“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.” — Abraham Lincoln
I was ten years old when Jaws was released in theaters. It’s hard to believe that was 37 years ago. Director David Fincher calls that moment in time the “Summer of the Shark” and indeed it was. In California there was life before Jaws and life after Jaws. Even though great whites weren’t really so much of a threat, and even though Jaws took place on Amity Island (“it’s only an island if you look at it from the water”), the ocean that we’d plunged in for much of our young lives was no longer a safe place to be — it still isn’t.
Tight cotton pants, halter tops, shag haircuts, Bonne Bell lip gloss — the 1970s in Southern California never saw anything like Steven Spielberg. I don’t remember the first time I saw Jaws but I remember loving it so much that I went back to see it fourteen times, waiting in line sometimes for two hours, paying for a ticket. We liked it so much that my mom would drop us off there and we’d watch it all day long in the summertime. It wasn’t just a thrilling film about a shark attacking people in the summer — it was a character study of three distinct types of people banding together to find him for three but to catch him and kill him for ten.