Hold something back? Not us since we're really putting the "monster" into MonsterVision with a freaky big, super-nasty great white shark romping through Jaws 2. The film may be the offspring of a big-budget, almost-respectable smash hit but Jaws 2 doesn't skimp in the shocks and thrills department and we love it for that. To paraphrase Jean-Luc Godard, all you need for a movie is a hungry critter and some dumb townfolk.|
When last we left sleepy seaside Amity, the town had been menaced by a predatory great white which was eventually defeated by the police chief, a grizzled sea captain and that guy from Mr. Holland's Opus. But since there's always more fish in the sea, we shouldn't be surprised to learn that the first film's shark was a sort of advance scout for bigger and meaner things. Roy Schneider is back as the police chief, still having to deal with a mayor (Murray Hamilton again) who refuses to close down the beach, apparently having slept through the first film. The shark's tougher, the chief's got bigger guns and there's a super phat, def, chillin' scene involving a helicopter. We're not being deliberately vague on the story, it's just that Jaws 2's austere string of shark attacks and the men who stop them borders on non-narrative experimental film. Hey, who says MonsterVision lacks aesthetic sensibilities?
Steven Spielberg (he directed the first Jaws and some other films we can't remember) bowed out of directing the sequel because he was making Close Encounters of the Third Kind; perhaps he was just being I'm-washing-my-hair polite. Director John D. Hancock (Bang the Drum Slowly, California Dreaming) came aboard but that didn't work out so finally French-born Jeannot Szwarc got the job, undoubtedly because of his sterling work on Kojak.
We already mentioned the return of Roy Schneider, apparently a tad disappointed with his paychecks from Marathon Man and Sorcerer. His on-screen wife is once again Lorraine Gary, a veteran of several TV movies who would later appear in Jaws: The Revenge, fourth in the series, and Spielberg's 1941, fortunately not part of any series. Murray Hamilton (the mayor) started his career as an acclaimed stage actor, even winning a Tony in 1964. His filmography also includes 1941 not to mention more respectable fare like Anatomy of a Murder, No Time for Sergeants and William Castle's 13 Frightened Girls. The fourth and final actor/returnee from the first film is Jeffrey Kramer (Hendricks) who later turned up in director Szwarc's Santa Claus but probably wished he'd spent those months in bed. Are you up for some notable trivia? Jaws 2 was the debut of Keith Gordon, who would use acting roles in films like Christine as leverage to become the fine director of A Midnight Clear and Mother Night.
You may be sweating with anticipation but just sit tight because MonsterVision will toss Jaws 2 right into your very own living room. (And if you keep your TV somewhere else, we really don't want to know.) Already Joe Bob is almost speechless but sheer willpower will let him dispense the drive-in totals:
"JAWS 2" Intro
I'm Joe Bob Briggs, and we got Jaws numero two-o comin up, which if you've ever been out to California and gone on the Universal Studios Tour where they take you around on a little bus and show you how they made "Howard the Duck" and how it wasn't a REAL duck but a stuffed duck and he didn't REALLY fly through the air but they hung him up by some invisible suspenders, stuff like that--anyway, if you've ever been on that tour, then you know the highlight is when you drive through the city of Amity from "Jaws" and then just when the tour bus starts over this bridge, this giant shark comes up out of the water and tries to eat you and you think it's gonna tump the bus over, but that's only cause all the Iranian tourists are runnin over to the other side of the bus to take pictures of the giant shark to send back home to Teheran.
And the only reason I'm tellin you this story is cause Universal Pictures has made approximately 974 billion dollars on this FISH, even though "Jaws 4: The Revenge" was so bad the fish refused to eat several of the supporting actors--and the REASON this fish made so much money is not necessarily cause of the first original "Jaws." It had SOMETHING to do with "Jaws 2," which kept the whole sequel deal going. It takes up where the first "Jaws" left off, with everybody dead except Roy Scheider, but Roy starts noticin that people are dying out in the Atlantic Ocean with giant teeth marks in their brains, but the city council won't believe him, and Roy starts thinkin "The shark's back, and you know what? The shark's got a DISGUISE." Next thing you know, Roy's makin him up some cyanide bullets, and you know what's next. Boom-boom-boom-boom. Tooth City. Let's get it goin--we'll do the drive-in totals at the first break.
[fading] Richard Dreyfuss wasn't really dead at the end of the first movie, so I don't know why they were able to bring back Roy Scheider but NOT Richard Dreyfuss. What other movie did he make in order to avoid the HORRORS of "Jaws 2"? Anybody know? You know what it was? "The Big Fix," that movie about Berkeley politics. No--you know what it was? "Victory at Entebbe," with Richard Dreyfuss as . . . Colonel Netanyahu. Well, they're both nervous types, aren't they?
"JAWS 2" Commercial Break #1
You know what the two most horrifying moments are in this movie? First one is when the Amity High School Band plays their rendition of Petula Clark's "Downtown." And the second is when the band plays their rendition of Astrud Gilberto's "Girl From Ipanema." Some things require prison sentences. "Just when you thought it was safe to go back to marching band practice." I think what most people remember BEST about this movie is the poster. "Just when you thought it was safe . . ." But at the time, it was the most successful sequel ever made. Steven Spielberg and Richard Dreyfuss supposedly DID want to work on "Jaws 2," but they were too busy making "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," so the studio hired John D. Hancock to direct it. His big claim to fame was the early Robert DeNiro flick, "Bang the Drum Slowly," where DeNiro plays a dying baseball player. You guys see that one? Anyhow, John Hancock's wife, Dorothy Tristan, wrote the original script for "Jaws 2," which had this big subplot about the Mafia moving in with the Mayor to sell some seaside property or something. But the studio fired Hancock cause he was more interested in making a people movie than a shark movie, and his wife went with him, and they hired a French guy named Jeannot Szwarc [Zhahno Swark], who scrapped all but 90 seconds of the footage and started shooting action scenes while the script was rewritten. And I think the movie kinda suffers from it, but it's pretty hard to mess up this concept TOO much, so I still like it.
Okay, I said I'd do the drive-in totals, so here they are. We have:
Seven dead bodies.
One dead whale.
One dead shark.
Twenty dead bluefish.
Exploding speed boat.
Floating zombie corpse.
Rebellious teen boating.
Nerdy teenager chomping.
Giant fish fry.
Three and a half stars. Okay, go.
[fading] Did I say it was hard to mess up the killer shark concept? I might have forgotten about the immortal "Jaws 4" where the shark follows Lorraine Gary to the Bahamas on her vacation. The shark has to search the hotels.
"JAWS 2" Commercial Break #2
And you guys thought only our first movie tonight had zombies. The great pop-up burnt corpse scene of "Jaws 2." Because the woman being attacked by the shark tried to save herself by pouring gasoline all over herself. There's a lot of scenes in this flick that are throwbacks to the first movie. Homages. Remember in "Jaws 1" where the head pops into the hole in the bottom of the boat? Of course you do. Scariest scene in the whole dang movie. This was supposed to mirror that scene. And the rotting whale in the dunes is kinda like the rotting skinny-dipper in the dunes in the first movie. But when you think about it, Jeannot Szwarc [Zhahno Swark] is a pretty good choice to do a Spielberg sequel. We talk about that Spielberg "glow," right? Jeannot Szwarc [Zhahno Swark] did the glowiest movie in human history--"Somewhere in Time," the one where Christopher Reeve falls in love with a picture of Jane Seymour and wills himself into the past so he can make googoo eyes at her for two hours. Remember that one? Many marriages have broken up over that one movie. Women love that movie. Women will fight you for the remote when that movie is on. World War III is breaking out over on CNN--doesn't matter. That dial is staying RIGHT there till they stop sobbin over Christopher Reeve's soulful blue eyes. Okay, let's see what Roy Scheider is gonna do about the zombie floatin around in the drink. Roll it.
[fading] I love how the mayor refuses to even CONSIDER that there's another shark. That's Murray Hamilton's job in all "Jaws" movies--to tell Roy Scheider there can't possibly be a shark out there. Cause, see, he wasn't on the boat in the first movie, right? Brody tells him the shark was as big as a the mayor's Buick, mayor says, "Uh huh." Brody says he thinks the shark's big brother is back to get revenge, mayor says, "Why don't you take some time off, get a little R&R--like in a mental institution." You know why the mayor's so stupid. Because, if he's NOT, we have NO MOVIE. We NEED Murray Hamilton.
"JAWS 2" Commercial Break #3
Did you notice the Richard Dreyfuss moment there? The where's-Richard moment? Roy Scheider mixes up his sodium cyanide bullets, and then he places a call to Matt Hooper, but Matt is on an ocean expedition and "not available for shark hunting." Okay, so Richard Dreyfuss is not in the movie. But don't you think they could have sent ANOTHER shark expert? You don't just IGNORE IT. It would be like doing a "Poltergeist" sequel with no parapsychology expert. Right? And while we're on THAT subject, have you noticed how similar the two movies are? Suburban paradise disrupted by spirits. Suburban paradise disrupted by big fish. Only one person really knows what's going on. Bring in the experts. People start dying. And, of course, we have the little sweet family-bonding moments like that last scene of the son helping Roy Scheider pick up the bullets on the beach. You know what's kinda strange to me is that the older kid, Mike, played by Mark Gruner in his last Hollywood appearance--his first being an episode of "The Brady Bunch," where I think he was one of Marcia's studs--anyway, isn't this the same kid who was almost eaten by the shark in the first movie? He falls into that lagoon thingy in the first movie and comes this close to being made into fish food. So don't you think it's kinda weird that he's like, "Oh, come on, Dad, can't I go party on the water with my drunk friends? There's no shark out there." This kid should be pumped up on Ritalin and seeing a shrink three times a week at this point. We should have the scene where he tortures his cat or something, right? Anyhow, let's get back to the flick.
[fading] By the way, have you noticed that Roy Scheider seems to be a little hoarse in this movie? Every time he goes to yell out a cuss word, he gets hit with laryngitis. You know? [demonstrating] I hate when that happens.
"JAWS 2" Commercial Break #4
You know, Roy Scheider was really really hot after "Jaws" came out. Universal Studios gave him a three-picture deal. The first thing he did was "The Sorcerer" in 1977. His second movie was supposed to be "The Deer Hunter," but two weeks into production, Roy got the finished script and read the ending. If you remember, Robert DeNiro goes back to Vietnam to find his buddy Nick, and he watches Nick kill himself in the final game of Russian Roulette. Well, the Robert DeNiro role was originally Roy Scheider's role. But Roy thought this guy wouldn't go half-way around the world to find his friend, only to have the friend kill himself. Now I personally don't know WHY anybody would be asking ACTORS to decide whether the screenplay was any good or not, but apparently Michael Cimino was doing it at the time. I don't think Roy is in the Writer's Guild or anything. But he was sooooo upset by the ending that he said "creative differences." And he WALKED. He quit. And Universal was steamed about it, BUT they said they'd forget about his quitting the movie if he did "Jaws 2." Not only that, but they'd count "Jaws 2" as two movies, so he'd be out of his contract. And then "The Deer Hunter" only won like 19 Oscars that year. Roy Roy Roy Roy ROY. Anyway, back to the flick.
[fading] Although I do know how Roy feels, because I sometimes have creative differences with the network, where I try and do something TNT doesn't like. And if they don't like it, I say, "Okay, that's it, I'm walking." And you know what THEY say? . . . Nothing.
"JAWS 2" Commercial Break #5
Man oh man, they're a little SKIMPY with the shark footage, aren't they? We're about an hour and five minutes into the movie before we really see any tooth action, and that's right after we had to sit through that endless MONTAGE of the sailboats and catamarans. You notice that girl Jackie? The tomboyish one, the one they say "She's got breasts like a sparrow!" Only they don't say "breasts." And, in fact, in the TNT version they don't say ANYTHING--that line got scissored out of this version. So I'll do it for you. "She's got [blank] like a sparrow!" Anyway, that actress is a young Donna Wilkes, who would go on to great B movie fame about five years later as . . . anybody know? . . . Angel. Remember that movie? "Angel: High school student by day. Hooker by night." Co-starring . . . Rory Calhoun. Okay, who else we got here? That's Marc Gilpin as Sean, the kid who blackmails his big brother into taking him sailing. He's the real-life brother of Peri Gilpin, the slutty woman on "Frasier." But which one's Bob? There's a character somewhere in this movie named Bob, played by Billy Van Zandt. It's buggin me, cause I can't figure it out. You guys know who Billy Van Zandt is? Adrienne Barbeau's husband. He's the guy who impregnated her with twins at the age of 52. I wanna see this guy--he's been eating HIS spinach, hasn't he? Anyhow, the shark's headed for those naughty teenagers, so let's keep it going.
[fading] This is really like a "Friday the 13th" movie, isn't it? Teenagers drink, smoke and fornicate, big monster starts killin em off. They've even got the cast down: the popular kid, the slutty pageant winner, her bad-girl cousin, the nerdy guys. I like the nerdy guys in this flick. I like those hats they wear. Those Depression-era newspaperboy caps, with the glasses that are too big for em. It's a good look for sailing.
"JAWS 2" Commercial Break #6
Did you know that today is May Day? The annual celebration by fairy-worshipping goat dancers AND card-carrying Communists? Commies dancing around the maypole--I never quite got the connection. That's all. Back to the movie.
[fading] There's no law that says I can't do that. "Joe Bob, you talk too much." Okay. Fine. Zipper lip.
"JAWS 2" Commercial Break #7
Well, aren't we terrified now? While the kids wait on their boats for help, why don't I tell you about the problems they had on the set with this movie. When we ran "Jaws" here a while back, I told yall what a nightmare it was to shoot the thing. The mechanical shark wouldn't work, the weather was always changing, things got stolen off the set, they had tourists crawlin all over em. The budget tripled. So when they made "Jaws 2," they were ready. The first movie was filmed on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts--major hassle--so they moved the sequel down to Florida. First they had some actors stung by jellyfish, and then the REAL nightmare was . . . oh, it's just so horrible, I can barely even say it . . . butterflies in the shot. Every time the director yelled "action," there was a dang butterfly in the picture. Can you imagine? [shudders] Do you ever get the idea that people in the publicity department have WAY too much time on their hands? Okay, the shark's going nuclear on us, so let's roll the film.
[fading] I forgot to mention Jeffrey Kramer as Hendricks. He's had an interesting career. He was a background singer in "You Light Up My Life." He was the deputy in the first two "Jaws" flicks. And now he's co-executive producer of "Ally McBeal." So let's see--Debby Boone's backup singer, swimming with sharks, network producer. It DOES make sense, doesn't it? Perfect career arc, when you think about it.
"JAWS 2" Commercial Break #8
Well THERE'S something you don't see every day--a shark eating a helicopter. As you know, I always like to give credit to people in the movies who truly know how to scream in terror--we don't have as many screamers as we used to--but we have a great one here, that girl Jackie. Who I mentioned before as "Angel." High school honor student by day, Hollywood hooker by night. Very underrated actress. I'll tell you what I thought was the scariest scene in that last part, though. It was when they rescue the little kid off the upside-down boat, and then Andy, the curly-headed guy, cuddles and kisses him. Plants a big ole wet one on him. You know what, let's get back to the flick, cause I'm gettin weirded out just thinkin about it. Exciting conclusion to "Jaws 2." Go.
[fading] I'm not homophobic. Why do they always say that? "Joe Bob, you're homophobic." Doesn't homophobic mean you're AFRAID of gay people? I'm not AFRAID of em. Whatever whangs your doodle, you know? Whatever wets your whangdoodle. Whatever doodle you can get a whang out of it. Not to get explicit or anything.
"JAWS 2" Outro
What do you think? As good as the first one, the way they fry the shark with the giant high voltage wire? There is one little thing that bothers me about that, though. Why didn't Roy Scheider get fried along with the shark? Wouldn't that be like dropping a giant hair dryer into a really big bathtub? And the fish was looking a LITTLE mechanical there in that last scene, don't you think? Anyhow, that was the last we saw of that piece of barbecued seafood, until he radioed his cousin down in Florida to rampage all the tourists at Sea World in "Jaws 3."
Okay, I wanna thank Linnea Quigley for coming by earlier tonight. And I also wanna remind you that next week, after 19 hours of basketball games, we'll be showing The Gate, which features more rebellious teens, a stinky dead dog, and some fine midget-demon disco-dancing.
And that's it for me, Joe Bob Briggs, reminding you that if you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it will always be yours. If it doesn't come back, it was never yours to begin with. But if it just sits in your living room, messes up your stuff, eats your food, uses your telephone, takes your money, and doesn't appear to realize that you actually set it free in the first place, you either married it or gave birth to it.
Hey, did you guys hear the one about the circus that comes to town advertising for a replacement lion tamer? The morning of the auditions, there's a group of prospective applicants, including a very statuesque blonde in a trench coat. The circus manager lines up the applicants, puts the blonde at the front of the line, and tells her to enter the lion's cage to see if she qualifies for the job. As the blonde steps into the cage, the lion is released from his pen. He leaps toward the blonde, growling and baring his teeth. Just as the lion is about to pounce on the blonde, she opens her trench coat to reveal that she's completely nekkid. The lion comes to an abrupt halt, crouches down and crawls over to the blonde, and starts licking her feet, legs and thighs. The circus manager turns to the next applicant in line and asks him, "Do you think you could do that?" The guy says, "Hell, yes. Just get that damn lion out of there."
Joe Bob Briggs, reminding you that the drive-in will never die.
[fading] A highway patrolman pulls alongside a speeding car on the freeway. Glancing at the car, he's shocked to see that the blonde behind the wheel is actually knitting! The trooper cranks down his window and yells to the driver, "PULL OVER!" The blonde yells back, "NO, SCARF!"
"Jaws 2" was last seen 5-1-99,