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Now in our eighth calendar year!
PCR # 378  (Vol. 8, No. 25)  This edition is for the week of June 18--24, 2007.

This Week's Movie Review by Mike Smith  |  Oddservations by Andy Lalino  |  Creature's Corner by John Lewis  |  Mike's Rant by Mike Smith  |  LETTERS  |  HOME
It Came From The PO Box
THIS INSTALLMENT:   The Shark Is Still Working   Inside Section One   A Star Is Found
Re-introduction. IT'S BACK! Many years ago, I started It Came From The PO Box as a place to review media that genuinely arrived in my P.O.Box intended for my perusal and consideration. Over time, it also became a catch-all column for the odd artifact didn't have any particular place to go in PCR, as well as other stuff that was just sorta handed to me on the street. While these things had no specific time-frame to work in ("just like your opinion of this..."), I tried my level best to get everything done in a timely manner. Easier said than done and I didn't do very well with that. Eventually, as PCR took on new designs and new generic pages were invented to solve the problem of where to put infrequent contributions, the PO BOX column was abandoned (but not the box itself). As my work schedule changed and priorities shifted, things were still coming into the PO BOX --- things I intended to get to and publish in PCR, but never did. I'm ashamed to admit some projects slipped through the cracks and I ran horribly behind.
   The return of this column is my attempt to right this wrong, catch up on these reviews, and set straight my mission to finish the work that has literally waited months for publication (some other, lower priority, or off-the-wall ones have waited years, and I'm digging through them again).
   The spring and summer months have consistenly been my periods for radical change and this year is no different. Despite a "day-job" workload and increased video production taking more of my time, I want to get back to my commitment of sharing my thoughts with the readers who send me great stuff at The PO BOX! It's back, baby!     CRAZED FANBOY, PO BOX 13991, Tampa, FL, 33681-3991.
The Shark Is Still Working
The Impact and Legacy of JAWS

We'll start off with this. Just in time for the thirty-second anniversary of the greatest movie shark of all time, JAWS, comes THE SHARK IS STILL WORKING, a 3-hour, 2-disc, fan-oriented be-all and end-all of JAWS documentaries guaranteed to satisfy the hungriest of JAWS fans. The narration by Roy Scheider (sheriff Brody himself) alone gives it the weight and credibility it deserves. Throw in some interviews with director Steven Spielberg, co-star Richard Dreyfuss, and some current famous filmmakers bedazzled by JAWS and you have the makings of a modern classic nearly on par with its source material.

Both discs focus on the 30th Anniversary celebration (JawsFest) held in Martha's Vineyard (the main set of Jaws), 2005, the events leading up to it, and the celebration itself.

Disc One, The Impact, functions as not only a behind-the-scenes of the making of the film, but concentrates on interviews with the surviving cast and crew members. I must say that while Spielberg and Scheider seem sincerely taken with the attention, Dreyfuss (who looks like he got punched in the nose before his interview) seems only casually amused with it all, but then he was notorious for being, well, notorious on the set, wasn't he. Fittingly, it is he who recounts with a certain giddiness his annoynace at the constant sound over loudpeakers on set in 1975, "The shark is NOT working, the shark is NOT working". Still, its amazing to see them all together in what is essentially a fan-produced movie.

Richard DreyfussRichard DreyfussThere are spotlights on several collector-fans, including a blink-or-you'll-miss-it shot of our own Michael Smith posed with his JAWS memorabilia. Co-producer J. Michael Roddy is featured several times and is the gentlemen who sent me the promotional copy of TSISW.

Of course, get prepared to see many performers, ageless in recollection, look a LOT different now, particularly Susan Backlinie ("Chrissy"), and of course, any former child actors. Sadly, some of the original actors are no longer with us and these fine folks' contributions are reverently mentioned.

Another treat is musical score composer John Williams, who with his rather wild hair and wizened demeanor looks for all the world like a cross between a gentle-but-mad scientist and a kindly wizard. Perfect. Still another features the artist who did the iconic, unforgettable poster art for JAWS.

The who's who of directors whose lives were affected by JAWS is pretty staggering. Kevin Smith. Bryan Singer. Eli Roth. Tom Savini. Robert Rodriguez. Greg Nicotero. Eduardo Sanchez. All contribute to this documentary and commend Spielberg for changing their lives

Of course, NONE of this would've happened if the late Peter Benchley had not written the book to begin with. Seen in old interviews and in footage of the Fest, it is touching the filmmakers have dedicated this work to him.

Disc Two, The Legacy, is simply fan central, pure and simple. Greg Nicotero has finished his full-size copy of the front half of Bruce the shark (the original model has long since succumbed to the elements). Now we see the JawsFest in full swing.

Parties are staged everywhere. Some resemble the "campfire" scene at the beginning of the movie (the young man who played guitar in the original scene is here now doing it again). Many, many bit-part players who live in the area are here reprising their roles and autographing memorabilia for fans. Dozens of fans who'd flown in from all over the world are interviewed (our own Mike Smith, once again, grabs a little spotlight here).

A moving tribute to actor Robert Shaw (Quint) is here, including spotlights on local townsfolk upon which he built his Quint character. A recap of the genesis and development of his "Indianapolis" speech aboard The Orca is recounted.

We're shown the log cabin in which Spielberg and company lived for the 7 months of production and where Carl Gottlieb continued to re-write the script. This is still a big tourist draw.

One very memorable and touching moment on this disc is Spielberg's story of whatever happened to Quint's boat, The Orca, almost a character all by itself (and seems to also have its own fan club). Evidently, Spielberg himself used to visit the boat while it was moored in the Universal backlot. One day he showed up and it was gone. Told it had been basically struck for firewood, Spielberg felt devastated but also realized "the umbilical cord was now cut" between him and the magical film that truly launched his career.

A summary of all the books, posters, movies and cartoons that reference the impact and legacy of JAWS on pop culture will certainly seem familiar to even the most casual fans of the genre, but serve as a reminder of how powerful this movie was and continues to be.



Inside Section One
Behind the Scenes of La Femme Nikita
by Christopher Heyn


A Star Is Found
Our Adventures Casting Some of Hollywood's Biggest Movies
by Janet Hirshenson and Jane Jenkins with Rachel Kranz


"It Came From The P.O. Box" is ©2007 by Nolan B. Canova.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2007, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2007 by Nolan B. Canova.