I saw it all the way through until then.  There was some sunny afternoon where I was drinking beer with my brother discussing the movie and realizing, "you know, that really is a hell of a movie when you think about it."  And I picked up the DVD at some point, but hell if I know where it is now.

Of course I love the fact that Jaws plays on cable each summer almost as much as the Vacation movies.  It's the perfect summer movie, especially for those of us who kind of need a push to get to water that isn't a public pool.  Jamie's a big fan, too, so she'll always take in a viewing if that's what we're doing.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Like A Doll's Eyes - Quint's Monologue

As we head toward Memorial Day, a day of remembering our fallen soldiers here in the US, and as we cross the threshold into summer (at least here below the the Mason-Dixon Line), I am already pondering not if, but when, I will watch Jaws this summer.

I can't remember the last time I saw a movie with a monologue, a real monologue, included.  I don't suppose the kids these days would sit for a full two or three minutes of somebody just, you know, talking, without pulling out their cell phones and texting away.  But this is from an era of filmmaking that wasn't entirely about avoiding risk, perhaps the only serious era where this occurred at the studios.

No matter how many time I watch it, Robert Shaw's speech about the sinking of the Indianapolis still hits me.  Its a terrific bit of film writing and an amazing performance to match, all carried by the extremely young Steven Spielberg behind the camera.

The sinking of the Indianapolis as described by Shaw's character Quint was all too real, the details of which had only been released to the public in the few years previous to when Jaws hit theaters, and not many had heard the story.

Clearly the speech sets the motivation for Quint, that its far more than about the $10,000 plus expenses, and it gives the film's primordial man vs. nature premise a bent that supersedes Brody's duty and Hooper's scientific curiosity.  And, in many ways, despite tying the film to World War II, it also manages to decouple the film from a 70's creature movie, placing it alongside Melville as a seafaring journey, a sort of tale of revenge against the very sea that gives the character meaning.

Memorial Day isn't just about car sales or a day off.

1100 men went in the water, 316 men come out.  The sharks took the rest.  June the 29th, 1945.

Monday, August 2, 2010


Hi, how are ya?

There are many ways to approach the annual event on the Discovery Channel known as Shark Week. One can ignore it. One can get angry that other people are enjoying the sharks (Randy). One can enjoy a ceaseless array of documentaries detailing nature's most perfect killing machine. One can declare sharks the new monkeys or pirates or bacon or whatever.

As a kid, I watched the heck out of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom (which led me to believe Omaha was an exotic place and Mutual of Omaha a totally cool company), and I watched a hell of a lot of Jacques Cousteau. I was born the year of the release of Jaws, and so sharks were sort of in the zeitgeist while we were growing up. Jason and I checked out the same shark books repeatedly at the library. We owned a few shark books. We had at least two action figure sets that I can remember which were about nothing but sea-exploring,* which really meant shark watching.

If this is how I go out, just know that my last thought was "THIS IS SO AWESOME"

Collecting shark facts wasn't that uncommon for us kids growing up. They could smell blood from a mile away. Their noses could sense electrical impulses. if you checked the contents of their stomach, you could find everything in there from fish, to a license plate to half a dog. Sharks had rows of teeth.

So, in short, I was pre-disposed to an interest in sharks. They were enormous, relentless things that wanted to eat me, and they were there, just beneath the waves.

Discovery Channel seemed to pioneer the best footage of sharks you were likely to see. I actually remember the first Shark Week I watched circa the summer or 1992. The KareBear had left town, and it was me, Jason and The Admiral left behind, and every night I'd watch a different shark documentary. And it was awesome.

My interest has waxed and waned over the years. I still like a good aerial stunt from a Great White taking out a seal. But, you know, a whole week is a lot of sharks.

This year, I'm watching some of Discovery Channel's Shark Week, as well as hitting both the Jaws documentary The Shark is Still Working and a screening of Jaws at the Ritz.

So, anyway, I think to over explain Shark Week is to over explain anything that comes on TV. Why do you like baseball? Law & Order? How can you watch anything on TV with roughly the same subject?

I dunno. The sharks are interesting. Always have been. Always will be. Watching humans interact with sharks, or watching sharks hunt, travel, leap out of the sea? All good stuff.

So, happy Shark Week, everybody.

*It occurs to me that a lot of the sharks we had that we used to play with these toys must have been cheap rubber sharks from the bin at the grocery.

But we totally had these sets:

Sunday, June 13, 2010

That's a Lot of Robert Shaw: Black Sunday, Pelham 1-2-3 and the 70's

So, I accidentally went to go see Black Sunday on... Sunday.

Or it could be exactly right now, when I think I'm about to watch "Giant".

And this evening headed back to the Paramount to see The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3.

These guys who dress like your PeePaw? Armed hostage takers.

Both films star Robert Shaw, one of those actors people say great things about, but I think I'd previously only ever seen as Quint in Jaws (one of the best movies, ever. Yes it is. Shut up.). He's great in both as two very different characters. And I can't believe someone decided to replace the guy with Travolta in last year's remake (which I didn't see).

Look, I really wish I liked more new movies, but looking at this summer's offerings, "Iron Man", "Toy Story 3" and "Inception" are about it for me. That's 2 sequels (one of which is based on a 50-year-old property), and one by Nolan, who had me at Memento. But then I read this...

Richard Donner’s original Superman heavily influenced Nolan during the production of Batman Begins: “I literally pitched the studio my take on Batman by saying I wanted to make the Batman film that had never been made in 1978 or 1979.” He was taken by the notion of “an extraordinary hero in an ordinary world.”

Of course, any geek who went through film school recognizes 70's-era film making for being a watershed era in film making. Sure, much of it was low-budget, but the studios were losing so much market share to television and, I guess, 8-tracks and people caring for their pet rocks, that they started just letting the wild-eyed beatniks in their midst run around and make some pretty darn great movies.

I mean, no, they didn't create something as great as G-Force, but...

The 70's gave us The Godather, Star Wars, The Deer Hunter, Annie Hall, All the President's Men, Taxi Driver, Apocalypse Now and dozens and dozens of other influential movies. It gave us a naturalistic style to movies, more organic storytelling, tougher material and Pam Grier.

women like Ms. Grier are into tubby comic geeks, right?

Anyway, that's not to say that the 70's wasn't laden with awfulness, too. For every "Godfather Part II" there were 4 "Xanadu" clones, 6 hacky slasher movies, 4 movies about "feelings" or some junk, and 3 movies about people driving around in Southern California doubling for a drive across America, and wearing ugly pants.

However, I live in the future, where we've weeded out the crummy 70's movies, and I don't have to watch them (don't have to, but it happens, anyway). It's sort of how... when I was in film school and some turtle-neck wearing jerk would lament that everything they made in France was sooooo much better than American film, I would ask them if they really thought we were getting the French equivalent of Major Payne imported stateside (because the French are idiots, too, and somehow that means they're making their own "Major Payne").

Anyhow, The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3 is a movie that's been imitated endlessly at this point, but you can't help but appreciate how well cast they made the movie, how New York feels like a lived in place, and that at no point do we get bogged down in some subplot about any character's children, romance, etc... There's more than enough story there without Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock falling in love during the disaster.

Plus, you have to love Walter Matthau.

Black Sunday still works, and will feel relevant until, I suppose, we have peace in the Middle East and we quit worrying about domestic terrorism (and Bruce Dern).

I'd say the mvoie could handle a remake, but a remake would wind up starring Shia LeBouf as the war-weary Israeli soldier. And the fact that anyone is willing to hire Shia LeBouf, and put millions of dollars behind LeBouf, and count on the fact that millions of people want to watch LeBouf for two hours at a time... that is exactly why most movies fail.

That said, I think we're due for another wave of new and better stuff. This summer's offerings have been, frankly, disappointing. The past year had little to offer that didn't have the word "Twilight" in the title. I hear from Troubles, who knows these things, that the box office is having a tough time of it this summer (Iron Man 2 has done okay at $230 million or so, but that's a far cry from Batman's $1 billion).

When the studio execs quit trying to throw the same junk at the wall and essentially give up on what they know and let young producers risking their skin to make it big try new things, as they did in the 70's (and to an extent, in the 1990's), the pay off is generally in folks taking the creative chances that can payoff in better movies.

Unfortunately, someone has to tell Hollywood that "we're releasing it in 3D!" is not making new and better product, per se. And that I now have 1500 channels.

In the meantime, I will keep spending my clams at The Paramount and watching movies that came out before I was born.