Jaws for $5 on the big screen: a silver lining to pandemic-era cinema

During these (trying/unprecedented/difficult/spicy) times, many different industries have take colossal hits and have had to try out new things in order to survive. Cinemas, for example, had the great idea of showing classic film on the big screen for a low price.

Jaws is one of my all-time favourite movies. There’s a great episode of the Rewatchables podcast about it, which if you haven’t heard and are a movie lover you should check out, in which they say that it may not be the best movie of the last 50 years, but it’s probably the most re-watchable.

In fact, just a couple of weekends ago at an AirBNB cabin with my girlfriend’s family, I kept insisting upon watching it, due to the summertime beach town vibe it perfectly captures, but I kept getting beaten out. Fortunately The Big Lebowski came on one night, another of my favourites, and which is also up there for most re-watchable flicks of all time, but that’s just like, my opinion, man.

I heard that the Cranbrook theatre was doing this a few weeks ago, showing some true classics, most of which I’d never seen in theatres, for example Jurassic Park. One of my absolute favourites, but I was three when it came out in 1993, so a little too young to go, or to have absorbed it probably if I had.

The Two Towers was also showing, which I definitely did see in theatres, twice in fact, as with all of that Trilogy. I may have seen Jaws and Jurassic Park many times, but despite their length, the LOTR trilogy is by far my most re-watched films.

Star Wars, again, can’t count how many times I’ve seen that, and Empire Strikes Back has always been my favourite of the bunch. Any time my mum went to Rogers Video back in the ’90s and asked what I wanted, it was probably that.

E.T. and Back to the Future were also options, but above all these other films, Jaws was the one I wanted to see on the silver screen the most, so I bought two tickets for just ten bucks, popped on not one, but two shark shirts, and hit the road to Cranbrook.

And my goodness, am I glad I went. Despite having seeing the film many times over the years, the same scenes that scared the bejeezus out of me as a kid made me gasp and jump this time, as if I were seeing them for the first time.

Spielberg really accomplished something great with this movie and despite it being nearly 50 years old, it still seems fresh. Every single scene is so immersive and enjoyable and his ability to capture the magnitude of the open ocean and create such a sense of tension and fear without showing the actual shark until well through the movie is incredible.

I didn’t see the ocean until I was about 12, but even swimming in lakes as a kid creeped me out, solely because of Jaws and those spine-tingling scenes are made all the more intense when viewed in theatre.

Mayor Vaughn fighting to keep the beach open for economic purposes with two experts telling him there’s a deadly threat to the public safety out there, definitely hearkened to some all-too-real scenes from the news recently, but I won’t get into all that.

I also wanted to thank the theatre staff for doing such a great job to make this wonderful movie going experience feel so safe during these (uncertain/strenuous/stressful) times.

A message from the Landmark Cinemas Canada CEO before the film started outlined everything the staff is doing to keep people safe and distanced from one another — I selected two tickets and had a limited number of seating options to choose from — as well as the odourless sanitizing spray that goes on every seat after each screening, and the cleaning done to high-touch surfaces every 30 minutes.

Yesterday, when purchasing tickets, it appeared to me that it was the last night the theatre was showing classics, but I checked today and it’s still on, so now I’m deciding if tonight I want to go see Empire Strikes Back or The Exorcist, the first movie to truly terrify me. I could also just go see Jaws again, it was simply that good.


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