Sunday, October 31, 2010

31 days, 31 faves: Psycho (1960)

So here we are, the last of the 31 days of my favorite films, and it should come as no surprise that I've left this particular film for last. I give you - Psycho (1960)

When I was a little girl growing up (in a minister's house no less), one thing scared me more than anything else. And no, it wasn't the fear of hellfire and brimstone.
It was my grandparent's fruit cellar. It was the stuff nightmares are made of.

Of course now I realize it wasn't scary at all, but back then I seemed to have some sort of major aversion to going into the basement, let alone that fruit cellar to get the odd jar of canned beets or what have you. Where did this fear come from? Why did I go all wacky when asked to procure some tomatoes from the scariest place on the planet?

I'm convinced my family set me down one dark and stormy night and force-fed me Psycho on television. Of course I have no idea if it was ever shown on network TV way back then. Seems unlikely, but I'm not ruling it out.
Psycho has the scariest fruit cellar ever, right? I mean, not many have mummified mommies down there, at least I doubt it.

I profess: Psycho, to me, is really just a piece of pure film making genius. Perfection and terror wrapped up into one tight package. It's the go-to movie for me at any time, in particular at Halloween. I love to turn down the lights and turn on the black and white wizardry from Alfred Hitchcock. I adore so many of Hitch's movies, but this one stands high on a pedestal for me.

The element of surprise when the main character gets offed just a half hour in is great in and of itself, but the character of Norman Bates is by far the most intriguing part of this film. I've had a long-standing love of the guy since the first time I watched Psycho.

I've always hesitated to do a review on Psycho, because there's not much can be said that hasn't been elaborated on for the last 50 years or so about Norman Bates and Psycho in general, and nothing I say will be any more enlightening anyway, so I'll just leave it at that, and tell you what you most likely already know...

Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) and her lover Sam Loomis (John Gavin) are nearing the end of a leisurely long lunch hour in bed, discussing pertinent things like whether or not they should stop sneaking around in cheap hotels and if Sam will ever be able to pay off his debts and escape the wrath of his greedy ex-wife. (Why they had to sneak around is beyond me, really. I mean, he's divorced, right? What the hell?)

Marion rushes off to go back to work, where she discovers her employer has just made a very important real estate deal. When the buyer pulls out $40,000 cash to seal the deal, Marion's boss tells her to take the wad of bills to the bank, that he doesn't even want money like that in the office. Marion, stressing with a headache, asks her boss to go home early after making the deposit and he agrees.

Soon, we witness Marion at her home, packing up a suitcase and seemingly getting ready for a trip. She folds the 40 grand up in a newspaper and tucks it in her purse. It's obvious that dough isn't headed for the bank any time soon. As Bernard Herrmann's incredible score keeps time, Marion gets in her car and heads down the road. On her way out of town, she's stopped at a stoplight and her employer walks by in front of her car, smiling at first then throwing her a puzzled look.

Paranoid, Marion goes over various scenarios in her head as she speeds out of town. Hoping to drive to Fairvale and meet up with Sam, she daydreams about him paying off his debts and whisking her off to happy matrimony. At the same time though, she envisions her employer's confusion and worry when she doesn't show up for work.

Tired, she pulls off the road and sleeps in the car, only to be awakened by a police officer knocking on the car window. Attempting to rush off, the cop stops her and asks for her license. Though she may not realize it, she is incredibly suspicious the entire time she talks to the policeman, giving him cause to tail her for a bit after he allows her to leave. She stops at a used car lot and "high-pressures" the salesman into allowing her to trade up her car for another with almost no questions asked. As she drives away, she notes the policeman pulled over and is talking to the used car salesman.

Driving on, it starts to pour down rain, making it nearly impossible for Marion to see. She finally sees a neon sign for a motel and pulls over.
Of course it is the Bates Motel. (Wouldn't it have been a real break for Marion if there would have been a Motel 6 or something, instead of one of these mom & pop places you never can be sure of?)

Noticing no one tending the office but seeing a light on in the house on the hill, she honks the horn and soon someone is seen emerging from the house and running down the steps.

Yes folks, it's Norman. Love of my life.

Anyhoo.... Norman introduces himself to our lovely criminal, telling her she must have gotten off the highway to end up at the Bates Motel.

He sets her up in cabin #1, and has her sign in at the register, where Marion uses an alias, and pretends to be from L.A. When she mentions her hunger, he invites her up to the house for sandwiches and tells her he'll be back down to get her (with his trusty umbrella, natch).

As Marion waits, she hears a noisy confrontation between Norman and an older-sounding woman that he ends up calling mother. Mother voices her opinion about Norman bringing sluts up to the house or some such thing, and when he returns he's got a tray of food. He apologizes for his mother's tone and they retreat to the parlor to eat, where Marion gets a bit creeped out by all the stuffed birds all over the place. Norman explains that taxidermy is his hobby, but it fills a lot of his time.

Clue #1 that something isn't quite right: Marion asks if he has any friends to pass the time with, and Norman replies that "A boy's best friend is his mother." Um...okaaaaay. He tries to make excuses for Mother, saying she isn't always like that, but since his father died and then a boyfriend not too long ago, Mother hasn't really been herself and is in fact mentally ill. When Marion suggests he puts her "somewhere" we see a glimpse of possible instability from our motel manager as well. He cocks off with a speech about how everyone always offers advice, suggesting to put them "somewhere" and that it's not all that bad, that sometimes she just goes a little mad. "We all go a little mad sometimes...."

Visibly shaken, Marion quickly apologizes and makes haste to end the conversation. She contends that she is tired and wants to get some sleep, and Norman tries to smooth things over by telling her he'll bring her some breakfast in the morning.

It is here, at this moment in the film, that I first fell in love with Norman Bates. I suppose it is a somewhat pitiful love, as I just want to give the guy a hug and tell him everything's going to be alright - that he needs to just break the apron strings and get away from Mommie Dearest.

Norman immediately sees his slip-up. The fact that he allowed someone to get into his head and make him admit his misgivings about the relationship he has with his mother probably sends him off. He tries to cover his mistake, making it seem like he was just letting off some steam - venting if you will. But it's hard to deny that he's off-kilter.
I still contend the guy just needed a little love, dammit. Good looking guy like that holed up away from society by a beast of a parental unit. Sad.

Anyway, by the time Marion leaves, she has decided to head back to Phoenix and make things right - it's clear that her little chat with Norman has made her realize how good she already has it and that going any further with this charade would only be detrimental in the long run. However, when she pretty much tells Norman exactly that, she slips up by admitting her real name and the fact that she was not actually from Los Angeles. But things end on a not-so-awful note and Marion retreats to her room.

Soon we understand why Norman has given Marion cabin 1.
He takes a picture off the wall and ta-dah! - a peephole!
He watches Marion in her room, but as she's preparing to take a shower her stops and leaves the motel. Not much for waiting for the good stuff I guess.

As Marion steps into the shower we have three of the most iconic moments in horror. As Hitchcock uses his 70 some camera shots and Herrmann's strings fiercely set the scene, we see a shadow behind the curtain, finally whipping it open and stabbing Marion countless times with a large knife. She grasps at the shower wall and then the curtain, pulling it down with her weight as she falls half out of the tub, dead. Her assailant leaves and the camera watches as blood runs down the drain, focusing next on Marion's eye, open and staring.

The camera shifts to the house on the hill, where we hear Norman's voice shouting "Oh god Mother, blood! Blood!" He hurries down to the motel, where he finds Marion's body lying in the bathroom. Shocked, he turns away in dread. Moments later, he knows what must be done and goes off to get the mop and bucket. He removes the body, wrapping it in the wasted shower curtain, mops the floor, packs up Marion's suitcase, and stashes all the evidence (including the body and the $40,000 wrapped in the newspaper) into the trunk of Marion's car. He then takes the car and drives it to the swamp, pushing it in. For a nervous moment, the car stops. But lucky for Norman it lurches forward and disappears under the muck.

Several days later Marion's sister Lila (Vera Miles) shows up at Sam's hardware store in Fairvale, questioning him on her sister's whereabouts. Arriving at the scene at the same time is Milton (yeah, really) Arbogast (Martin Balsam), a private investigator hired to find Marion. After much debate it is determined that neither Sam nor Lila have any idea where Marion is, so Arbogast decides to check into motels in the area.

He finally makes it to the Bates Motel, where Norman seems perfectly at ease in his deception. Claiming no one has been to the motel in weeks, he looks at a picture of Marion and tells Arbogast she hasn't been there. But after a bit of questioning, he slips up and has to admit that yes, she had been there. Suspicion abounds now, as he starts the shifty eye guilt look and Arbogast knows something more has happened. Norman tells him he's welcome to check all the rooms, and when he leads him out of the office, Arbogast sneaks a peek to the house on the hill. Norman admits his mother lives up there but is an invalid and is unable to talk to him.

I have to say, Perkins is so utterly awesome in this part. His agitated demeanor and nervous disposition comes through with flying colors. On the surface he seems passive, yet he's wound so tight on the inside it's impossible for it not to break through every once in awhile. His scenes with Balsam where he is questioned regarding Marion's whereabouts are as powerful as the ones he has with Leigh when he admits Mother might not be in the right state of mind. Great stuff.

Arbogast reports back to Lila that Marion was indeed at the Bates Motel, and that he's not completely satisfied, believing Mrs. Bates may have some information. He tells Lila and Sam to stay put and he heads off to the house to try to speak to Norman's mother.
Arbogast goes back to the motel and goes to the house. He enters and looks around, unable to find Norman or his mother. He heads up the stairs and upon reaching the landing is attacked by someone in a dress with gray hair. He falls all the way down the steps and the attacker follows, finishing the job by stabbing Arbogast to death.

Lila and Sam begin to get worried when Arbogast doesn't return. Sam heads out to the motel where he calls out for Arbogast but is unable to find him. He sees a woman sitting in the window of the old house, but when he pounds on the door there is no answer. From a secluded location, Norman watches, malice in his eyes. In that simple scene, we can see who Norman Bates really is. And it's terrifying. It is my favorite moment of the film.

When Sam returns and tells her there is no sign of Arbogast, he and Lila go to speak with Sheriff Chambers (John McIntire), who informs them that there is no Mother Bates, that she's been dead over ten years. So if both Arbogast and Sam saw an old woman sitting in the window at the house - who the hell is it?

Over at the Bates residence, we hear Norman and his mother arguing about the fact that she should be hiding in the fruit cellar to avoid detection, that someone is bound to come back and discover what she's done. The old woman fights with him, swearing she will not go to the cellar.
Norman pleads with her, but when she refuses he carries her down there himself.

Lila and Sam, still not satisfied, head to the motel themselves. They pose as husband and wife so they can look around. Sneaking into cabin 1, they search the room until they find a small scrap of paper by the toilet that has a figure of $40,000 on it. Knowing that would be too wild a coincidence, they plot to question the old woman about it. Sam keeps Norman busy while Lila slips up to the house.

Soon though, Norman becomes suspicious when Sam (stupidly) suggests that Norman may have stolen the 40 grand to get out of his current distressing situation. He struggles with Sam and after hitting him over the head, knocking him out, he dashes up to the house in pursuit of Lila.

Lila meanwhile, goes upstairs to the room in question, looking to find Bates' mother. All she finds is a perfectly preserved room, full of possessions and personal items. However, there is an impression of a body in the mattress, proving that someone has recently been there. Continuing her search, she hides in the basement stairwell when she hears Norman enter the house. He heads upstairs, she heads down.

In the basement, she makes her way to the fruit cellar and sees an old woman sitting alone in a rocking chair, her face turned away from the door. As Lila speaks to her, calling out her name, she turns the chair only to discover a mummified corpse staring back at her.

At the same moment, Norman bursts into the room, dressed like his mother in a dress and wig and brandishing a butcher knife. As he starts after Lila, Sam appears and forcibly restrains Norman, pushing him to the ground.

At the courthouse, Norman is being questioned (off camera) by his psychiatrist as Sam, Lila, and the Sheriff sit by and wait. When the shrink comes back into the room he explains that Norman no longer exists right now, that he got the whole story from his mother. His mother is the dominant personality and may be that way forever. When Norman's mother took a lover, he went insane with jealousy and killed them both. Soon after though, he felt guilty and after stealing her body he preserved it, then lived with her as if she'd never died. When the Norman side of the personality broke though and showed some interest in a woman (as in Marion), the mother half got pissed and killed her - and Arbogast as well for meddling.

We cut to Norman/Mother sitting in a holding cell, not speaking, just thinking to himself.
And after noting that the last scene is Marion's car being pulled out of the swamp, I give you those last lines from Norman, in his mother's voice:

"It's sad when a mother has to speak the words that condemn her own son, but I couldn't allow them to believe that I would commit murder. They'll put him away now, as I should have years ago. He was always bad, and in the end, he intended to tell them I killed those girls and that man, as if I could do anything except just sit and stare, like one of his stuffed birds. Well, they know I can't even move a finger, and I won't. I'll just sit here and be quiet, just in case they do suspect me. [pause] They're probably watching me. Well, let them. Let them see what kind of a person I am. I'm not even gonna swat that fly. I hope they are watching. They'll see. They'll see and they'll know, and they'll say, 'Why, she wouldn't even harm a fly.' "


Sunday Bloody Sunday



Hallowed Ground


Dead Set

The Last Winter


Don't Torture a Duckling


Silent Hill

28 Days Later

28 Weeks Later

A Tale of Two Sisters

Saturday, October 30, 2010

31 days, 31 faves: JAWS

Jaws is my favorite film. A bold statement but there it is.

For me it is just leaps and bounds above all others in my DVD library simply because I love it so much. Funny thing is, it's a PG rated movie, which by today's standards usually means some mediocre thrills. But in this case however, Jaws has struck a chord with audiences world wide and made nearly everyone with a brain in their head think twice about ever getting into the water.

Called the 'father of the summer blockbuster', everything about Jaws is perfect, in particular the flawless, unequaled score by John Williams. I'm a true movie score enthusiast - I won't embarrass myself telling how many I own, it's ridiculous - but I've never found a more definitive score than this one. In a word, brilliant. And probably the most recognizable piece of music set to film ever. Everyone and their mother knows the da-dum, da-dum of Jaws!

What you don't see in Jaws is possibly more frightening than what you do. Williams' score generally permeated the scenes prior to the shark attacking someone, so you had a pretty good idea when ol' Bruce was heading your way. But in a key scene - the first in which we actually see that big bastard, the two note indicator was left out - so that the element of surprise was unforgiving. And damn, it works!

There are so many classic lines in the movie that it would be impossible to list them all. Obviously the "We're gonna need a bigger boat" line, as well as the "Smile you son of a ...." were no doubt the most famous. But the ones like "That's some bad hat, Harry" and "Here's to swimmin' with bow-legged women" are pretty damn cool as well.

I also love the human emotion of Jaws. The bit when Martin and his youngest son sit at the dinner table and play a little game of monkey-see monkey do is just so touching, breaking up the violence at hand with a little bit of family time as Ellen Brody looks on. The hard edge of Alex Kintner's mother after her son's death are viable and warranted, and leave a burn on the screen as Brody feels his guilt overwhelm him. Equally as resolute are the feelings of the three men on the Orca as they bond over the story of the Indianapolis and later as they face their greatest fears and imminent death at each other's sides.

So what else on earth can I say about Jaws that hasn't already been said? Nothing. So onward ho with the obligatory recap. And quite obviously, spoilers are forthcoming.

The lovely Chrissie (doesn't help matters that she has the same name as me, but I can tell you only two people in my entire life dared call me Chrissy and they are both dead. True story.)

Moving on, Chrissie is with a gathering of friends having a bit of a party on the beach when she decides to grab up the nearest male and go skinny dipping. Unfortunately, he's not much for swimming while plastered. Hence her solitary dive into the ocean and her unlucky run-in with our title character.

The opening ten minutes of Jaws are just legendary, aren't they? They suck you in and terrify you right down to your very soul. I'm sure I was entirely too young to be watching Jaws the first time I saw it, but it stuck in my head like glue. I don't live near the ocean but I love it - I travel 12 hours south to swim in the waters near Cape Hatteras every year for god's sake. But swim is more of a generalized term. I don't actually swim. I walk in the water at the edge, maybe let a few waves come up to perhaps my knees... but there will be NO swimming.

Besides all the disgusting other things in the ocean -like seaweed wrapping around your feet, those skate creatures, jellyfish, slimy things I don't know the name of, and the urine of the people around me (don't tell me that doesn't happen, I know better) - there are sharks. Big effing sharks. Who am I kidding - little sharks suck too. Now it's not that I am petrified of them like André over at The Horror Digest or anything, but I have a modicum of common sense, and I'm sorry but the ocean isn't ours, folks. Not by a long shot.

So after the gulping, thrashing, screaming death of Chrissie, we meet brand new police chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider), who has taken a job tending to the seafaring citizens on one Amity Island ("It's only an island if you look at it from the water") in New England.
Martin is utterly terrified of the water which, all things considered, is rather ironic. Setting out on the beach to look for the reported missing girl, the men search up and down the coast until his deputy, Lenny (Jeffery Kramer) finds the oogie remains of the presumed missing girl.

Immediately labeling the death a shark attack, Brody and the medical examiner are forced to change their tune when pressured by the mayor (Murray Hamilton, in a lovely polyester suit boasting embroidered anchors! So rad!), who doesn't want a panic in the area because they depend on tourism to keep the town afloat. The M.E. renames the attack a boating accident and they move on, Brody still reluctant to allow citizens in the water.

Soon the young Alex Kintner is killed in a brutal shark attack in front of a beach-full of people, including Brody. (And no, I don't want to relive the fact that a black lab was frolicking in the water and disappeared just prior!)

A town meeting is called in which it is announced by Brody that the beaches are going to be closed. An public outcry occurs, with everyone in agreement that closing the beaches puts their livelihoods at risk. The fourth of July being right around the corner, they cannot afford not to have their businesses open. But Brody won't relent.

Mrs. Kintner puts a bounty on the shark and the townsfolk go apeshit, each fisherman anxious to make some extra dough and get his name in the paper. Also in the mix and offering up his services is Quint, a salty old dog who knows his way around the ocean and says he can catch and kill the shark for ten grand. The town officials don't bite though (no pun intended) and the rest of the men discuss hunting the shark amongst themselves.

As hoards of men leave the harbor in overflowing fishing boats, we meet Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss), an ichthyologist sent from the Oceanographic Institute to investigate the claim of a shark attack. He asks to see the body of the first victim, and when he does he incredulously points out that it was not a boating accident that killed Chrissie Watkins, it was most definitely a shark.

When the locals return from their hunt with a large tiger shark, Hooper does a few quick calculations and informs Brody that the shark they caught was most likely not the one who killed Chrissie, and probably not the Kintner boy either. When Kintner's mother (looking very much like she could actually be his grandmother) finds out the town officials knew there had been a shark attack and they still allowed people in the water, she has a justified hissy fit and slaps Brody.

Hooper convinces Brody to allow him to cut open the tiger shark and check for the little boy's remains. When all they come up with is some tin cans, a few fish, and a Louisiana license plate, Hooper regretfully fills in the blanks for Brody. The tiger shark is not their culprit, and the shark that is can only be one kind: the Carcharodon carcharias. For those of you not in the know (and really, who are those people?), that would be the Great White shark. A nasty hunk of fish that doesn't, in reality, prefer humans as food at all. That being said, if someone swims into its way or attracts it somehow, well - dare I say you're fish food? Also of note is that once a shark has developed a feeding ground - that is, when food is offered up like a buffet - they will stay in that area and feed until the source of food is gone. Not exactly a pleasant thing for a crowded beach town.

Hooper drags Martin out onto the water to scout around the area where the big fish has been feeding. When Hooper scuba dives into the water to check aboard an abandoned boat belonging to one of the local fishermen, he finds a huge shark tooth embedded in the boat. Alas, he loses the tooth when the fisherman's disembodied head floats into his field of vision.

Unable to prove that the shark is a Great White or even exists in the first place, the beaches are reopened on the fourth of July and a huge crowd arrives. Martin watches as his children head into an isolated estuary to swim with a bunch of others. In the ocean, two boys pull a prank involving a fake shark fin and a panic ensues, with everyone getting out of the water. Meanwhile, a young woman points to the estuary and starts to yell 'Shark!" After what seems like forever, people finally take notice - but not before a man paddling a small boat gets taken under and killed. Brody's eldest son escapes near death but goes into shock after witnessing the gruesome attack.

Obviously, it's time to do something. Enter Quint.
Brody convinces the mayor to hire Quint to kill the shark and Brody and Hooper board Quint's boat, the Orca, to head out on a shark hunt.
Quint is your typical life-long fisherman, a sometimes hilarious combination of arrogance and experience.

When Brody is delegated to throw out the chum line, he finally comes face to face with the immense Great White in question, all twenty-five feet of him. Nearly too stunned and terrified to react, he simply walks up to Quint and utters the famous line, "You're gonna need a bigger boat." Quint and Hooper join him in staring out at the ocean at the giant predator coming near them. The first time you see him glide past the boat is such a thrilling scare. Your adrenalin spikes and you get a lump in your throat - it's really such an incredible moment. Put it this way, you can feel your heart beating. Loudly.

The three men valiantly struggle in an attempt to get near enough to the big oaf to harpoon a line onto it so the attached flotation barrel will keep the shark afloat to track it, and are eventually able to secure one barrel. The Orca sets off in pursuit as the men all take a short breather. Just when they think they've got it made, the shark is able to take the barrel under the water and disappears.

That evening, as the men sit around below deck and tell tales of love lost and scarring bodily harm, Quint shocks Hooper and Brody by relaying the story of the USS Indianapolis - the WWII era vessel that went down after a direct hit from a German sub. As if that isn't awful enough, the men were surrounded by sharks, who picked them off one by one. Obviously Quint has a bit more experience than the others, who are rattled by the history lesson. It's a sobering moment, and as they try to relieve themselves of some of the melancholy drifting over them, they begin to sing 'Show me the way to go home'. As they get louder, the shark is seen reappearing outside the boat, and it starts to literally attack the Orca. After wreaking a bit of havoc and damaging the hull, the shark disappears yet again.

In the morning they attempt to make repairs on the Orca when the shark emerges yet again. The men are able to secure yet another barrel but Brody, in a panic, decides to call the Coast Guard. Quint, in the heat of the moment, slams the radio with a baseball bat when Brody tries to call for help, rendering them relatively helpless out on the open sea.

Attaching yet a third barrel to our finned friend, they turn the boat and follow the shark as best they can with a compromised engine. Unbelievably, even as they try to drag the shark to shore to beach it, the shark counters, able to still submerge with three barrels. At this point Quint has just about trashed the engine, running it too hard.

Quint, headed to shore and utterly pissed off, taxes the engine to the point that it quits before they can get back to Amity. Stranded, Hooper brings up the idea of using the shark-proof cage he brought along to attempt to get close enough to the shark to use a poison spear to kill it. He gears up, gets in the cage, and though obviously paralyzed with fear, submerges.

Under the water, he waits for the shark to come to him, and when he does it is an inspired piece of film making as the shark comes straight at him (seriously fucking scary!!) and attacks the cage for all its worth. He wrestles with the cage, seemingly pretty darn pissed off. Hooper drops the spear in the fray but is able to slip through the cage and sneak off to hide as the shark obliterates the cage. Realizing the ruckus below, Brody and Quint heave the cage up and fear the worst after taking one look at it.

But the Great White isn't finished. In truly the most horrifying part of the movie, the shark immediately just flat-out blitzes the boat, causing both men to fall to the slick deck and Quint to slide right into the jaws (!) of the beast.

This film would never, ever have gotten a PG rating if it were released today, if only on the merit of this one scene. Quint's death is a sickening, nightmare-inducing misfortune of the worst kind. Spurting blood when the shark bites down, Quint loses the ultimate battle at last. Brody watches, too shocked and overwhelmed to do anything but fight for his own survival at this point. He slams shut the door of the cabin but the shark, apparently not sated, comes back to finish the job.

This is one bad ass shark, dammit. As unstoppable as Michael Myers on his best day! With the ship sinking quickly, it slams into the side of the cabin, nearly reaching Brody, who in turn grabs one of the pressurized tanks floating nearby and throws it into shark's open mouth. The shark backs away, unsure of what he has been given and leaving Brody enough time to grab a rifle and climb the mast to the highest point.

In hot pursuit and chomping away on the air tank in its mouth the shark comes after Brody, who begins shooting at the pressurized tank. After several unsuccessful shots, he finally has direct aim and utters the second most famous line in the film, "Smile you sonofabitch!"

Hitting his target, Brody screams in excitement as the shark explodes, falling in chunks and pieces into the deep blue (now blood-soaked) sea. We hear what sounds like one last guttural roar from the Great White, and it is over.

Hooper, aware of the shark's demise, surfaces and finds Brody clutching to the last remains of the Orca. They laugh for a moment about their luck, commiserate over Quint, then tie a few barrels together and rig up a makeshift raft to paddle to shore with.

Again, I don't know how to reiterate any stronger my love for this film. Anyone who hasn't seen it is missing out on what I consider to be Steven Spielberg's finest work (yes, even above Schindler's List, at least for me) and Williams' Oscar-winning score sets the mood and pacing like no other composer could.

So at the risk of getting too sentimental, I'll just leave you with a quote. "It's all psychological. You yell barracuda, everybody says, "Huh? What?" You yell shark, we've got a panic on our hands on the Fourth of July."